Coming out of the NFL Combine every year are key storylines that affect the draft. This year was no different with freakish athletes, on field drills, and plenty of intrigue over the first round of the draft. Here are my top storylines from each day of the draft.
NFL Combine Day 1
EDGE Rushers are FREAKY
This crop of EDGE rushers were already known to be one of the strong positions in the draft, but oh boy, the Combine showed just how good.
The highlight was Georgia EDGE rusher Nolan Smith. Smith missed most of the season with a torn pectoral muscle, but he was able to workout fully. His final number of 4.39 in the 40-yard dash was eye popping. Add in an incredible Vertical and Broad, and it puts him back in the top 10 discussion with a very high RAS score.
Other top EDGE prospects had big days with Alabama’s Will Anderson looking smooth and sharp in the on field drills. Another first round pick, Iowa’s Lukas Van Ness, had a killer Combine. The freakish nature of the entire day extended to others like Tennessee’s Byron Young and even Eastern Michigan’s Jose Ramirez in the Shuttle and 3-Cone. I could list 20 more names, but know it showed the strength of the class being the pass rushers
NFL Combine Day 2
CB is Athletic and Deep
The corner room lit up social media with some absolutely incredible performances. Oregon’s Christian Gonzalez looked like the real deal both in the drills and with his workouts. Just as impressive was Kansas State’s Julius Brents who also went hard and showed what a big, athletic player brings to the table.
Other names that stood out were Maryland’s duo of Deonte Banks and Jakorian Bennett, South Carolina’s duo of Cam Smith and Darius Rush, Penn State’s Joey Porter, Iowa’s Riley Moss, LSU’s Mekhi Garner, Georgia’s Kelee Ringo and more all were impressive.
The group as a whole was dynamic with blazing 40 times, great Vertical leaps, and fluid drills that made everyone buzz. We could see as many as 20 corners go in the first two days of the draft.
NFL Combine Day 3
I mean, that is the storyline. Once everyone got over Bryce Young’s height at just over 5’10, it was the Anthony Richardson show. The WRs disappointed. The TEs were super athletic, and Ohio State’s CJ Stroud showed he can throw like a top tier QB. But…Anthony Richardson.
Richardson started the day by posting the best Vertical (40.5”) and Broad Jump (10’9”) ever recorded by a QB. Not just at the Combine, but anywhere. He followed it up with a 4.43 40 yard dash that cemented him as the most athletic QB ever. Heck, not even that, but he is the 3rd most athletic player in NFL HISTORY behind only Calvin Johnson and Jordan Davis.
We knew he would be super athletic, but this was jaw dropping. The upside is absolutely tremendous for Anthony Richardson and this does likely place him in the Top 10 overall.
In terms of throwing, he showed his arm off for sure. Launching 65 yard bombs down the field. The ball placement was definitely up and down, but the upside is evident. Stroud did the same (and was much more accurate) while Will Levis showed similar inconsistencies. The QB group’s “Big 4” stayed the same. Young might be the one regretting not participating at the Combine though.
NFL Combine Day 4
The RB Class are Difference Makers
All eyes were on Texas’ Bijan Robinson who absolutely dominated posting a 4.46 40 time with a 1.52 10-yard split. His RAS score proved he belongs as a Top Ten pick in the NFL Draft.
But, the rest of the RB class showed out (at least those that participated). Alabama’s Jahmyr Gibbs, ECU’s Keaton Mitchell, and Texas A&M’s Devon Achane all ran in the 4.3s to bring the speed factor to the group.
Even players like Illinois’ Chase Brown, Northwestern’s Evan Hull and Tulsa’s Deneric Prince put their names on the draft radar as Day 3 selections with upside.
With only 15 of the 27 RBs opting to run the 40, the field drills had took on some significance. Bijan was by far the most smooth and effective, while Achane showed he was well built despite coming in at 188 pounds.
Ultimately, this group will likely bring double digit Top 100 picks and many future contributors at the position.
Check out my 7-round mock draft from yesterday!