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NFL Combine Highlights 2020 – Fantasy Football Podcast
Here are your best highlights of the NFL combine, including the best performers like Henry Ruggs and Jonathan Taylor.
Joseph Robert: Welcome to the show, everybody. Joseph Robert, the Fantasy Football Counselor. Yes, we are one month closer to fantasy football. Today, we’re talking NFL Combine highlights. We’re going to be talking about some of those top studs that put out some amazing numbers on the 40-yard dash and everything that was a big highlight in the NFL Combine. On the show in a moment, I’m going to introduce some is Walter from Walter Football. He’s going to come on here and give us his point of view on the highlights. Let’s get to the show right now.
Exciting show, NFL Combine highlights. Guess who I’ve got on the phone? It’s Walter from Walter Football. He’s the expert in college football, and of course, real football, but we’ve got him on to talk about the highlights. What’s going on, Walter?
Walter: Not much. Enjoying the Combine, and we have one more day coming up, so I’m looking forward to it.
Joseph Robert: I’m excited, but I have to jump into the highlights because all I really care about is running backs and wide receivers primarily. What other positions are left? We have one more day. Do the other positions really matter in regards to a fantasy perspective? Not really, right?
Walter: No. I mean, not unless you’re playing IDP. It’s just the cornerbacks with safeties today, so we already know what we’re going to know from a fantasy perspective.
Joseph Robert: Right. What our listeners wants, as we’re a fantasy show as you know, is let’s focus on the meat and potatoes right now. Obviously, corners are going to be impact because they’re going to be guarding your top wide receiver potentially. But I want to focus on some of these top times, get your opinion on it, and at the end here of the show, I’m going to ask you who you think is going to be the top wide receiver chosen.
Give me one or two wide receivers you think are going to go first overall. Give me a two or three running backs that you think are going to go… not first of all, but some of the first RBs picked at each position, some players picked at each position, so give me the top three RBs, top three wide receivers, top three quarterbacks because, again, you dive deep, you live and breathe college football as well, whereas me, I just wait to see where they land, and that’s when I go deep dive in full analysis.
That’s at the end of the show. Walter’s going to give us who he thinks is going to go first amongst these positions. Let’s dive into it, the highlights. Let’s start off with… I know this isn’t the main offensive position, but we’ve got to mention it. Clemson’s Isaiah Simmons, 4.39. The guy is 6’3″, 238 pounds. What’s your comment on this? A 4.39 for a linebacker. Have you seen this before? Is this a rare thing? Can you explain it to us, Walter?
Walter: Well, I mean, he’s a rare player. He’s so good. He can play almost any position on defense. He can rush pass on the outside. He can play safety. He can play all three linebacker positions, kind of like this tool you can use anywhere. There’s actually a discussion where teams actually don’t know where he would be best, but it’s not like he would be a liability anywhere. I mean, he’s, like you said, he ran the 4.39. He also had an 11-foot broad jump and a 39-inch vertical. He’s just a freak athlete. It’s just a matter of where he’s going to fight, but I can’t imagine him dropping out of top 10. He’s definitely going to be a top 10 player. I assume he’s going to go to one of Carolina, Jacksonville, or Arizona in the seven to nine range.
Joseph Robert: Where do you think, based on his skill set, you watching him in college, where do you think he’s the best fit for… I mean, so I shouldn’t say what team. We could say what team, but I think what position would he play best? Would it be a linebacker, or do you think you’d be… because I heard there was a rumor he could be a receiver as well. Where would he be best utilized, what position?
Walter: I would say weakside side linebacker in a 4-3. I think that makes the most sense. I don’t think like the Raiders will be a great fit because they need to address that position, and they’re at 12. I can’t see Simmons dropping the 12 barring an injury, so the Raiders want him, they’ll have to move on, but I mean, that’s just one of many divisions he could play as I said. He can also play inside the 3-4. He could play safety on occasion. I mean, he’s just so good and so versatile, and he’s just been amazing talent.
Joseph Robert: Great insight. Let’s dive into my favorite position here, running back. Now, Jonathan Taylor ran a 4.39. I think it was originally like 4.4. Then it got adjusted. Jonathan Taylor looking outstanding. I think he’s had, what, over 2,000 rushing yard seasons. He had a couple of those, I believe. A ton of touchdowns. Maybe I’m wrong statistically. I got to go back and look. But Jonathan Taylor, what are your thoughts? You think he’s the first running back to come off the board, and then when do you think he’s going to get picked up? Who is he going to get picked up? Tell us a little bit about Jonathan Taylor based on your research.
