2023 NFL Scouting Combine: Stock up, stock down for every position

Indianapolis, IN, USA; Georgia defensive lineman Nolan Smith (DL45) participates in drills during the NFL combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Florida quarterback Anthony Richardson: He was one of the biggest winners in Indianapolis after a performance for the ages.

Georgia interior defensive lineman Jalen Carter: Once seen as a top prospect in the draft, Carter now faces legal issues that cloud his draft status.

Ohio State wide receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba: He reminded everyone why he’s one of the best receivers in the draft with a strong showing in Indianapolis.

Estimated Reading Time: 11 mins

The 2023 NFL Scouting Combine has come and gone, with more than 300 prospects showing off their athleticism to all 32 NFL teams.

While certainly not as important as tape evaluation, the combine can significantly bump prospects up and down teams’ draft boards. Here are the biggest winners and losers at every position from the 2023 NFL Scouting Combine.


Quarterback

Stock Up: Anthony Richardson, Florida Gators

Richardson put on a show for the ages in Indianapolis.

He broke the combine record for quarterbacks in both the vertical (40.5 inches) and broad jumps (10-foot-9). Then, he ran a 4.43-second 40-yard dash, the fourth-fastest time ever recorded by a quarterback. After that, he showed off his bazooka of a right arm that will immediately be one of the strongest in the league.

Richardson did all of that while measuring in with a monstrous 6-foot-4, 244-pound frame. He has some of the freakiest tools ever seen at the quarterback position and is making a strong push to go in the top five when it’s all said and done.

Stock Down: Bryce Young, Alabama Crimson Tide

Take this one with a grain of salt. The only reason Young is here is that he didn’t participate in any on-field drills as the other top quarterback prospects shined.

His measurements were the most anticipated numbers of the week, and he came in at 5-foot-10 and 204 pounds. Young is still the top overall prospect in our eyes, regardless of his stature, but other teams may look elsewhere. 


Running Back

Stock Up: Deneric Prince, Tulsa Golden Hurricane

Prince came to Indianapolis outside the top 300 prospects on PFF’s big board but leaves it as the biggest winner at the running back position.

He came in at a solid 6-foot and 216 pounds before posting a blazing 4.41-second 40-yard dash with a 1.53-second 10-yard split. Both numbers are above the 93rd percentile for running backs. He was previously projected as an undrafted free agent but now will almost certainly hear his name called in the draft.

Stock Down: Kenny McIntosh, Georgia Bulldogs

McIntosh led all FBS running backs with an 86.9 receiving grade this past season, but his testing raises some doubts about his NFL future.

At a slight 204 pounds, he ran only a 4.62-second 40-yard dash. Both his weight and 40 time were below the 48th percentile for running backs.


Wide Receiver

Stock Up: Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Ohio State Buckeyes

Smith-Njigba played only 60 snaps this past season due to a nagging hamstring injury, but he reminded everyone at the combine why he’s still one of the best wide receivers in the draft.

JSN showed off his incredible agility with a 6.57-second three-cone — nearly 0.3 seconds faster than the next best time. His 6.57-second 20-yard shuttle was also nearly 0.2 seconds faster than second place. Smith-Njigba’s 10-foot-5 broad jump was also in the 84th percentile for his position. Those numbers will only help his case in a wide-open receiver class.

Stock Down: Kayshon Boutte, LSU Tigers

Like Smith-Njigba, Boutte had a disappointing junior season after entering the campaign as one of the top receiver prospects. Unlike JSN, though, Boutte only created more questions after a disappointing combine performance.

He especially struggled in the jumps, as his vertical (29 inches) was only in the 5th percentile for wide receivers, while his broad jump (9-foot-10) placed in the 45th percentile. It also didn’t help that he came in smaller than expected at 5-foot-11 and 195 pounds.

Once thought of as a potential top-10 pick, Boutte will likely not hear his name called before the third round after these numbers and a suspect final season.


Tight End

Stock Up: Zack Kuntz, Old Dominion Monarchs

There were plenty of tight ends to choose from here, as both Luke Musgrave and Darnell Washington had stellar performances.

