Austin Mack Narrowly Outruns Fellow Ohio State Receivers in 40-Yard Dash, J.K. Dobbins and Jonah Jackson Among Top Performers in Bench Press at NFL Scouting Combine

By Dan Hope on February 28, 2020 at 12:05 am
J.K. Dobbins
Kirby Lee – USA TODAY Sports

The race between K.J. Hill, Austin Mack and Binjimen Victor to be the fastest Ohio State wide receiver at this year’s NFL Scouting Combine ended in a photo finish.

With an official 40-yard dash time of 4.59 seconds, Mack finished just a hair faster than Hill and Victor, who both ran official times of 4.60 seconds. Mack, as a result, wins the unspecified bet between the Buckeyes’ wide receivers for who would run the fastest 40 in Indianapolis – as does fellow former Ohio State receiver Johnnie Dixon, who Mack said Tuesday was betting on him to be the fastest.

It’s likely that none of the three Ohio State wide receivers, though, will leave Indianapolis thrilled with their performances. Unlike last year, when Parris Campbell, Terry McLaurin and Dixon all ran the 40 in 4.41 seconds or faster, this year’s Buckeye trio finished in the bottom of the speed charts in the 40-yard dash. Mack had said Tuesday that he hoped to run in the 4.4-second range.

Should they all believe they can run faster, a rematch could be on tap for Ohio State’s pro day on March 25.

That said, none of them were known for being burners at Ohio State, so it would have come as a surprise if any of them ran the caliber of times that Campbell, McLaurin and Dixon did in 2019.

While Hill is the Buckeyes’ all-time leader in receptions, his catches at Ohio State rarely came because of pure speed; instead, his quickness and route-running prowess allowed him to consistently find ways to get open on short and intermediate routes. That’s what he’ll need to do to be successful at the next level, too.

His 4.60 40 won’t help his draft stock, but it shouldn’t really change his scouting report, either. And there’s plenty of precedent for slot receivers like him being successful in the NFL despite limited straight-line speed. For example: Jarvis Landry, who Hill said this week is the receiver he tries to model his game after, ran a 4.77-second 40-yard dash at the 2014 NFL Scouting Combine yet still went on to be a second-round draft pick and has gone on to catch at least 80 passes (for more than 6,000 total yards) in each of his first six NFL seasons.

Like Landry, Hill is known for his excellent hands, and he put those on display in pass-catching drills on Thursday night, including the gauntlet drill.

Mack (6-2, 208) and Victor (6-4, 198), meanwhile, are longer receivers who were best known for making contested and acrobatic catches during their Ohio State careers. Victor made another one during pass-catching drills on Thursday night (despite the awkward landing, he was fine and continued to work out), which drew praise from Campbell and former Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins:

Both Victor and Mack are projected as fringe draft picks who could either be selected in the late rounds or go undrafted, so both of them certainly could have used faster 40s to improve their chances of hearing their names called, but they’ll have to hope their other, stronger attributes are enough.

Victor had the best marks among the three Ohio State wideouts in both jumping drills, including a 10-foot-8 broad jump that tied for the sixth-best mark among all wide receivers who participated. Hill had the seventh-best mark among all receivers in the bench press, which receivers completed on Wednesday, by putting up 17 reps of 225 pounds.

As for the Buckeyes who bench pressed on Thursday, both were among the top performers in their respective position groups. J.K. Dobbins put up 23 reps of 225 pounds, tied for the fifth-best mark among all running backs who participated, while Jonah Jackson had 28 reps, tied for the sixth-best mark among offensive linemen.

Dobbins and Jackson will have their turn to go through on-field workouts at Lucas Oil Stadium on Friday evening. Dobbins, however, said Wednesday that he is uncertain whether he will participate in on-field drills because of the lengthy recovery he has had after suffering a “very high ankle sprain” in Ohio State’s Fiesta Bowl loss to Clemson.

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