Ah, the NFL Scouting Combine as known as football’s most popular mini-game.
The truth of the combine is that when it comes to the overall stock of players, their medicals and their interviews carry a lot more weight than the on-field activities.
But those aren't as fun to follow.
Over the course of the next two days, I am going to give you some bold, and maybe not-so-bold, predictions from each side of the ball regarding combine week.
We start with the offense.
Henry Ruggs III will break the 40-yard dash record
Henry Ruggs III is fast. Like, really fast. Like, really, really fast.
Ruggs was reportedly clocked in the 4.2 seconds at Alabama's Junior Day last year, and with some more training, I’m betting on him getting the best of that. Ruggs ran track in high school and broke the state record 100-meter dash with a time of 10.58 second.
Right now the combine 40-yard dash record is 4.22 second, set by wide receiver John Ross III in 2017. I believe that Ruggs will take that record down and run a faster 40 than Ross did.
Jalen Reagor will break the Broad Jump record
Like Ruggs, Jalen Reagor is quite the athlete with an impressive track background. Reagor has also been clocked in the sub-4.3-seconds when it comes to the 40-yard dash, but the area where Reagor can make history is in the broad jump.
While in high school, Reagor jumped 26 feet in the long jump, which helped him on his journey to win a Texas state title. The current broad jump record at the combine is 12 feet 3 inches by defensive back Byron Jones.
A.J. Dillon will get the Derrick Henry comp
I'm not saying this is right, and I'm not even saying that it's going to be a total comparison, but at some point over the weekend, you're going to hear someone compare Boston College running back A.J. Dillon to Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry.
Their carry loads in college were similar. Both Henry and Dillon were top talents for their teams. But where the comparison is really going to come into play is when Dillon runs a 4.5 40-yard dash at 250 pounds. Henry ran an official 4.54-second 40 at 6-foot-3, 247 pounds. Though Dillon is only about 6-foot-0, when he runs right around 4.5 at a similar weight, the comps will start to flow.
Cam Akers, Donovan Peoples-Jones will be the biggest risers
Cam Akers and Donovan Peoples-Jones are two players who were monster athletes coming out of high school who have been held back in terms of production and recognition because of a poor offensive cast around them.
As a 5-star running back, Akers ran a 4.41-second 40-yard dash with a 41-inch vertical jump before joining Florida State. As for Peoples-Jones, he too was a 5-star recruit with a 4.42-second 40 and a 42-inch vertical jump.
That athleticism didn't just disappear, and now that they're free of their bad offenses, it's time to remind the world what they can do.
Bryan Edwards will run under 4.5
Bryan Edwards' statistics are impressive. He caught a pass in every single game he played in during his college career. He has South Carolina records for receptions and receiving yards. And he's third in receptions and fourth in receiving yards in conference history.
He's also going to run a lot fast than most people think.
Edwards is 6-foot-3, 215 pounds. From most people I've asked, they tell me he's going to run around 4.55 in the 40-yard dash.
He's going to run sub-4.5.
J.K. Dobbins will have the best all-around combine
Like Edwards, J.K. Dobbins' overall athleticism is not appreciated the way it should be. He had an incredibly productive career at Ohio State, but it felt like it took until this year for people to truly appreciate everything he could do. I think Dobbins runs in the low 4.4-second range, jumps around 41 inches and has a close to 4-second short shuttle time, all while weighing 215 pounds.
Antonio Gandy-Golden is not Calvin Johnson
I'm having a little fun with this one.
I want to start by saying I like Antonio Gandy-Golden. His competition level was much lower than the NFL will be, so there will certainly be a learning curve, even for what he did well at Liberty. But the 6-foot-4, 220-pound wide receiver has some nice potential.
That said, he's not Calvin Johnson. No one ever has been. No one ever will be.
The reason I'm even bringing that up is that NFL Network's James Jones mentioned the comparison.
As a reminder, Johnson ran a 4.35-second 40-yard dash, jumped 42.5 inches in the vertical and jumped 11-feet, 5-inches in the broad jump, all at 6-foot-5, 240 pounds.
That will never happen again.
No tight end will go in round one, and the Combine will reaffirm that
There are some players to like in this tight end class. But if you're searching for an Evan Engram, O.J. Howard, David Njoku, T.J. Hockenson or Noah Fant, you won't find one.
This tight end class just isn't special, athletically speaking. Brycen Hopkins could do well in some drills, but in terms of seeing a ton of athleticism on the film of this class, I don't think it's there — the tight end numbers will reflect that.
LSU O-Lineman will rise in Indy
At offensive tackle, we know the names of Mehki Becton, Jedrick Wills, Andrew Thomas and Tristan Wirfs. But after that, it's a free-for-all for who might rise p the board and be those five-10 OTs taken.
Saahdiq Charles is an offensive tackle from LSU who moves very well for his size. Consistency is an issue for him on tape, but there are times when he makes movements look so natural for a big man. The combine could be very kind to a player not many are talking about.
As for the interior offensive line, the media was searching for who would be the top of the class when the declaration date passed. LSU's Lloyd Cushenberry III is now the name to know. He could rise to be a first-round prospect with a good showing in Indianapolis. Many teams already have him as their clear-cut IOL1.
Jerry Jeudy’s will have a Brandin Cooks-esque Combine
At the top of this list, we have Ruggs as a potential prospect to de-throne John Ross in the 40-yard dash. Below him, we have Reagor as a player to watch who has a chance to break the broad jump record. Though those are two of your best bets for top combine performers, it didn't feel right not highlighting Jerry Jeudy in some way.
If Jeudy is going to break any combine record, it's going to be the 3-cone drill, a record held by Jordan Thomas, out of Oklahoma, who ran it in 6.28 second in 2018. But instead of highlighting one thing, I'll say that I expect a Brandin Cooks-esque day from Jeudy.
At 5-foot-9, 190 pounds, Cooks ran a 4.33-second 40-yard dash, clocked 6.76 in the 3-cone and blazing 3.81 and 10.72 times in the 20-yard shuttle and 60-yard shuttle, respectively. Agility wise, Jeudy is comparable to Cooks and could impress in the same manner.