After the conclusion of the NFL Scouting Combine, the majority of questions about 2020 NFL Draft wide receiver prospects have been answered. From athletic testing, interviews and positional drills, the Combine is the final piece to the puzzle for a lot of prospects. However, as is the case with every NFL Scouting Combine, some questions still remain. There is one more opportunity for hopefuls to answer those remaining questions; pro days.
Some notable wide receivers completely sat out of athletic testing and will perform those drills at their pro day, increasing the importance of those workouts. For others, they’ll look to improve upon disappointing times from the NFL Scouting Combine.
I detailed the five most important pro days for the 2020 class of wide receivers.
Clemson University, March 12
Citing a lack of time to properly prepare for the NFL Scouting Combine athletic testing, Tee Higgins didn’t participate in any drills. Higgins’ reasoning makes sense, as Clemson played the national championship game on January 13th and Higgins would’ve been testing late at night on February 27th. He bought himself a couple of weeks to complete his training before Clemson’s pro day on March 12th.
After the Combine, it appears that there is a clear top tier of wide receivers at the top of the class in CeeDee Lamb, Jerry Jeudy and Henry Ruggs III. With strong athletic testing, Higgins can put himself firmly in the race to be the fourth WR selected, making him an option in the middle of the first round. With mediocre athletic testing, it’s possible that Higgins falls into day two consideration.
Ohio State University, March 25
While the trio of Ohio State wide receivers all participated in a portion of athletic testing at the NFL Scouting Combine, each one has some drills they should be looking to improve upon at Ohio State’s Pro Day.
Senior Bowl darling K.J. Hill was in the 17th percentile or lower in the 40-yard dash, vertical jump, and broad jump. These are the only tests he participated in outside of the bench press. While Hill wasn’t perceived as the most dynamic athlete for the position, those are important measurements for wide receiver prospects.
KJ Hill is always open pic.twitter.com/qvXFyHWNce
— Brad Kelly (@BradKelly17) January 24, 2020
Similarly, Austin Mack tested in the 27th percentile or worse in all of the tests that he participated in; the 40-yard dash, broad jump, vertical jump, and short shuttle. For a prospect who lacks production and had a rough week at the Senior Bowl, Mack’s athletic testing needs to be an area where he stood out if he’s going to get drafted.
While Binjimen Victor had a solid overall showing, he lumbered a bit on his way to 4.60s in the 40-yard dash. For a boundary receiver who wins with length, better speed could show his ability to get downfield and stretch the defense.
University of Tennessee, March 26
I don’t even know where to start with Jauan Jennings and his Combine performance. Jennings will admit he’s not a burner, but a 4.72-second forty-yard dash and 29” vertical puts him in just the second percentile among WR prospects. I played WR at the Division III level and could out-perform both of those.
Watching Jennings on tape and at the Senior Bowl, he was a bruiser of a ball carrier (30 broken tackles on 59 receptions) who had enough juice through his routes. His high point reception on a hail mary to beat Georgia back in 2016 suggested he’d be a more explosive athlete. But if his testing is any indication, it’s reasonable to question if his style of play will hold up against NFL athletes.
Jennings needs to prove he has better speed and explosiveness, even by a slim margin, to show that he’s a better athlete than even below average tight end prospects.
— Skye Underwood (@SkyeUnderwood) October 1, 2016
Southern Methodist University, March 26
While Southern Methodist University wide receiver James Proche participated in most of the NFL Scouting Combine, he put off running the 40-yard dash until SMU’s Pro Day on March 26th. That drill increased in importance for Proche during his week in Indianapolis, because the rest of his athletic testing went poorly.
While Proche did well on the bench press with 20 reps, he failed to reach the 40th percentile in the rest of his testing (vertical jump, three-cone drill, and short shuttle). He’ll need an impressive forty-yard dash to make up for those poor times.
Proche should be one of the stronger WR options on day three of the NFL Draft, but a poor performance at his pro day could push him into the last two rounds.
University of Texas, April 1
After an impressive performance at the Senior Bowl, projected day two selection Collin Johnson sat out of athletic testing at the NFL Scouting Combine while citing a hip flexor injury. Thankfully for Johnson, he’ll have over a month to get healthy before the Texas Longhorns, Pro Day on April 1st.
The key to Johnson’s evaluation will be his speed and agility. Due to his length and body control, Johnson’s catch radius is massive regardless of how he tests in the jumps. However, there are questions about his ability to stretch the field and accelerate through his route breaks.
If Johnson is able to approach the 4.50 seconds threshold in the forty and have proper agility times, he can lock himself into a top 100 selection.
Texas WR Collin Johnson wins deep against press coverage. Beats contact, stacks and tracks the ball over his shoulder finishing through contact. Johnson was the most impressive WR during this period. pic.twitter.com/0ZJ51IkeK1
— Brad Kelly (@BradKelly17) January 22, 2020