Still nursing that 24-pack of Bud Light Seltzer your “friend” brought to the neighborhood Super Bowl party?
Well, drain ‘em, because a fresh season is upon us.
While the new league year doesn’t officially open until March 18th, over 330 NFL hopefuls have already gathered in Indianapolis for the 2020 NFL Scouting Combine.
Get excited, because this year’s class is flush with talent and fantasy potential. In an attempt to ease you in, I’ve outlined five of the buzziest names taking the field at Lucas Oil Stadium.
Cedarian “CeeDee” Lamb, WR, Oklahoma Sooners
A 4-star recruit out of Houston-area Foster High School, Lamb announced his presence in Norman with authority. Starting 13 of 14 games, the Louisiana-born talent posted a 46-807-7 stat line, breaking the Sooners’ freshman receiving record. Better than just OK, Lamb’s razor-sharp ball skills and GTFO YAC continued to dazzle the Crimson and Clover with two 1,000+ receiving yard seasons. In 2019, Lamb was a Biletnikoff Award finalist and received first-team All-American honors.
At 6-foot-1 and 198 pounds, Lamb is an ultra-physical receiver who can work all three levels of the field. Often compared to DeAndre Hopkins, Lamb’s instincts are at the center of what makes him so special, and even has players like OBJ calling him a “generational talent.”
Don’t expect him to put up a sub 4.4 40-time, though, because he’s not a burner with wild straight-line speed. Still, his all-around athleticism, soft hands, and versatility will keep him at the top of draft boards.
Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama Crimson Tide
Leaving the beach for Bama, Jeudy flashed his first year in Tuscaloosa, playing in eight games and scoring twice as a true freshman. But that was just a well-positioned EPK. The Broward County native balled out as a sophomore, leading the conference with 14 scores and nabbing the Biletnikoff Award. Kicking off his junior campaign with back-to-back 100+ yard efforts, 2019 seemed to be following a similar trajectory. Unfortunately, the run-after-the-catch specialist didn’t manage another record-breaking year (in part due to Tua’s season-ending injury), but he still managed to pull down 77 balls and 10 TDs.
At 6-foot-1 and 193 pounds, Jeudy is a long strider who wins with finesse rather than force. A downfield weapon who can work the outside as well as the slot, he’s a polished route runner who’s often comped to former Tide standout, Amari Cooper. Jeudy’s got hops, but concentration drops — particularly in contested situations — have been an issue. His vert score won’t light the world on fire but should illuminate his ability to climb the ladder.
Henry Ruggs III, WR, Alabama Crimson Tide
An Alabama native, Ruggs spent the last three years in his home state rounding out the Tide’s dominant receiving corps. While his stats aren’t as gaudy as Jeudy’s, his speed is downright garish. More than just a sub-six-foot (5-foot-11 and 188 pounds) speedster, Ruggs brings a surprising amount of grit to his game. It’s unlikely he’ll threaten John Ross’ 40-yard-dash score (4.22 seconds), but he could end up the fastest receiver in Indy.
D’Andre Swift, RB, Georgia Bulldogs
Graduating from St. Joseph's Prep in Philadelphia, Swift ran behind Nick Chubb and Sony Michel as a freshman in 2017. The following year he worked in a timeshare with Elijah Holyfield but received a solid amount of opportunities as a pass-catcher (32 catches for 297 yards). Swift emerged as Georgia’s top dog in 2019, earning first-team All-SEC honors while averaging 6.2 YPC and 9.0 YPR.
A cerebral runner who’s got the juice to bounce it outside and the moxie to drive up the middle, Swift is a well-rounded playmaker. His acute vision paired with well-edged cuts makes for some gorgeous gains. Similar to Dalvin Cook in his lightning-quick ability to squeeze through creases, the 5-foot-9, 215-pound tailback figures to get plenty of attention from needy teams (like the Chiefs and Lions) while in Indy.
J’Kaylin “J.K.” Dobbins, RB, Ohio State Buckeyes
One can’t help wonder if Dobbins’ relentless running style is reflective of his life’s journey. Regardless of obstacles, the Houston native consistently lowers his shoulder, churns his legs and refuses to go down. He immediately displayed that signature doggedness upon arriving in Columbus, racking up 181 yards on 29 carries in his first game as a Buckeye.
Displaying authority and declaring dominance for three consecutive seasons, Dobbins closed out his college career as the only Ohio State player to top 1,000 rushing yards as a freshman, sophomore, and junior. Load managers will balk about wear and tear, but the Houston native never missed a single game in three years. The type of player who’s more likely to run over a defender than around him, Dobbins may not be flashy — instead, he’s efficient and productive … and there are still plenty of teams looking for a gifted grinder who wins at the goal line.
Keep an eye on Wisconsin RB Jonathan Taylor’s 40-yard-dash time. A standout track athlete in high school, the New Jersey native won State in the 100-meters and 4x100 relay two consecutive years.
Let Liz know which players and events you’re most excited to watch on social @LizLoza_FF!