The 2020 NFL Scouting Combine is in the books. More than 300 players have completed their chance to impress teams with in-person interviews, on-field tests and medical exams.
NFL coaches, scouts and front-office personnel have also departed Indianapolis with data and insight on each prospect.
Ryan Wilson of CBS Sports recently listed his top 10 players who made a strong impression on teams at the Combine to help improve their draft stock.
Wilson mentioned five players on offense and five on defense. He included some who have been linked to the Vikings in recent mock drafts.
Wilson noted that Florida cornerback C.J. Henderson tested well on the field on Sunday in front of teams. He wrote:
Henderson flew under the radar during the 2019 season, in part because the Gators weren't in the national-title conversation down the stretch. But watch Henderson play, and it quickly becomes clear that he's a first-round talent. He showed up in Indy and ran a 4.39 [in the 40-yard dash], and that was after bench-pressing 225 pounds 20 times.
And at 6-foot-1, 204 pounds, Henderson has prototypical size for a cover cornerback in today's NFL. He excels in coverage; the elite speed we saw at the combine showed up on a weekly basis at Florida. If there's one thing he needs to work on, it's tackling, but he's undoubtedly a first-round talent. The only question is how high he'll go.
Wilson also said Oklahoma defensive tackle Neville Gallimore — another player who has been projected to Minnesota in mock drafts — also left a strong impression on NFL teams.
Offensively, Wilson said Louisville tackle Mehki Becton was among the top on-field performers from Indianapolis. Becton is another player who has been mocked to the Vikings.
Becton measured 6-foot-7, 364 pounds in Indy, which is … ridiculous. And while he's a mammoth of a man, he moves like someone who weighs 200 pounds. In fact, Becton told us that he can reverse-dunk — two-handed — with no problem right now. We do not doubt him. On the field, he ran the 40 in 5.1 seconds.
And Becton showed in position drills what anyone who watched him during the season already knew: He can move.
There's more! Becton has 17-percent body fat. This is one of the most athletic offensive line classes ever, and there's a good chance five — maybe even six — offensive linemen go in Round 1, and Becton will be among the first to hear his name called.
Wilson also mentioned Iowa tackle Tristan Wirfs, Oklahoma quarterback Jalen Hurts, LSU wide receiver Justin Jefferson and Wisconsin running back Jonathan Taylor as offensive standouts at the 2020 Combine.
Winfield, Jr., Chinn among safety standouts
The countdown to free agency is on, as it officially begins at 3 p.m. (CT) on March 18.
Safety is a position to watch for the Vikings. Anthony Harris, Andrew Sendejo and Jayron Kearse are all scheduled to become free agents.
With that in mind, Jonah Tuls of The Draft Network took a look at players at that position who made a strong final impression at the 2020 Combine.
Tuls said a local product — University of Minnesota safety Antoine Winfield, Jr. — moved himself up draft boards with his strong performance.
Winfield, Jr., entered the week as a fourth-year sophomore with two medical redshirts under his belt. His injury history was a headline going into Indianapolis, but most initial reports indicate positive news about his long-term durability.
The former Gopher measured at 5-foot-9 and 203 pounds. He tied for the third-fastest 40-yard dash among safeties this year (4.45 seconds).
Tuls wrote that Winfield, Jr., showed "superb ball skills, range and instincts as a three-level defender who can play both safety spots seamlessly" on game tape.
Whether it was size, speed or medicals, there was just always something holding him back from becoming a top safety prospect in this class. Now that he's answered most, if not all of those questions, I wouldn't be surprised if some teams view him as the top player at the position in this class. Even if it's not that high, Winfield, Jr., is now in the same conversation as Xavier McKinney.
Winfield, Jr., is the son of former Vikings cornerback Antoine Winfield, and talked about following in his father’s footsteps last week.
Tuls also added that Southern Illinois safety Jeremy Chinn's stock is on the upswing after not receiving much publicity in recent months.
But that is about to change with what [Chinn] showed in his tests at the combine for his uncanny size at the position — 4.45 in the 40-yard dash, 41-inch vertical jump, and [11-foot, 6-inch] broad jump. Those are all elite numbers.