The NFL scouting combine has concluded. A good number of prospects for the NFL Draft have officially completed the collegiate all-star games and combine. This means that only pro days, private workouts, and meetings remain until the actual NFL Draft on April 27. Let’s look back on who impressed and who didn’t from the last week in Indianapolis before moving on to what remains for draft prospects in the coming months. Here we’ll look at the biggest winners and losers coming out of the 2023 NFL Scouting Combine, including CJ Stroud.
Now is the time to analyze and examine the events that took place during the 2023 NFL Scouting Combine. During a busy week in Indianapolis, numerous potential draft picks elevated their draft status with exceptional measurements, athletic tests, and workouts. Conversely, some prospects are now slipping down the draft boards after experiencing difficulties in crucial areas. Therefore, it is important to determine which players improved the most during the combine and who needs to put in more effort during their upcoming pro days.
Let’s look at the biggest winners and losers coming out of the 2023 NFL Scouting Combine, including CJ Stroud.
Could CJ Stroud outshine Bryce Young and become the top pick for a quarterback in the draft? During his interview, Stroud demonstrated self-assurance by stating,
“I believe I have been the greatest player in college football for two consecutive years.”
Stroud backed up his claim with a remarkable throwing session that exhibited the accuracy of a potential franchise quarterback. With a 69.3 percent completion rate over the last two seasons with the Buckeyes, Stroud is making quite an impression. Of course, recall his impressive performance against Georgia in the College Football Playoff semifinals. That’s still fresh in people’s minds. He even connected with his former OSU teammate Jaxon Smith-Njigba during the combine.
C.J. Stroud to Jaxon Smith-Njigba. Just like old times. pic.twitter.com/mU1NJrDPhd
— Eleven Warriors (@11W) March 4, 2023
Despite arriving at the combine with perhaps the greatest amount of excitement surrounding any prospect, Anthony Richardson somehow managed to exceed the buzz that surrounds him. The 6’4 QB established combine records for quarterbacks with his 40 ½-inch vertical leap and 10-9 broad jump. However, the most remarkable number was his 4.43-second 40-yard dash, which is the fourth-best time for a passer since 2003. Additionally, his throwing session showcased his otherworldly arm strength as well as his still-improving accuracy. Sure, a combine workout can only provide a tiny fraction of the meaningful factors required for a productive quarterback. Still, it is evident that there is no other player in the NFL who can compare to Richardson. That’s even during a time when his skill set is in high demand.
At 6’4 and weighing 229 pounds, Will Levis has a prototypical size for an NFL QB. He also maintained control during the throwing portion of his exercise. His arm power (maximum ball speed of 59 mph) was expected. However, his precision on intermediate throws stood out even more. Levis solidified his position as a top-10 selection.
Running back Chase Brown showcased an impressive performance at the combine by running a 4.43-second 40-yard dash and excelling in other drills. He achieved a 40-inch vertical jump and a 10-7 broad jump. Additionally, his 10-yard split of 1.53 was only slightly behind Robinson’s 1.52. Furthermore, Brown’s excellent college stats cannot be overlooked. He amassed 2,648 yards and 15 touchdowns with Illinois over the last two seasons. Despite being a five-year college player, he still possesses significant value and could provide immediate production.
During Day 4, 6’8, 302-pound tackle Blake Freeland from BYU showcased his first-round-level athleticism while working with the first group of offensive linemen. He ran the 40-yard dash in 4.98 seconds with a 10-yard split of 1.68 seconds. Additionally, he achieved a 37-inch vertical jump and a 10-0 broad jump. He basically provided an all-around performance that aligned with his previous tape and turned a lot of heads.
Weighing in at 182 pounds and standing at 5’9, Zay Flowers proved himself during the combine by running the 40-yard dash in 4.42 seconds. He also achieved a 35.5-inch vertical jump, which is comparable to Jaxon Smith-Njigba from Ohio State. Additionally, Flowers displayed impressive route-running skills during the on-field drills. With 200 receptions during his four-year tenure at Boston College, he is certainly a noteworthy prospect.
Kayshon Boutte was considered a potential first-round pick due to his ability to make plays both deep and after catching the ball. However, his performance in his junior season was not up to par. As such, he needed to prove himself at the combine. Unfortunately, Boutte’s 29-inch vertical jump, 9-10 broad jump, and 4.50-second 40-yard dash were not impressive. He also appears to be far from the player he was early in his career. As a result, Boutte’s draft stock may fall.
LSU WR Kayshon Boutte runs a 4.50 #2023NFLCombine pic.twitter.com/ezRIklnXOC
— Coach K | Keith Sanchez (@TheTalentCode) March 4, 2023
For an edge rusher, having exceptional athleticism is crucial. Mike Morris did not meet this requirement with his 4.95-second 40-yard dash, 28 ½-inch vertical leap, and 9-2 broad jump. Moreover, his performance in the workout did not dispel concerns as he appeared stiff throughout. Morris’s size (6’5, 275 pounds) and strength may enable him to remain with a team for a while. However, he may struggle to find opportunities to improve as a pass rusher at the pro level.
Jordan Addison’s impressive college career at USC and Pitt saw him score 26 touchdowns in his last 25 games. However, his size and weight (5’11, 173 pounds) might cause some concerns for evaluators. This is especially after his average testing results (4.49-second 40-yard dash and 34-inch vertical). Nevertheless, Addison’s quick acceleration and intelligence might still make him an attractive option for teams in the later rounds of the draft.
Andre Carter II
Due to his Army commitments, Andre Carter II couldn’t train as much as his counterparts leading up to the event. Maybe that explains his last-place finish among edge rushers in the bench press. However, his subpar vertical leap (30 inches) and broad jump (9-1) could be cause for concern about his athleticism. With his sacks dropping from 15 ½ in 2021 to 3 ½ last year, this trend could hurt his draft stock in a significant way.
Clark Phillips III
Clark Phillips III had a strong performance during combine drills. However, his height (5’9) and short arms could limit his potential as an outside corner. His recorded 4.51-second 40-yard dash might also limit the roles teams will put him in. Although Phillips had six interceptions last season, his physical limitations could affect his draft stock. Teams may then choose to prioritize potentially faster and more versatile cornerbacks ahead of him.