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2024 NFL Draft: Spencer Rattler among 10 NFL Scouting Combine standouts to re-examine

Former NFL player and scout Bucky Brooks knows the ins and outs of this league, providing keen insight in his notebook. In today's installment, he takes a look at 10 NFL Scouting Combine stars who should force teams to revisit their game tape ...

The NFL Scouting Combine is an important part of the pre-draft process. Each year the event brings surprises, forcing teams to go back into the lab and compare what we just saw from prospects in the workouts at Lucas Oil Stadium with all the pre-existing game tape. After all, the years of tape should ultimately play a much bigger role in the evaluation process than the smaller sample of athletic testing and position drills we're able to witness at the combine. With that in mind, here are 10 players -- five on offense and five on defense -- who merit a re-examination based on their showing in Indianapolis.


Spencer Rattler
South Carolina · QB · Senior

Rattler has crushed the pre-draft process since the end of last season. After dazzling evaluators with an MVP performance last month at the Reese’s Senior Bowl, Rattler kept the momentum going with a solid throwing exhibition in front of the scouts at the combine. The former five-star recruit is a gunslinger who can vary his velocity and touch based on the defender or pass catcher. Like a Major League Baseball hurler with a vast array of pitches, Rattler’s arm talent should give him a chance to stick on a roster as a developmental prospect. 

Jaylen Wright
Tennessee · RB · Junior

The speedster has been on the rise since posting a 1,000-yard season as the Vols’ RB1 in 2023. Wright’s big-play potential has piqued the interest of coaches and scouts looking for a change-of-pace back to add to the rotation. He was one of the top performers in the combine athletic testing, posting a 4.38-second 40-yard dash to accompany his impressive jumps (38-inch vertical jump and 11-foot-2-inch broad jump). Wright averaged 7.4 yards per carry last season and could be pushing himself up the board as a likely Day 2 pick after evaluators take a closer look at the spectacular playmaker’s game tape.

Ricky Pearsall
Florida · WR · Senior

The silky smooth pass catcher from “The Swamp” is a nightmare to defend in the slot. As a polished route runner with impeccable timing and explosive stop-start quickness, Pearsall can win one-on-one matchups utilizing various stems and releases to twist defenders into knots. While some evaluators might have cast the Florida standout as a luxury selection as a potential WR3, there are plenty of coaches clamoring for a 6-foot-1, 189-pound target with great speed (4.41-second 40-yard dash), explosiveness (42-inch vertical jump; third-best among WRs at the combine) and sticky hands. 

Theo Johnson
Penn State · TE · Senior

It is hard to find tight end prospects with A-plus size and athletic ability. That’s why Johnson could become a late riser in scouting circles after evaluators digest his combine results. The Penn State product measured 6-foot-6 1/8, 259 pounds with 33-inch arms and a 10 1/4-inch hand before clocking a 4.57-second 40-yard dash and impressing with both of his jumps (39 1/2-inch vertical; 10-foot-5-inch broad). He finished second among tight ends at the combine in all three of those events. Although his production (34 catches, 341 yards, and seven scores in 2023) does not quite match his athletic potential, there is always a place in the league for a big-bodied pass catcher with NBA-like size and athleticism.

Mason McCormick
South Dakota State · IOL · Senior

After dominating at the East-West Shrine Bowl, McCormick is continuing to earn rave reviews on the heels of his combine performance. He flashed explosiveness in Indianapolis with a 35 1/2-inch vertical jump and a 9-foot-9-inch broad jump (tied for best among offensive linemen) to complement a solid 5.08-second 40-yard dash. After spending more time digging into the tape, scouts could push McCormick up the board as a developmental prospect with starting potential. 


Mohamed Kamara
Colorado State · Edge · Senior

The Mountain West Conference Defensive Player of the Year should be climbing up the charts after solid performances at the East-West Shrine Bowl and combine. Kamara’s explosive get-off was confirmed in Indianapolis with a 1.58-second 10-yard split on his 4.57-second 40-yard dash. As a relentless pass rusher coming off a 13-sack season, the verified speed combined with his dazzling exhibition of balance, body control and burst in positional drills should prompt Edge-needy teams to take a closer look at the Colorado State product.

Payton Wilson
N.C. State · LB · Senior

The N.C. State standout blazed a 4.43-second 40-yard dash at Lucas Oil Stadium, the best mark among linebackers at the combine. The jaw-dropping time certainly matched the sideline-to-sideline quickness I saw on tape when watching Wilson track down quarterbacks, ball-carriers, and pass catchers between the lines. His injury history might be a concern for teams, so the proven playmaker could inspire some spirited “risk versus reward” debates in meeting rooms around the league over the next few weeks.

Max Melton
Rutgers · CB · Senior

The 5-11, 187-pounder has crushed the pre-draft process this offseason. Melton held his own at the Senior Bowl against elite competition, showcasing outstanding footwork, agility and coverage skills. He continued to raise his stock at the combine by clocking a sub-4.4-second 40-yard dash (4.39) and popping a pair of explosive jumps, with a 40 1/2-inch vertical and 11-foot-4-inch broad (second-best among all players at the combine) that confirmed his elite athleticism. As an ultra-competitive outside corner with impressive physical attributes, Melton has entered the conversation as a Day 2 selection.

Mike Sainristil
Michigan · CB · Senior

The best nickel back in the draft had a strong answer for critics questioning his speed, explosiveness and overall athleticism. Sainristil clocked a 4.47-second 40-yard dash at the combine after popping a 40-inch vertical jump and a 10-foot-11-inch broad jump. As a former receiver turned defensive back, the Michigan star’s turns, transitions and ball skills are smooth and fluid like those of a 10-year veteran. With teams increasingly viewing the slot cornerback as a key piece on defense, Sainristil’s skills as a specialist could vault him into Day 2 consideration. 

Dadrion Taylor-Demerson
Texas Tech · S · Senior

After impressing with a sensational performance at Lucas Oil Stadium, scouts should be taking another look at DTD’s skills in the back end. The 5-10 3/8, 197-pounder with 4.4 speed (4.41-second 40) finished his career as a Red Raider with 10 interceptions and 23 passes defensed. His footwork, fundamentals and ball skills were superb in positional drills, matching his exhibition at the East-West Shrine Bowl. As a natural for the hybrid "Star" position with slot cornerback-like cover skills, Taylor-Demerson is an intriguing Day 3 prospect.

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