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#pounditWednesday, December 8, 2021

5 players whose NFL Draft stock soared after the Combine

Jalen Hurts

How much does the NFL Combine matter? Whether you think it’s relevant to actual football or not, it matters a great deal, and a good showing during workouts can significantly bolster a player’s draft stock. The 2020 Combine has been no exception, with multiple players doing themselves big favors.

Here are five players who helped themselves in a big way and may be looking at a higher draft spot than before thanks to their work at the Combine.

5. Jalen Hurts, QB, Oklahoma

Hurts probably won’t go early in the draft, but his NFL Combine performance has probably convinced people that he deserves to be a quarterback. While he ran the fastest 40 of all quarterbacks, the real headline is that he showed real proficiency as a passer and looked the part of a quarterback. That may make him a Day 2 pick, and it should be enough to ensure that he gets a shot at playing quarterback at the next level, which is what he always wanted.

4. Justin Jefferson, WR, LSU

Jefferson solidified his status as a likely first-round pick with an impressive combine appearance. The LSU receiver has been widely regarded as a route-runner, but a 4.43 40 time showed that Jefferson can run, too. Jefferson is probably safely in the bottom half of the first round, and could even approach mid-round status depending on how things go prior to the draft. That 40 time helped him immensely going forward.

3. Tristan Wirfs, OT, Iowa

Wirfs was already a standout coming into the Combine, but he wowed with his workouts. His 36.5-inch vertical leap set a Combine record among offensive linemen, and his workout on the whole was one of the more impressive in recent memory. In addition to his size, Wirfs proved himself a natural athlete, and may well be a top-ten pick by this point. If he isn’t yet, he has time to get close before the draft itself.

2. Mehki Becton, OT, Louisville

It’s not often that a tackle solidifies a great combine with one 40-yard dash, especially when that drill isn’t really considered highly important for the position. Still, Becton ran a 5.10, which is remarkable for a 364-pound lineman. That could easily push him into the top ten, as it only reaffirms what teams already thought they had in Becton — a rare combination of skill and athleticism in an offensive lineman that will put him in high demand.

1. Isaiah Simmons, LB, Clemson

Nobody doubted Simmons’ athleticism before the NFL Combine. That alone makes it kind of amazing that he managed to boost his stock anyway. The Clemson defender ran a 4.39 40, then added a 39-inch vertical leap, and an 11-foot broad jump for good measure. Simmons is a freak who can play linebacker or safety, and teams must be salivating at the prospect of working with him. He may have worked his way into the top five.

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