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2024 NFL Scouting Combine: What We Learned during Saturday's activities in Indianapolis

INDIANAPOLIS -- Saturday marked the third day of on-field events and fourth day of prospect press conferences at the 2024 NFL Scouting Combine. Quarterbacks, running backs and wide receivers worked out, while offensive linemen and specialists stepped up to the podiums. Here are the biggest things we learned from the day's events.

Tune in to NFL Network and NFL+ for live coverage of the 2024 NFL Scouting Combine beginning at 1 p.m. ET on Sunday.


1) Worthy sprints to record. Move over, John Ross. There's a new 40-yard dash king at the NFL Scouting Combine.

On his second try Saturday evening, Texas WR Xavier Worthy blazed a 4.21 40, breaking Ross' previous record of 4.22 seconds, set back in 2017.

Worthy stepped up for his first 40-yard dash in Indy and delivered a heater: 4.25 seconds. The stirring sprint got a big response from the Lucas Oil Stadium crowd, unofficially topping Clemson CB Nate Wiggins' Friday time of 4.28 seconds for the best mark of the 2024 event.

But Worthy was not done, wanting to take down Ross' all-time mark.

And on his second attempt, the 5-foot-11 1/4, 165-pound Worthy delivered an unofficial time of 4.22 seconds, sending a buzz through the stadium. A short time later, the official time came through: 4.21, breaking the record. Worthy's 1.49-second 10-yard split was also tops at this year's event.

To be fair, Ross was 23 pounds heavier than Worthy. But no matter. Worthy's time will stand atop the list. And it capped an incredible day of testing. Earlier on Saturday, the former Longhorns star hit 41 inches on the vertical leap and 10-foot-11 on the broad jump. He opted to forgo the positional drills following his record-setting dash, but even so, Worthy's performance puts him in the running for one of the best combine workouts of all time.

-- Eric Edholm

2) J.J. throws the football! J.J. McCarthy's heard all about his low passing volume in Michigan's run-first offense. And frankly, he doesn't care about any perceived statistical shortcomings. But he did take the opportunity to show off his right arm in Indianapolis.

Unlike three of the most highly regarded quarterbacks in this class -- Caleb Williams, Drake Maye and Jayden Daniels -- McCarthy chose to throw during Saturday's on-field workout. While the 21-year-old didn't titillate evaluators to the degree C.J. Stroud did a year ago, McCarthy earned plaudits from NFL Network draft guru Daniel Jeremiah at various points during his workout, with Jeremiah complimenting the zip on his ball and clean footwork.

"He's a pure thrower, very loose, very fluid," Jeremiah said during the broadcast.

NFL Network's Peter Schrager provided a positive review of his own, supplemented by some interesting reporting.

"He went out there, competed and threw the ball very, very well," Schrager said on the broadcast. "I got a text from an NFL evaluator, very respected one, saying, 'Of all these guys, McCarthy translates to the NFL the most.' He had an outstanding day out here."

This tracks with earlier reporting on Saturday from NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport, who said before McCarthy's on-field workout that general managers are highly intrigued by the Michigan product's upside, suggesting he could be the third quarterback on some teams' boards.

McCarthy actually made a bit of news before even hitting the Lucas Oil Stadium turf for positional drills, assuaging any concerns about his frame by checking in at 6-foot-2 1/2 and a robust 219 pounds. While he didn't run the 40-yard dash or perform the jumps, citing a bit of hamstring tightness, McCarthy did complete the three-cone drill in a swift 6.82 seconds, exhibiting the kind of athleticism that will only boost his draft stock.

All in all, a very productive trip to Indy for a polarizing QB prospect who appears destined for Round 1.

-- Gennaro Filice

3) Penix answers a big question. When it comes to Washington quarterback Michael Penix Jr., the NFL Scouting Combine medical evaluation carried greater importance than it does for the average prospect.

Penix suffered season-ending injuries in each of his four seasons at Indiana, tearing his right ACL twice (2018 and 2020) and sustaining two separate shoulder injuries (2019 and 2021). He avoided any major health issues after transferring to UW in 2022, earning Heisman Trophy finalist honors last season, but questions remained about what the exams in Indianapolis would reveal, given his injury history.

Consider that box checked.

NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported on Saturday that the combine medicals came out "extremely positive" for Penix, who earned rave reviews for his throwing session at the combine later in the day.

It's been a very good week for Penix, who measured 6-foot-2 1/4 and 216 pounds, with massive 10 1/2-inch hands. analyst Bucky Brooks' No. 4 quarterback in this year's draft could be trending up.

-- Dan Parr

4) RB rising with the quickness! After spending five years at Wisconsin as a reserve running back/special teamer, Isaac Guerendo transferred to Louisville and enjoyed a breakout season that culminated in a career performance at the Holiday Bowl against USC: 23 rushes for 161 yards and three touchdowns and five catches for 42 yards. Just over two months later, the Clayton, Indiana native provided another eye-popping display on the gridiron, this time one county east of his hometown.

