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2023 NFL Combine Day One Biggest Risers

@SteveBradshawFF is live in Indianapolis for the 2023 NFL Combine and shares his biggest risers from day one!

With Day 1 of the NFL Combine wrapping, It’s time to recap the biggest storylines and risers of the day. Thursday, February second, kicked off the NFL Combine with Defensive Linemen and Linebackers. When assessing this year’s rookie class, it’s important to take a deep dive and look at these players’ athleticism, player comparisons, and the buzz around them by NFL scouts.

One of the biggest storylines came out before the combine even started. Jalen Carter’s warrant for arrest filled up the news. However, with his recent release, Carter was back at the combine on Thursday but chose not to participate in any drills. While this is unfortunate for those looking to see his athletic numbers, we did get his official size which was 6’3″ and 314 lbs.

Defensive Tackles

Focusing on those who participated, the defensive tackles players who stole the show were Calijah Kancey and Bryan Bresee. Kancey was already on many people’s radars as an early-round two pick, but after running a 4.67 40, which was the best 40 time of the day and 20 years, he has jumped up to the number 34 overall prospect on NFL Mock Draft Database.

There was a ton of buzz around Kancey, and you couldn’t watch him compete in a drill without hearing him being compared to Aaron Donald. Kancey just edged Donald by 0.01 seconds and has looked very athletic. From a measurable standpoint, he stacks up to the likes of Ed Oliver. 

Bryan Bresee had a great all-around combine running a 4.86 40, good for fourth in the group. Overall Bresee had a solid combine and ended up with a RAS (Raw Athletic Score) of 9.69. There was a ton of buzz around Bresee during the four-bag drill as he showed off an excellent combination of power and speed. 

During the Run and Club, Bresee showed excellent balance and quick and powerful moves. At the moment, Bresee is the projected 21st overall pick, so it seems that after his combine performance, he is a first-round lock. 

Defensive Ends

Heading over to the defensive ends, Nolan Smith and Adetomiwa Adebawore were the biggest risers of the day. Starting with Smith, he ran an otherworldly 4.39 40. Smith’s speed and explosive measurements were phenomenal throughout various drills, earning him a 9.2 RAS. Smith was the heaviest player with a sub 4.4 40 and a 40-inch vertical. 

Due to this, Smith has drawn comparisons to Haason Reddick. Their measurables are very similar, and Smith has shown similar athleticism with a 41.50″ inch vertical. Smith was a top-five EDGE rusher and a projected first-round pick, and after this performance, I can see him moving up even more on draft boards.

The second EDGE rusher who made headlines was Adetomiwa Adebawore. Adebawore is relatively lower on many people’s EDGE rush rankings but is still a projected 3rd round pick. However, Adebawore checked in at 6″ 2, 282 lbs, and ran a 4.49 40 time, which is absurd. 

Adebawore will move up draft boards after showing teams he has a phenomenal size and speed combination. Adebawore looked very explosive throughout all his drills and earned a 9.83 RAS. I highly expect Adebawore to slide up draft boards, as NFL teams will want to work with a guy with his size and speed combination.


There weren’t nearly as many standouts at the linebacker position, but Owen Pappoe showed out with a 4.39 40 time. Pappoe wasn’t outstanding in his other measurables but finished with a RAS of 8.94. This is still good and will move him up from his fifth-round ranking. 

Wrapping up this linebacker class, Dorian Williams had a similar combine to Owen Pappoe. Williams is also a projected fifth-round pick but had an excellent overall combine and ran a 4.49 40. Additionally, Williams ended up with an 8.53 RAS. Due to this, I believe Williams will slide up draft boards even more and get fourth-round draft capital.

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