Welcome to the 2020 NFL Draft Combine Quarterbacks-Running Backs Risers.
While the combine does not make or break a prospect, it certainly can have a direct effect on their draft stock. The combine is used to test the draft prospects on agility, speed, and strength, among other things.
Below are a few quarterbacks and running backs that I feel best helped their stock rise with their performance at the combine. Each athlete held their own in their respective drills and medicals to silence the doubters.
Check out the rest of our Rookie and NFL Draft coverage.
2020 NFL Draft Combine Quarterbacks-Running Backs
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Jalen Hurts ➡️ 4.59
Fastest time by a QB at the 2020 Combine!
— PFF Draft (@PFF_College) February 27, 2020
It was tough to leave Jordan Love off of this list, as the hype around him is really starting to grow, but I felt the three quarterbacks below all went into the combine with glaring question marks. Is Tua healthy? Can Jalen Hurts play QB at the next level? Will Justin Herbert impress?
Even without participating in any of the combine drills, no QB saw their stock rise more than Tua. He had one goal in mind going into the combine and that was to show everyone he is healthy.
Tua went through medical testing on the first two days of the combine and the results were positive. The MRIs came back clean and showed that the fracture is healed with no loss of blood flow. After these medicals, Tua is now entrenched as the second QB off the board.
The word out of the combine was that Hurts was unrecognizable. He ran the second-fastest time among the QBs in the 40-yard dash (4.59 seconds) and was tied for the best broad jump (10'5").
The thing that stood out the most to scouts was the major change in his throwing mechanics. Hurts looked comfortable in every drill, throwing the ball cleanly, accurate and with confidence. His footwork was precise and refined.
Sure questions still remain about him as a passer, but with what he showed at the combine, Hurts should get a look as a QB in the NFL.
With the top two QBs (Tua and Burrow) not participating in the combine, Herbert took that opportunity to shine and built off an impressive senior bowl. He passed the eye test at every level, throwing a beautiful deep ball consistently in most of the drills.
Herbert may be the most physically gifted quarterback in the class, and it is a tight race between him and Jordan Love for the third quarterback taken on draft day.
Only RBs to weigh 225+ and hit a combine 40 under 4.45 since 2014:
Jonathan Taylor - 4.41 (2020)
Saquon Barkley - 4.40 (2018)
— Warren Sharp (@SharpFootball) February 29, 2020
The rest of this article could have been spent on Jonathan Taylor alone (yes his combine was that spectacular), but Cam Akers and Eno Benjamin performed well enough to see their individual stocks jump up a round or two in the draft.
Taylor may have cemented himself as the first running back off of the board with his performance over the weekend. He turned in a blazing 4.39 40 yard dash (faster than Julio Jones, OBJ & DeAndre Hopkins). That stat is even more impressive if you factor in his weight of 226 pounds.
One concern that surrounding Taylor was his lack of contribution in the passing game at Wisconsin. He laid that to rest, showing off his hands in the pass-catching drills. Taylor is legit and should go in the first round.
Akers struggled his last full season at Florida State, but a lot of that stemmed from the poor supporting cast he had.
He put all the doubters to rest at the combine, showing off his speed (4.47 40) and strength (20 reps @ 225 pounds). Scouts loved how he performed in the "Duce Staley" drill which combines agility, vision and foot speed. He would flourish in a zone-running system at the next level.
You could tell that Benjamin added muscle to his frame prior to the combine, weighing in at 207 pounds, roughly 10 pounds more then he did at ASU.
He excelled in the three-cone drill (6.97, good for 2nd) and the vertical jump (39" good for 5th), showing off his high-level, explosive athletism. Benjamin is great out of the backfield and should be an offensive asset in the NFL.
Keep an eye out for more rookie and draft content as we will cover the NFL combine in full. An update to my rookie rankings should drop right after the NFL draft.