ESPN’s Todd McShay, like the rest of football media, is doing his best to digest all of the information that came out of the 2020 NFL Combine. Some players outperformed expectations while others fell short. And then there were the handful of studs like Clemson LB Isaiah Simmons who did exactly what everyone expected he would.
The biggest mistake a draft analyst can do, however, is overreacting to the good and the bad from Indianapolis. If a player’s performance didn’t confirm what you thought about him after watching tape, then it’s time to revisit the film and see what you missed.
The aftershock of the NFL Combine often finds its way into mock drafts, too. It’s a good time of year to read them; the draft class is starting to crystallize. The most drastic moves up or down the draft board will occur this week. As the dust from Indianapolis settles, it’ll be more difficult for prospects to make much of an impact moving forward sans an elite pro day performance.
As for McShay, he published a new mock draft this week and it’s pretty clear that the Combine impacted his stance on some players.
Isaiah Simmons jumps into the top five
Ok, maybe Simmons ran into the top five (No. 4 overall to the Giants) with his blazing 4.39 40-yard dash. There’s no doubt he’s going to be a highly-sought-after prospect, but linebackers are rarely drafted this high. They’re kind of like the running backs of defense; teams believe they can find productive ones later in the draft. But Simmons may be an exception because of his versatile skill set. He’s a Swiss army knife for creative defensive coordinators.
Jordan Love leapfrogs Justin Herbert
McShay can’t possibly be using what he saw in Indianapolis to make the bold prediction that Love will be the Chargers’ selection at No. 6 overall instead of Herbert, who falls to the Colts at No. 13. Herbert was the better player during the 2019 season, he was better at the Senior Bowl and he had the stronger showing at the Combine. Love’s upside is certainly enticing, but Herbert’s ceiling isn’t much lower and he’s much closer to starting in the NFL than Love is.
Mekhi Becton is the first OT off the board
Becton’s rise up the 2020 NFL draft board has been almost as massive as his 6-7, 364-pound frame. After beginning the 2019 college football season as a little-known prospect, Becton is now a lock for the top-10 and will challenge Alabama’s Jedrick Wills for the right to be called OT1. In McShay’s mock, Becton comes off the board at No. 8 to the Cardinals. It’s a pick that makes a ton of sense considering the priority placed on protecting Kyler Murray as the engine that makes Arizona’s offense go.
D’Andre Swift goes how high?
The value of running backs in today’s NFL Draft has never been lower. It takes a truly special talent like Saquon Barkley to justify spending a high first-round pick on one, which is why McShay’s prediction that the Buccaneers will select Swift at No. 14 overall is pretty surprising. That’s not to say Swift doesn’t possess some special qualities; he does. But this is the highest any mock draft has Swift coming off the board and it’s after he was arguably outperformed by Jonathan Taylor at the NFL Combine.
Justin Jefferson’s stock is on the rise
Jefferson was one of the most productive receivers in college football last season for the National Champion LSU Tigers, but questions about his speed seemed to weigh his draft projection down. He silenced any of those concerns at the NFL Combine when he blazed a 4.43 40-yard dash and is now considered a legitimate first-round player. McShay is going all-in on him in his latest mock draft, sending him to the Eagles at No. 21 overall.