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2023 NFL Scouting Combine: Day One Recap

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The edge rushers, defensive linemen, and linebackers were the first groups out for day one of the 2023 Scouting Combine. And judging by some of the forty times today, the track in Indianapolis is once again burning up.

They split the prospects into three groups today. The first group was more of the bigger defensive linemen. We are talking about nose tackles, three techs, and five techs. The second group was more of the players you would classify as edge rushers with some inside-out guys mixed in. The third group consisted of off-ball linebackers and some edge rushers.

Let’s look at the players performed in each group.

2023 NFL Scouting Combine: Day One Recap

DEFENSIVE LINE GROUP 1

  • Pitt DL Calijah Kancey took the headlines from the first group. Kancey weighed in at 6’1″ and 281 pounds. Then he took to the track and ran a 4.67 forty with a 1.64 10-yard split. That was a faster forty than former Pitt DL Aaron Donald
  • Bryan Bresee (DL/Clemson) is an athletic specimen coming out of the upstate. Bresee had a nice 1.71 10-yard split during his 4.86 forty. He looked smooth on the field. He could come off the board during the first 15 picks.
  • Florida DL Gervon Dexter was moving on the track after measuring in at 6’6″ and 310 pounds. Dexter had a 1.81 10-yard split and also had a 31″ vertical leap. 
  • Zacch Pickens (DL/South Carolina) has always flashed pass-rushing potential during his Gamecocks’ tenure. After a good Senior Bowl week, Pickens continued his upward trajectory on the track in Indy with a 4.89 forty (1.74 split). He added a 30.5″ vertical with a 4.62-second three-cone. Pickens also looked great during the field drills. 

  • Oklahoma DL Jalen Redmond is another that gave you glimpses while he was at Oklahoma. He was up and down in Mobile. But in Indy, he showed off tremendous athleticism. Redmond ran a 4.81 forty (1.71 split), with a 34.5″ vertical, and finished with a 4.51 three-cone.
  • Siaki Ika (DL/Baylor) tested poorly and followed that up by looking a bit sluggish during the field drills. Ika has great tape but teams (and myself) may have to go back and re-watch to see if he is just a pure nose tackle.
  • Wisconsin DL Keeanu Benton did nothing to stop his stock from rising after his testing numbers and smoothness on the field.
  • Of course, the biggest news out of this group came yesterday when two warrants for arrest were issued to Georgia DL Jalen Carter. The potential Top 5 pick, was booked last night in Athens, Georgia and subsequentially bailed himself out fifteen minutes later. Carter flew back to Indianapolis to complete his interviews at the Combine and get measured. He did not compete on the field. Shane and I broke down all of the facts that we know last night on the Draft Countdown podcast.

DEFENSIVE LINE GROUP 2

  • Once again, a Georgia Bulldog has taken the headlines for their feats of athleticism. EDGE Nolan Smith measured in at 6’2″ and 238 pounds. After jumping 41.5″ in the vertical and 10’8″ in the broad jump, Smith proceeded to run a 4.39 in the forty with a 1.52-second 10-yard split. That is the fastest 10-split at the Combine ever for an edge rusher. Smith is also the heaviest player at the Combine to ever leap over 40 inches and run sub-4.4 forty.
  • As impressive as Smith was, I would be hard-pressed to not rave about Northwestern’s Adetomiwa Adebaware. At 282 pounds, the former Wildcat ran a 4.49 forty (1.61 split), with a 37.5″ vertical, and a 10’5″ broad jump. Neither Smith nor Adebaware worked out in the field, saving those performances for their pro days.
  • Louisville’s Yaya Diaby was super impressive on the track as well. Diaby ran a 4.51 at 263 pounds. He paired that with an impressive 37″ vertical and 10′ broad jump.
  • Will McDonald IV (EDGE/Iowa State) looked silky smooth on the field. He tested well in the jumps at 6’3″ 239. McDonald vertical leaped 36″ and had an 11-foot broad jump. 
  • Isaiah Land (LB/Florida A&M) added another 12 pounds from his Senior Bowl weight, which was up 20 pounds from his FAMU-listed weight. At 236, he ran 4.62 in the forty, had a 34.5″ vertical, and jumped 10’6″ in the broad jump.
  • EDGE from TCU Dylan Horton looked great in the back pedal drill. I am not sure if I want to see him standing up all the time at 257 pounds though.
  • Byron Young (Tennessee) is likely going to move to EDGE for us soon. We currently list him as a linebacker. However, he looked fluid in the LB drills, so I am not ready to rule that out.
  • Myles Murphy (EDGE/Clemson) and Tyree Wilson (EDGE/Texas Tech) both opted to not work out at the combine. Both athletic testing and field drills.
  • Lukas Van Ness (EDGE/Iowa) never actually started a game for the Hawkeyes. This is because Kirk Ferentz believes seniority makes you a better football player. LVN measured in at 6’5″ and 272 pounds. He tested like an elite athlete as well. Van Ness ran a 4.58 forty (1.64 split), with a 31″ vertical, a 9’10” broad, and a 7.02 three-cone.

LINEBACKERS

  • The lead dog in this group is obviously Alabama edge Will Anderson, Jr. Anderson probably should have been with the other group, but that is neither here nor there. Anderson officially ran a 4.60 forty after measuring in at 6’3″ and 254 pounds. Anderson is expected to be a surefire Top 5 pick.
  • Owen Pappoe (LB/Auburn) has dealt with injuries the last few seasons on the Plains. But he has been a tremendous athlete since entering CFB. Pappoe blazed a 4.39 forty. he also had a 35.5″ vertical and a 10’6″ broad jump. 
  • WAZZU LB Daiyan Henley was one of the best pass-covering linebackers at the Senior Bowl. He showed those skills during the Combine. Henley’s moved fluidly all over the field. He tested solidly as well. The Cougar product had a 35″ vertical and a 10′ broad jump. I want Henley on my team. 

  • Demarvion Overshown (LB/Texas) ran around the field a bit recklessly at times on tape but you knew he would be a superb athlete. 
  • Clemson LB Trenton Simpson may be the first off-ball linebacker off the board this year. he ran a smoking fast 4.43 forty (1.55 split). Simpson has all of the tools to be a three-down star in the NFL.
  • Arkansas LB Drew Sanders didn’t run a 40 but did participate in the field drills.
  • Maybe one of the more surprising performers in this group was Vanderbilt LB Anfernee Orji. Orji ran a 4.53 forty, with a 38.5″ vertical, and a 10’2″ broad jump. 
  • Auburn EDGE Derick Hall was another that was miscast into this group. Hall surprisingly held his own in the LB drills. That followed a 1.59 10-split and a 4.55 forty. Hall has a chance to go in the Top 60.
  • I would be remiss if I didn’t talk up Tulane LB Dorian Williams. He ran a 4.49 forty (1.54 split). Williams looked great on the field as well. 

Check back tomorrow for my recap of day two.

You can also see a sortable table with all of the testing results here at Draft Countdown!

 

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