Over 300 players from more than 100 schools took part in the 2023 NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis this past week. The medical checks are in, the measurements are recorded, and the interviews are logged in the books. NFL talent evaluators now have another piece of the puzzle in their overall evaluation process leading up to the NFL Draft next month.
The game film is still the ultimate evaluator, but some players really helped themselves down in Indy, while others forced teams to go back to the tape to see why the measurables maybe didn't match the tape.
Here's a look at 10 players who really impressed at the Combine:
1. QB Anthony Richardson, Florida
Richardson put on an athletic performance not typically seen from the quarterback position. He set the Combine record for quarterbacks with a 40.5-inch vertical and 10'9" broad jump and finished fourth all-time for the position with a 4.44 in the 40. That from a guy who measured in at 6-foot-4, 244 pounds. There were some inaccuracies in throwing drills, but that's the big question mark on Richardson heading into the draft.
View photos of the quarterbacks at the 2023 NFL Scouting Combine.
2. DT Calijah Kancey, Pittsburgh
When a player leaves Indy and starts to get comparisons to Aaron Donald, I'd say he won the week. Kancey (6-1, 281) ran the fastest 40 (4.67) by a defensive tackle since 2003. He's got a wicked first step and is explosive. His 40 time matches the tape where he posted 14.5 sacks and 27.5 tackles for loss the last two years. He's likely headed for the first round.
3. EDGE Nolan Smith, Georgia
Smith blazed a 4.39 in the 40 at 6-foot-2, 238 pounds. He also sported a 41.5-inch vertical and 10'8" broad jump. He's being compared to talented Eagles edge rusher Haason Reddick because of his athletic profile and movement skills.
4. DL Adetomiwa Adebawore, Northwestern
He came in at 6-foot-2 and 282 pounds, and put on a show with a 4.54 in the 40, 1.61 seconds as a 10-yard split, a 37.5-inch vertical and a 10'5" broad jump. Adebawore's 40 time was faster than Aidan Hutchinson's last season. He can play inside because of his size and certainly on the edge with those athletic numbers. He really helped his cause.
5. S Jartavius Martin, Illinois
His 44-inch vertical leap topped all defensive players at this year's Combine, and he complemented that with an 11'1" broad jump (first among safeties) and a 4.46 40-yard dash (third). Martin has a ton of versatility to play safety or corner, and teams will love that about him leading up to the draft.
6. QB C.J. Stroud, Ohio State
Stroud took advantage of Alabama quarterback Bryce Young not taking part in throwing drills and was clearly the most consistent throwing at the Combine. He's 6-foot-3, 214 pounds, and the ball jumps off his hand with extreme accuracy. He had one of the better throwing sessions from a quarterback in some time.
7. OL Blake Freeland, BYU
Freeland measured in at 6-foot-8 and 302 pounds but also received the highest athleticism score among the o-linemen in Indy after finishing third in the 40 (4.98), first in the vertical (37 inches) and first in the broad jump (10'10"). Next up is to add some weight and strength to his frame, but that shouldn't be a problem when he gets into an NFL program.
View photos of the defensive backs at the 2023 NFL Scouting Combine.
8. CB Christian Gonzalez, Oregon
Gonzalez (6-1, 197) came to Indy to show off his athletic traits and smooth DB skills, and he did just that. His 40 (4.38), broad jump (11'1") and vertical (41.5) all matched the athleticism he shows on tape. He was smooth in drills and solidified himself as one of the top cornerbacks in the class.
9. TE Zack Kuntz, Old Dominion
This is the best tight end class in probably a decade, and Kuntz is a guy who may have put himself in the Day 2 conversation with his Combine performance. He's 6-foot-7, 255 pounds, and ran the 40 in 4.55 seconds (second among tight ends) and was tops among the tight ends in the vertical (40.0), broad jump (10.8") and bench (23). He was the tallest prospect to jump at least 40 inches in the vertical since 2003. Talk about a big catch radius.
10. CB Deonte Banks, Maryland
Running 4.35 in the 40 with a 42-inch vertical and 11-foot-4 broad jump will get you noticed, especially when you measure in at 6-foot, 197 pounds. Banks might have worked himself into the second half of the first round with his performance in Indy.