Charlie Neibergall/Associated Press
Here’s a look at how some of Thursday’s eye-popping numbers will impact the draft stock of the prospects who produced them.
Justin Jefferson, WR, LSU: 4.43-second 40-yard dash at 6’1″, 202 pounds.
My personal pre-combine scouting notes for Jefferson begin: “Speed: C+. Looks like a track star at full stride but lacks top initial separation quickness.” That report could probably use some revision. Jefferson explained on Tuesday that the LSU offense often required him to throttle down when coming off the line of scrimmage so Joe Burrow could go through his routes and use Jefferson as “the backup read at the end of the play.”
Jefferson earned B-plus or A grades from me for his hands, blocking and ability to drag defenders into the end zone after the catch. I won’t be revising those. He may be the fourth or fifth wide receiver off the board come April.
Albert Okwuegbunam, TE, Missouri: 4.49 second 40-yard dash at 6’5″, 258 pounds.
Okwuegbunam doesn’t look like a speedy NFL-caliber seam-stretcher on tape. But he’s versatile, well built and blocks about as well as college tight ends block these days. This is a relatively weak tight end class, so measurables matter: Teams may be tempted to draft for traits and potential on Day 2. Okwuegbunam’s numbers will make teams take a second look at his film.
Brycen Hopkins, TE, Purdue: 4.66 second 40-yard dash and 21 bench press reps at 6’4″, 245 pounds.
Hopkins, the silver medalist in the tight end 40-yard dash, looks a lot like Mike Gesicki, the former Penn State tight end who now plays for the Dolphins. Hopkins has the body control and ability to make leaping, away-from-the-body catches of an elite wide receiver. But despite being the son of former Titans Pro Bowl left tackle Brad Hopkins, he also blocks like a wide receiver.
Hopkins could have used a faster 40 to convince teams he can be a slot mismatch, but his results (including a very strong 4.28-second 20-yard shuttle) should be enough to land him at the end of Day 2 or the beginning of Day 3 of the draft.
Adam Trautman, TE, Dayton: 6.78-second three-cone drill, 4.27-second 20-yard shuttle.
Trautman had a strong Senior Bowl week and tested competitively in all areas on Thursday, demonstrating his agility by winning the three-cone drill for tight ends. He’s this year’s official Super-Athletic Small Program Draft Crush Tight End. You’d love him if your team drafted him on Day 3.
Netane Muti, G, Fresno State: 44 bench press reps.
Here’s a hype video of Muti body-slamming and steamrolling opposing defenders for your enjoyment. Muti missed most of last season with a Lisfranc injury, so his medical reports are more important than anything he does in workouts. If healthy, he will be the top interior lineman off the board.
In a tangentially related note, Muti sometimes enjoys a 10×10 burger from In-N-Out Burger. That’s 10 patties and 10 slices of cheese. Muti should take part in the great Steak ‘n’ Shake tradition while he is here in Indy to celebrate his bench-pressing performance. Just as long as he saves some for the rest of us.
Donovan Peoples-Jones, WR, Michigan: 44.5-inch high jump, 139-inch broad jump, both bests among wide receivers.
Jump numbers are often used as proxies for a player’s initial quickness and explosiveness. And though Peoples-Jones was slowed by a groin injury last season and sometimes got lost among a crowd of talented receivers in a very inconsistent Michigan passing offense, scouts now have reason to take a second look to see if there’s more to Peoples-Jones than what showed up on the stat sheet.
Jeff Okudah, CB, Ohio State: 78 ⅝-inch wingspan.
Per Eric Edholm of Yahoo Sports, only two cornerbacks in the past 20 years have had a longer wingspan than Okudah. He’s the best cornerback in this draft, and we will revisit him when he works out later in the week. For now, know that several receivers name-dropped him as the toughest defender they ever faced during interviews this week and that he has the length to cover the NFL’s tallest wide receivers.
Jalen Hurts, QB, Oklahoma: 4.59-second 40-yard dash, second-best among quarterbacks.
Hurts also looked very sharp in passing drills. No one of significance is suggesting that Hurts should move to wide receiver. But it’s customary to beat up the “move to receiver” straw-man argument at every opportunity, so here goes: Hurts is really fast for a quarterback but rather slow for a wide receiver; good thing he’s a quarterback! Wow, striking that blow against all those old NFL fuddy-duddies sure felt empowering!