News & Analysis

Comparing the 2020 NFL Combine results to the top names in fantasy football

The NFL Scouting Combine is far from the be-all, end-all when it comes to evaluating incoming prospects for fantasy football purposes. However, a look back at past numbers will show that the top fantasy options fall within a range for measurables and on-field testing events results. Using PFF’s fantasy football rankings, I took a look back at how the top incumbents fared at the combine and used this data to compare the state of each position to what we saw from the top fantasy football prospects at the 2020 Combine.

Quarterback

Year Player Ht Wt 40YD Vert Broad 3Cone Shuttle
2018 Lamar Jackson 6-2 216
2017 Patrick Mahomes 6-2 225 4.80 30 114 6.88 4.08
2017 Deshaun Watson 6-2 221 4.66 32.5 119 6.95 4.31
2012 Russell Wilson 5-11 204 4.53 34 118 6.97 4.09
2019 Kyler Murray 5-10 207
2016 Dak Prescott 6-2 226 4.79 32.5 116 7.11 4.32
2018 Josh Allen 6-4 237 4.75 33.5 119 6.90 4.40
2015 Jameis Winston 6-4 231 4.97 28.5 103 7.16 4.36
2016 Carson Wentz 6-5 237 4.77 30.5 118 6.86 4.15
2005 Aaron Rodgers 6-2 223 4.71 34.5 110 7.38
2020 Top Prospects
2020 Joe Burrow 6-3 221
2020 Tua Tagovailoa 6-1 217
2020 Justin Herbert 6-6 236 4.68 35.5 123 7.06 4.46
2020 Jordan Love 6-4 224 4.74 35.5 118 7.21 4.52
2020 Jacob Eason 6-6 231 4.89 27.5 110 7.50 4.75
2020 Jalen Hurts 6-1 222 4.59 35 125
2020 Jake Fromm 6-2 219 5.01 30 111 7.27 4.51

From a height standpoint, we’ve seen a bit of a transition in recent seasons with the potential for viable starting quarterbacks under 6 feet tall, with Russell Wilson leading that charge. We don’t have anyone under that mark this year, but Tagovailoa and Hurts are just over. Interestingly, none of our top incumbent quarterbacks are over 6-foot-5, but we do have two prospects over that mark in Herbert and Eason.

When it comes to quarterback fantasy evaluations, we don’t put a ton of stock in the on-field testing events. However, it is noteworthy that we don’t see a single player who ran over 5.00 in the 40-yard dash among the incumbents. We didn’t see all of the prospects run, but this is a strike on Fromm, who tested out poorly across all the events. Eason was under 5.00, but his vert and broad were worse than all but Jameis Winston, and his agility drills were well below the current top fantasy options.

On the other end of the spectrum, Herbert displayed a very athletic profile with a fast 40 time and impressive numbers in the vert and broad jumps. His jumps numbers were better than any of the incumbent fantasy standouts. Likewise, Love and Hurts also stand out in this area. 

Running Back

Year Player Ht Wt 40YD Bench Vert Broad 3Cone Shuttle
2017 Christian McCaffrey 5-11 202 4.48 10 37.5 121 6.57 4.22
2018 Saquon Barkley 6-1 233 4.40 29 41 4.24
2017 Dalvin Cook 5-10 210 4.49 22 30.5 116 7.27 4.53
2016 Ezekiel Elliott 6-1 225 4.47 32.5 118
2017 Alvin Kamara 5-10 214 4.56 15 39.5 131
2016 Derrick Henry 6-3 247 4.54 22 37 130 7.20 4.38
2017 Aaron Jones 5-9 208 4.56 16 37.5 127 6.82 4.20
2018 Nick Chubb 5-11 227 4.52 29 38.5 128 7.09 4.25
2017 Leonard Fournette 6-1 240 4.51 28.5
2019 Josh Jacobs 5-10 220
2020 Top Prospects
2020 Jonathan Taylor 5-11 226 4.39 17 36 123 7.01 4.24
2020 D'Andre Swift 5-8 212 4.48 35.5 121
2020 J.K. Dobbins 5-9 209 23
2020 Cam Akers 5-10 217 4.47 20 35.5 122 4.42
2020 Clyde Edwards-Helaire 5-7 207 4.60 15 39.5 123
2020 Zack Moss 5-9 223 4.65 19 33 4.37
2020 AJ Dillon 6-1 247 4.53 23 41 131 7.19
2020 Ke'Shawn Vaughn 5-10 214 4.51 32 117
2020 Eno Benjamin 5-9 207 4.57 12 39 122 6.97 4.25
2020 Anthony McFarland 5-8 208 4.44 29.5 116