Walter: I think Taylor, it’s either going to be Taylor or D’Andre Swift. It’s going to be one of the two guys in the first round. I think they’re the only first-round running back prospects in this graph. He can… I don’t think it’s a lock that he goes in the first round just because I got trouble slotting Swift and Taylor teams in my mock draft. The Dolphins need a running back for sure, but outside of the dolphins, there’s no obvious fit for running back in the first round.
But Taylor has the ability, I mean, he has the talent to be a first-round safety. Like you say, he ran a 4.39, 36-inch vertical, 10’3″ broad jump, 9.01 in three-cone. I mean, he’s an amazing talent. I would say he kind of compares to Marshawn Lynch maybe. The one concern I have with him is that you mentioned the two 2,000 yard rushing seasons. I don’t know. I mean, he’s had such a big workload in college that I don’t know if teams might think he’s worn down, and they might be worried about that. He’s handled the ball so much that he could just be tired eventually. He might have a shorter career than Swift and some of the other running backs.
Joseph Robert: That’s amazing. I’m looking at it right now, 2,194 rushing yards in 2018. 2,003 rushing in 2019, and he’s carried the ball over 300 times in those two seasons. In 2017, he carried the ball 299 times. Amazing stats. That really sucks because then when you say stuff like that, yeah, he’s been worked, he’s still young. But yeah, people could think that, but then you have those other players who haven’t carried the workload as much, like Josh Jacobs last year, like, “Oh, well, can he handle a workload?” It’s like where’s the happy medium here? Where are you satisfied? Like seriously. No, like if you carry the load, that’s a good thing. That’s how I look at it. I don’t know, man. What is the right way to look at this? Where’s the happy medium here?
Walter: I think you can’t please everyone, right?
Joseph Robert: No.
Walter: I mean, someone’s going to find something… Yeah. Someone’s going to find something wrong with that, but this is not going to affect him in year one, year two, year three. I mean, he’s still going to be a very talented running back, and he’s going to produce the NFL. I just wonder if his longterm shelf life is going to be affected by all the carries of college, like maybe most running backs, they retire like around 31, 32. Maybe he will have to retire around 29 just because of the workload of constant.
Joseph Robert: Right. No, that’s a good point. I think it would be good for a couple of years. But you mentioned Miami. If he ends up in Miami, I’m going to feel bad for him. I really hope, I hope he lands on a team that he could benefit not only for himself as a player, but also for fantasy football.
Let’s talk about Henry Ruggs. Now, obviously, attention’s on him because he ran a 4.27. We’ll get back to the running backs because there’s a couple more things I want to talk about, but I’m just talking about these standout times initially here, and then we’ll go back. But Henry Ruggs ran a 4.27. We’ve seen guys that aren’t phenomenal players when it comes on to the actual NFL and onto the field, like Ross ran a really good time. Now, he’s not a phenomenal wide receiver. How does that compare with Ruggs? Is Ruggs a guy that, yes, he ran a good time, but can actually be a phenomenal receiver. What are your thoughts on the Ruggs?
Walter: Yeah, I mean, I think he’s a better prospect than John Ross. John Ross went ninth overall, but he wasn’t really the ninth overall prospect in that draft. Like he was… People were talking about Ross as the second-round pick for most of the time leading up to the draft, and then he had an amazing Combine, and then people were talking like, “Maybe he goes in the first round in the 20s somewhere,” and the Bengals just fell in love with him, and they reached for him at nine.
Ross was never like a very talented, like… well, I shouldn’t say talented, but very like refined prospect. He boosted his value and Ruggs produced Alabama. He’s a better pasta coming into the process, and people expected him to run in the 4-2s. I mean, there was discussion that he could beat John Ross’ record at the Combine, which he didn’t, but still, 4.27’s amazing.
I know that even before the Combine, I know of one team for sure that had them as their top receiving prospects, so I can’t imagine that changing now. There are so many good receivers in the class that you’re going to have opinions from multiple teams when team A’s going to think Ruggs is the best receiver, and then team B is going to say, “Oh, Jerry Jeudy is the best receiver,” and then team C is going to say, “CeeDee Lamb’s the best receiver,” so there’s so many good prospects position.
Joseph Robert: Right. Give me… While we’re on this, let’s stay on here for a second. Give me your top four receivers. Would you say, what, Jeudy, Lamb. What is your… Give me your top four in regards to talent who you think are going to… in the order you think they’re going to come off the board.
