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The 2023 NFL Scouting Combine is upon us and like every year we will be able to set our eyes on this year’s crop of talent. There will be 319 players who will put their physical prowess and skills on display for 32 NFL franchises.
This year doesn’t have a clear cut group of “elite” talents and instead boasts a deep group with players who can contribute early. There are six who stand out from the bunch who can boost or drop their stock depending on their performance. Here are the athletes who can hurt or help their chances of having their name called on draft night.
Anthony Richardson – Quarterback, Florida
Anthony “AR -15” Richardson is one of the most intriguing prospects of this year’s draft.
The general consensus has been that he is a sneaky first rounder, but there are still questions marks about his throwing ability. This makes the former Florida star’s field drills the most important portion of the combine. If he can show fluid, consistent footwork and velocity on his throws, he can solidify himself as a top five pick in April’s draft. If not then he could see a free fall into the Day 3 pick category.
Tank Dell – Wide Receiver, Houston
Everyone wants a fluid playmaker at the wide receiver position. Tank Dell has shown that he can be that at the next level, but questions about his size and durability have hurt his stock to this point in the process.
If Dell can show up with some considerable weight gained, around 15-20lbs, then his stock could shoot from a mid-round stud to a front 1st-early 2nd rounder. His ability is undeniable and a little more size wouldn’t hurt.
Zach Charbonnet – Running Back, UCLA
There won’t be a run of halfbacks taken in the early rounds this year but that doesn’t mean a few can’t sneak into the fray.
Zach Charbonnet is a 3-tool back with excellent feet but there are questions about his speed. The former Bruin didn’t show much in explosion on tape and a sub-4.4 40 yard dash would drastically improve his poll position. As it stands right now he is a mid 2nd-Early 3rd rounder; if he shows up in the 40 he could be a lock as an early 2nd round pick.
Quentin Johnston – Wide Receiver, TCU
Johnston comes into the combine as one of the top two players at his position. No one questions his athleticism but there are questions about his hands.
Johnston stands at a staggering 6’4” tall, and as a receiver that’s a plus. The issue comes in his ability to catch with his hands and catch through contact. Johnston can quell any doubts with a strong showing at the combine. The gauntlet and route drills are going to be where he can display his ability to attack the ball and not let it get into his body. If he can do that he can overtake current number one, Jordan Addison, as this year’s top prospect.
Will Anderson – Edge, Alabama
Will Anderson could make a case for the best overall talent in the entire draft, but he is not without flaws.
Anderson is an amazing pass rusher with great instincts when it comes to sniffing out the run. The issue is he seems to be locked into the edge rusher position and lack the versatility of some of the top pass rushers of past drafts. Anderson will have to show that he can drop into coverage and play from both sides of the defense in field drills. If he doesn’t he could see himself sitting in the green room for longer than anyone expects.
Paris Johnson Jr., Left Tackle, Ohio State
Johnson is a blue-chip prospect that can be an anchor at left tackle for the next decade. His smooth athleticism and aggression make him a lock to be a first round prospect this season.
The problem with Johnson is that he only has one season at the tackle position. Couple that with his marginal strength you get a recipe for speculation on his ceiling in the NFL. If Johnson doesn’t excel at the bench press he could see his draft stock questioned even more. His on-field drills need to be near perfect as well; he needs to show good hand technique or he could be waiting to hear his name called on Day 2.
These players are all very talented in their own right and will make great additions to teams on draft night. As far the combine is concerned, they will need to prove their worth in the largest pre-draft workout of the offseason.