There’s a fairly tight measurement range among the top incumbent running backs between 5-foot-10 and 6-foot-1, with every back over 200 pounds. Aaron Jones and Derrick Henry are slight outliers from a height standpoint, and Henry also checks in as the heaviest, with Leonard Fournette the only other back over 240 pounds.

Among the top prospects, we have several players below 5-foot-10. Dobbins, Moss and Benjamin are just under, but Swift, Edwards-Helaire and McFarland all fall at least two inches shorter than 5-foot-10. Fortunately, none of this year’s top prospects checked in below 200 pounds. Dillon tipped the scales at a massive 247 pounds, which equals Henry’s Combine weight.

You don’t have to be a sub-4.4 guy to be a successful fantasy running back, but none of the top incumbents were north of 4.60. That’s certainly a knock on Moss and Edwards-Helaire. On the other side of things, Taylor’s blazing 4.39 time is faster than any of the incumbents. In the vert, McFarland brought up the rear of the top prospects this year, but did manage to jump an inch higher than Fournette. His 116 in the broad equaled the low number among the incumbents from Dalvin Cook. Dillon’s impressive showing in the vert was higher than all of the incumbents except for Saquon Barkley.

Wide Receiver

Year Player Ht Wt 40YD Bench Vert Broad 3Cone Shuttle
2016 Michael Thomas 6-3 212 4.57 18 35 126 6.8 4.13
2013 DeAndre Hopkins 6-1 214 4.57 15 36 115 4.5
2014 Davante Adams 6-1 212 4.56 14 39.5 123 6.82 4.3
2011 Julio Jones 6-3 220 4.34 17 38.5 135 6.66 4.25
2017 Chris Godwin 6-1 209 4.42 19 36 126 7.01 4
2014 Mike Evans 6-5 231 4.53 12 37 7.08 4.26
2017 Kenny Golladay 6-4 218 4.5 18 35.5 120 7 4.15
2015 Amari Cooper 6-1 211 4.42 33 120 6.71 3.98
2014 Allen Robinson 6-3 220 4.6 39 127 7 4
2014 Odell Beckham, Jr. 5-11 198 4.38 7 38.5 122 6.69 3.94
2020 Top Prospects
2020 Jerry Jeudy 6-1 193 4.45 35 120 4.53
2020 CeeDee Lamb 6-2 198 4.5 11 34.5 124
2020 Tee Higgins 6-4 216
2020 Justin Jefferson 6-1 202 4.43 37.5 126
2020 Jalen Reagor 5-11 206 4.47 17 42 138 7.31 4.46
2020 Laviska Shenault Jr. 6-1 227 4.58 17
2020 Henry Ruggs III 5-11 188 4.27 42 131
2020 Michael Pittman 6-4 223 4.52 13 36.5 121 6.96 4.14
2020 Denzel Mims 6-3 207 4.38 16 38.5 131 6.66 4.43
2020 Tyler Johnson 6-1 206
2020 KJ Hamler 5-9 178 15
2020 Bryan Edwards 6-3 212
2020 Chase Claypool 6-4 238 4.42 19 40.5 126
2020 Brandon Aiyuk 6-1 205 4.5 11 40 128

The top-tier incumbent wideouts all stand at least 5-foot-11, with Odell Beckham checking in as the smallest of the bunch. He’s also the lightest and was the lone wideout under 200 pounds. Interestingly, two of the top three prospects came in under 200 pounds in Jeudy and Lamb, but both were also over 6 feet tall. 

