Five days into the 2020 NFL Scouting Combine, four former Ole Miss Rebels will participate in the on-field workout portion on Friday and Saturday. After a hectic week of measurements and interviews with scouts, coaches and general managers, it will be time to showcase the most important part of the evaluation through a series of drills set to measure physicality, speed and agility.
Each of the invited participants will partake in the 40-yard dash, bench press, vertical jump, broad jump, three-cone drill, and both 20 and 60-yard shuttles.
Take a look at how the combine could make or break the Rebels’ draft stocks:
Benito Jones, DT — Saturday
Sleeper: NT/DL Benito Jones (Ole Miss, 6’ 1”, 329 Lbs). Reminds me a bit of another Ole Miss player DJ Jones. Stats: 66 Solo Tackles, 66 Asst Tackles, 132 Combined Tackles, 31 TFL, 10.5 Sacks, 1 INT, 1 FR & 1 FF. #BenitoJones #4EDraft2020 pic.twitter.com/02KIOlaoBW— 49er_Edits (@49er_edits) January 26, 2020
Weight: 316 pounds
Hand: 9 6/8”
Arm: 32 7/8”
Wingspan: 80 7/8”
NFL.com (scales from 5.0 to 8.0): 6.20 — Good backup who could become a starter
Benito Jones is likely the best NFL prospect to come from Ole Miss in this year’s draft, and earned All-SEC second team honors for his 2019 season. With definitive strength on the interior, he is a true one-technique who can simply over-power his opposition in the trenches with push off the ball. However, his quickness on the inside is what sets him apart from the others at his position.
Jones’ lateral foot-speed is unmatched for his size, and it gives him the ability to beat offensive linemen to the the gap, blowing by their kick-step on the pass rush, or forcing them off-balance on the run. His strict 3-4 defensive limitations don’t give him the ability to slide over the guard with ease, but he impressed in one-on-one drills at the Senior Bowl and could move up the draft boards if he can boast his raw athleticism in combine metrics.
Josiah Coatney, DL — Saturday
Height: 6-foot-3 3/8
Weight: 308 pounds
Arm: 32 6/8”
Wingspan: 76 7/8”
NFL.com (scales from 5.0 to 8.0): 5.50 — Chance to make end of roster or practice squad
Josiah Coatney was a three-year starter at Ole Miss, and played both inside and on the edge throughout his collegiate career. Although he struggles with shedding the initial engagement at the line of scrimmage, and getting inside position on his block can be a problem, Coatney’s downfield speed is where he shines. If the first step is there, the Holmes Community College transfer has grown into his frame while in Oxford. He will cause enough disruption in the backfield to stop the run, and blows by tackles who can’t keep up with a violent punch and rip.
After an impressive Senior Bowl week of his own, Coatney’s potential to work out of a base 3-4 or 4-3 defensive front is intriguing to teams who desire versatility at the point of attack. A combine performance that shows his hands and explosiveness might catch the eye of an NFL front office willing to move up and be patient in molding a strong frame that lacks full body control.
Scottie Phillips, RB — Friday
**Player Problem-Solver Paradigm**#OleMiss RB Scottie Phillips 5'8/211 shows how the problem shapes the movement solution. Skill resides within the player's ability to find a solution. Every play is like a constantly evolving puzzle - every move is your first. pic.twitter.com/Fr9yeHAd4p— Matt Caraccio (@Matty_S2S) February 16, 2020
Weight: 209 pounds
Hand: 8 4/8”
Arm: 29 3/8”
Wingspan: 70 2/8”
NFL.com (scales from 5.0 to 8.0): 5.85 — Backup or special-teamer
Scottie Phillips is a talented running back that flourished in his junior season at Ole Miss. Rushing for just under 1,000 yards and 12 touchdowns in 2018, he was forced to split carries with freshmen Jerrion Ealy and Snoop Conner in 2019. Though late-season injuries limited his production in both years, Phillips showed speed in open space, strength in one-on-one situations, and patience at the line of scrimmage. His size may be of concern on the next level, but similar to LSU’s Clyde Edwards-Helaire, the low center of gravity makes for crisp cuts and a strong base in pass protection.
Another concern for NFL teams may be his lack of production catching the ball, which plays such a crucial role in a league that is turning more to the air and check downs out of the backfield to the flat. If Phillips can use the combine to show his burst and natural hands, he may turn some heads as a late-round pick that NFL teams would be excited to mix in to an established running back committee.
Qaadir Sheppard, DE/LB — Saturday
You know the vibes... ⏳ pic.twitter.com/jrOJxOlc4P— Qaadir Sheppard (@Captain_Bronx) February 12, 2019
Height: 6-foot-2 7/8
Weight: 261 pounds
Arm: 32 6/8”
Wingspan: 78 6/8”
NFL.com (scales from 5.0 to 8.0): 5.54 — Chance to make end of roster or practice squad
Qaadir Sheppard transferred to Ole Miss by way of Syracuse and came as an edge rusher. He will be asked to workout with the linebackers at the combine, where he struggled to find his role when the Ole Miss defense transitioned from the 4-2-5 to the 3-4 in 2019. He lacks the size to play end on the next level, and can’t shed blocks that come at him at the outside linebacker spot. Sheppard will likely be signed as an undrafted free agent, but an impressive week with freak numbers could find him a team willing to take a flier in the seventh round.