Sports director Sam Arslanian, senior editor Michael Loy and ATVN sports anchor Trevor Denton answer a few questions reflecting on the second day of the 2020 NFL Scouting Combine.
Sam - No. He’s a strong guy. There’s kind of a threshold. You get above 10 and there isn’t a red flag. One of the biggest things is: Are there red flags with this prospect? That’s what the Combine really brings out. If he put up 25 reps, no one’s going to draft him in the first round because of that. They’re going to draft him if he’s shows that he’s fast. The 40-yard dash is what matters the most. I’m not concerned. If I’m Pittman, I’m not concerned either.
Trevor - This hurts. If Pittman was known as a speed receiver, this wouldn’t matter. But he’s a big receiver who wins on physicality and leverage. This obviously doesn’t change what he did on tape, and the bench press isn’t a surefire measure of success. But I think this will impact how some teams view him as a prospect. This felt like a chance for him to stand out from the pack. Instead, he blended in.
Michael - No, I don’t think nonspecific drills matter for positions. Each position has its specialty — for receivers, that’s the 40-yard dash. All NFL fans can point to John Ross’s record 4.22-second 40-yard dash and the impact it had for him in the 2017 Draft. I can’t name a single receiver whose draft stock has risen due to a strong bench press performance. A 13-rep performance won’t change anything for Pittman.
Sam - I’m going to go late first round or early second round. I’m also going to say D’Andre Swift. You’re going to get a very solid running back if you need one just because of how many there are. There’s nobody that stands out — but Swift is the frontrunner. I wouldn’t say that it’s Swift or no one; you could make a case for a lot of guys, especially if you’re looking for a certain type of running back.
Trevor - It’s going to be D’Andre Swift over Jonathan Taylor and J.K. Dobbins. It’s going to happen in the late 20s, and he’ll go to a team like the Chiefs. Taylor and Dobbins will go in the 40s. Swift can make people miss and he’s a threat in the receiving game. Both are immensely important for running backs in today’s game.
Michael - It’s got to be J.K. all day. Former Ohio State running back J.K. Dobbins has only grown through each of his three college football seasons, recording an impressive 2,003 yards this past year. There’s some question as to whether Dobbins will be able to participate in drills at the Combine due to a high ankle sprain he suffered in the Fiesta Bowl.
If Dobbins is healthy enough to participate in drills and records an above-average performance, he’ll be a strong candidate for the No. 1 running back off of the board. With such a strong receiver and quarterback draft class, however, the No. 1 running back likely won’t come off the board until the end of the first round.
Sam - What stood out to me was interviewing former UCLA running back Joshua Kelley. I just thought he was a really good interview. He seems very intelligent. All of his answers were concise but descriptive. He didn’t ramble on for a long time like Trevor does sometimes. He had very concise questions. I really liked that. A good interview really stands out to me just because we have so many bad interviews. When someone looks you in the eye and gives you a nice answer, it stands out to you.
Trevor - I’m not necessarily surprised by this, but I’m using this space to ramble because that’s where I shine. The NFL should open the Combine up to fans if they really want to make this a full experience. This year, drills were moved to prime time and it’s already one of the most pressure-packed days in a player’s life. What would adding a few thousand fans do? It’s not dead silent at Arrowhead Field or CenturyLink Field, and players will have to do a lot more than run in a straight line at those places. Open it up! It’s great for all parties involved.
Michael - This year’s running back class has the potential to become a sneaky high-caliber group. Listening to media interviews from former UCLA running back Joshua Kelley and former Arizona State running back Eno Benjamin showcased the potential of this year’s crop. Many of these backs will be selected late in Day 3 of the NFL Draft and can be developed into a long-term solution for an NFL team. Expect Benjamin and Kelley to remain in the NFL for years to come.