Three days worth of combine on-field workouts are in the books, with the third day featuring the defensive linemen and linebackers. With presumed number two overall pick Chase Young opting to sit out, another highly touted prospect stole the show: linebacker Isaiah Simmons out of Clemson, who delivered a workout for the ages as he ran the 40-yard dash in 4.39 seconds while also adding a 39-inch vertical and an 11-foot broad jump.
Simmons will be long gone before the Patriots are on the clock in the first round this year, but some other players who are projected to be in the team’s range also impacted their stock one way or another on Saturday. Let’s take a closer look at them.
DE Zack Baun, Wisconsin
Baun’s stock was already high due to his combination of football intelligence and starter upside, but he still managed to improve it by delivering an impressive workout. How impressive? The Wisconsin product ran the 40-yard dash in a strong 4.65 seconds, but really shine in terms of his acceleration and short-area quickness: his 10-yard split was just 1.59 seconds, while he finished the 3-cone drill in 7.0 seconds. Add it all up and you get a player who could very well hear his name called early on day two.
DE Jabari Zuniga, Florida
Jabari Zuniga did not run through all the drills but he tested well in those he did tackle. In fact, he was one of the most impressive edge defenders on Saturday, as a look at the Relative Athletic Score calculated by Kent Lee Platte of Pride of Detroit illustrates:
Jabari Zuniga is a DE prospect in the 2020 draft class out of Florida.— Kent Lee Platte (@MathBomb) March 1, 2020
He posted an elite #RAS with okay size, elite speed, great explosiveness, at the DE position.https://t.co/k8TFZoSNAi pic.twitter.com/yDUPGQIoEr
While Zuniga’s size — 6-foot-3, 264 pounds — did not stand out, his 29-rep bench press in combination with a 1007-inch broad jump and impressive 40-yard dash made him won of the winners of Saturday’s event. While he will still not come off the board before one of the middle rounds due to his somewhat inconsistent tape, the Florida product showed that his athleticism is certainly impressive.
DT Khalil Davis, Nebraska
What do former first-round draft picks Aaron Donald and Ed Oliver have in common with Nebraska’s Khalil Davis? All three of them reached an athleticism score of 99 as calculated by NFL’s Next Gen Stats for their combine workouts:
Pending the results of the 3-cone & shuttle, the Davis twins from Nebraska — Khalil & Carlos — currently stand as the top 2 defensive tackles by the NGS Athleticism Score.— Next Gen Stats (@NextGenStats) March 1, 2020
Khalil Davis would join Aaron Donald and Ed Oliver as the only DTs with a 99 Athleticism Score since 2014. pic.twitter.com/HqVytBpd4d
Davis did eventually not participate in the 3-cone or short shuttle drills, but his workout still helped his stock: the 23-year-old ran the 40-yard dash in an impressive 4.76 seconds — an outstanding time for a player measured at 6-foot-1 and 308 pounds. Add 32 reps on the bench press and you get a player who will likely still not come off the board before day three but who could very well hear his name called as a late-round selection.
LB Malik Harrison, Ohio State
A physical player who possesses starting-caliber upside, Harrison had a strong workout on Saturday across the board. His 4.66-second 40-yard dash despite being measured at 6-foot-2 1/2 and 246 pounds was impressive, but he really stood out with his agility numbers: the Ohio State product reached 36 inches in the vertical and 122 inches in the broad jump, and finished the 3-cone drill in an outstanding 6.83.
Harrison was already projected to be selected on day two as a developmental linebacker who can help on early downs right away and has the foundational skills to also improve as a pass defender. His on-field workouts certainly reaffirmed his position as one of the better off-the-ball linebackers in this year’s draft.
LB Davion Taylor, Colorado
Taylor is another late-round prospect who might just have done enough during the combine to secure himself a place on the table of players to get drafted. How did he do it? By running a 4.53 40-yard dash and finishing the 3-cone drill in 6.96 seconds. He also registered 35 inches in the vertical jump and 127 in the broad jump, for a combined RAS of 9.06 — one of the best among all linebackers.
While his size and developmental talent will likely keep him from getting drafted earlier than day three, Taylor’s workout was a strong one.
LB Willie Gay Jr, Mississippi State
As impressive as Taylor’s 9.07 RAS was, it pales in comparison to the one posted by Willie Gay Jr. The Mississippi product, who also is expected to be drafted rather late if at all, finished Saturday with a score of 9.7. Gay, who was measured at 6-foot-1 and 243 pounds, ran the 40-yard dash in 4.46 seconds, had a 3-cone drill of 7.08 seconds, and also finished the vertical jump with an outstanding 39.5 inches. And he also did this:
Gay has the versatility and athletic profile to find success at the next level in a clearly defined role, even though he needs plenty of time to be developed into an NFL-caliber linebacker. That being said, his workout certainly raised some eyebrows and that is never a bad thing during the pre-draft process.
DT Rashard Lawrence, LSU
A potential day two selection, Lawrence’s numbers were all over the board. While starting time at the 40-yard dash — he ran the first 10 yards in a very good 1.72 seconds — he had a tough time in the 3-cone drill (8.03 seconds) and had just 22 reps on the bench press. Furthermore, the LSU product looked stiff going through drills and did not do much to boost his stock in any meaningful way.
LB David Woodward, Utah State
Woodward’s processing speed and intelligence should help him get drafted and carve out a role on an NFL defense, but his combine workout should hurt his stock as a potential selection early on day three: he ran the 40-yard dash in 4.83 seconds despite being measured at just 6-foot-1, 230 pounds, had a 7.34 3-cone drill, and also was uninspiring in the vertical (33.5 inches) and broad jumps (114 inches). His RAS of 2.66 was one of the worst on Saturday.
DE Trevon Hill, Miami
Trevon Hill looks better on the football field than his numbers suggest, but they certainly did not help the projected mid-round selection one bit. Even though he was weighed at just 248 pounds — at a height of 6-foot-3 — he ran the 40-yard dash in only 4.89 seconds while also disappointing in the two jump drills: he had a 28-inch vertical and 113-inch broad jump. Add it up and you get a player who should still get drafted but likely not before day three considering his RAS of 2.04.