NFL Combine: Winners and Losers


The NFL Combine never fails to deliver exciting storylines to keep NFL fans engaged during the long off-season. Just over a week ago, we got our first look at the prospects of the upcoming NFL draft at the combine. Some prospects’ draft stock skyrocketed, and others dipped, which will be covered below.


QB Anthony Richardson (Florida)

The story of the combine was Anthony Richardson. The freak athlete from Florida produced at a historic level, measuring at 6 ‘4”, 244 pounds, running a 4.43 40-yard dash, and showing extreme bounce in both the vertical and broad jump. He also silenced doubts about his throwing abilities, displaying great touch on his deep balls with his smooth throwing motion. Richardson remains a polarizing QB prospect due to his lack of winning and statistical success at Florida, but his athletic traits and potential as a thrower are sure to intrigue a QB-needy franchise this April. At the very least, Richardson established himself as a surefire first round draft pick, with clear top 5 potential.

EDGE Nolan Smith (Georgia)

Nolan Smith hadn’t played live football since October 29 when he was sidelined with a pectoral injury versus Florida. It sure didn’t look like that at the combine. His athletic abilities were on full display as Smith ran a blistering 4.39 40-yard dash which ranked first among all defensive ends. Smith topped all ends in the vertical jump at 41.0”, and ranked third in the broad jump. The athleticism is certainly there for the Georgia product, but the knock on him is his lack of size at 6’2” 238. Smith certainly tested his way into the first round this combine, and will catch the eye of teams searching for pressure off the edge.

WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba (Ohio State)

Ohio State has produced its fair share of talent at the WR position over the last few years, with first-rounders like Garrett Wilson and Chris Olave last year alone. Jaxon Smith-Njigba looks to be the next great pro receiver from the university. Smith-Njigba broke onto the scene as a sophomore, leading the team in receiving yards despite playing alongside two first round wideouts. He injured his hamstring early this past season against Notre Dame, and never got back to full form, which has led to some skepticism about his NFL potential. At the combine, Smith-Njigba had the fastest 3-cone time, and ran routes as smoothly as he did his sophomore season. He caught the ball well in the gauntlet drills, and looked the part of a first round draft pick. Smith-Njigba reminded scouts why he was regarded as the top WR going into the year, and looked like a future stud.


DL Jalen Carter (Georgia)

The star defensive tackle from Georgia, Jalen Carter, had the worst combine of any prospect without even participating in the drills. A warrant for Carter’s arrest was put out just before Carter was able to participate in pre-combine interviews. The arrest warrant came from Carter’s involvement in a car collision that killed a Georgia football player as well as a coach. Talent is certainly there for Jalen Carter which will likely keep his draft stock in the top 10. However, character concerns are definitely going to be on NFL scouts’ minds before they select him.

WR Kayshon Boutte (LSU)

Kayshon Boutte declared for the NFL draft and opted out of LSU’s bowl game after a disappointing year for the junior WR. Boutte broke onto the scene at the end of his freshman campaign, but has yet to return to that form since. Scouts hoped to see a great combine performance, but he fell short. Boutte ran a solid 4.5 40 yard dash, but posted the lowest vertical jump at 29”, and the second lowest broad jump out of wide receivers. Boutte was a lock to be a first round pick going into his 2023 season, but he has yet to live up to that expectation. Injuries have certainly played a role, as Boutte had his second ankle surgery this past summer, but concerns are starting to arise about Boutte as a prospect.

DB Clark Phillips III (Utah)

Clark Philipps III, a three-year starter at Utah had a solid combine performance athletically, but it is his measurements that have some questioning him as a prospect. Philipps measured in at only 5’9” 184, which could be a concern for NFL scouts. He was a unanimous All-American this past season and displayed great ball skills and instincts in coverage. However, his potential will be limited by his size as he will likely end up as a high quality nickel or slot cornerback. Philipps still remains a likely late-first to mid-second round prospect.