2019 NFL Combine darling DK Metcalf.
We’ve all fallen victim to it. We try to tell ourselves it shouldn’t matter. We should just trust the film. Trust the numbers. Trust the process.
And then this happens…
– A 41″ vertical jump
– A 4.41 forty-yard dash
– A 6.6 3-cone drill
Maybe it’s the build-up to the “Underwear Olympics.” Maybe it’s the endless debating over a prospect’s speed, or maybe it’s because it’s our first taste of football since the Super Bowl. For better or worse (I’m looking at you, Darius Heyward-Bey), we will always be enamored with an elite athlete. When a prospect lights up the Combine, it paints the picture of ultimate upside. We’ve seen stocks soar with a terrific showing, giving us exciting names like Calvin Johnson, Chris Johnson and Saquon Barkley. It’s also given us some ugly ones, like Stephen Hill, John Ross, and Chris Henry. At the end of the day, draft stock is important, and you can never feel bad with a little athleticism on your side. Here we take a look at a few of the most athletic devy prospects at each position that I expect to blow up the Combine when their time comes.
RB MAX BORGHI – WASHINGTON STATE (2021 ELIGIBLE)
Christian McCaffrey and his doppleganger Max Borghi.
Believe it or not, the picture above is actually two different people. One of them is the NFL’s 2019 all-purpose yards leader, and the other might be even better than he is.
OK, maybe that’s a bit of a stretch…but that’s probably what you would hear from the people closest to Max Borghi. Just ask Dr. David Schneider, who described Borghi as a “genetic freak” as he guided him through the rehabilitation of a torn ACL and MCL after Borghi’s junior year of high school. Borghi, who stands at 5’10”, 197 pounds, has never missed a game since the injury. He’s reportedly been clocked running a 4.35 forty yard dash and can hit a 355-pound bench press. Studly? He was back on the field just 8 months following his surgery.
Sure, comparing Borghi to Christian McCaffrey feels like the easy way out, but it’s probably the way Borghi would want it. He modeled his game around the former Standford Cardinal after idolizing him through his young career. Borghi hasn’t been able to make the same impact that McCaffrey did at Stanford, but his talent as a dual-threat has been on full display. He notched 139 receptions and over 2,154 scrimmage yards to go along with 28 TDs through his first two seasons. He sits as a top 3-5 RB in most rankers’ 2021 class.
While he averaged just 7.6 carries per game under former head coach Mike Leach, new head coach Nick Rolovish should help Borghi cement his resume with a strong year carrying the rock. Borghi should have an excellent showing at the Combine, warranting an early-round projection in the 2021 NFL draft.
TE BAYLOR CUPP – TEXAS A&M (2022 ELIGIBLE)
Towering over the competition at 6’6″ / 245 pounds, Baylor Cupp looks like the next prototype first-round tight end. He was the #1 ranked tight end in 247sports’ 2018 recruiting class, receiving over 20 offers from powerhouse programs.
Jimbo Fisher & Co. were eventually able to lure Cupp to the Aggies, setting him up for a potential breakout 2019 with the void left by Jace Sternberger. “(Cupp is) Just a ballplayer,” said Fisher after Cupp signed in December 2018. “A kid who’s smart. He’s tough. And those guys are hard matchups, man. When you’re 6’6”, 240 and run like him…he ran 4.55 (40-yard dash) in our camp two or three different times. He broad jumped 10’6” and verticalled 36 inches. The things he did athletically were just amazing.”
How do Cupp’s (unofficial) measurables compare to the NFL draft today? Over the past five years at the Combine, Cupp’s numbers would have ranked:
- 40-yard dash: 4th-best (2nd-best in 2020)
- Vertical jump: 13th-best (3rd in 2020)
- Broad jump: 6th-best (1st in 2020)
Indeed, these numbers compare favorably to some of the most athletic and highest-drafted tight ends in recent years.
Unfortunately, a broken leg suffered in pre-season cut Cupp’s opportunity short in 2019, so regaining his form in 2020 will be something to monitor. The hype continues to grow for Cupp’s first season on the field for the Aggies, but there is little doubt that he has the potential to be a Combine star and massive producer at the next level.
WR DEMOND DEMAS – TEXAS A&M (2023 ELIGIBLE)
This one will take some patience, but Demond Demas leaves an impression that’s hard to ignore.
Demas is a 6’3″, 195 lb., 5-star athlete with an outstanding resume in football, track, and basketball. After gaining over 1,500 yards for 23 TDs at a clip of 30 YPC his junior season, he was ruled ineligible for his senior season following a transfer to Tomball. That didn’t stop Demas from making his mark at numerous elite-level camps, including the opening regional and final camps, where he put up gaudy, verified testing numbers:
- 40-yard dash: 4.43 seconds
- Vertical jump: 41 inches
- Shuttle drill: 4.09 seconds
- Long jump: 23.9 feet
- 100-meter run: 11.26 seconds
Aside from a blazing but obtainable forty, these numbers would currently compare favorably to Jacksonville Jaguars 2nd-round WR DJ Chark, who saw a substantial increase in draft stock after his Combine performance.
Demas is a freakish athlete, who frequently uses his size with elite vertical to tower over defenders and catch the ball at its highest point. His frame, while slender, presents a size/speed mismatch that made him a red zone nightmare and virtually uncoverable at elite camp showcases. Demond hasn’t needed much more than his pure physical ability to be dominant, leaving some fundamental areas of his game needing refinement. If he can bulk up and continue to develop, he has early-round NFL potential.
Just don’t question his hands.