NFL combine 2020 notes: Xavier McKinney over Grant Delpit, two offensive linemen on the rise and more

There was some frustration with the new NFL scouting combine schedule in Indianapolis this week. It definitely removed some of the key networking hours as the week progressed. However, there was still information to glean. Here are some of the more interesting thoughts that NFL personnel shared. 

McKinney top safety over Delpit

Alabama’s Xavier McKinney has established himself as the top safety prospect available in the 2020 NFL Draft. His versatility and confidence had teams buzzing in Indianapolis. I believe McKinney has the capability to play the boundary cornerback role but is likely to be deployed in a Minkah Fitzpatrick-esque capacity. McKinney acknowledged that Fitzpatrick is a close friend of his but stopped short of saying that he models his game after any one player.

Opinions vary on LSU safety Grant Delpit. Some are more willing to forgive his tackling issues because he played with a high ankle sprain in 2019. However, one team suggested that they might have a fourth round grade on him. His 2018 tape was significantly better than his final season, which he acknowledged during his press conference earlier this week. 

The NFL combine is over, so who were the biggest winners and losers? Ryan Wilson joins Will Brinson to break it all down, size up the first post-combine mock draft and more. Listen below and be sure to subscribe for daily NFL goodness.

Hunt a sleeper on offensive line

Louisiana’s Robert Hunt has been slept on as a prospect. He could hold up at offensive tackle in the NFL. However — and one team agreed with this assessment — he could be a really special guard with his body frame and movement skills. One NFL team could see him going in the second round, but no later than the third.

Cal’s Davis could go in Round 2

California safety Ashtyn Davis was being talked about as the second best safety because of his high football IQ and track background. He needs to improve his tackling form, but there is legitimate conversation for him in the second round. Minnesota’s Antoine Winfield made a strong impression late in the week when he was afforded the opportunity to take the field.

Could Dugger, Chinn move to LB?

-Lenoir-Rhyne’s Kyle Dugger has looked more like a linebacker than a safety to me. One team acknowledged that they do not love him as a safety but his height and weight may be problematic for a move to linebacker. Southern Illinois’ Jeremy Chinn was also mentioned as a candidate to move to linebacker. He measured in at 6-foot-3, 221 pounds, which was the second largest behind only Clemson’s Tanner Muse. Muse spent some time at linebacker in college and will likely be asked to do the same in the NFL. (Note: These conversations took place before all three ran and performed well Sunday. The negative outlook since may have softened.)

More notes from the combine:

  • Listeners of the Pick Six Podcast — CBS Sports’ daily NFL podcast, be sure to subscribe — might remember me stating LSU’s Justin Jefferson was moving to the front of the second wide receiver group — behind Oklahoma’s CeeDee Lamb and Alabama’s Jerry Jeudy and Henry Ruggs III. Jefferson cemented himself in that discussion with a strong combine performance. He will overtake Clemson’s Tee Higgins slightly in my next rankings update. 
  • The consensus was that Iowa’s Tristan Wirfs and Louisville’s Mekhi Becton would put on a show for spectators this week. Both did. Wirfs’ 4.85 in the 40-yard dash defies physics. The lineman that helped himself the most was Boise State’s Ezra Cleveland. He performed well in every drill. Cleveland was a soft-spoken player at the podium, but his on-field work spoke for him. His film over the past two seasons will not disappoint.
  • Coming into the week, I singled out Florida State running back Cam Akers and Michigan wide receiver Donovan Peoples-Jones as a couple of skill players who could impress and rise. Akers certainly improved his stock. He has joined that top tier of running backs that should be taken on Day 2. Peoples-Jones was very impressive as well. He nearly jumped out of the building after running a 4.48 40-yard dash. 

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