Walter: I’d have to think that Jerry Jeudy is going to be the first receiver taken. I mean, that could economically change depending on which team is drafting, and like I said, with one team I know, but I think Jeudy is just the best player entering the draft. I know he didn’t run an amazing 40. He had a 4.45.
Joseph Robert: It’s not bad.
Walter: Just fine for what he does. He’s the best route runner in the class, and I think that he’s most ready to fight now. I would say the money is on him to be the first receiver taken, but it could be someone else. Ruggs we talked about. He’s just a blazing receiver. He’s the deep threat of this class. If CeeDee Lamb, who is kind of in between those guys, he’s a good route runner, but not a great route runner, but he’s very explosive with the ball. I know teams are very high on him. He interviewed very well at the Combine. He showed a lot of a high IQ, and so did Jerry Jeudy, by the way. I know that one team was just blown away by what they saw from him and their interview process, so it’s those three guys right now.
Then you have a bunch of guys who could be the fourth receiver. I would’ve said Laviska Shenault would definitely be in the top four, but he has to undergo some surgery. He’s going to be fine, but teams are a little bit worried about his medical, so that’s an issue, and Justin Jefferson who worked out pretty well from LSU, and Jalen Reagor, who’s the other fast receiver. He didn’t run as well at the Combine. He ran a 4.47, which is, it’s a good number, but people were expecting something in the 4.3, so I still think he can be a first-round prospect. I mentioned there are going to be like six receivers taken in the first round, maybe more.
Joseph Robert: I’m excited, and I think a lot of teams need receivers. I mean, the Bears could be one of them. We can go on and talk about this all day. I think the Panthers need receivers. There’s a ton of teams that need receivers. I think the Steelers could even use another receiver. I’m not sure if I’m sold completely on Diontae Johnson. He’s one of my sleepers for fantasy, but you need somebody, I think, to compliment JuJu there.
Again, a lot of teams I think are going to need wide receivers. This is going to be very interesting to see where these guys land. I think that there’s going to be some impact out of these guys right off the bat the first year, depending on where they lay them based on the talent. This is exciting, man. I’m really excited about this. When you look at waiting on a wide receiver, I think this year out of any could be a year that these guys are going to be undervalued, I think, in fantasy drafts. Maybe not so much Jeudy depending on where he lands, but some of these other guys. I’m excited, aren’t you?
Walter: Yeah. I think you’re right. It’s not just those teams. There’s so many teams that need receivers, even teams that have elite quarterbacks like the Saints, they need a number two receiver to go across to Michael Thomas. Aaron Rodgers needs a receiver. Carson Wentz needs a receiver, so these receivers are, some of them are going to go to a situation where they have a great quarterback throwing to them, and there’s no reason why they can’t produce right away.
Joseph Robert: Yeah. I’m excited, man. I am really, really excited. We talked about wide receiver. Give me the four running backs based on your research, and you do a lot of research. If you guys haven’t checked out his site, it’s walterfootball.com, am I correct?
Walter: That is correct. Yeah.
Joseph Robert: Walterfootball.com. You do everything. Can you explain what you do here just so people can know how much… You’ve been at this a long time, and how valuable your information is on the site because this isn’t just coming from a guy that I just decided to call from down the street here. I mean, you’ve been at this for like 20 years. Your site is elite. Can you just explain your site, what you do, and how long have you been at this so people will know, “Holy crap, Joe is talking to some guy that knows what he’s talking about here.”
Walter: Yeah. We started in 1999, which is just kind of crazy. We celebrated our 20th anniversary. It was in November. We cover everything in the NFL. We have tons of fantasy football content, but we also cover the NFL Draft extensively. We have two 2020 mock drafts on the site. One’s five rounds. Going to be six rounds probably next week, and then we’ll go to seven eventually. We have tons of NFL Draft content, like prospect rankings, Big Boards.
Walter: We’ve been covering, the NFL Draft since 2001. That was the first year we did the mock draft. I would say we’re usually pretty accurate. We’ve been ranked as a top accurate mock draft, either Charlie, our draft analyst, or I. We’ve been ranked the most accurate mock draft over the past three years. I don’t want to take credit for that. It’s all Charlie. I mean, he does some amazing reporting, and he has a lot of insights from what’s going on in the Combine, so we have some breaking stories all the time. We also cover the NFL picks against the spread. We do that too. We grade every free agency signing, every trade. I mean, all the content’s free. You can go to walterfootball.com and check that out.
