- Need a quarterback? You’re in luck: Anthony Richardson, C.J. Stroud and Will Levis all had fantastic weeks at the combine, which bodes well for quarterback-needy teams.
- Does size matter?: Both Bryce Young and Peter Skoronski came in with well below-average measurements, but each has stellar tape.
- Jaxon Smith-Njigba is so back: The Ohio State wide receiver made a strong case for WR1 by showing off his unreal agility at the combine.
Estimated reading time: 6 minutes
With the 2023 NFL scouting combine in the books, it’s time to see who made some money and who lost some cash.
Here are the biggest winners and losers on the offensive side of the ball from Indianapolis.
Winner: Teams needing a quarterback
The signal-callers in Indianapolis put on a spectacle.
The obvious top performer was Anthony Richardson, who redefined what people thought a quarterback was capable of athletically. At 6-foot-4 and 244 pounds, the Florida signal-caller broke the combine record for quarterbacks with a 40.5-inch vertical and a 10-foot-9 broad jump. His 4.43-second 40-yard dash was also the fourth-fastest time ever recorded by a quarterback.
Richardson wasn’t the only top quarterback prospect who impressed, as C.J. Stroud and Will Levis each had strong throwing sessions. Including Bryce Young, there are now four quarterbacks within PFF’s top-six prospects in the 2023 NFL Draft.
Anthony Richardson at the NFL Combine:
???? 40.5” vertical (1st all-time for QBs)
???? 10’09” broad (1st all-time for QBs)
???? 4.43 forty (4th all-time for QBs)
All of that with a 6-4, 244 pound frame and a bazooka attached to his right shoulder.
Unlimited ceiling. pic.twitter.com/IViWtQcJpK
— Max Chadwick (@Chad_Maxwick) March 4, 2023
Loser: How much does size matter?
Speaking of Young, he was the only one of the consensus top-four quarterbacks who didn’t participate in any on-field drills. The top prospect on PFF’s big board still made waves though when he measured in at 5-foot-10 and 204 pounds. Since PFF began in 2006, the only quarterback that short who’s taken more than 10 snaps was Kyler Murray. The only ones that light who played 400-plus snaps in a season were Jeff Garcia and Seneca Wallace. Young is a physical outlier, but so is his performance on the field. The question is whether teams will opt for the more physically imposing quarterbacks after they all looked so good at the combine.
Like Young, Peter Skoronski entered the combine as one of the most dominant players in this class. His 93.0 pass-blocking grade led all tackles in the country this past season. However, Skoronski’s 32 ¼-inch arms could give teams pause over whether he can stick at tackle long-term. Only seven offensive tackles in the PFF era have played 400-plus snaps in a season with arms that short. Only two, Braden Smith and Justin Pugh, graded above 70 in a season. Skoronski’s dominant tape warrants giving him a shot at a tackle, but wary teams could opt for the tackles with better tools at the top of the draft.
Winner: The offensive tackle/tight end class
Those toolsy tackles were in abundance in Indianapolis. BYU’s Blake Freeland wowed everybody with a 37-inch vertical that broke the combine record for offensive linemen. Potential first-rounders Broderick Jones, Anton Harrison and Darnell Wright all tested very well at their position. That’s not even mentioning the potential OT1, Paris Johnson Jr., who only did a broad jump but came in with 36 ⅛-inch arms, 97th percentile for offensive tackles.
The tight ends turned in even more impressive performances. Old Dominion’s Zack Kuntz, in particular, stole the show with one of the greatest combine performances we’ve ever seen at the tight end position. The Penn State transfer was at least in the 95th percentile for the 40-yard dash, 10-yard split, vertical jump, broad jump, 20-yard shuttle and three-cone drill. In particular, he became the tallest prospect ever (6-foot-7) to record a 40-inch vertical. Two of the top tight end prospects, Luke Musgrave and Darnell Washington, each put up similarly excellent performances themselves.
.@ODUFootball TE Zack Kuntz is the tallest player (6' 7 3/8") with a 40+ inch vertical jump at the Combine since 2003. ????
????: #NFLCombine on @nflnetwork
????: Stream on NFL+ pic.twitter.com/7v68TKRbNJ
— NFL (@NFL) March 4, 2023
Loser: The preseason top wide receivers…
Heading into the 2022 season, two of the top wide receiver prospects were LSU’s Kayshon Boutte and USC’s Jordan Addison, as each didn’t look the part as much at the combine.
Boutte is coming off a very disappointing junior season where he only had a 64.8 grade. He only created more questions after a disappointing combine performance. Boutte especially struggled in the jumps, as his vertical jump (29 inches) was only in the fifth percentile for wide receivers while his broad jump (9-foot-10) was only in the 45th percentile. It also didn’t help that he came in smaller than expected at 5-foot-11 and 195 pounds.
Addison wasn’t as dominant as he was in 2021, but he at least still recorded an 81.5 grade. However, he tested as an average athlete at the combine. The Pittsburgh transfer only came in at 5-foot-11 and 171 pounds, and his 34-inch vertical fell below the 50th percentile for wide receivers. Despite being undersized, he still only ran a good but not great 40-yard dash (4.49 seconds).
Winner: …except Jaxon Smith-Njigba
Smith-Njigba led all Power Five receivers in 2021 in grade (91.7) and receiving yards (1,595). However, he only played 60 snaps this past season due to a nagging hamstring injury. At the combine, though, he reminded everyone why he’s still one of the best wide receiver prospects in the draft.
JSN showed off his incredible agility with a 6.57-second three-cone that was nearly 0.3 seconds faster than the next-fastest time. His 6.57-second 20-yard shuttle was also nearly 0.2 seconds faster than the next best. 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 what’s a wide-open receiver class.
Loser: The top interior offensive linemen
It wasn’t necessarily a banner day for the highest-graded interior offensive linemen from this past season.
Minnesota center John Michael Schmitz’s 92.3 grade was over two points higher than the next-closest center in the country in 2022.
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 testing better as he only ran a 5.35-second 40-yard dash with a 1.85-second 10-yard split. Both of those 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.
Florida’s O’Cyrus Torrence posted an 88.0 grade that was nearly four points higher than the next-closest guard in college football. He was about average at the combine though. The Louisiana transfer was below the 57th percentile for guards in the 40-yard dash, 10-yard split, vertical jump, broad jump and 20-yard shuttle. His 23.5-inch vertical was below the 16th percentile for guards.
Each should remain among the best prospects at their positions, they just might not be seen as the slam-dunks anymore.
Finally, USC guard Andrew Vorhees is feared to have suffered a torn ACL during his workout at the combine, which is a brutal blow to the nation’s third-highest-graded guard over the last two seasons (91.6).