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NFL Combine results: 6 winners, 3 losers from WRs/TEs on bench press, 40-yard dash and more

Albert Okwuegbunam posted one of the fastest times ever for a tight end, while Mitchell Wilcox took a football to the face.

NFL Combine - Day 3 Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Testing numbers at the NFL Combine can be unimportant for a lot of positions. It doesn’t really matter how fast an offensive lineman can run the 40-yard dash and no team is drafting a quarterback because of their impressive vertical jump.

Showing off that athleticism crucial for receivers, though.

Yes, some of the best pass catchers in NFL history — like Jerry Rice, for instance — didn’t shine at the NFL Combine. But it’s much harder for a prospect to convince a team he can get open if he doesn’t show the size, speed, and quickness to do so.

In 2019, Ole Miss receiver DK Metcalf stole the show with an outrageous performance. His skills won over the Seattle Seahawks, who picked him at the tail end of the second round. Metcalf proved his abilities translated well to the football field by finishing his rookie season with 900 receiving yards and seven touchdowns. He also had a game-sealing grab in the playoffs that eliminated the Eagles.

There probably won’t be a performance as superhuman as Metcalf’s at the 2020 NFL Combine, but there were a few players who have stood out so far, both positively and negatively.

Let’s look at six winners and three losers among the receivers and tight ends in Indianapolis, listed in no particular order.

Check out our overall combine winners and losers, as well as the quarterback, running back, DL/linebacker, and defensive back position groups.


1. Albert Okwuegbunam, TE, Missouri

It seems more likely than not that no tight end gets picked in the first round this April. But the good news for this class is the lack of star power at tight end leaves a whole lot of room for unheralded prospects to shine.

Okwuegbunam snagged that opportunity with one of the speediest 40-yard dashes ever recorded by a tight end. The 258-pounder blazed down the path in 4.49 seconds.

And just to make sure everyone knew it wasn’t a fluke, Okwuegbunam followed it up with a 4.50-second dash on his next attempt. He finished with an official time nearly two-tenths of a second faster than any other tight end.

His performance isn’t completely out of left field. Dan Kadar listed Okwuegbunam as a player who could stand out at the NFL Combine, despite only catching 26 passes in the 2019 season. Before you blame him too much for that, consider George Kittle only caught 22 passes in his last season at Iowa.

2. Justin Jefferson, WR, LSU

NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah provided the perfect evidence that Jefferson had a great showing at the NFL Combine. When the LSU receiver took off down the track in Indianapolis, Jeremiah told Rich Eisen, “I don’t anticipate that we’ll see a really fast — well, never mind. Hey now!”

Just as Jeremiah was lowering the expectations for Jefferson, the receiver finished the 40-yard dash in 4.44 seconds. That’s a tremendous time for a receiver who already showed he can do everything else at an extremely high level.

If Jefferson wasn’t already a first-round pick, he made his case even stronger Thursday.

3. Chase Claypool, WR, Notre Dame

Claypool is bordering on tight end size at 238 pounds. But the weight definitely isn’t slowing him down. The Notre Dame pass catcher followed up a 4.45-second run in the 40-yard dash with a 4.43 on his next attempt.

That kind of speed is rare for a player as large as Claypool.

Claypool also put in 19 bench press reps and a 40.5-inch vertical, showing both strength and explosiveness to go with his speed.

4. Cole Kmet, TE, Notre Dame

Kmet is considered by most (including Kadar) to be the best tight end of the draft class. It seemed unlikely he’d wow many in on-field tests at the NFL Combine, though.

But his 4.70-second performance in the 40-yard dash was in the top five among players at his position.

The Notre Dame tight end told reporters earlier in the week his best-ever time in the 40-yard dash time was 4.69 seconds. By just about matching that time, Kmet bolstered his stock.

5. Donovan Peoples-Jones, WR, Michigan

Gerald Sensabaugh’s record-setting 46-inch vertical jump from 2006 still stands as the best mark in NFL Combine history. Peoples-Jones was just 1.5 inches away from tying it.

The 6’2, 212-pound receiver took flight in the vertical with a 44.5-inch jump that looks downright majestic in slow motion.

Peoples-Jones is a bit buried in a deep wide receiver class and his vertical won’t change the fact he never made a huge impact at Michigan. It does show he has explosiveness and a large catch radius, though. That, along with his strong numbers in other events (a 4.48-second 40, 11’7 broad jump) should help Peoples-Jones stand out a bit.

6. Henry Ruggs III, WR, Alabama

We knew Ruggs was fast coming into the combine, and though he ultimately failed to break the 4.22 mark set by John Ross III, he was still a gosh dang blur out there. Ruggs, despite what looked like a slightly slow start, ran a ridiculously fast 40-yard dash.

Ruggs managed a 4.27 in his first attempt and a 4.31 in his second. In addition to that, Ruggs had a stellar 42-inch vertical jump, and a 10’11 broad jump, both of which put him in the top five among receivers — and in his own class:

He was the fastest of what turned out to be an extremely fast group of receivers:

Unfortunately, Ruggs didn’t see the field for the gauntlet as he was seen putting ice on his quad following his second attempt at the 40. He told Kim Jones of the NFL Network that he will be ready to run routes at Alabama’s pro day, though.


1. Mitchell Wilcox, TE, South Florida

Here’s a quick list of things you really want to avoid doing at the NFL Combine:

Wilcox kept his shorts on and didn’t get hurt. But he couldn’t avoid getting drilled in the face by a pass.

Dang. Sorry, Mitchell.

2. Thaddeus Moss, TE, LSU

Moss is one of the more interesting prospects in the 2020 NFL Draft, not only because his dad is Randy Moss, but also because he developed into a damn good pass catcher at LSU.

He caught one touchdown in the Tigers’ Peach Bowl victory over Oklahoma and two touchdowns in the College Football Playoff National Championship win against Clemson.

Moss told reporters he wouldn’t participate in drills at the NFL Combine due to wear-and-tear from LSU’s extended season. His physical in Indianapolis revealed the problem is worse than that, though. According to Ian Rapoport, Moss has a Jones fracture in his foot that will require surgery to repair.

While Rapoport says the six to eight week recovery from the injury won’t cost Moss any time during the 2020 season. It will probably keep him from working out at all for teams prior to the draft. That news made the trip to Indianapolis a decidedly unfortunate one for Moss.

3. Jalen Reagor, WR, TCU

Reagor had a bit of a mixed day at the combine. On one hand, he measured well, finishing second in the vertical leap at 42 inches and second in the broad jump at 11’6. But one thing experts agreed on going into the combine was that he needed to bulk up a little bit.

And now the concern might be that he bulked up too much, because his 40-yard dash was a bit lackluster. Don’t get me wrong — he’s still very fast, but he did come up short of expectations.

Some thought he’d be in the record discussion alongside Ruggs, but his fastest time came in at 4.47. Reagor himself said before the combine that he expected to be in the “high 4.2s, low 4.3s”.