I want to preface this article by saying I do not watch college football. Therefore, most of what I know about the National Football League (NFL) draft prospects comes from what I have read and highlight videos I have watched. I do think the NFL drafting process is very interesting and the NFL Combine makes everything even more fun to follow. This year’s NFL Combine had some jaw dropping performances that really may make a difference in a player’s draft stock.
Let’s start on offense. Former Florida Gators quarterback Anthony Richardson really stole the show. Everyone knew that he was a really good athlete, but the NFL Combine just wowed everyone. He broke the record for vertical jump and broad jump for a quarterback. He also ran a 4.43 second 40 yard dash, which was the fourth fastest time from a quarterback at the Combine. On top of that, he measured in at six foot four and 244 pounds. Richardson has the most boom or bust potential I have seen in a while. He has some accuracy problems which is definitely a concern, but if he can figure out some consistency there, he is going to be really good. His Combine performance probably moved him to a top 10 pick in the draft. Some of the other quarterbacks were pretty good too. C.J. Stroud threw the ball really well. Tyson Bagent was really good in the throwing drills. On the offensive line, Blake Freeland from Brigham Young University had a great all-around performance. He 100% boosted his draft stock. Andrew Vorhees from the University of Southern California tore his anterior cruciate ligament during a drill. Then the next day he came back and had the most bench press reps at the Combine with just one leg. Jaxon Smith-Njigba showed why he is the best wide receiver in the class. He did not run a 40 yard dash; however he did the three-cone drill and short shuttle drill, both of which he had the fastest times. He clearly is an incredible route runner, which is needed in the NFL. Darnell Washington from the University of Georgia was also amazing. At six foot seven inches and 264 pounds, he ran a 4.64 40 yard dash and also the third best short shuttle drill. The third best short shuttle as a tight end is unbelievable. He is an unreal athlete and will now probably go in the first or second round. At running back nothing stood out to me besides the fact that Kansas State running back Deuce Vaughn was measured to be five foot five.
On defense there were again a lot of really strong performances. To start, one of the best players, Jalen Carter was charged with reckless driving and racing. He left the combine and came back later to talk to the teams. I have no idea how this is going to impact his draft stock. It should lower it, but NFL teams may ignore it considering he’s a great player. Now back to the positives. Nolan Smith from Georgia had a really good Combine performance. He ran a 4.39 second 40 yard dash as an edge rusher. His vertical jump was also the best in the edge rushers group. All around he showed how great of an athlete he is. Considering how Travon Walker got drafted number one overall based on his potential, I would not be surprised if teams moved Smith up their draft boards as well. There were a bunch of defensive linemen that had really fast 40 times. Byron Young from the University of Tennessee had a 4.43 second 40 yard dash. Northwestern University defensive lineman Adetomiwa Adebawore somehow ran a 4.49 second 40 yard dash at 280 pounds. He is an absurdly good athlete. The defensive backs also showed off their speed. D.J. Turner from the University of Michigan ran the fastest 40 yard dash at 4.26 seconds. A pair of cornerbacks from the University of Maryland were in the top four. Jakorian Bennett and Deonte Banks ran 4.30 and 4.35 second 40s. Banks is now projected to possibly go in the first round. Kelee Ringo from the University of Georgia has been slipping on some mock drafts this year. However, his 4.36 second 40 yard dash may boost his draft stock. I could go on and on about how fast some of these guys are. This is definitely a very athletic group of defenders this year.
I know I have gone on about 40 yard dash times, but speed is key in the NFL. The top prospects in this year’s draft class are a little bit less consistent compared to previous years, however I think this year has some really good athletes. I definitely missed some highlights, but I do know that this is going to be a fun NFL draft season. NFL Combine highlights