NFL Combine Preview
It’s been a little over two weeks since the Super Bowl and about two weeks until the free agency period opens, but we are currently in the midst of draft season.
The season actually kicked off a week prior to the Super Bowl with the Senior Bowl practices and game being played on the week of Jan. 31, but the next biggest event on the calendar will start this Thursday as over 300 of the top draft-eligible prospects will be participating in the Combine.
The first day of drills will include the defensive lineman and linebackers.
All eyes will be on this day specifically considering the abundance of talent at both position groups, especially at the top of the draft.
Arguably the top prospect in the class, Alabama edge rusher Will Anderson Jr., will be participating in all drills and workouts as he looks to cement himself as the first non-quarterback selected in late April.
His opportunity grew even bigger when another top prospect, defensive tackle Jalen Carter, decided he wouldn’t be participating in live drills and now also has a legal issue to take care of that could potentially hurt his stock.
Other top players to look out for on Thursday are athletic freaks Tyree Wilson (Texas Tech) and Lukas Van Ness (Iowa) as well as Clemson’s electrifying trio of Miles Murphy, Bryan Bresee and Trenton Simpson.
On Friday, the loaded class of defensive backs will take the field in Indianapolis.
Headlined by Illinois cornerback Devon Witherspoon, this group looks like one of the best in recent memory, not only in terms of top-end talent but depth as well.
Other corners expected to go in the first round are Oregon’s Christian Gonzalez and Penn State’s Joey Porter Jr. as well as Georgia’s Kelee Ringo who is expected to run one of the faster 40s of the weekend.
A sleeper to look out for on Friday is Julius Brents out of Kansas State, whose raw athleticism has the potential to dominate the Combine, not unlike Byron Jones did in 2015, although maybe not quite to that extent.
While these first two days of action are loaded with exciting talent and future stars, Saturday is the one to watch.
The wide receivers and tight ends will be working out which is always exciting, but the main attraction will be the quarterbacks.
Potential number-one pick Bryce Young won’t be participating which is somewhat of a surprise considering he’s still competing with a few other prospects for that top spot.
Ohio State product C.J. Stroud has been heralded as the most accurate passer in the draft and will have his opportunity to showcase that skill quite a bit, but Kentucky’s Will Levis and Florida’s Anthony Richardson seem like good bets to steal the show.
Not only will they “wow” scouts with their size and athleticism, but they both have cannons for right arms that will be showcased plenty of times throughout these drills.
To make sure the wide receivers and tight ends aren’t completely overlooked, watch out for Nathaniel Dell (Houston) and Dalton Kincaid (Utah) to show out.
Finally, the Combine will close out on Sunday with the running backs and offensive linemen.
All eyes will be on Texas running back Bijan Robinson, who has been touted as a generational prospect at the position and the best we’ve seen since Saquon Barkley was selected second overall back in 2018.
The offensive line group is extremely athletic as well with top-tier blindside protectors Broderick Jones, Paris Johnson Jr. and Peter Skoronski competing to be the first lineman off the board come draft day.
Dawand Jones is another tackle that should draw in a lot of fans tomorrow. He became the longest player ever measured at the Senior Bowl and is expected to be one of the top players, if not the top player, in that category this weekend.
Jakob Schnur is a third-year majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email email@example.com
About the Contributors
Second-Year / Broadcast Journalism