The first day of the 2020 NFL Combine open to the media has come and gone, featuring interviews with the two most stacked positions of the class, with five potential first- or second-round quarterbacks and 10 receivers in the same category.
Consensus No. 1 overall pick LSU quarterback Joe Burrow dismissed rumors that he may decline the Cincinnati Bengals’ draft choice if he was chosen.
“I’m a ballplayer,” the former Tiger said. “Whoever picks me, I’m going to go show up. I’ll play for whoever drafts me.”
It seems with top-pick quarterbacks, the media and NFL obsess over their hand size. In 2019, stories flooded Twitter about No. 1 pick Kyler Murray’s small hand size.
Burrow got ahead of the storyline, sending out this Tweet the night before meeting with the press:
The quarterback had a laugh with the media about his satirical tweet.
“These measurements, you can take so much from them,” he said. “If it’s a glaring issue on film from turnovers, yeah it’s probably an issue, but I didn’t have a lot of fumbles or anything like that, so I tried to make a little joke out of it.”
Burrow tops the star-studded class, but other quarterbacks in attendance are not far behind. Likely only a couple of picks behind Burrow sits former Alabama prodigy Tua Tagovailoa. Despite Alabama missing the College Football Playoffs for the first time, well, ever — Tagovailoa led the Crimson Tide with a 71% completion percentage for 2,840 yards and 33 touchdowns. If he starts next season, Tagovailoa will be the sole left-handed quarterback in the NFL.
“[My dad] was the only lefty in our family. He wanted me to be a lefty as well, so he switched the way I threw,” Tagovailoa said. “I didn’t touch the ball with my right arm, just threw it with my left. I don’t think I’d be good if I was a righty.”
Another projected first-round pick, former Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert, spoke about his evolution as a leader to the media.
“The kid that showed up at the University of Oregon isn’t me anymore,” said Herbert. “There’s aspects of my game that have changed. I’ve become more vocal, more outgoing. Things that you have to do to be a quarterback and the way the quarterback carries himself.”
Herbert said his biggest adjustment to the pro game will be playing under center. He played in the shotgun exclusively in college.
He also talked about training with former USC wide receiver Michael Pittman Jr. ahead of the Draft.
“It’s been really fun,” Herbert said. “He’s a great guy and he works really hard. It’s been an honor to play with both him and his younger brother Micah at Oregon. Really talented guy and really looking forward to watching him.”
Speaking of Pittman, when it comes to his game film, there aren’t many flaws. In 2019, he caught 101 passes for 1,275 yards and 11 touchdowns.
“Another guy who everybody there raves about,” Arizona Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury said. “His work ethic, his toughness, the type of person he is. And the film speaks for itself.”
However, the knock on Pittman’s game all draft season has been his speed. Several draft experts such as ESPN’s Todd McShay have doubted whether he has the ability to separate from NFL cornerbacks consistently. Therefore, all eyes will be on his 40-yard dash Friday.
He hopes to surprise some people. When asked if he felt like he could break 4.5 seconds, Pittman said, “I think so,” with a smile.
On Tuesday, first-round caliber receivers like Tee Higgins, Justin Jefferson, Jerry Jeudy, Ceedee Lamb, Laviska Shenault and Henry Ruggs all spoke to the media.
Lamb put it best when describing how great this year’s wide receiver class could be.
“You can’t really go wrong with anybody,” Lamb said. “Whoever you draft in the first, second, third or fourth round, it doesn’t matter. You’re going to get a great pick.”
With how ridiculous this class looks on paper, that doesn’t even seem like much of an exaggeration.
It’s going to be fun when these guys start participating in drills on Thursday. Then we’ll start seeing who can separate themselves from the pack.
Michael Loy contributed to this report.