The NFL Combine is a great chance for fans to pretend they’re NFL scouts.
It offers a nice mix of football and Olympics-style athleticism, and most of all, it gives us all sorts of numbers, which are much easier to judge than the things NFL teams actually care about, like footwork and hip fluidity.
So, let’s overreact to testing numbers to find the risers, fallers, and freaks from this year’s combine.
NFL Combine Risers
Deonte Banks – This is an unusually strong and deep class for cornerbacks. Banks typically shows up in the second round of mock drafts, but he may have propelled himself into the first with his size, testing results, and fluidity in drills. He ran a 4.35 40-yard dash and posted a 42-inch vertical leap at 6-feet tall and nearly 200 pounds.
Jack Campbell – Campbell is your typically reliable Iowa linebacker, who came into the combine with a day two grade. But his testing numbers were more impressive than many expected. He’s big, at 6-foot-5 and 249 pounds, and he ran a 4.65 40-yard dash with a 37 1/2-inch vertical leap. According to Kent Lee Platte’s Relative Athletic Score, Campbell is nearly identical to T.J. Watt and Leighton Vander Esch, who both went in the first round.
Bryce Ford-Wheaton – A relatively unheralded wide receiver with middling production for West Virginia, Ford-Wheaton may have jumped up a round or two thanks to his outstanding testing numbers. He measured in at 6-foot-4 and 221 pounds, and he ripped off a 4.38 40-yard dash, a 41-inch vertical, and a 10-foot-9 broad jump.
NFL Combine Fallers
Jordan Addison – A decorated performer in college, Addison came into the 2022 season as WR1 on most boards. But he had a bit of a disappointing season with USC last year, and his combine numbers may add more doubt to his profile. His 4.49 40-yard dash and jump numbers were average, and he checked in at just 5-foot-11 and 177 pounds. That’s probably too small to be a consistent outside threat, and he may lack the explosion and agility to excel in the slot.
Emmanuel Forbes – Size is the main concern with Forbes, too, as he measured in at 6-foot-1 but just 166 pounds. His testing numbers were good, with a 4.35 40-yard dash, a 37 1/2-inch vertical, and a 10-foot-11 broad jump, and he showed a knack for grabbing interceptions in college. But it’s hard to expect him to offer much run support at that size, and adding weight could affect his athleticism.
Mike Morris – Morris was a productive defensive end, but his testing numbers were not impressive at all. His 4.95-second 40-yard dash was the second slowest among defensive ends, and he was near the bottom in both jumping categories, too. On top of that, he reportedly looked stiff in drills and fell down several times. He may have fallen into day three now.
NFL Combine Freaks
Adetomiwa Adebawore – A defensive end from Northwestern, Adebawore tends to get labeled as a tweener because he doesn’t have ideal height and length for a defensive end, or ideal bulk for an interior lineman. But make no mistake, he’s a freak. He dropped a 4.59-second 40-yard dash, a 37 1/2-inch vertical jump, and a 10-foot-6 broad jump at 6-foot-2 and 282 pounds. Here’s a fun comparison:
Calijah Kancey is a defensive tackle from Pitt with lots of helium right now. In fact, some are projecting him as a potential top-15 pick. Obviously there’s far more to football than just physical ability, but Adebawore will be pretty enticing for a team that believes in its developmental staff.
Zack Kuntz – A four-star recruit at tight end coming out of high school, Kuntz made little impact at Penn State for two seasons and then transferred to Old Dominion. He had a strong campaign in 2021, but last year he caught just 12 passes in five games. But his mix of size and athleticism for the position is unmatched in recent NFL history. He is 6-foot-7 and 255 pounds and he checked in with a 4.55 40-yard dash and a 40-inch vertical jump, among other impressive measurables. However, scouts don’t particularly love his tape. But there’s no doubt he’s a freak.
Anthony Richardson – We could easily put Richardson in the Risers category. But when you’re a freak, you’re a freak. Go ahead and click on his name to read our full story about his record-breaking combine performance. The quick and dirty comparisons are Cam Newton and Justin Fields. Except Richardson is even faster and more explosive. Yikes.
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