INDIANAPOLIS -- The final day of workouts at the 2023 NFL Scouting Combine is in the books, with running backs and offensive linemen taking center stage on Sunday.
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.
Chase Brown ran even faster than his brother, Sydney, a safety prospect who did quite well on Friday night with the combine defensive back group. Chase’s 4.43-second 40-yard dash exceeded my expectations. He led all combine running backs with his 40-inch vertical and 10-foot-7 broad jump. Brown was solid during on-field drills, making cuts and catching passes with more fluidity than some of his fellow combine RBs. He's not going to break a lot of ankles in the NFL but I believe he displayed the speed and just enough shiftiness to be picked on Day 2 of the draft.
Freeland is still filling out his 6-7 7/8, 302-pound frame. He literally jumped into the spotlight by recording a 37-inch vertical jump, the best mark for a combine offensive lineman since at least 2003. He also posted a 10-foot broad jump, ran a 4.98-second 40 with an excellent 1.68-second 10-yard split and recorded a nice 7.46-second three-cone time. Freeland's work in on-field drills was a bit uneven, with his agility shining through at times but his narrow base causing issues when he was asked to cover ground in pass protection drills. He does not look like a top-50 pick to me, but the athleticism he showed off on Sunday should land him a spot later on Day 2 of the draft.
Gaines' athleticism stood out during his Bruins career, mostly from the right guard spot but he took snaps at the four other positions on the offensive line, too. The 6-foot-4 lineman has good length for the guard position (33 5/8-inch arm). His 1.73-second 10-yard split, 5.01-second 40, 32 1/2-inch vertical and 9-foot-6 broad jump at 303 pounds matched up with what he showed on film. Gaines led all of this year’s combine offensive linemen with a 7.31-second three-cone drill and 4.45-second 20-yard shuttle. He moved as fluidly as any lineman, with a low center of gravity that should entice NFL O-line coaches looking for interior blockers.
Gibbs weighed in at 199 pounds, which is satisfactory for the type of rushing/receiving role he’s projected to play in the NFL. His 4.36-second 40 confirmed his straight-line speed, and his fluid movement during position drills was impressive. Gibbs caught nearly every pass thrown his way, showing the flexibility and footwork to quickly turn upfield. He couldn't quite bring in one deep throw but got another chance and took advantage. I believe he completed the task of locking up the RB2 spot in this year’s draft, behind Texas’ Bijan Robinson.
Jones surprised on Sunday by measuring 6-foot-5 3/8 despite being listed at 6-4 on the Georgia football website. He weighed in at 311 pounds, ran the fastest 40-yard dash among this year’s combine offensive linemen (4.97 seconds) and posted solid results in the jumps (30 inches in the vertical, 9-foot broad jump). Also, he met NFL left tackle standards with his other measurements (34 3/4-inch arm, 10 5/8-inch hand, 82 3/4-inch wingspan). On the field, he popped out of a three-point stance and showed plenty of mobility. Teams should like his combine performance and the nasty attitude he displayed playing left tackle for the reigning national champions.
Sow was one of my favorite senior offensive linemen throughout the 2022 season and he did not disappoint with his efforts in Indianapolis. Teams will love his 33 5/8-inch arm and 10 3/8-inch hand measurements, 32-inch vertical and 5.07 40-yard dash. The 6-foot-5, 323-pound guard looked fluid in position drills on Sunday, maintaining a low center of gravity and moving quickly around cones. Sow's heavy hands popped the pads, as well, which was no surprise given the power he shows on the field. Don't be surprised if he is picked in the third round or very early in the fourth round.
Bigsby needed to have an excellent combine showing to separate himself from a load of talented middle-tier ball-carriers in this year’s draft class. However, his 4.56-second 40, 32 1/2-inch vertical and 9-foot-11 broad jump did not stand out. Bigsby's work in the position drills was fine, but scouts usually notice when a guy is just a tick less fluid than the other top backs.
Duncan came into the 2022 season with a chance to emerge as the top senior left tackle in the draft class. His performance last fall was uneven, however, and I don’t expect his combine performance to boost his stock. His arm length (33 5/8 inches) and wingspan (79 1/8 inches) are adequate for the position. After posting good numbers in the explosiveness testing (31 1/2-inch vertical, 9-foot-5 broad jump), Duncan ran an ordinary 5.10 40 at 306 pounds and did not participate in the position drills, telling NFL Network’s Charles Davis he was dealing with an Achilles issue. Unfortunately, I don't think he'll get the bounce he needed from the combine to offset his inconsistent 2022 play.
No one expected Jones to be extraordinarily nimble at 6-8, 374 pounds and some teams might value his pure size (36 3/8-inch arm, 11 5/8-inch hand). However, I believe he needed to have an outstanding combine performance approaching that of Mekhi Becton’s in 2020 to secure a spot in Round 1. He ran an adequate 40 time (5.35 seconds) for his size but did not participate in short-area quickness tests, where he could have set aside the narrative that he possesses limited short-area agility. He will likely be a Day 2 pick, but I don’t anticipate his stock seeing a boost coming out of the combine.
At 6-foot-0, 204 pounds, McIntosh has good size for the running back position, but he had just 280 carries in four seasons with Georgia because of the team's depth. He did not post a great number in the 40-yard dash (4.62 seconds) on Sunday and didn’t participate in other testing. His lack of explosiveness also appeared in drills, and he did not have a burst in the open field. His performance won’t help him lock up a spot in the top 100 picks.