10 Bold Predictions For The 2020 NFL Combine (Defense)

Photo: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

We have already made some bold predictions for the 2020 NFL Scouting Combine from the offensive end. Today we flip sides and do the same for defense.

As stated in the previous article, some of these might be bolder than others, but for what they are, it's a way for me to get some of these players on your radar in time for Indianapolis if they weren't already.

With plenty of impressive performances incoming, here are 10 bold predictions for the combine for the defensive players in attendance.

A.J. Epenesa will show up at 272 pounds

Iowa has edge rusher A.J. Epenesa listed at 6-foot-6 and 280 pounds. Much of his scouting profile is based around his size and strength, so this number is important. But I don't think he's going to show up at the 280 he's listed.

I think it's more likely he's closer to 270 than 280. For Epenesa to move the way he does on tape at 280, that would be extremely impressive. But I don't want people to think hat him showing up at a lower weight means you have to be any less high on him.

His tape is still good. I just doubt he played at that size.

People Will Be disappointed By Chase Young’s Combine (And Those People Are Wrong)

I feel like this happens every year. We hype up the combine so much and only emphasize the crazy numbers that some individual players put up, and then wonder why players who aren't of similar size don't put up the same numbers.

Chase Young isn't going to run like Joshua Uche and Zack Baun. He's not going to jump like Alex Highsmith. He's not going to be agile like K'Lavon Chaisson. He out-weighs those guys by 20-25 pounds!

I think Young is going to put up great weight-adjusted numbers. If he does, those who criticize it will come from the same camp of people who wonder why Young didn't get any sacks in his last three games because he was getting triple-teamed.

Darrell Taylor Will Be The New Wave Prospect To Like

Darrell Taylor has a chance to really make a name for himself.

Taylor's game is predicated off speed, so he's one of those players where "checking the boxes" is going to be very important. There have been reports that Taylor, who is listed at 6-foot-3, 260 pounds, clocked 4.5 seconds in the 40-yard dash last year. If he can replicate that, and provide similar levels of athleticism in some other drills, he could be a name you start hearing a lot more.

Terrell Lewis Will have the best overall week

At the Senior Bowl, Terrell Lewis called himself a top-five player in this class. Now, I know that every prospect is betting on themselves throughout the process, and even though I'm not quite that high on Lewis, his 2019 season had flashes of brilliance as an edge rusher.

Medicals will be the big thing for Lewis, who had two season-ending injuries during his time at Alabama. If he can pass those, I believe he'll put up the numbers to be the best of the bunch during the week.

Neville Gallimore will be the bench press king

When it comes to the bench press, it's not just about being strong. There's also an element of stamina that comes into play. The players who have the most reps of 225 aren't always the ones with the most upper body strength but rather the ones whose bodies are best built for it.

The best bench guys are ones with short arms. Though Neville Gallimore's 32.875-inch arms aren't super short, I'd say that short enough for him to fire off enough rounds of 225 to be the bench king. 

You’ll start to see Kyle Dugger in the first round

Kyler Dugger has been seeing some buzz with his name since the Senior Bowl last month. But the combine is where the allurement for him is really going to go through the roof.

As a hybrid safety/linebacker player, there's a chance the 6-foot, 215-pound prospect could run close to 4.4-seconds flat, jump near 40 inches and clear 11 feet in the broad jump.

With numbers like that, you'll start to hear some first-round talk.

K’Lavon Chaisson will solidify a Top 15 selection

The combine will be introducing some new drills this year. One of those is the "Figure 8" drill for defensive linemen.

This drill can tell you a lot about how comfortable a rush is with bend and flexibility, and it's something that K'Lavon Chaisson should excel in. He'll be one of the most impressive in that drill and with most of the athletic numbers. With all those boxes checked, I doubt he makes it past the top 15.

Damon Arnette, Cameron Dantzler will be the biggest risers

For most of these predictions I'm betting on athletic numbers, but with these two it is more just about hearing what NFL teams think of players than it is what their drills will say.

Damon Arnette has seen a bump in stock among draft media people, and Cameron Dantzler has a bit too. But I really do think that the media is just catching up to what the NFL already thinks of these guys, and that is that they're top-50 players. Dantzler is 6-foot-2 and reportedly runs a 4.4-second 40-yard dash, while Arnette quietly had one of the most improved years of any cornerback in the country.

Noah Igbinoghene will get first-round buzz

Speaking of cornerback poised for a boost in stock, Auburn’s Noah Igbinoghene is set to turn some heads.

It's been reported that Igbinoghene can put up a 40 time in the 4.3-second range. If that happens, and you combine that with how comfortable he is when playing close man coverage, you're going to hear some NFL buzz about him and you're going to read his name in the first round of a lot of mocks.

Davion Taylor Will Be The New Trendy "Sleeper"

Davion Taylor's story is awesome. After only playing one and a half games of high school football in his career, he earned his way onto a junior college roster, then was able to transfer to Colorado to prove he had the athleticism to play at the highest level.

It is reported that Taylor can run a sub-4.5 40-yard dash at 6-foot-2 and 225 pounds. I don't think that will be the only way he impresses NFL teams during the week either.

You'll start to see him as a trendy sleeper pick between the combine and the draft for teams that need an athletic linebacker.

Written By:

Trevor Sikkema

Senior NFL Draft Analyst

Senior NFL Draft Analyst for The Draft Network. Co-Host of the Locked On NFL Draft Podcast.

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