However, Kuntz turned in one of the greatest modern-day combine performances at tight end. The Penn State transfer placed in at least the 95th percentile for the 40-yard dash, 10-yard split, vertical jump, broad jump, 20-yard shuttle and three-cone. He also became the tallest prospect ever (6-foot-7) to record a 40-inch vertical.

Kuntz was seen as a sixth-round prospect on PFF’s big board before the combine, but this sort of performance should push him much higher.

Stock Down: Michael Mayer, Notre Dame Fighting Irish

Nearly every tight end tested well, including Mayer. So like the quarterback position, the “stock down” label shouldn’t be taken too literally.

However, Mayer is battling a few players for the TE1 title in the 2023 NFL Draft. With two of those challengers, Luke Musgrave and Darnell Washington, testing out of this world, Mayer could fall behind for some teams as a good, not great athlete. 


Offensive Tackle

Stock Up: Blake Freeland, BYU Cougars

Freeland set an offensive lineman record at the combine with a 37-inch vertical — the same number as projected first-round running back Bijan Robinson. His 10-foot broad jump also tied for the fourth-best mark ever by an offensive lineman, while his 1.68-second 10-yard split tied for seventh.

Freeland was seen as a fifth-round prospect by PFF before this performance, but his stock is now on the rise.

Stock Down: Peter Skoronski, Northwestern Wildcats

Skoronski tested very well at the combine, but his most important number didn’t come in any drills.

Skoronski only came in with 32 1/4-inch arms, which will have many questioning whether he can stay at tackle or be forced inside to guard. Since PFF’s inception in 2006, only seven offensive tackles have played 400-plus snaps in an NFL season with arms that short. Only two, Braden Smith and Justin Pugh, graded out above 70.0 in a season. Skoronski’s dominant tape warrants giving him a shot at tackle, but teams could opt for the more toolsy tackles at the top of the draft.


Interior Offensive Lineman

Stock Up: Jon Gaines II, UCLA Bruins

Gaines put on a show at the combine.

His 40-yard dash, 10-yard split, vertical jump, broad jump, 20-yard shuttle and three-cone were all above the 94th percentile for guards. His 7.31-second three-cone tied for seventh all time for interior offensive linemen. He wasn’t among the 318 prospects on PFF’s big board before this week, but that should change after this dominant performance. 

Stock Down: John Michael Schmitz, Minnesota Golden Gophers

Schmitz dominated this past season, as his 92.3 grade was more than two points higher than the next closest center in the country.

However, he struggled at the combine. The most surprising measurement was his weight. Minnesota listed him at 320 pounds, but he came in nearly 20 pounds lighter at 301. His slimmer frame didn’t translate to better numbers, as he ran only a 5.35-second 40-yard dash with a 1.85-second 10-yard split. Both times were below the 42nd percentile for centers. He should still be one of the best centers in the draft, regardless, but could’ve cemented his case as the best with a stronger performance.


Interior Defensive Lineman

Stock Up: Calijah Kancey, Pittsburgh Panthers

Kancey is undersized for the position at 6-foot-1 and 281 pounds with 30 5/8-inch arms. He more than makes up for it in explosiveness with a 4.67-second 40-yard dash and a 1.64-second 10-yard split, the former being the fastest time recorded by a defensive tackle.

Kancey backs up that twitch on tape, as he led all interior defensive linemen in the country this past season in pressure rate (18.1%) and paced the Power Five at the position in pass-rush win rate (22.2%). It appears Kancey will hear his name called in the top half of the first round come April.

Stock Down: Jalen Carter, Georgia Bulldogs

The biggest story of the 2023 NFL Scouting Combine didn’t come via any measurements or testing.

Less than an hour before Carter was set to take the podium and answer questions from the media, it was reported that he faced misdemeanor charges for reckless driving and racing in connection to a January crash that killed a fellow Georgia football player and a recruiting staff member. He promptly returned to Athens, Georgia, where he was booked into jail before posting bond. His arraignment hearing is set for April 18, nine days before the draft.

Carter was the favorite to be the first non-quarterback selected, but his draft status is now up in the air.

https://twitter.com/breadmanjalen/status/1630994706795581440?s=20


Edge Defender

Stock Up: Nolan Smith, Georgia Bulldogs

Smith reminded everyone in Indianapolis why he was a former No. 1 overall recruit.

