INDIANAPOLIS -- The third night of workouts at the 2023 NFL Scouting Combine is in the books, with quarterbacks, wide receivers and tight ends taking center stage on Saturday.
While several prospects chose not to perform all of the athleticism tests, many of those who partook in the events at Lucas Oil Stadium wowed scouts with their speed in the 40-yard dash, their agility in shuttle drills and their explosiveness in the broad and vertical jumps. Some exceeded expectations, causing their draft stock to rise; others displayed flaws in their speed and/or athleticism (or chose not to perform), hurting their chances of being selected on Day 1 or Day 2 when the draft begins in Kansas City, Missouri (April 27-29).
Below, I list six former college stars who undoubtedly impressed the league's personnel decision-makers with their test results and on-field performance. I also list four players who could use a strong effort at their school's pro day to leave the most favorable impression possible before the draft.
Flowers is not a big receiver at 5-foot-9 1/4, 182 pounds, but his 9 1/4-inch hands seemed larger and his 29 1/4-inch arms seemed longer when he was on the field Saturday. He nabbed passes high and low on out routes and brought in deep balls over his shoulder. He checked the box for speed with a 4.42-second 40-yard dash. He didn’t quite show the same explosiveness in his jumps (35 1/2-inch vertical, 10-foot-7 broad jump). Scouts saw how he propelled Boston College's offense last season with excellent body control and quickness after the catch, and Saturday’s performance should bolster his first-round credentials.
Iosivas has a track background, so it wasn't a surprise that he excelled in athleticism tests. His 4.43-second 40-yard dash at 205 pounds confirmed his speed, as did his 39-inch vertical and 10-foot-8 broad jump. His movement during drills was quite smooth for a 6-foot-3 receiver, whether he was running speed-outs or go routes. He was late getting his hands in proper position a few times, but he was still able to cradle the ball behind him to secure the catch.
Kuntz transferred from Penn State to Old Dominion prior to the 2021 season, catching 85 passes in a season and a half for the Monarchs before missing the second half of the 2022 season due to injury. Fully healthy on the Lucas Oil Stadium field Saturday, the 6-7 3/8, 255-pound Kuntz jumped 40 inches in the vertical, 10-foot-8 in the broad jump and then ran a 4.55-second 40-yard dash. He was agile moving around cones during drills, flashed a late burst to the ball downfield and showed the ability to grab passes thrown wide and high. Kuntz let some passes into his chest in the gauntlet drill, but his overall agility and smooth movement truly impressed.
Mims exceeded my expectations with his measurements (5-foot-10 7/8, 183) and still put up an excellent 40 time (4.38 seconds). He impressed with a 39 1/2-inch vertical and 10-foot-9 broad jump, as well. He seemed to fly a bit under the radar nationally despite playing at Oklahoma, but everyone saw him excel in drills. Mims caught every pass thrown his way. His body control was outstanding and he was one of the few receivers able to make a hairpin turn on comeback routes. Time to watch his stock rise.
Richardson was electric inside Lucas Oil Stadium on Saturday. He ran a 4.43 40-yard dash weighing 244 pounds, the fourth-best time by a combine QB since 2003. Also, he jumped like an elite receiver (40 1/2-inch vertical, 10-foot-9 broad jump). The vertical mark was a record for a combine QB since ’03. He quickly shifted his focus to the throwing drills after his 40 run. Richardson threw from a strong base and displayed easy velocity. The ball jumped out of his hand, whether he was firing 65-yard throws or 12-yard outs. The arc on his deep throws was majestic. His placement on outs and fades was not perfect, which matches his film, but Richardson put his alpha ability on display during the workout.
Smith-Njigba appeared in just three games last season because of a nagging hamstring injury. He did not run the 40-yard dash at the combine, and frankly, I don’t anticipate his 40 time affecting my evaluation of him. Smith-Njigba was the smoothest receiver on the field Saturday, moving quickly and efficiently. He easily pulled in passes thrown over his head despite lacking great length (30 1/2-inch arms). The quickness he showed during his collegiate career was apparent in his elite short shuttle (3.93 seconds) and three-cone (6.57 seconds) results. I rate Smith-Njigba as the draft’s top wide receiver, and I believe he showed NFL evaluators he’s deserving of that title.
It was no secret that Addison had a slight build, but he weighed in at 173 pounds, which will not help his draft stock. His hand size of 8 3/4 inches was not a positive, either. Addison's 4.49-second 40 time (1.56 10-yard split), 34-inch vertical and 10-foot-2 broad jump were less than ideal for a smaller receiver. His on-field work showed why he's a first-round prospect, as he looked smooth running routes and making catches before he cut his workout short. He later told NFL Network reporter Stacey Dales that lower-back tightness caused him to shut it down for the day, saying he will be fine and ready for USC’s pro day on March 21, which was great news. While I still expect Addison to be picked in Round 1, I don't believe he has the quick-twitch movement to land a top-10 slot like the similarly sized Jaylen Waddle and Garrett Wilson did in recent years.
Dell is undersized (5-foot-8 3/8, 165 pounds), but he's as tough as any receiver you'll find. However, I believe players of his stature need to look explosive in athletic testing and position drills to have a successful combine. His 4.49-second 40 won’t impress, given his light weight. Dell did not perform the vertical jump and leaped just a 10-foot-1 broad jump (tied for fifth-lowest mark among this year’s combine wide receivers). His hands and routes were inconsistent. He grabbed throws away from his frame, but he fell on speed-outs, which does not match his game tape or the role he will need to play at the next level.
Mayer was never considered one of the elite athletes in this draft class, so his pedestrian testing results (4.70-second 40, 32 1/2-inch vertical, 9-foot-10 broad jump) were not a surprise. He weighed 249 pounds, which is average for the position and makes his testing numbers look even less impressive in comparison with his peers. Mayer did not show quick-twitch movement in drills, either, though he caught everything thrown his way, stayed low moving the blocking sled and showed quick feet getting around cones when he ran routes. He is going to be an excellent NFL player using those hands and strong route-running skills, but the combine is an event focused on athleticism, and his performance did not improve his draft stock.
Coming into the combine, Scott looked to be a potential riser because he showed quick footwork on the field for the Bearcats last season. His 4.44-second 40 time was a bit disappointing considering he weighed in at just 177 pounds, though he performed well in the leaps (39 1/2-inch vertical, 11-foot-1 broad jump). Scott struggled to show he had the juice to reel in passes on the sideline during drills and was inconsistent getting his hands up to catch comeback routes. Of course, teams will place a greater emphasis on his game tape than his combine performance as they make their evaluations, but his efforts in Indianapolis won’t elevate his stock.