The 2020 NFL Combine is upon us, and over 300 football prospects are hoping to boost their stock for the upcoming 2020 NFL Draft. Players will hold Pro Days in March and April, but the Combine brings all 32 teams together to pour over medical records and performances by the various prospects.
Players arrive in positional groups, and defensive linemen and linebackers arrived on Tuesday. They’ve gone through medical exams, measurements, and are in the process of the team interview scheduling.
Now, they move on to the on-field workouts. This includes running the 40-yard dash, going through the 3-cone drills and shuttle run, doing the vertical leap and broad jump, and going through various position-specific drills.
NFL Combine TV schedule
NFL Network will be airing live coverage from the workouts starting Thursday. The NFL has moved the workouts into prime time, hoping to generate a little more buzz to their television network. They will air from 4-11 p.m. and will be available via live online stream.
Who to watch
Derrick Brown: After Chase Young, Brown comes in as the consensus No. 2 defensive lineman and the best on the interior. At 6’5”, 326 pounds, Brown imposes his will on the offensive line and is an elite run stopper. In his last three years at Auburn, Brown accumulated 31.5 tackles for loss, 11.5 sacks and five forced fumbles. On the field he looks strong enough to take on the NFL without much of a learning curve and quickly upgrade any defensive line.
Yetur Gross-Matos: Gross-Matos has faced more tragedy in his life than anyone should have to bear, as his father died while saving him from drowning when he was two and then ten-years later he lost his older brother to a lightning strike. He seems to have taken that unspeakable pain and learned from it. His work ethic is unbeatable according to his coaches and he plays 100 percent all of the time. Gross-Matos is an EDGE player with great length and quickness but still has room to improve his base strength in the NFL as his body transforms with age and strength coaching. There’s little doubt that he has room for growth while already being one of the best defensive ends in the country.
Ross Blacklock: After missing all of 2018 with an Achilles tear, Blacklock returned with a excellent season including 40 total tackles and 3.5 sacks. At 6’4 and 305 lbs., his ability to attack the passer is his strength but he can also maintain either one or two gaps in the pivot. An All-Big XII performer, his father Jimmy was a member of the Harlem Globetrotters. He’ll look to work on his technique and ability to get free in run fit for whatever NFL team takes him with his high ceiling.
Isaiah Simmons: Simmons played as a safety to start his college career but moved to linebacker, winning the Butkus Award his junior year. He has ability all over the field, which is coveted by defensive coordinators wanting to hide coverages. He covers the field with ease, snuffing out running backs on the edge and disrupting passing lanes. When asked what position he plays at the combine, Simmons said “defense.” His versatility may confuse some who want to get the most out of his ability at one position, but NFL defenses have to be flexible and versatile to keep up with the Lamar Jacksons and Patrick Mahomes of the world and Simmons is the right man for the job.
Kenneth Murray: A three-year starter for Oklahoma, Murray is an inside linebacker with elite speed for 6’2, 234 lbs. His 21 reps on the bench press already show his strength, and he receives high marks for his ability to recognize plays and excellent instincts. He had a massive 155 tackles as a sophomore, but just 95 his junior year as teams began to game plan to stay away from him. Though he’s for sure more dangerous as a run defender, he’s also shown he can cover in space as needed especially in zone.
Zack Baun: After five years at Wisconsin, the redshirt senior exploded his final year with 52 tackles, including 19.5 for loss. At 6’2, 240 lbs., he shows elite athleticism but might be a bit undersized. He’s a bit more of a coverage linebacker, but can also get free and close on the passer with excellent speed. He also is lauded for smarts and ability to read keys and be in the right position to make the tackle. The knock is likely his size, but otherwise he could be the total package at the next level.
List of players
DL, LB Combine participants
|Blacklock, Ross||DL||TCU||Big 12|
|Daniels, Darrion||DL||Nebraska||Big Ten|
|Davis, Carlos||DL||Nebraska||Big Ten|
|Davis, Khalil||DL||Nebraska||Big Ten|
|Epenesa, A.J.||DL||Iowa||Big Ten|
|Gallimore, Neville||DL||Oklahoma||Big 12|
|Gross-Matos, Yetur||DL||Penn St.||Big Ten|
|Hamilton, DaVon||DL||Ohio St.||Big Ten|
|Hamilton, LaDarius||DL||North Texas||Conference USA|
|Highsmith, Alex||DL||Charlotte||Conference USA|
|Kareem, Khalid||DL||Notre Dame||IA Independents|
|Kinlaw, Javon||DL||South Carolina||SEC|
|Lawrence II, Rashard||DL||LSU||SEC|
|Lynch, James||DL||Baylor||Big 12|
|Madubuike, Justin||DL||Texas A&M||SEC|
|Murchison, Larrell||DL||N.C. State||ACC|
|Okwara, Julian||DL||Notre Dame||IA Independents|
|Rivers, Chauncey||DL||Mississippi St.||SEC|
|Roach, Malcolm||DL||Texas||Big 12|
|Smith-Williams, James||DL||N.C. State||ACC|
|Strowbridge, Jason||DL||North Carolina||ACC|
|Tuszka, Derrek||DL||North Dakota St.||Missouri Valley|
|Washington, Broderick||DL||Texas Tech||Big 12|
|Willekes, Kenny||DL||Michigan St.||Big Ten|
|Williams, Raequan||DL||Michigan St.||Big Ten|
|Windsor, Rob||DL||Penn St.||Big Ten|
|Wonnum, D.J.||DL||South Carolina||SEC|
|Young, Chase||DL||Ohio St.||Big Ten|
|Bachie, Joe||LB||Michigan St.||Big Ten|
|Bailey, Markus||LB||Purdue||Big Ten|
|Baun, Zack||LB||Wisconsin||Big Ten|
|Brooks, Jordan||LB||Texas Tech||Big 12|
|Brown, Cameron||LB||Penn St.||Big Ten|
|Coughlin, Carter||LB||Minnesota||Big Ten|
|Davis-Gaither, Akeem||LB||Appalachian St.||Sun Belt|
|Galeai, Tipa||LB||Utah St.||Mountain West|
|Gay Jr., Willie||LB||Mississippi St.||SEC|
|Harrison, Malik||LB||Ohio St.||Big Ten|
|Hudson, Khaleke||LB||Michigan||Big Ten|
|Johnston, Clay||LB||Baylor||Big 12|
|Kamara, Azur||LB||Kansas||Big 12|
|Martin, Kamal||LB||Minnesota||Big Ten|
|Murray, Kenneth||LB||Oklahoma||Big 12|
|Olson, Dante||LB||Montana||Big Sky|
|Strnad, Justin||LB||Wake Forest||ACC|
|Uche, Josh||LB||Michigan||Big Ten|
|Walker, Mykal||LB||Fresno St.||Mountain West|
|Weaver, Curtis||LB||Boise St.||Mountain West|
|Wilson, Logan||LB||Wyoming||Mountain West|
|Woodward, David||LB||Utah St.||Mountain West|