At 6-foot and a healthy 221 pounds, Guerendo blazed the 40-yard dash at Lucas Oil Stadium in 4.33 seconds. Not only was that the best time in this year's running back group, but it's tied (with Darren McFadden) for the fifth-fastest mark at the position in combine history. He showcased extraordinary explosiveness in the jumps, as well, with a 10-9 broad and a Jordan-esque 41.5 inches in the vertical leap.

Guerendo offers a juicy size-speed game with the added luxury of kick-return ability, and his stock is ascending at the right time in an RB class that seems pretty wide open.

-- Gennaro Filice

5) Walker course-corrects. After a disappointing Senior Bowl week, North Carolina's Devontez Walker was arguably the wide receiver most in need of a strong combine performance. On Saturday, Walker delivered just that.

The 6-foot-1 1/2, 193-pounder won the athletic-testing portion of the event, registering 40-yard dash times of 4.36 and 4.41 seconds. Those times might pale in comparison to 40-yard dash king Xavier Worthy's mark of 4.21 seconds, but they go down as a nice W for Walker, even if we already knew Walker was fast. 

Supplementing those times with a vertical jump of 40.5 inches and a broad jump of 11-2 put him in excellent company. Those were both top-five marks among wideouts, and Walker's broad jump trailed only that of Texas' Adonai Mitchell (11-4).

Adding explosion to world-class speed? Another nice feather in Walker's cap.

But after Walker's rough Senior Bowl performance, which was riddled with drops and some shaky route consistency, his very solid field work at the combine could be a narrative changer. He still fights the ball, as he did early in the positional work, and there were a few slips on the Lucas Oil Stadium field -- but that was not an issue exclusive to Walker, as other receivers slipped, too.

Walker appeared to get more confident and consistent as the workout went on. He used his 33 1/4-inch arms to catch multiple passes outside of his frame and should have eased some concerns about his ball-tracking ability.

Walker is a complex prospect; his 2023 college season was shortened amid a battle over eligibility with the NCAA after transferring from Kent State. But he's an explosive vertical threat who helped changed the trajectory of his pre-draft path with a nice showing Saturday.

-- Eric Edholm


1) A prospect of many talents. If your NFL team needs a center, the best in this year's class could be Oregon's Jackson Powers-Johnson.

If you need a singer, well, Powers-Johnson is game for that, too.

The 6-foot-3, 334-pound prospect told reporters on Saturday that he took a gospel choir class with some of his teammates last spring and found it very much to his liking. NFL Network reporter Stacey Dales asked him whom he sounds like when he sings.

"It's close," he said. "It's either Celine Dion or Adele. ... [As a] tenor, I was like Josh Turner. Or maybe George Strait. I'm giving myself a lot of credit. I wasn't that good."

He declined to sing in front of the cameras on Saturday, but there's not much doubt about his talent on the football field. Powers-Johnson won the Rimington Award as the nation's top center last season and he dominated at the Senior Bowl earlier this offseason. He entered the combine as NFL Network analyst Daniel Jeremiah's No. 29 prospect in the draft.

As such, he's getting plenty of attention from NFL teams, including the Chicago Bears, who have a need at center. He said he channeled the famous Saturday Night Live Superfans sketch when he met with the team here in Indianapolis:

"I walked in and was like 'Daaaa Bears.' "

-- Dan Parr

2) More than a right tackle? Alabama OT JC Latham is hoping to separate himself from what's shaping up as a strong group of blockers at the top of the 2024 NFL Draft.

Latham started 27 games for the Crimson Tide -- all at right tackle. He played some right guard as a freshman reserve but said Saturday morning that he's hoping to showcase even more versatility during his NFL Scouting Combine positional drills on Sunday.

"I'm waiting to see if I'm asked to do anything out of a left tackle stance," Latham said.

Latham said he will perform all the positional work but will forgo athletic testing. He said he's still recovering from the high-ankle injury he suffered on the final play of the Crimson Tide's Rose Bowl loss to Michigan.

Latham played left tackle his final year of high school at IMG Academy, and there was talk he could shift over to that spot last fall for 'Bama. Instead, he stayed put at right tackle and was named a second-team All-American. He's hoping to get some left tackle snaps in Indianapolis (and perhaps at Alabama's pro day March 20) to prove to tackle-needy teams he can play either spot if required.

"Obviously, it's a question mark; I'm (viewed as) a right tackle," Latham said. "Usually tackles (who are) taken extremely high are left tackles. I feel I can break that kind of narrative, but also it would help me showcase my ability to play the left side. I have the ability to be dominant regardless.''

Latham is Daniel Jeremiah's No. 13 overall prospect, but three offensive tackles -- all with more left-tackle experience -- are ahead of Latham, and two more are just below him inside Jeremiah's top 20.

Latham views his aggressiveness as his superpower and believes that trait can still translate while manning left tackle, which often is viewed as the all-important pass-protection spot.

