2023 NFL Combine Risers: Anthony Richardson, Jaxon Smith-Njigba Lead The Way!
The NFL Combine was this weekend and plenty of players will rise and fall based on their performances running drills. We will keep it positive to start and focus on the players that improved their value this weekend with our list of risers.
2023 NFL Combine Risers
QB Anthony Richardson, Florida
Of course, the guy on the top of every risers list from the 2023 NFL Combine is Richardson. He wowed everyone with his ridiculous combination of size and athleticism. It’s extremely rare we see a quarterback with measurables anywhere close to this. Richardson measured in at just above 6’4 and weighed in at 244 pounds. At that size, he ran a 4.43 40-yard dash. Perhaps even more impressively he showed off a vertical leap of 40.5 and a 10’9 broad jump. Those are borderline superhuman numbers for a man his size. Every one of those ranked first for all quarterbacks in this year’s draft and his leaps were an all-time QB record.
After that performance, it’s hard to imagine he won’t be a first-round pick, and a high one at that. Vegas boosted his odds of being the first overall pick to +300 after this weekend. At the end of the NCAA Football season, he was at +8000. We now fully expect him to climb inside the top 10 at least. However, the issue here is he still isn’t a good quarterback. Someone will draft him for his upside, but he can jump to the moon and it won’t change how terrible his film is. This could be a disastrous pick for the team that drafts him.
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RB Deneric Prince, Tulsa
At running back, Prince made the biggest jump. It’s hard to say just how high because RBs are tough to predict, but he may have made himself a late second-day pick or at least steered the discussion in that direction. He had impressive explosion scores and his size and speed combination turned heads. At 6’0 and 216 pounds, he ran a 4.41 40. Those are impressive numbers. This is the kind of guy the combine is meant for. A running back who has already flashed throughout the draft process from a smaller school gets to show off his raw talent and drastically improve his stock.
WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Ohio State
JSN came out and answered all the questions that needed to be answered and in our eyes secured his spot as a top-two WR in this draft. First and foremost, he showed that he has gotten past his hamstring injury and looked like the wide receiver his film showed. His quickness and footwork are what really stood out at the combine. He ran a 6.57 three-cone and a 3.93 short shuttle, both of which were the best by any wideout. While we still have him ranked as the WR2 on our draft board, there is now a chance he could be the first wideout taken.
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WR Bryce Ford-Wheaton, West Virginia
No wideout made a bigger jump at the combine than BFW. His measurables are insane. We are talking Dorial Green-Beckham type levels of crazy. His speed, agility, and explosion numbers were great for a small guy and he is not a small man by any stretch of the imagination. After weighing in at 6’4 221 pounds, he turned around and ran a 4.38 40-yard dash with a 41-inch vertical and a 10’9 broad jump. These are the kind of numbers that jump players up multiple rounds, especially at WR. We’ve seen it time and time again, but it doesn’t always work out. We’ve seen plenty of prospects like DGB and Denzel Perryman crash and burn in the NFL after a monster combine. However, we are not yet ready to make a call on Wheaton at this second. Like NFL teams after this weekend, we will be going back to watch the film before our mock draft that comes out this weekend.
TE Zack Kuntz, Old Dominion
If Richardson wasn’t a QB, Kuntz would be the most hyped athlete from the combine. The Gronk comparisons will be coming in hot and heavy in the coming weeks we promise you. His measurables were truly eye-popping. He weighed in at 6’7 255 pounds and ran a 4.55 40 with a three-cone at 4.68 which at his size is the most impressive feat by anyone at the combine. He also led all tight ends in just about every drill including his 40-inch vertical and 10’8 broad jump. Because he’s a tight end we doubt he can climb into the first round, but he’s locked into Day 2 at this point, and he could be gone early.
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