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#pounditWednesday, January 20, 2021

10 NFL Draft prospects on the rise

Devin White

Most impressions about NFL Draft prospects are formed or finalized at the NFL Combine, which seems to be enough to send draft stock either rising or sinking for the remainder of the pre-draft season. Still, some players are finding out that it’s not too late to change their trajectory, with Pro Days still very much a factor.

In light of those, and a month removed from the Combine, we’re getting a much clearer idea of whose stock is really on the rise. Here are ten of the hottest prospects in the NFL Draft who have done themselves plenty of favors with their pre-draft workouts and interviews.

Devin White, LB, LSU

White made headlines at the Combine with a 4.42 40 time, and he understandably opted against running it again at LSU’s Pro Day. He hardly needed to, as he looked to be his usual tidy self during positional workouts. While questions linger about his lack of pass rushing, he’s a tremendous athlete who looks like he could be working his way into the top ten of draft boards. That’s in no small part because of his successful series of workouts.

A.J. Brown, WR, Ole Miss

D.K. Metcalf got a lot of the attention because of his stunning Combine numbers, but Brown looks to be solidifying his status as a first rounder as well. His Pro Day didn’t really teach us anything new, but his cone drill numbers would have put him sixth at the Combine, and his 40 time surprised some scouts. Brown is talented and seems to be trending up at the right time, and is increasingly viewed as a first-round selection.

Brian Burns, DE, Florida State

Burns is another prospect who seems to be working his way higher and higher into the first round. With teams already taking notice of his size and speed thanks to his NFL Combine performance, he spent his Pro Day proving that he could profile as more than just a 3-4 edge rusher at the next level, emphasizing his skills in coverage. It certainly doesn’t seem to have done him any harm, and he could end up going closer to the top half of the first round when all is said and done.

Devin Bush, LB, Michigan

The pre-draft process has been a good one for Bush, whose rise started at the Combine and hasn’t really stopped since. He’s likely solidified his status as a first-round pick having mostly answered questions about the “undersized” label. He’s quick and can play in coverage, and NFL teams love that. It’s not inconceivable that the former Michigan linebacker could even wind up going in the top 20 if things break right for him.

Parris Campbell, WR, Ohio State

Unfortunately for Campbell, his Pro Day workout was cut short after stumbling a bit running a route, and he decided to observe the rest to prevent any further injury problems from arising. Still, he’s done enough in the pre-draft process to help himself. A big part of that is his 4.31 40 time at the NFL Combine, the fastest among all wide receivers. He may well have worked his way into the first round thanks to his performance at Indianapolis.

Andre Dillard, OT, Washington State

Dillard appears to have unequivocally helped himself with a very steady Pro Day, showing himself to have the potential to be a capable run blocker in addition to his pass blocking capabilities. He was great at the NFL Combine, too, and has done nothing but give teams more reasons to move him up their draft boards. He appears to be pretty secure as a first-round pick at this point, potentially even in the top 15.

Justice Hill, RB, Oklahoma State

Hill isn’t really regarded as a first-round pick, but he does appear to be trending in the right direction as he continues to put up consistently good workouts. It helps that he ran a speedy 4.40 in the 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine, and he doesn’t appear to have hurt himself at his Pro Day either. Hill perhaps profiles as a complementary back at the NFL level, but as he keeps showing in his workouts, there’s much to like here.

Daniel Jones, QB, Duke

Jones’ Pro Day was very good, and may well solidify him as a first-round selection. He made the big decision to run the 40 again despite doing so at the Combine, improving from 4.81 to 4.64, which would have been a top-five mark for quarterbacks in Indianapolis. He looked very good in passing drills as well, showing off enough ability to make scouts dream on his potential. Jones isn’t getting the publicity of some of his peers, but he looks to have done all he had to do and then some to make himself a first-round pick this month.

Erik McCoy, OL, Texas A&M

McCoy is another offensive lineman who has looked good in his workouts in a year where that hasn’t always been the case for his peers. The interior lineman followed up a good Combine with a solid Pro Day, where he skipped drills but looked very promising while participating in some football drills. It may not be enough to force his way into first round contention, but McCoy has done himself no harm and could still knock on the door of day one.

Ed Oliver, DT, Houston

Not surprisingly, Oliver is a physical freak. He opted to run the 40 at his Pro Day and put up an impressive 4.73 figure, making scouts salivate. By all accounts, he absolutely owned the rest of his workout as well. And while there are still some questions over his eventual position at the NFL level, teams will figure it out with this level of physical talent. After his draft stock sagged a bit during the college football season partially due to some odd behavior, he looks to be working his way back into the top five.

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