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2020 NFL combine: Setting the stage for Thursday, position groups, schedule, prospects to watch for the Patriots

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NFL: MAR 02 Scouting Combine Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

While the 2020 NFL scouting combine already began on Sunday with the arrival of the first group of players, the action will really pick up today as the first group of players will begin its on-field workouts: the quarterbacks, wide receivers and tight ends will be tested. The New England Patriots and their fans naturally have plenty to look forward to, as some of the prospects on display might very well end up with the team along the line.

To get a better overview of what will happen today as well as what and who the Patriots in particular might watch out for, please enjoy our combine primer.

Players’ schedule

Quarterbacks, Wide receivers, Tight ends: Limited testing/interviews, On-field workout

Running backs, Offensive linemen, Kickers, Special teamers: NFLPA Meeting, Interviews, Bench Press, Psychological Testing

Defensive linemen, Linebackers: Media, Medical examination, Position coach interview, Psychological testing

Defensive backs: Measurements, Pre-examination, Interviews

Broadcast schedule

Today is the first day that the combine will be broadcast live from Indianapolis. Starting at 4:00 pm ET, NFL Network and the league’s affiliated services will air the on-field workouts of the quarterbacks, wide receivers and tight ends:

Television: NFL Network, ESPN (7:00 pm — 8:00 pm)

Radio: Sirius XM

Mobile: NFL Mobile app, Watch ESPN

Online: nfl.com/watch (login through cable provider), NFL Game Pass, FuboTV

NFL Network will also broadcast live on Friday and Saturday, starting at 4:00 pm ET, and Sunday, starting at 2:00 pm ET.

On-field drills

40-yard dash: The most publicized event of the entire combine, the 40-yard dash measures a prospect’s acceleration and sustained vertical speed. Furthermore the interval times — the 10-yard split and the 20-yard split — give teams a clearer look on a player’s quickness and initial burst.

Vertical jump: The vertical measures a player’s leaping ability as well as his lower-body strength and explosion out of his position. The drill is especially important for skill position players on both sides of the ball.

Broad jump: Similar to the vertical jump, the horizontal broad jump tests a prospect’s lower-body explosion and strength as well as his balance in and out of his stance.

3-cone drill: The 3-cone drill tests agility and change of direction skills, and is therefore important for almost all position groups. Since 2010, the Patriots added seven defensive backs with a combine 3-cone time of under 6.75 seconds — a drill to watch, without a doubt.

Short shuttle: The short shuttle is a 20-yard running drill divided into portions of 5, 10 and 5 yards. It measures a player’s quickness, agility, burst, flexibility and short-area explosion.

Prospects to watch

TE Hunter Bryant, Washington: Possibly the best pure receiving tight end in this class, Bryant brings both an impressive athletic skillset and positional versatility to the table: he can successfully line up all over the formation. While he is a developmental prospect in terms of his blocking, he has the tools to be a day-one starter at the next level as a move tight end.

QB Jake Fromm, Georgia: Fromm offers starting upside due to his high football IQ and decision making, but is not as gifted a thrower as other quarterbacks in this year’s draft class. Still, he has plenty of positive tools to develop and could take the next step if landing in an offense not relying on him to make plays with his feet or arm strength.

WR Tee Higgins, Clemson: Higgins is a big pass catcher that plays with good speed and strength and also has been a willing blocker in the running game at Clemson. While his route tree needs to be expanded, his production — 59 catches for 1,167 yards and 13 touchdowns this season — and athletic skillset make him a potential target for New England in April.

TE Brycen Hopkins, Purdue: Hopkins has all the tools you would want from a tight end and a foundation from which to build a starting role in the NFL: he is tall, naturally gifted as a receiver and smooth as a route runner. While he needs to improve his blocking at the point of attack, his skillset is an intriguing one and his ceiling among the highest of all tight ends in this year’s draft.

TE Cole Kmet, Notre Dame: One of the premier tight ends to enter this year’s draft, Kmet is coming off an impressive 2019 season at Notre Dame during which he caught 43 passes for 515 yards and six touchdowns. An intriguing player that is a bit rough around the edges when it comes to route-running and his athletic profile, he would certainly be a good addition to the Patriots’ tight end group.

QB Jordan Love, Utah State: Love is a high-ceiling quarterback capable of becoming a starting option in today’s NFL due to his combination of arm strength and pocket mobility. He likely needs some time to adjust to the game speed at the next level and to improve his decision making, but as a developmental option he is a strong early-round candidate.

TE Albert Okwuegbunam, Missouri: A big-bodied tight end who brings solid functional athleticism to the table but won’t necessarily wow you, Okwuegbunam is projected to serve as a receiving tight end at the next level due to his size and strong hands. While his blocking remains a work in progress and needs time to develop, the 21-year-old has the upside to turn into a solid TE2 at the next level.

WR James Proche, SMU: While he did see more snaps on the outside during the 2019 season, Proche is a slot receiver through and through due to his short-area quickness and ability to successfully find openings against zone coverage. His size and speed may not be impressive, but he offers a good foundation to develop.

WR Jalen Reagor, TCU: Reagor is an early-round prospect capable of making an immediate impact in the NFL: he offers tremendous playing speed and is a solid route runner that consistently puts himself in a position to make plays. While struggling a bit with drops in college, he has the upside to serve as a starting-caliber Z-receiver right away.

TE Adam Trautman, Dayton: Trautman may be a small-school prospect, but he is one of the fastest rising tight ends in this year’s draft after an impressive showing at the Senior Bowl: a big and powerful player with proven production in the passing game, he needs improve his blocking technique and show that he can succeed against better competition. his physical tools, however, are intriguing.

Pats Pulpit at the Combine

Pats Pulpit’s own Mark Schofield will be in Indianapolis to cover the event from a Patriots perspective. Besides regularly checking this here website, please also make sure to follow @markschofield and @patspulpit on Twitter.

The Pats Pulpit Podcast Network will have breakdowns as well. Subscribe here to stay up to date:

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