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Analysis | Who won at the NFL combine? These 10 players probably helped their stock.


So how did you spend your weekend? If you’re a top prospect in the NFL, you’ve probably been pushed, prodded and asked to run and jump in different ways.

The results of the NFL Draft, which ran Thursday through Sunday in Indianapolis, aren’t the only criteria teams use to decide who to select in April. After all, player performances this fall — you know, in actual football games — still matter a lot.

However, once the schedule flips, most prospects who know they are heading to the combine practice there intensely because it provides a great opportunity to impress teams. Here are 10 players on the offensive side who likely did just that and could be rewarded with a higher draft slot than expected before they arrived in Indy.

JJ McCarthy, QB, Michigan

As the draft approached, buzz was already growing that McCarthy could not only join Caleb Williams, Drake Maye and Jayden Daniels in the first round, but could also be drafted closer to those quarterbacks – who could go 1-2 – 3 in a certain order. – provided that. When that trio opted out of the drills in Indianapolis, the stage was set for McCarthy, and the fact that he went for it reinforced the perception that NFL front offices value his leadership qualities. . McCarthy showed off a real arm he hasn’t always been able to unleash with the Wolverines, during a test throw with only a little less speed than Tennessee product Joe Milton with a howitzer.

Michael Penix Jr., QB, Washington

Yes, hand size is always a trait for quarterbacks, and Penix landed in the top 10 of all time at his position with a measurement of 10.5 inches. He also showed off an 81-inch wingspan, got a clean bill of health and reminded everyone that he possesses an unusually strong arm, with the big glove on the end that grips and zips balls in beautifully tight spirals. All of this may have helped return Penix’s stock to the lofty heights he had reached before somewhat shaky performances in the national championship game and at the Senior Bowl.

Sure, 165 pounds is extremely light for an NFL player, but hulking defenders can’t crush what they can’t catch, right? Hurtling his slender body down the 40-yard dash in an official time of 4.21 seconds, Worthy set a combined record that electrified the crowd at Lucas Oil Stadium. Displaying speed is the kind of physical asset you can’t teach that gets guys drafted in the first round.

Xavier Legette, WR, South Carolina

If the old Xavier can’t count size among his strengths, this one certainly can, and the 221-pound Gamecocks star blew up the track himself (4.39 in the 40). Leggette, who finished eighth in the nation last season with 1,255 receiving yards, also posted a top-six mark among wide receivers in vertical jump (40 inches). There’s a talented and large group at his position vying for the attention of front offices, but Legette’s combination of size, speed, explosiveness and recent production should help him stand out.

Isaac Guerendo, RB, Louisville; Jaylen Wright, RB, Tennessee

These two aren’t paired here simply because they finished 1-2 among running backs in the 40, although the times posted by Guerendo (4.33) and Wright (4.38) will help their cause . They also both had to share on-field work in college, which resulted in relatively modest production, and thus had much to gain by showing Indianapolis that they could combine elite athleticism with size on all sides. In addition to their 40 times, Guerendo and Wright excelled in the vertical and broad jumps.

Theo Johnson, TE, Penn State

Even leaving aside a freshman season in which he was barely used, Johnson’s numbers over his final three years with the Nittany Lions — 73 catches for 882 yards and 12 touchdowns — don’t jump out at all. His combined vertical jump of 39.5 inches is another matter, however, as it ranks second among tight ends, as do his numbers in the long jump (10 feet 5 inches) and the 40 (4.57 seconds ), not to mention a best-in-class mark of 4.19 seconds in the 20-yard shuttle. Johnson did all of this at 6-foot-6 and 259 pounds, giving him one of the best relative sporting results of any close group since 1987.

Tight ends who can run and jump are great, but the NFL needs blockers at the position as well. That’s the calling card of the 271-pound Reiman, who caught the group’s attention by treating a blocking sled as the most minor of inconveniences. A former substitute turned team captain, Reiman showed Indy that he brought much more than just intangibles (1.55 seconds in the 10-yard dash; 7.02 seconds in the 3-cone; 10-1 in the long jump). ).

Tanor Bortolini, C/G, Wisconsin

After leading all offensive linemen in the group in three-cones (7.16 seconds) and 20-yard shuttles (4.28), while finishing second in the 40 (4.94) and third in the 10 yards (1.69), Bartolini had the highest score. athletic rating according to NFL Next Gen Stats. Not the highest rank among linemen, mind you, but among all players in Indianapolis, with his score of 99 tied only with Guerendo. Listed as a combine center, Bortolini’s three-cone time was the fastest ever recorded for his position, Trim the 7.22 posted in 2011 by future Philadelphia Eagles star Jason Kelce.

Amarius Mims, OT, Georgia

How did a player with only eight career starts help himself during a game that was interrupted due to a hamstring injury? On the one hand, simply by being measured. Mims checked in at a mammoth 6-8, 340 pounds, with an arm length of 36⅛ inches. Before his injury, he ran the 40 in just 5.07 seconds. The ridiculously fast time for a man his size, plus a 9-3 mark in the long jump, reinforced the tantalizing profile of someone whose limited action was just enough to show the makings of a dominant force .


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