The 2020 NFL scouting combine began one week ago with the arrival of the first group of players, and will conclude today as the fourth and final day of on-field workouts takes place in Indianapolis: cornerbacks and safeties 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.
Defensive linemen, Linebackers: Departure
Defensive backs: Limited testing/interviews, On-field workout
Today is the fourth day that the combine will be broadcast live from Indianapolis. Starting at 2:00 pm ET, NFL Network and the league’s affiliated services will air the on-field workouts of the defensive backs:
Television: NFL Network
Radio: Sirius XM
Mobile: NFL Mobile app, Watch ESPN
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
FS Ashtyn Davis, California: Davis is a technically sound safety that has established himself as a physical player in the back-end of a defense. While his feel for the game is still somewhat raw, he should find plenty of success early on in two-safety schemes — probably as a deep man considering that he has been inconsistent as a runner-stopper.
FS Grant Delpit, LSU: While Delpit needs to fine-tune some areas of his game, he is one of the better safety prospects available in this year’s draft and will likely come off the board in the first round. After all, he has the athleticism, smarts and versatility to succeed in any scheme and also brings a proven track record in the toughest conference in all of college football to the table. Delpit is a potential day one starter.
SS Jalen Elliott, Notre Dame: A versatile safety that has experience playing both high looks and closer to the box, Elliott is a physical player not afraid of laying the wood. His aggressiveness is a double-edged sword, however, and also hurts him at times — be it in the form of bad angles or penalties.
FS Xavier McKinney, Alabama: McKinney is one of the best safety prospects to enter this year draft and projected to come off the board in the first round. It is not hard to see why: he is a sound tackler, possesses the range to cover sideline-to-sideline, and is capable of playing numerous roles all over the defensive backfield. Add high football IQ and you got a player with the potential to make an impact on day one.
SS Antoine Winfield Jr, Minnesota: Even though Winfield may not have the range to develop into a top-tier single-high defender, every other part of his game is impressive: he is an intelligent safety capable of playing deep and underneath, has a knack for the ball, is a fluid mover, and has established himself as a tone-setter at Minnesota. Put it all together and it is not hard to see why the 21-year-old might hear his name called on day one.