The NFL Combine is a huge week not only for the college players hoping to hear their name called on NFL Draft weekend, but for rumors as well. With all 32 general managers and coaches in the same building together—along with prodding and snooping media members—people are chatting and scheming and, in some cases, outright lying.
And while most of what comes out the NFL Combine is simply smokescreens delivered to throw off the scent of team’s actual intentions, sometimes some clarity is gained from the weekend.
So let’s take a look at how the NFL Combine has affected the mock drafts that have come out since the week in Indianapolis. Here’s a look at 25 of the most recent mock drafts around the internet.
2/29/20 - Detroit Free Press (Dave Birkett) - Ohio State CB Jeff Okudah
3/2/20 - PFF (Mike Renner) - Ohio State EDGE Chase Young
3/2/20 - NFL.com (Daniel Jeremiah) - Ohio State CB Jeff Okudah
3/2/20 - The Draft Network (Trevor Sikkema) - Ohio State CB Jeff Okudah
3/2/20 - Bleacher Report (Matt Miller) - Ohio State CB Jeff Okudah
3/2/20 - SB Nation (Dan Kadar) - Ohio State EDGE Chase Young
3/3/20 - LA Times (Sam Farmer) - Ohio State CB Jeff Okudah
3/3/20 - Houston Chronicle (John McClain) - Ohio State CB Jeff Okudah
3/3/20 - ESPN (Todd McShay) - Ohio State CB Jeff Okudah
3/3/20 - Touchdown Wire (Mark Schofield) - Ohio State CB Jeff Okudah
3/3/20 - USA Today (Nate Davis) - Auburn DT Derrick Brown
3/3/20 - Washington Post (John Clayton) - Ohio State CB Jeff Okudah
3/3/20 - The Detroit News (Justin Rogers) - Ohio State CB Jeff Okudah
3/4/20 - Yahoo Sports (Eric Edholm) - Ohio State CB Jeff Okudah
3/4/20 - CBS Sports (Chris Trapasso) - Ohio State CB Jeff Okudah
3/4/20 - Sporting News (Vinnie Iyer) - Clemson LB Isaiah Simmons
3/4/20 - Draft Wire (Luke Easterling) - **trade down** Ohio State CB Jeff Okudah (5)
3/4/20 - The Athletic (Dane Brugler) - Clemson LB Isaiah Simmons
3/5/20 - CBS Sports (Will Brinson) - Clemson LB Isaiah Simmons
3/6/20 - NFL.com (Chad Reuter) - Ohio State EDGE Chase Young
3/6/ 20 - The Draft Network (Carter Donnick) - **trade down** Ohio State CB Jeff Okudah (5)
3/6/20 - CBS Sports (Josh Edwards) - Ohio State CB Jeff Okudah
3/6/20 - Rotoworld (Hayden Winks) - **trade down** Ohio State CB Jeff Okudah (6)
3/7/20 - Real GM (Jeff Risdon) - Ohio State EDGE Chase Young
3/9/20 - The Draft Network (Kyle Crabbs) - Ohio State CB Jeff Okudah
Jeff Okudah - 17 of 25 - 68% (up 23%)
Chase Young - 4 of 25 - 16% (up 1%)
Isaiah Simmons - 3 of 25 - 12% (down 3%)
Derrick Brown - 1 of 25 - 4% (down 11%)
Tua Tagovailoa - 0 of 25 - 0% (down 10%)
The mock drafts are back to where they were before late February. Nearly 70 percent of draft analysts are back to simply slotting Okudah to the Lions with the third overall pick. The value and the fit are just too good for most writers to ignore, and it’s hard to pick a fight with them there.
What is perhaps more interesting than the rise of Okudah are the players that drastically fell because of it. After his disappointing performance at the NFL Combine, Derrick Brown’s stock plummeted, with only one of 25 mocks slotting him to the Lions—our good friend Nate Davis from USA Today (who you may remember from this). And after Lions general manager Bob Quinn said emphatically that he isn’t trading Matthew Stafford, analysts seemed to have cooled on Tua Tagovailoa to Detroit.
That being said, Chase Young and Isaiah Simmons remain somewhat popular picks for Detroit, as their stock remains relatively unchanged since the Combine—although Simmons certainly got a fair amount of hype that weekend.
One reason Young remains a potential pick for Detroit are the rumors out of Combine weekend that Washington could be seriously contemplating a quarterback with the second overall pick. If that’s the case, Young would be there for Detroit, and there’s little doubt among experts that the Lions take him in that scenario.
3 of 25 - 12% (down 23%)
It’s hard to really understand why, but trades suddenly became a lot less popular for Detroit in most mock drafts. Perhaps it was simply the writers’ rush to get their “post-Combine mock drafts” out to publish, or maybe most were just convinced that the Lions shouldn’t tempt fate and let Okudah potentially slip through their fingers.
Either way, one interesting development is the belief that a team like the Chargers would become a more realistic partner for Detroit. Though he didn’t do it in his latest mock draft, NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah believes the Chargers are the more likely target.
“My money is on the Chargers trading up to get this pick and take Tua because I believe the Miami Dolphins have a comfort level with either (Justin) Herbert or with Tua,” Jeremiah said on his “Move the Sticks” podcast.
Local results (Lions beat writers only)
Writers included: Justin Rogers, Dave Birkett, Jeff Risdon
Jeff Okudah: 2 of 3 - 67%
Chase Young: 1 of 3 - 33%
Not much change in the local scene here. Risdon remains convinced that Young has a real chance of slipping to three, while Rogers and Birkett take the more conservative route with the ever-popular Okudah pick.