He tested in at least the 98th percentile in his 40-yard dash, 10-yard split, vertical jump and broad jump. His 4.39-second 40 time is the second-fastest mark for a defensive lineman in the combine since 2003. Smith is small at 6-foot-2 and 238 pounds, but this performance essentially locks him in as a first-round pick.

Stock Down: Andre Carter II, Army Black Knights

As the No. 24 prospect on PFF’s big board heading into the combine, Carter had the potential to become the first first-round pick from a service academy since 1947.

That streak looks like it’ll now be extended even further. His muscle mass was the biggest negative in his profile in PFF’s Draft Guide, and that was proven with just 11 reps on the bench press. That number stands below the 3rd percentile for edge defenders. His vertical jump and broad jump were both below the 32nd percentile for his position, as well. 


Linebacker

Stock Up: Jack Campbell, Iowa Hawkeyes

As the highest-graded Power Five linebacker this past season (91.7), Campbell was seen as a high-floor player with a relatively low ceiling due to a perceived lack of athleticism.

He put all of those athleticism questions to bed with a stellar combine effort. The 2022 Butkus Award winner has elite size for the position at 6-foot-5 and 249 pounds. He also tested above the 82nd percentile for his position in the 10-yard split, vertical jump, broad jump, three-cone and short shuttle. In particular, his three-cone (6.74 seconds) and broad jump (10-foot-8) were above the 97th percentile for linebackers.

With both fantastic tape and elite athleticism, Campbell has a strong case to be the top linebacker in the 2023 NFL Draft.

Stock Down: Cam Jones, Indiana Hoosiers

At 6-foot-1, Jones came in two inches shorter than his listed height of 6-foot-3 at Indiana. Both his weight (226 pounds) and bench press results (17 reps) did nothing to help his size concerns, as both numbers are below the 30th percentile for linebackers.

Jones’ 40-yard dash (4.69 seconds) and vertical jump (33 inches) are both good, not great numbers. For an undersized linebacker, you’d like to see more explosiveness so as to feel good about their role in the NFL. Jones was a fourth-round prospect on PFF’s big board before the combine, but that’ll likely drop after this weekend.


Cornerback

Stock Up: Deonte Banks, Maryland Terrapins

Banks had been a late riser on PFF’s draft board before the combine, ranking 23rd. He now comes in at No. 18 after his unbelievable performance in Indianapolis.

Banks tested above the 96th percentile for cornerbacks in the 40-yard dash, 10-yard split, vertical jump and broad jump. His 11-foot-4 broad tied for third all time among cornerbacks. He’s the best athlete at the cornerback position in this year’s class and could be a top-20 pick.

Stock Down: Clark Phillips III, Utah Utes

Phillips was one of the best ball hawks in the country this past season, as his six interceptions tied for the most among Power Five players.

His testing wasn’t nearly as impressive as his tape, though. Phillips came in very undersized for the position at 5-foot-9 and 184 pounds. His vertical jump (33 inches) and 20-yard shuttle (4.32 seconds) were both below the 38th percentile for cornerbacks. He’ll likely hear his name called on Day 2.


Safety

Stock Up: Sydney Brown, Illinois Fighting Illini

Like Clark Phillips III, Brown picked off six passes last year. Unlike Phillips, though, Brown was a big winner from the combine.

Despite coming in at just 5-foot-10, he has a rocked-up build at 211 pounds. He also tested above the 93rd percentile for safeties in the bench press, 40-yard dash, 10-yard split, vertical jump and broad jump. He proved incredibly explosive, as his 10-yard split (1.51 seconds), vertical jump (40.5 inches) and broad jump (10-foot-10) were all above the 97th percentile. Brown should be a second-round pick come April. 

Stock Down: Christopher Smith, Georgia Bulldogs

Smith is one of the most experienced players in this class, slotting in as a starting safety for the back-to-back champs in each of the past three seasons.

His combine was one to forget, though. Smith is very undersized for the position at 5-foot-11 and 192 pounds. He didn’t make up for his lack of stature, either, as his 40-yard dash (4.62 seconds), vertical jump (33 inches) and broad jump (9-foot-8) were all below the 46th percentile for safeties. Smith could slip to Day 3 after his week in Indianapolis.

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