It should also be noted that Tyreek Hill is currently our No. 2 fantasy wideout. Hill didn’t attend the Combine and measured at 5-foot-8 and 185 pounds at his pro day. So for someone like Ruggs, his lack of prototype size isn’t a death knell, especially considering his elite speed. Along the same line, Hamler measured well below the incumbents. He didn’t run at the Combine due to an injury. Ideally, we’ll see him run in the 4.2s at his pro day, but his lack of size is a concern.

As the list of top incumbents shows, speed isn’t everything at wide receiver in the NFL. Six of the top 10 ran above 4.50, and Robinson ran 4.6 flat. So don’t be too concerned with times north of 4.50 out of Lamb, Shenault and Pittman. Likewise, the jumping numbers seem to be in line with what we’ve seen from top options in the past. Most of this year’s prospects didn’t run the agility drills (the D.K. Metcalf effect?), but Reagor didn’t test particularly well in this area. His three-cone was well above the top incumbents, and only DeAndre Hopkins ran a slower short shuttle. 

Tight End

Year Player Ht Wt 40YD Bench Vert Broad 3Cone Shuttle
2013 Travis Kelce 6-5 255 4.63
2017 George Kittle 6-4 247 4.52 18 35 132
2018 Mark Andrews 6-5 256 4.67 17 31 113 7.34 4.38
2013 Zach Ertz 6-5 249 4.76 24 30.5 111 7.08 4.47
2015 Darren Waller 6-6 238 4.46 12 37 125 7.07 4.25
2016 Austin Hooper 6-4 254 4.72 19 33 117 7 4.32
2017 Evan Engram 6-3 234 4.42 19 36 125 6.92 4.23
2016 Hunter Henry 6-5 250 4.79 13
2016 Tyler Higbee 6-6 249 4.77
2019 Noah Fant 6-4 249 4.5 20 39.5 127 6.81 4.22
2020 Top Prospects
2020 Adam Trautman 6-5 255 4.8 18 34.5 114 6.78 4.27
2020 Hunter Bryant 6-2 248 4.74 23 32.5 115 7.08 4.46
2020 Cole Kmet 6-6 262 4.7 37 123 7.44 4.41
2020 Harrison Bryant 6-5 243 4.73 13 32.5 110 7.41 4.37
2020 Brycen Hopkins 6-4 245 4.66 21 33.5 116 7.25 4.28
2020 Albert Okwuegbunam 6-5 258 4.49
2020 Jared Pinkney 6-4 257 4.96 23
2020 C.J. O'Grady 6-4 253 4.81 16 34 119 7.3 4.34

It's no surprise that tight ends are big human beings. The shortest and lightest of the top incumbents is Evan Engram at a paltry 6-foot-3 and 234 pounds. Of course, he’s also the fastest on the board, with a blazing 4.42 40-yard dash time. Hunter Bryant told the media at the Combine that he patterns his game off of Engram. While he’s similar to Engram from a size standpoint, his 40 time was over 0.32 seconds slower.

Speaking of those 40 times, we have seen the position get faster over the last decade. All of our top incumbents ran sub-4.8, and four of the top five were under 4.70. Adam Trautman came in just on the edge of that range at 4.80, with C.J. O’Grady just behind at 4.81. Jared Pinkney was the slowest of all the Combine tight ends and is well outside of the incumbent speed range at 4.96. There’s nothing especially glaring in the jumps, though Harrison Bryant’s performances in the vert and broad were at the very low end of the incumbent range.

We only have agility numbers for six of the top 10 incumbents, but here’s where Trautman makes up for his lackluster 40 time. His three-cone blew away the field with the exception of Fant, and his short-shuttle time is on par with the best marks from the incumbents. Both Cole Kmet and Harrison Bryant posted three-cone times that were well above the incumbents. 

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