In January, the NFL notified teams that there would be no in-person workouts for the 2021 NFL Combine. Over the past couple of years, we’ve seen players whose draft stock sky-rocketed because of the combine. We’ve also seen it work the other way. Every year, there are a number of prospects who “wow” NFL scouts at the combine. However, they don’t produce at the next level Looking at you, John Ross III.
This year is going to be different going into the draft. On one hand, with no workouts, most prospects shouldn’t see their stock fall at all. However, on the other hand, there are a number of players in the 2021 NFL Draft that will miss out on millions of dollars, all because they didn’t get to workout at the NFL Combine. One recent example is current Seahawks receiver D.K. Metcalf. He was projected as a late second-day, early-third day pick. However, Metcalf had a historic NFL Combine that vaulted him into the the second round.
So, let’s take a look at three prospects who will be affected the most with no NFL Combine in 2021.
Draft Prospects Who Will Be Affected Most With No NFL Combine
Carlos Basham, EDGE, Wake Forest
Carlos Basham doesn’t have the build of your typical edge rusher. He is 6-5 and weighs 281 pounds. Basham is incredibly strong and has arms and forearms that are as thick and strong as anyone in the draft. In a lot of his film, you can see the athleticism on display. The bends and the flexibility he pulls off on offensive lineman. His first step and get-off explosiveness reminds some scouts of Myles Garrett.
However, there are some red flags in Basham’s game. He will go stretches in a game where he just disappears. Without the Combine, he should remain a late first-round pick. Basham would have been one of the top performers at the Combine, with his athleticism, explosiveness, speed and strength all on full display. He most likely would have moved into the middle of the first round, if he had the Combine to impress teams.
Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, EDGE, Notre Dame
Notre Dame had one of their best seasons in recent memory, and senior “Rover,” or edge rusher Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah played a huge part. He made his presence known on November 7, 2020, facing then-top-ranked Clemson. Owusu-Koramoah had nine tackles, half of a sack, forced a fumble and recovered a fumble. Notre Dame won the game in double overtime in South Bend.
If you’re starting to notice a trend, it’s because edge rushers and receivers usually have the most to gain in the NFL Combine. The 6-1, 215-pound edge rusher is a prospect that is loosely in the same category as Isaiah Simmons and Derwin James. Owusu-Koramoah could project to play a coverage role, but will be used more off the edge than James and Simmons. He is quick, explosive and has a great first step. The Notre Dame product is also long and rangy, which should help him adjust to NFL coverage schemes. Owusu-Koramoah projects as a late first-round pick, but he could have gone in the top 20 if there had been a combine. I have no doubt that he would run an excellent 40, and bench press more than expected.
Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State
Now, we have to look at the Combine from the other side of the looking glass. Justin Fields is projected to go in the top-six, and not having the Combine should only help him. At the end of the season in Columbus, Fields sustained injuries to his ribs and thumb. While NFL doctors will still have to clear him, not having to throw, run or lift at the Combine is a huge win for Fields. If he’s still trying to recover, then it’s a perfect scenario.
Another reason why not having the Combine will help Fields is that right now experts and teams seem to be infatuated with Zach Wilson. I have no doubt in my mind that Fields will have a better pro career than Wilson. However, if Wilson were able to throw and run at the combine, it’s likely he would have come out of Indianapolis ahead of Fields.
Others Prospects Affected by No NFL Combine
- Zaven Collins, EDGE/OLB, Tulsa: I already did my scouting report on Collins. Without his athleticism and speed on display, his stock will stay exactly where it is.
- Gregory Rousseau, EDGE, Miami (FL): I said it earlier, and it’s true, edge rushers in the 2021 NFL Draft will suffer the most with no combine. While I still expect Rousseau to be a top-15 pick, if he had the combine, he could have cracked the top 10.
- Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota State: The biggest issue with Lance is that he just needs more time to improve his game. However, if there was a combine, he would have eased some front offices with a great 40 time and an impressive throwing session.