NFL Combine Winners: Wide Receivers And Tight Ends
It is no secret that the NFL combine matters. We can whine about examples where it leads to false positives or negatives but holistically, the combine matters. NFL teams care and so should you. Now, does having a BAD combine disqualify a player from being good? It certainly can but doesn’t entirely. The two most likely outcomes from the combine are players that were borderline prospects perform so poorly that they relegate themselves to late-round flyers and average (and/or intriguing) prospects have completely nuclear performances and raise their NFL draft stock a few rounds.
Rarely will we see players expected to go in the first few rounds have horrible (or unexpectedly great) combines and therefore, as long as those players are hitting the correct thresholds, there really is not much to react to. The idea in today’s space is to examine a few of the pass catchers who had a good combine in one way or another and adjust their value in dynasty fantasy football leagues.
There is also a lot of good research that suggests we in the fantasy community really overvalue combine results. At the very least, it is definitely true that we double count combine results insofar as we know that NFL teams are using the numbers recorded by these players to inform where they are drafted.
2020 NFL Combine Winners: Wide Receivers And Tight Ends
Denzel Mims: Mims was a player that we liked at RotoExperts before the combine and we certainly did not expect what happened. Mims ran a 4.38 on his second try at the 40-yard dash which is going to give him an incredible height and weight-adjusted speed score. Combined with his college production, it is not going to be a surprise if Mims gets drafted in the first round of the 2020 NFL draft and ends up being a first-round rookie pick in dynasty drafts.
Chase Claypool: With Claypool’s sub 4.4 40 yard dash (twice!), he maybe did more to help his draft stock than any other player at the combine. Claypool stands 6’4 and weighs 235 pounds and caught 150 passes in college. He is likely qualified to play wide receiver AND tight end given his size and speed. This is a pretty weak tight end class but if Claypool gets a tight end designation on fantasy football sites, he is going to be a hot dynasty fantasy football commodity. The continued prevalence of “big slot” players also makes Claypool even more interesting
Quez Watkins: There are many wide receivers in this class who needed good-to-great combines to solidify themselves as being drafted on Day Two of the NFL Draft. Wide receiver prospects that are drafted on Day Three or are undrafted have a much longer road to success. After running a 4.35 40 yard dash, Watkins is now amongst the prospects who might get drafted surprisingly high. He had only one 1,000 yard season in college and didn’t play at a “big school” but putting up the raw speed numbers that he did now firmly puts him on the board for NFL teams looking to find a space-creating outside wide receiver.
Albert Okwuegbunam: It has been fairly continuously referenced that this is almost a historically bad year for tight ends, coming only a year after Noah Fant and TJ Hockenson both went in the first round of the NFL draft. Albert “O” as he is called, is trying to do his best to change that after running a 4.49 40-yard dash while weighing an absurd 258 pounds. Albert had a 90th percentile dominator rating for a tight end while playing at Missouri, though a great majority of that production came through touchdowns and not via receiving yards. I will always be a sucker for a tight end that runs more like a wide receiver as it encourages teams to use them more as a pass catcher and less as a blocker.
Jalen Reagor: You might be wondering how Reagor made this list despite actually disappointing on his 40 time. There were rumors that he might run in the 4.3’s, but he ended up posting a 4.47. That seems…average? You are right, it would be for a player who was what size we EXPECTED Reagor to be. However, he weighed in at 206 pounds while standing 5’11. It seems more realistic that teams would be more concerned about Reagor’s ability to size up to the NFL game as opposed to worried about his speed. Given how the NFL reacted to Reagor’s weigh in day, I would no longer be surprised if he was a first-round NFL draft pick.