THE TOP-10 PERFORMERS AT THE 2023 NFL COMBINE

2023-03-06 · 4 min read · NFL/Football
Anthony Richardson (Quarterback- Florida) and CJ Stroud (Quarterback- Ohio State)

CBS Sports | Getty Images

319 NFL prospects got their final opportunity to impress teams across the league last week and now comes the agonizing wait to see who among them might be selected when the 2023 draft takes place from April 27-29 in Kansas City.
There was plenty of buzz heading into this year’s combine, and by all accounts, these promising youngsters did not disappoint.
Here is a look at the top 10 performances from the past week.
10. Chase Brown- Running Back- Illinois
Hundreds of journalists, scouts and coaches watching your every move was not a problem for the London, Ontario native who put together a terrific football week with a 40-inch vertical leap, and a 10-foot-7 broad jump while running the 40-yard dash in 4.43 seconds.
The identical twin brother of fellow Illinois alum Sydney, who was also at the combine, was a standout at his position in an uneven group of running backs.
9. Byron Young- Edge Rusher- Tennessee
He is soon to turn 25, and as a late bloomer, Young knew that he had to do something big to capture the attention of NFL teams; the Volunteer did that and more, completing the 40-yard-dash in 4.43 seconds with a vertical leap of 38 inches and tying Iowa State’s Will McDonald IV for the best broad jump at his position (11-foot-0).
His raw ability and hard-hitting approach could help his chances of being chosen higher in April’s draft.
8. Darnell Washington- Tight End- Georgia
A record number of Bulldogs were chosen in last year’s draft, and Darnell Washington certainly lived up to his hype a week ago, posting the second-longest broad jump (10-foot-2) and the fourth-fastest 40-yard sprint (4.64) by any tight end weighing over 260 pounds since 2003.
Washington is drawing comparisons to Rob Gronkowski as he showed terrific speed, soft hands and an ability to get open.
7. Deonte Banks- Cornerback- Maryland
The 2023 class of corners is one of the deepest we’ve seen in a while, with Banks right up there with the best of them, running the 40-yard-dash in 4.35 seconds, posting a vertical leap of 42 inches and a broad jump of 11-foot-4.
While he has had some issues staying healthy, his athleticism, physical presence and ability to disrupt receiver routes were evident throughout the week.
6. Christian Gonzalez- Cornerback- Oregon
The Oregon product knew that with Devon Witherspoon not testing because of a hamstring strain, this was his time to shine, and the 20-year-old did not disappoint, running the 40-yard-dash in 4.38 seconds, posting a 41.5-inch vertical leap and a broad jump of 11-foot-1.
His length would be a massive asset to any NFL team, while he showed incredible athleticism and instincts.
5. Jaxson Smith-Ngigba- Wide Receiver- Ohio State
Although he didn’t run the 40-yard dash, the offensive MVP of the 2022 Rose Bowl was impressive, running the three-cone drills in 6.57 seconds and the short shuttle in 3.93 seconds.
In what appears to be an uninspiring group of receiving prospects this year, this Dallas-born pass catchers star shone the brightest as he made most of his grabs look routine, no matter what quarterback threw him the ball, while his routes were quick and crisp.
4. DJ Turner- Cornerback- Michigan
Turner left Indianapolis with the fastest 40-yard-dash at 4.26 seconds while managing a vertical leap of 38.5 inches and a broad jump of 10-foot-11.
He is probably the top corner heading into the draft, and nothing about his performance last week would change that as Turner showed coverage versatility, with great athleticism and some technically refined cover skills.
3. Nolan Smith- Edge Rusher- Georgia
When he came into the combine measuring a mere 6’2” and 238 pounds, there was some concern that Smith might not be big enough to turn pro, but the two-time national champion at Georgia quickly showed that he belongs in this draft class, running at a receiver’s pace of 4.39 seconds, posting a 41-inch vertical leap.
His ability to attack the edge with speed, a significant change of direction and solid backfield zone coverage should be enough for his name to be called in the opening round of the draft in April.
2. C.J. Stroud- Quarterback- Ohio State
The 21-year-old former Buckeye may not have been the standout or even the top performer at his position, but he showed that he is worthy of being drafted high, putting together one of the best throwing sessions in combine history, producing dime after dime, with excellent footwork and surgical precision on all of his passes.
A 2022 Heisman Trophy finalist, Stroud is an intelligent old-school pocket passer who sees the field well with excellent zip and ball placement.
1. Anthony Richardson- Quarterback- Florida
If you had any doubts as to the capability of Anthony Richardson, most of that likely went away last week as the Gator was outstanding in many respects, breaking a modern combine record for quarterbacks with a 40.5 vertical jump while equalling former Arkansas QB Matt Jones with a 10-foot-9 broad jump and running the 40-yard-dash in 4.43 seconds.
Richardson is an athletic freak, loose and flexible, with terrific accuracy, particularly on bootlegs, while also possessing one of the strongest arms among quarterbacks this year.
Sports Tree Profile

By: Joel Lefevre

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