"Being physical, being aggressive, (willing) to attack at any given moment -- that's just the mentality I had," Latham said. "If I'm (on the left), I'm still going to be aggressive."

-- Eric Edholm

3) Dancing King. How does an offensive lineman become the proverbial "dancing bear"? Well, for Kingsley Suamataia, the answer is simple.

"I love dancing, I'm not gonna lie to you," the BYU tackle said at a highly entertaining podium session on Saturday. "Just gotta stay light on my feet."

So, what kind of music does the 6-foot-4, 329-pounder enjoy dancing to?

"Shoot, everything," Suamataia said. "Country, hip-hop -- whatever's playing, I'll just be dancing."

And the rug-cutting big man, who was No. 3 on Bruce Feldman's venerable "Freaks List" prior to the 2023 college campaign, is always seeking new steps:

"I been watching Step Up movies and just trying to mimic them and how they move."

Dancing isn't the only extracurricular activity Suamataia has folded into his gridiron undertakings.

"I been boxing my whole life," Suamataia said. "Not doing like competitions, but just been in there because I was a little hothead when I was a little kid. My pops just threw me in there because my grandpa was a Golden Gloves."

Suamataia says the sweet science helped him establish "independent hands and being able to feel my body shift, being able to use one hand vs. punching with both."

Another thing that helps: NFL bloodlines. Suamataia's cousin is Detroit Lions star Penei Sewell.

"He's been training me since I was young," Suamataia said, before detailing how he looks to emulate the first-team All-Pro right tackle: "Just staying consistent. Just being that dog 24/7."

Like his cousin, Suamataia has shown the versatility to thrive at left or right tackle. He's ambidextrous. No, really. NFL Network reporter Stacey Dales actually had the guy write his name at the podium with each hand.

Not too shabby. And the 21-year-old says it's been a handy skill in the classroom.

"Sometimes I used to write notes left and right," Suamataia said, pantomiming simultaneous note-taking with both hands. "Just makes my brain think more."

And that concludes this submission for the week's Most Interesting Man in Indy.

-- Gennaro Filice

4) Like father, like son ... eventually. It might seem that Notre Dame OT Joe Alt, as the son of a two-time Pro Bowl left tackle, always seemed fated to play offensive line in the NFL one day. But Alt spent nearly his entire high-school career playing tight end and defensive end -- and his father actually delayed Joe's move to the O-line as long as possible.

Alt's father, John Alt, started 149 games for the Kansas City Chiefs from 1984 to 1996 and even coached the offensive line at Totino-Grace (Minnesota) High School once Joe started playing there. But John encouraged Joe to stay at TE and DE for as long as he could.

The idea? To keep Alt's athleticism up for as long as he could.

"My dad did the same thing I did. He ended up playing tight end his first two years of college (at Iowa) and then ended up playing offensive line," Alt said Saturday. "So he was the one who told me to play tight end to keep my foot speed."

Alt played only one game in high school on the offensive line but said he would go through OL drills as well as tight end. The way his body was going, Alt was outgrowing his old position.

"I kind of saw it coming," he said. "My body was growing, so that's where I was headed."

Alt committed to the Irish and was thrown into the fire right away. Notre Dame had a revolving door at left tackle in Alt's true freshman season of 2021 before he won the starting job for the final eight games that year -- and he never let it go. He developed at an impressive rate, earning first-team Associated Press All-America honors the past two seasons, then declared for the 2024 NFL Draft as an underclassman.

"I knew if I got that opportunity, I wasn't going to let it go," Alt said. "I put all the time and effort and work into it, especially in the film room. That was important to help me get the speed of the game under control and learn what I needed to do."

Alt, who turned 21 years old earlier this week, is now projected by many analysts as a possible top-10 pick. He can thank his quality bloodlines -- Alt had a brother in the NFL and a sister who played college hoops -- but also his father's vision for him.

"I think for my size, I am very athletic," Alt said. "I have the length and can use my feet well. That's something that ... I take a lot of pride in my game."

-- Eric Edholm

5) Embracing the heat. Georgia's Amarius Mims is one of the least experienced prospects at the NFL Scouting Combine, with eight career starts under his belt. He's also one of the most talented players here in Indianapolis, ranking as analyst Bucky Brooks' No. 4 offensive tackle in the draft.

Given that Mims is a relative newbie, NFL teams certainly want to test him this week to see how he responds to pressure. He said he welcomed the grilling, including during a meeting with the Dallas Cowboys, who could be in the market for offensive line help when the draft begins on April 25 in Detroit.

"Like I said, they tried to pick me apart a little bit, which I enjoy," Mims said. "They asked some hard questions. But like I said, that's the combine. ... I don't mind getting asked tough questions."

In addition, Mims said he's looking to prove he's "100 percent healthy" in Indy. The former Bulldog had tightrope surgery after suffering an ankle injury during last season but was able to return for the team's final three regular-season games before reinjuring the ankle in the SEC Championship Game.

-- Dan Parr

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