The NFL Scouting Combine has begun with a bang on Thursday afternoon starting with defensive lineman and linebacker. There was a lot of intrigue with this group, especially at the top.
On Friday, we got secondary players with corner rests and fuses. This is one of, if not the deepest class in recent memory.
Saturday was the day everyone was waiting for. The day we saw quarterbacks throw and catchers run. Needless to say, they did not disappoint.
Here are seven players who stood out on Saturday.
Florida QB Anthony Richardson
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Going into the combine, there were plenty of different opinions on Richardson. Some said he wasn’t even close to being ready to play the position, while most filmmakers, myself included, praised his ability to work through progressions. What was really impressive was his athletic testing.
Not only did Richardson run the 40-yard dash in 4.4 seconds, he set both the vertical jump (40.5 inches) and broad jump (10’9 inches) records for the quarterback position. He is the rarest of the rare in terms of the linebacker position and compares really well to the former Minnesota Vikings linebacker.
West Virginia WR Bryce Ford-Wheaton
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In the video, Ford-Wheaton looks like a jumper. He knows how to highlight the ball and attacks well. One thing that was questionable with Ford-Wheaton was his speed. Long stride, didn’t come off naturally on the tape. He showed soft hands and confirmed that on Saturday. His routes looked crisp and moved incredibly well for his size.
Combined, Ford-Wheaton tested athletically strange. He ran the 40-yard dash in 4.38 seconds, making you feel better about his deep speed and questioning why he wasn’t better at separation in college. Either way, with a projected 10.0 RAS after the jumps and 40-yard dash, he’s really impressive and someone who will likely be on the Vikings’ radar.
Oklahoma WR Marvin Mims
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When another group of players ran the 40-yard dash, there were players who were disappointed. Jalin Hyatt did not go under 4.40 seconds and was considered the fastest player in this draft class. He was overshadowed by multiple players, including Mims.
At Oklahoma, Mims dominated vertically and looked incredibly fast during his time in Norman. On Saturday at the Mims combine, he did just that. He ran a 4.38-second 40-yard dash and made Case the second midday pick.
Fresno State WR Jalen Moreno-Cropper
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One of many smaller receivers in this class, Moreno-Cropper was known for being shifty and winning with shade more than athleticism. At the combine, he showed that he is more than that. He ran a 4.4-second 40-yard dash with a 1.55-second 10-yard split. Given how technically savvy he is, seeing that Moreno-Cropper’s speed was huge and could have moved him up in the early part of the third day.
Ohio State QB CJ Stroud
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Going into the combine, Stroud was my top-ranked running back and that only got stronger after his practice. Despite Richardson’s dynamic testing and a really good kicking performance, Stroud had by far the best on-field practice of the day. He was very accurate at all three levels of the court and showed both power and touch.
Ohio State WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba
Despite not testing the 40-yard dash, Smith-Njigba decided to do positional drills and that helped him stand out in a big way. He looked the best of all receivers when it came to running routes. He showed incredible smarts, dipped his hips well and showed great hands.
After the position drills, Smith-Njigba ran the three-cone race and the short shuttle with excellent times in both.
Georgia TE Darnell Washington
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One of the biggest tight ends in a while, Washington weighed in at 6,065 and 264 lbs and tested as a freak athlete. He ran the 40-yard dash in 4.64 seconds, which is really remarkable for someone his size. He also happens to block as a tackle and can take on edge rushers with some regularity. Washington made a lot of money today, especially ending the day with this absurd catch.
Iowa TE Sam LaPorta
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Iowa’s tight end line is excellent (George Kittle, Noah Fant, TJ Hockenson), and the next guy appears to have the tools to succeed as well. He ran the 40-yard dash in an incredible 4.59 seconds and looked like an effortless player on the field. He was insanely smooth in all his movements and has a background as a blocker. In a great tight end class, LaPorta is getting a bit overlooked and that’s probably over.
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