The 2023 NFL Combine is almost upon us with the top prospects in the NFL Draft taking part in a four-day event that will shape the future of football. While there is a lot at stake and plenty of excitement, the scouting combine is also about answering questions.
For NFL teams, this is an opportunity to sit down with players. Whether they want to gain an understanding for what makes a quarterback tick, gauge a wide receiver’s commitment to football or ask a lineman about off-field issues, how prospects answer questions will provide a lot of info.
Fans and analysts have something to gain from the scouting combine, too. On-field drills, workouts and measurements will provide answers to pressing questions about the top prospects in the 2023 NFL Draft. It also allows everyone to see some players they’ve never watched before.
Let’s dive into the biggest questions entering the 2023 NFL Combine.
How tall is Bryce Young?
Alabama Crimson Tide quarterback Bryce Young is drawing NFL comparisons to Patrick Mahomes from NFL evaluators. While that’s far too lofty to us, the former Heisman Trophy winner is an elite quarterback prospect with all the tools to be the face of an NFL franchise. Unfortunately, his size is a legitimate problem.
Some will point to exceptions to the rule – Kyler Murray, Drew Brees and Russell Wilson– but all three quarterbacks either had great athleticism (Brees, Wilson) or weighed significantly more than Young was listed in college. That’s why everyone will be watching measurements at the NFL Combine so closely.
If Young is 5-foot-11 and weighs within a few meals of 200 pounds, he’ll be in the clear. It won’t completely erase concerns for his longevity, but it would demonstrate his frame can hold more weight and it won’t negate his athleticism. A 5-foot-10 measurement with the scale tipping near 190 pounds, though, would jeopardize Young’s odds of being the No. 1 pick.
Who is the best athlete at the 2023 NFL Combine?
There is nothing fans love more than witnessing some of the best athletes in the world showcase their speed and rare skills. The 40-yard dash is the highlight of the NFL Combine, with everyone wanting to know who is the fastest player in the NFL Draft. Of course, there’s so much more to witness than just two 40-yard sprints.
If the 40-yard dash is your focus, Texas A&M running back Devon Achane is the player to watch. He ran a 10.48 second 100 meters in college and was truly one of the quickest players in college football. However, we’d also highlight the three-cone drill, broad jump and vertical jump as opportunities to see jaw-dropping athleticism. When it’s all over, there are few better measurements to look at than Relative Athletic Score.
What offseason NFL rumors will emerge from the combine?
The 2023 NFL Scouting Combine is about more than just prospects. With so many general managers and executives in attendance, along with agents and reporters, this is information trading season. We might even see a trade or two go down in Indianapolis.
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No matter what type of rumors you’re looking for, there will be scuttlebutt at Lucas Oil Stadium. Will Lamar Jackson play for the Baltimore Ravens in 2023? What NFL team will sign Derek Carr? Will the Green Bay Packers trade Aaron Rodgers? We’ll gain insight into all of that after just four days from the NFL Combine.
There are also very few things scouts and general managers love to do more than anonymously talk to reporters about the upcoming NFL Draft. Information will be leaked about what prospects certain teams are higher on, what players are rocketing up draft boards and what marquee names might be falling. This is why everyone should love the 2023 NFL Combine.
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Is the NFL Combine losing its importance?
There’s no doubt that the NFL Combine serves an important purpose, for all the aforementioned reasons and more. However, it’s also not difficult to spot some recent trends that suggest teams and players don’t value it as they did previously.
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A growing number of clubs aren’t sending their entire coaching staff to Indianapolis. It started small, but teams realized that every drill can be watched from the comforts of home. It’s not even about saving on travel expenses, that time is just better to focus on preparation for next season.
The NFL’s decision to shift everything to primetime also plays a role in this. At the 2022 NFL Scouting Combine, many prospects were still going through drills late into the night. With so many players forced to wait a full day before going through drills, it impacted performance.
It’s precisely why you’ll likely see more top prospects skipping the combine drills, just showing up to meet with team executives and undergoing medical evals. While the NFL’s decision certainly makes more money, it has diminished the scouting combine in some ways.
Who is the best receiver in the NFL Draft?
There is no true consensus on the 2023 wide receiver class. TCU Horned Frogs star Quentin Johnston seemed to be the preferred option during this past college football season. However, USC wideout Jordan Addison and Ohio State Buckeyes receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba are now in the mix.
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Each of them has something to prove at the 2023 NFL Combine. Smith-Njigba must come out of medicals with a clean bill of healthy and then showcase in drills his injury-marred 2022 campaign is behind him. He won’t be the best athlete at his position, but dominating in the pass-catching drills would go a long way to him becoming the top receiver on draft boards.
Johnston lit up college football with 1,069 receiving yards during the regular season. However, the 6-foot-4 offensive weapon was erased in the CFP National Championship Game, snagging just one reception. Fortunately, the NFL Scouting Combine will let him showcase his eye-popping athleticism, which could be enough to lock him in as the No. 1 receiver.
Finally, there is Addison. There’s very little doubt that he can step in and quickly become a No. 2 receiver in the NFL. However, there is a history of drops in his college career and legitimate knocks on his straight-line speed. It’s an uphill battle for Addison, but soft hands and a fast 40-time at the 2023 NFL Combine could push him into consideration for a top-12 pick.
This article was originally published on Sportsnaut.com and is republished here with permission.