With the conclusion of arguably the most highly anticipated day in the entire combine, it’s time to break down what players had the most hype and buzz. Day 3 of the combine entailed three of the four offensive skill positions, the quarterbacks, wide receivers, and tight ends. With that said, it’s time to look at the biggest risers from each position from day three of the NFL Combine.
Starting with the quarterbacks, we had by far the most electrifying workout of the day from Anthony Richardson. Richardson was expected to have a good combine and slide-up draft boards, but no one expected him to dominate to this measure. To start, Richardson blew the doors off by running a 4.43 40, the fastest of any quarterback since 2003. How do you top a record-breaking performance like that? You break two more.
Richardson had a 10’09” broad jump and 40.5″ vertical, both records at the quarterback position. To go along with this, Richardson had a 60 MPH ball velocity which tied him for second all-time. Lastly, Richardson had a phenomenal deep ball round showing off top-tier arm talent and accuracy. To put all this in perspective, Richardson had a perfect 10 Relative Athletic Score.
To give you an idea of how much Richardson has risen, his odds of being the number one overall pick have increased dramatically on DraftKings. Before the combine, Richardson had +550 odds, and now after the combine, his odds are up to +300. This is a massive swing, and Richardson looks like a top-10 pick at the minimum now.
While Richardson stole the show at the quarterback position, CJ Stroud cemented himself as a top pick and also made a case for the number one overall pick. With Stroud, his odds of being the number one overall pick jumped up from +500 to +380 due to his combine performance.
Stroud looked great in his throwing drills, especially with his deep ball. There was a ton of buzz and excitement around Stroud’s deep ball as he showed off great touch and arm strength. All around, Stroud looked very accurate during his drills which fits his pre-combine narrative of having elite ball placement. Despite not running the 40 or any other athletic drills, Stroud has a high chance of going within the top five picks of the NFL Draft.
Heading over to the wide receiver position, my biggest riser was a top prospect who didn’t even participate in the 40-yard dash. Jaxon Smith-Njigba opted out of the 40, a red flag regarding his speed. However, it seems that Smith-Njigba didn’t want people to focus on his average to below average 40 time as it’s not a big part of his game. Instead, he went out and dominated the agility drills.
Smith-Njigba destroyed the other wide receivers in the 3-cone drill, where he had the number one time at 6.57, and the 20-yard shuttle, where he recorded a 3.93. He looked extraordinarily smooth during wide receiver drills and made some unbelievable sideline catches.
Smith-Njigba showed that he’s elite at his slot-originated role, and that’s great, especially from a fantasy football standpoint. With many questions surrounding his athleticism, Smith-Njigba looked amazing in that sense posting a 9.39 RAS.
The questions surrounding Zay Flowers had less to do with his on-field performance and rather his height and weight. Weighing in at 5′ 9″, 182 lbs, Flowers checked a lot of boxes in that area. This isn’t a great size by any means, but compared to when he was said to weigh around 167 lbs, this is fantastic news.
Looking for Flowers to have a BMI of at least 26 due to how it correlates to fantasy football, it was great to see him record a 26.9 BMI. Many were unsure about Flowers, but after seeing his weight and weight on top of the fact that he looked excellent during his workout, it’s without a doubt that he’s going to rise in rookie rankings.
The 2023 tight-end class is one of the deepest classes we’ve had in a long time, so there were several great performances. However, one player that stood out to me, especially in person, was Darnell Washington. Washington looked remarkable at the combine, measuring in at 6′ 7″ 264 lbs and running a 4.65 40.
There were some questions about Washington’s hands coming into the combine, but he looked great catching the ball all day, including a highlight one-handed grab. There’s no doubt Washington is a freak athlete, and after his performance, he will be a big riser leading up to the NFL draft.
Zack Kuntz made a name for himself to cap off the day after running a 4.55 40 at 6′ 7″ 255 lbs. Kuntz wasn’t as good during the overall workout as these other guys, but his testing was off the charts. During his athletic drills, Kuntz wasn’t just good; he was great, scoring a perfect 10 RAS.
Due to his unpolished overall game, Kuntz will likely be in a different tier than Michael Mayer or Dalton Kincaid, but having that type of Unicorn athletics will push him up draft boards.