Joseph Robert: That is huge. Yep. Tons of information there, so go check it out. Let’s keep going with this. Running backs, who are the top four you think are going to come off the board first?
Walter: Okay, so we talked about Jonathan Taylor already. There’s also the D’Andre Swift. I think those are the two running backs who’ll go in the first round. At least one will go in the first round, but we’ll see. As I said, it’s tough to find a fit for a second running back.
Walter: D’Andre Swift, he currently reminds me of Josh Jacobs, but with pass-catching ability. He’s a very good running back. He is concerned with the workload’s not there for him because he played behind some very talented running backs earlier in his career at Georgia. I mean, I think he’s going to be the first running back off the board. I know that a team wants him, and they’re hoping that he drops to the 20s. I can’t see him getting out of the first round, so you have those two guys.
Walter: You also have J. K. Dobbins, who didn’t work out at the Combine. J. K. Dobbins is very explosive. He’s like a home run threat. He’s very talented. Then you have Cam Akers, who had a great Combine. Cam Akers had… First of all, he looked look great in the drill, so I think that’s definitely something that teams value a lot.
I know people look at the 40 times, and they’re wowed by them, but teams really going to focus what happens on the drill, and Cam Akers was amazing in the drill. He ran a 4.47 at 5’10”, 217, had a 10’2″ broad jump, 35.5-inch vertical. He’s very talented. I think he’s going to be the fourth running back with the board.
Walter: I would’ve said before the Combine, Clyde Edwards-Helaire from LSU. He’s very explosive. He has some amazing games down the stretch when LSU won the championship, but he ran a 4.60 in the 40. Kind of a disappointment there. I think some teams might be worried about that. I don’t think they should. I mean, he plays a lot faster than that, but that could cause them to drop out of the top four.
Joseph Robert: He wants to avoid Miami. Can you blame the guy? I’d do the same thing. I’d, really, take a little bit off my run as well so I’m a little under the radar. I mean, that’s crazy. So yeah.
Walter: Yeah, I mean, he’s pretty amazing if he had the foresight to do that.
Joseph Robert: Yeah, I’m excited about this, and I can’t wait to see where these guys land. I’m going to be at the draft, so make sure you guys are following this podcast for all the information. You guys could probably meet up with me at the draft in Vegas. It’s going to be exciting. We’ve covered running backs, covered wide receivers. How about quarterbacks? Let’s run into just the top four you think that’ll come off the board. A lot of talk here with Tua and Burrow. What’s going on here? Can you clarify what do you think is going to happen?
Walter: Yeah, it seems like Joe Burrow is locked in to go number one. I would have said before that the only way he doesn’t go number one or the only way he doesn’t get to Cincinnati is if he outright says he doesn’t want to go to Cincinnati like he pulls an Eli Manning, but he already said that he’ll play for whoever drafts him.
I would tell you to expect overall where maybe the Dolphins trade up with three. I think Tua Tagovailoa out from Alabama is going to be their guy. They loved him all along. Stephen Ross, the Dolphins owner, he went to two Alabama games to watch Tua. You never hear that. You never hear an owner go to a college game, let alone two, and then he met Tua Tagovailoa at Leigh Steinberg’s Super Bowl party. Stephen Ross was honored thereafter an award, so the two met there in Miami.
They’ve met. I don’t know if he met him in Alabama, but they at least met already, so there’s a lot of interest there. The only concern is medical with Tua. Obviously, he had that horrible injury, but he seems to be ahead of schedule for his recovery, and he’s going to throw apparently before the draft, so I’m excited to see that.
The third quarterback’s Justin Herbert, he had amazing Combine. He was great at the Senior Bowl. People were talking about how he’s going to jump Tua Tagovailoa, and maybe he could. I mean, the Dolphins like Justin Herbert as well, which makes me wonder if they’re going to trade-off at all. I think there’s a chance. Justin Herbert is a very talented quarterback, and it wasn’t a surprise that he did well in the Senior Bowl and the Combine because all he had to do was throw. He didn’t really have to read defenses or anything, and I think that’s his concern. He’s come up short in big moments, and teams are concerned about how he could play in the national stage, but if he gets drafted by the Chargers, I mean, they don’t have any fans, so he won’t have to have any pressure. I think that’d be a great fit for him.
