The combine has ended, and another significant marker in the NFL offseason has passed. From February 28th through March 6th we saw 319 invited players participate, trying to improve their draft stock. Players performed drills designed to test athleticism, such as the 40-yard dash and bench press, went through position-specific drills, and participated in team interviews and assessments.
Many analysts and sports writers question the validity of the combine and how much the event truly helps in the scouting process. For every J.J. Watt and Aaron Donald, who have an outstanding combine performance turn into an All-Pro career, there are just as many like Vernon Gholston and Darrius Heyward-Bey who are complete busts. Then there are those who don't even appear on the radar like the greatest quarterback of all time, Tom Brady.
Even with how uncertain the results are as an indicator of future success in the NFL, inevitably fans and teams alike buy into the performances and we see major swings in draft stocks. We break down the biggest winners and losers, and one unknown from this year's combine.
Anthony Richardson, QB (Florida)
Richardson was outstanding in every phase of the combine. He excelled at the physical tests and impressed during the throwing sessions. He very likely pushed his draft stock into the Top 10.
Bryce Ford-Wheaton, WR (West Virginia)
Bryce Ford-Wheaton definitely put himself on several teams' radars. He already has ideal size at 6' 4" and 224 lbs. He paired that with the top measurement in the vertical jump, and a top-five finish in the 40-yard dash.
C.J. Stroud, QB (Ohio State)
C.J. Stroud made a case to be considered the top quarterback, let alone possibly the top pick of the draft. He nailed his throwing session, showing off both a strong arm and terrific accuracy.
Jaxon Smith-Njiba, WR (Ohio State)
He looked as good at the combine as he did throughout his career at Ohio State. He stands out as the top receiver in the draft.
Zack Kuntz, TE (Old Dominion)
Kuntz put on a clinic, grading out to be one of the most athletic tight ends at the event. Known more for his receiving ability, he will be rising on draft boards after his performance.
Adetomiwa Adebawore, DE (Northwestern)
The Northwestern product came in and dominated at the combine. His athleticism jumped off the charts and his numbers were consistently alongside the top-ranked defensive line prospects.
Jack Campbell, LB (Iowa)
Athleticism questions concerning Jack Campbell should be answered after the combine. He tested well and staked his claim as the top linebacker in the draft.
Jalen Carter, DT (Georgia)
Carter did not participate in testing or drills but was there for the interview portion. Per ESPN, an arrest warrant for two misdemeanors was issued for him while at the combine. The charges stem from the crash that killed a teammate and a recruiting staff member in January. Something this serious often causes a player's stock to tumble, and there are already mock drafts out there showing Carter falling out of the Top 10.
Andre Carter II, DE (Army)
Andre Carter II needed to have a strong combine to quell the uncertainty surrounding the Army product. Instead, he had a poor showing and raised more questions than answers.
Kayshon Boutte, WR (LSU)
Boutte tested poorly at the combine, something he could not afford after having a down year this past season. His stock is tumbling currently.
Will Levis, QB (Kentucky)
Will Levis had a decent showing at the combine, but did not wow like Stroud and Richardson. Because of their performances, he may have slipped to the fourth best quarterback prospect.
Michael Meyer, TE (Notre Dame)
A subpar performance by Meyer hurt, especially with how well several other tight ends did at the combine. You could possibly see him jumped on draft boards by Luke Musgrave, Darnell Washington, and Sam LaPorta.
Bryce Young, QB (Alabama)
Young didn't participate at the combine but did measure at 5' 10" and 204 lbs. While weighing above 200 will help alleviate some of the questions surrounding his size, the performances of the other quarterbacks didn't help him either. He needs a strong showing at the Alabama pro-day.