Position: Defensive back
Weight: 203 pounds
Combine Performance Data
40-yard dash: 4.45 seconds
Vertical jump: 36 inches
Broad jump: 10’4″
Antoine Winfield, Jr. 2020 NFL Draft Profile
Growing up as the son of a pro athlete is never easy. For Antoine Winfield, Jr., he continued the Winfield legacy by replicating his father’s play while attending the University of Minnesota. Winfield, Sr. was the winner of the 1998 Jim Thorpe Award, given to the nation’s best defensive back. He then went on to become the 11th overall pick in the 1999 draft and played 14 seasons in the NFL, including three All-Pro selections. Undersized, Winfield never allowed bigger opponents to have their way with him. In fact, he had his way with opponents, setting the tone with his feisty, aggressive play and being regarded as one of the best tackling corners in NFL history.
As a freshman in 2016, Winfield, Jr. made an instant impact. Appearing in 12 games with nine starts, Winfield recorded a fumble recovery and an 82-yard interception return for a touchdown. In 2017, he played in only four games before an injury ended his season. After receiving a medical hardship waiver from the NCAA, Winfield returned in 2018 and continued to splash. He sealed a victory against Fresno State with a spectacular interception in the endzone. He also returned a punt for a touchdown against New Mexico State before he again had his season cut short following his fourth game.
Winfield made sure that his final season with the Gophers was one to remember. He started all 13 games and led the team with 88 tackles and seven interceptions, including one returned for a touchdown. Winfield once again sealed a victory against Fresno State with an interception in the game’s second overtime. He also added three sacks on the season, wreaking havoc all over the field en route to becoming All-Big Ten First-Team and a unanimous All-American.
- fluid as he moves around the field;
- aggressive against the run as he not only makes tackles but makes sure runners feel the hit;
- instincts are off the charts as he is always around the football;
- can play “center field” but can also play inside the box as a nickel;
- is a threat to score whenever he touches the football;
- finds holes in blocking protection to come unabated on blitzes;
- great football bloodline.
- injury history will likely take him off of several teams’ boards due to his aggressive nature;
- can get caught peaking in the backfield allowing bigger receivers to get a step on him and shield him on play action;
- will he be a safety or will teams try moving him to corner full-time due to his size?
- when he gets engaged with blockers, he becomes a non-factor.
NFL Comparison: Tyrann Mathieu
Projection: First to second round
Winfield has a chance to become a top-level safety in the NFL if he can avoid injury. He has all of traits of a great football player, but due to his size and history he could become another Bob Sanders who dominates but struggles to stay on the field. If he stays healthy, he should be in the starting lineup in his rookie season and making an instant impact. The ideal scenario for him would to be used as a Swiss army knife who can line up all over the field and affect offensive gameplans by his alignment alone.