Fantasy Combine Results: Taylor, Ruggs on the rise

The 2020 NFL Scouting Combine is in the books, so now it's time to break down what we have learned from the prospects' performances. While the final call on a player's true value in the fantasy football world can't possibly be fully determined until after the NFL Draft, we can get a glimpse with the help of Gil Brandt's target combine test results. If you're not familiar with it, I wrote a column about it and how effective it's been as a prospect prognostication tool since 2010.

Here's a look, per position, at the players who could be on the verge of making a fantasy impact (or not), either in the short or long term, based on Brandt's metrics (targets met in parenthesis).

Quarterbacks

Justin Herbert, Oregon (5/6): Herbert missed just one of six Brandt marks, the 20-yard shuttle (4.46). He also impressed scouts as a thrower. That wasn't much of a surprise, as Herbert is considered one of the class' most polished passers.

Jordan Love, Utah State (5/6): Love also hit on all of Brandt's targets besides the 20-yard shuttle (4.52). There have been reports that Love's combine showing has pushed him past Herbert as the third-best quarterback in the class.

Jalen Hurts, Oklahoma (4/4): Hurts is an athletic freak who nailed all four of his drills (he DNP in the 3-cone or 20-yard shuttle). A true running quarterback, it will be very interesting to see where Hurts lands in the upcoming NFL draft. His skill set makes him a potential sleeper in fantasy football.

Notes: Besides Herbet and Love, Colorado's Steven Montez, Michigan's Shea Patterson and Hawaii's Cole McDonald all hit five of Brandt's six marks. That's the most at the position. ... Georgia's Jake Fromm hit on just three of six marks, and his throwing performance left something to be desired.

Running backs

Jonathan Taylor, Wisconsin (5/7): Taylor was a combine star, hitting on five of Brandt's marks while barely missing on a sixth (20-yard shuttle). Taylor, who ran a positional-high 4.39 40-yard dash, also ranked in the top six among backs in four of his seven drills. He could end up being the top fantasy rookie of 2020.

A.J. Dillon, Boston College (6/6): Dillon didn't participate in the 20-yard shuttle, but he nailed the other six drills based on Brandt's targets. A beast of a back at 247 pounds, the B.C. product finished in the top 10 among runners in every drill, including first in both the vertical jump and the broad jump.

Cam Akers, Florida State (4/6): Akers nearly nailed every target, barely missing on the vertical (35.5) and the 20-yard shuttle (4.42). He showed off his speed, too, finishing in the top five in the 10-yard split and the 40-yard dash. Akers is a name to watch in the NFL draft as a potential fantasy sleeper.

Darrynton Evans, Appalachian State (5/5): Evans hit the mark on all five drills (he had DNP's in the 3-cone and 20-yard shuttle), and only Taylor (4.39) had a better 40 time among running backs. In all, Evans ranked in the top 10 in all but one drill (he was 11th in the bench press) at the position.

Notes:*D'Andre Swift, who is the top-ranked back on Daniel Jeremiah's top 50 prospects list, reached Brandt's marks on three of the four drills he participated in at the combine. ... Ohio State's *J.K. Dobbins didn't participate in physical drills due to an ankle ailment. He did reach Brandt's target on the bench press, however. ... Illinois State's James Robinson was the lone running back to hit at least six of Brandt's target totals. He only missed on the 40-yard dash (4.64). The other backs besides Taylor, Dillon, Evans and Robinson to hit at least five targets were U.C.L.A.'s Joshua Kelley, Baylor's JaMycal Hasty and Louisiana-Lafayette's Raymond Calais. ... Utah's Zack Moss had a combine to forget, hitting just one of five marks. He did tweak his hamstring during his vertical jump, however, which was likely a big reason for his poor showing. He should fare better at his Pro Day on March 26th.

Wide Receivers

Henry Ruggs III, Alabama (4/4): Ruggs participated in just four drills, but he finished in the top four in all of them and was tops in the 40-yard dash at 4.27. Ruggs, who has drawn comparisons to Tyreek Hill due to his being a potential matchup nightmare at the next level, projects as a first-round pick in the draft.

Michael Pittman, USC (7/7): Pittman is the lone wideout to hit all seven of Brandt's target marks. At 6-4 and 223 pounds, he ranked fourth in the 3-cone drill and second in the 20-yard shuttle. While he barely made the mark in a few of the drills, Pittman's finishes should open some eyes in fantasy land regardless.

Denzel Mims, Baylor (6/7): Some scouts would argue that Mims improved his draft stock more than any wideout at the combine. He tied for the third fastest 40 time, was eighth or better in four drills and ranked no worse than 14th in the other three. He could wind up sneaking into the first round.

Chase Claypool, Notre Dame (5/5): Claypool will forever be compared to Calvin Johnson in combine lore, as he joined Megatron as the lone wideouts at 6-foot-4 and at least 235 pounds to run a sub-4.45. Claypool hit all five marks in the drills he participated. He might be moved to tight end in the NFL.

Notes: The two big names at the position, Ceedee Lamb and Jerry Jeudy, both hit three of five marks based on Brandt's metrics. Lamb was close in both bench press (11) and the vertical jump (34.5), though, while Jeudy just missed on the vertical (35). ... Besides Pittman and Mims, Miami's K.J. Osborn was the only other wide receiver to reach at least six of Brandt's target totals. ... Claypool was one of six wideouts to reach five marks, a list that includes Florida's Freddie Swain and Tyrie Cleveland, TCU's Jalen Reagor, Washington State's Dezmon Patmon and Virginia's Joe Reed. ... Colorado's Laviska Shenault hit just one mark in three drills, but that was due in large part to the fact that he wasn't 100 percent for the combine. In fact, he'll have surgery to repair an injured core muscle this week. NFL insider Ian Rapoport suggests he'll be sidelined six to eight weeks.

Tight Ends

Albert Okwuegbunam, Missouri (2/2): Okwuegbunam participated in just two drills at the 2020 NFL Scouting Combine, but he thrived in both finishing first in the 40-yard dash and third in the 10-yard split. That's very impressive for a dude who's 6-foot-5 and 258 pounds. He's a name to remember.

Josiah Deguara, Cincinnati (6/7): Deguara was one of three tight ends to hit on at least six of Brandt's target marks at the combine. What's more impressive was that he was in the top six in five of those drills and ranked ninth in the sixth. He's a deep sleeper to keep tabs on in dynasty leagues.

Notes: The projected top tight end in the 2020 class, Notre Dame's Cole Kmet hit on four of six target marks and barely missed on a fifth in the 3-cone (7.44). ... Aside from Deguara, the other tight ends to reach six of Brandt's marks were Washington's Hunter Bryant and Virginia Tech's Dalton Keene. ... Vanderbilt's Jared Pinkney followed up a disappointing showing in the Senior Bowl with a poor performance at the combine. He hit just one of three Brandt target totals, and his stock is now falling.

Michael Fabiano is an award-winning fantasy football analyst on NFL.com and NFL Network and a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association (FSWA) Hall of Fame. You can follow Michael on Twitter, Facebook, YouTubeand Instagramfor the latest fantasy football news and analysis!

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