The fourth quarterback is Jordan Love. He’s just an amazing arm. He’s just great. Might be the best arm talent, period, in the draft. The concern within is the mental part of it. Teams don’t think you can read defenses that well. Interception could be an issue. I don’t think he’s ready to fight right away. I think he’d have to wait a year to play, but if the team drafts him in the top 16, which could happen, he’s going to have to play right away probably, unless they have a good veteran, so I think that would be a problem for him. I don’t like him as much as other people do, but I could see why people like them a lot.
Joseph Robert: Right. Yeah. I’m looking at it here. Who is this guy? Justin ran a 4.68. That’s not bad for the 40-yard.
Walter: I mean, he’s a very talented flyer. It just, I don’t know, the mental part of it is not as good as Joe Burrow or Tua Tagovailoa.
Joseph Robert: Yeah. I can’t wait. At this point, it’s March. We got to get through March somehow, and we got to wait until April. Then there’s a big interest in football again for that month, and then it dies down in May a little bit and then back up. We’re in full fantasy mode I would say June 1st. Do you agree that’s kind of the way your fans kind of deal?
Walter: Yeah. Well, in March, we have free agency, so it’s going to be exciting. As I said, we grade every free agency signing, so I’m looking forward to that. I mean, the fantasy landscape is going to change. I know we talked about our initial rankings, and they’re definitely going to change based on what happened in March.
Joseph Robert: Yeah. I mean, if Jonathan Taylor ends up on a good team, he may slip into my top 10. It all depends. I mean, it’s just going to be an exciting year, and that’s what makes fantasy so much fun. It’s the debates, the topics, the uncertainty. That’s why we do what we do. We just love it.
Walter: Yeah. Absolutely. It’s a lot of fun. I mean, it’s going to be exciting to know where these rookies are going to go. I have them in my ranking already, but it’s sort of difficult because their production going to be based on where they’re drafted. I can’t wait as well.
Joseph Robert: All right, before we wrap this up… We appreciate all the information. Before we wrap this up, Tony Romo, do you think he’s worth 17 million a year? CBS signs him to be an analyst. I mean, yes, he is very informative the way he talks, but $17 million. What are your thoughts on that?
Walter: It’s a lot of money, but they’re willing to pay him. ESPN I think was willing to pay in that area as well, so I mean, you have two broadcasting and companies who think he’s worth it. I mean, he is the best of what he does. I know there was a major race to get him. It would’ve looked bad for CBS they allowed him to go to ESPN, so I think that maintaining their status as part of the money, so I can understand why they, quote-unquote, overpaid him like this. But I mean, he’s just great. He guesses a winner here, they’re a billion-dollar company like 17 million is not going to be a lot for them. It’s not like they have a salary cap either like the NFL team, so they can afford to spend whatever they want to on Romo. They could write it off for their taxes, and it all works out. I think it’s a good move for them.
Joseph Robert: Yeah, good on him. He put himself in that position. It’s all about supply and demand. He’s just one of the best people. I mean, not anybody can be LeBron James, and that’s why LeBron James gets paid that much. Not anybody can be Tony Romo and the way he delivers and the analysis and the insight that he puts into his analysis. I mean, it’s a formula for winning. I think it’s well-deserved as well. I mean, a lot of people can come in and do it. Will they do it on the same level? Probably not. If they do, it’ll probably take a while to get there. Well-deserved polished product in regards to analysis with Tony Romo. That pretty much wraps it up here.
Walter: Yeah, I mean, well, the crazy thing is, real quickly, is that he hasn’t been doing it this long. He’s relatively new to the announcing game, so he’s only going to get better. I agree with you. I think it’s good news.
Joseph Robert: Yeah. It’s his years’ experience. He knows what he’s talking about. He’s been on the field. He can anticipate things before they happen. That’s the advantage. Well-deserved for Tony Romo, and one day you and I will get ours to there, Walter.
Walter: Yeah. I look forward to our $17 million contract.
Joseph Robert: Soon enough. All right, so thanks for being on. Expect Walter to come on a lot more as we move towards free agency, the NFL Draft, and of course, as we moved towards the NFL season. Thanks, Walter, for being on. We’ll be back, guys. I’ll be back next week. I’m bringing Tom Santanello back as we keep talking to free agency and all this off-season stuff, keeping you entertained as we go year-round. Click the Subscribe button. YouTube comes back next week as well. Very excited about that. Thanks, guys, and we are out. Talk soon. Walter from Walter Football joins us for this episode to give you a lot of insight.
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