The 2023 NFL Scouting Combine is right around the corner, with many hopeful prospects looking to show off their skills and boost their draft value.
The combine is set to commence on February 28 and run through March 6, with the drills coming later in the week. A total of 319 prospects have been invited to attend this year's event, and the group includes some of the most highly ranked college players in the country, who will all be judged by hundreds of NFL evaluators in the stands.
But the combine isn't just for NFL teams and their draft picks, it's for the fans too. The 40-yard dash may be a highlight event, but the entire combine gives fans the opportunity to see the next generation of talent and what they'll bring to the league.
So, today we're going to give you a run down of all the players to keep your eye on throughout next week's combine events.
Anthony Richardson, QB
Anthony Richardson has become one of the most highly touted NFL prospects as his highlights have completely taken over social media.
Regardless of his stellar college career, it's clear that Richardson has so many of the quarterback qualities that NFL teams long for in today's game. He is agile yet solid in the pocket, has a strong arm and strong legs, and above all, is great at reading defenses.
If his combine performance is anything like his highlight reel, Richardson will certainly be one to watch.
DJ Turner, CB
If you're talking about the best NFL prospects this year, Turner has to be in the conversation.
He's one of the most explosive corners in college football, who can keep up with any receiver in man coverage. Just check out this clip, where he manages to stay hip-to-hip with the WR the entire route and even ends up grabbing himself an interception. This is NFL quality.
Turner's 40-time will also be something to look out for, he's kept up with some of the fastest players in college football, including Jayden Reed.
Cody Mauch, OT
Cody Mauch (North Dakota State OT) entered college football as a freshman walk-on playing tight end and weighing 221 pounds. He now stands at 6’6 and over 300 pounds, all while being one of the quickest tackles in this year’s draft with a 4.88 40-yard dash.
This type of quickness can't be taught, and NFL scouts will see his natural athleticism as a huge bonus in a football era where edge rushers are the biggest fear for any quarterback. In his senior year, he allowed only seven QB hurries and one sack throughout 891 total snaps.
Mauch is the tenth ranked tackle in this year’s draft and it's clear to see why.
Cody Mauch is looking very solid today pic.twitter.com/ncPgpgHhzG— Billy M (@BillyM_91) February 1, 2023
Puka Nacua, WR
Puka Nacua is currently ranked #147 by the Draft Network for this year's NFL prospects, but I'm expecting his stock to move up after the combine.
Nacau is set to be the third brother in his family to make it to the big league and for good reason too.
At 6-foot-2, 205-pounds his speed, body control and catching ability is astonishing. In fact, Nacau was ranked sixth in contested catch win-percentage in the 2023 class. He should show off soft hands and agility through the receiver drills.
In today's NFL, speed kills and Nacau is up there with some of the fastest players in the draft. This may have been Week 1, but if he can find this gear next week, expect to see an impressive 40-yard dash.
Jack Campbell, LB
Mark my words, NFL teams will be fighting for Jack Campbell come draft night. He ticks every box for a prototypical inside linebacker, with his ability to stuff the run and fill the gaps but also cover the pitch sideline-to-sideline.
Campbell won the 2022 Dick Butkus award after logging 77 tackles, 47 stops and forcing a 70.6 passer rating when targeted, in just 12 games played.
PFF ranks Campbell as the 10th best run defender (min of 200 snaps) with a rating of 85.6 and the number one rated pass coverage linebacker, 92.9. His height and wingspan measurements will be a key factor in his combine week, but look out for his 40 time where he'll show off that sideline-to-sideline speed.
Bijan Robinson, RB,
Bijan Robinson may just be the most talented player in the entire 2023 class.
We should expect to see Robinson measure in around 6 foot and 219-pounds, which would easily surpass thresholds for workhorse running back size but his versatility could be what sells him to the scouts.
Robinson is not only a powerhouse back with quick feet, but he is also a great catcher out of the backfield. I'm not exaggerating when I say he has all the talent to become a McCaffrey-level rusher in the NFL, while expanding the air-raid playbook for whichever OC is lucky enough to get him on the roster.
I can’t wait to see which team drafts Bijan Robinson— Scott Procter (@ScottProcter_) February 16, 2023
Game-changing talent from day one. pic.twitter.com/Nrs5AHmqcN
Will McDonald IV, EDGE
Will McDonald IV already put on a show during the Senior Bowl which helped to raise his draft stock and I expect him to jump the pick list even further next week.
McDonald is 6-foot-4 and currently holds the Iowa State record for sacks, with a whopping 34, which also tied the career-record for the Big-12. Throughout his college career, he regularly took on double and triple teams and somehow still finished the 2022 season with five sacks, 7.5 TFLs, four pass breakups, a forced fumble and had a recovery in his final college season.
He is truly an elite edge rusher and he can seriously move in open space - perfect for tracking down all the dual-threat QBs that are taking over the league.
Will McDonald from Iowa St. had two of the best pass rush reps from any EDGE this week against Darnell Wright, one of the best tackles in this class. https://t.co/0UE0h1yPbz pic.twitter.com/lGz76xj8p9— Justin Penik (@JustinPenik) February 2, 2023
Joey Porter Jr, CB
Joey Porter Jr (Penn State cornerback) has a very high football IQ with the kind of size and physicality everyone is looking for. If he was just slightly more athletic, he may be a top 10 pick. Who knows, maybe his performance next week can push him into that bracket...
Porter Jr.’s route recognition skills, stickiness in man coverage and very good hand usage give him the ceiling of an All-Pro corner. However, his grabby play style, susceptibility to quick jab steps off of the line and the fact he gives up a bit too much separation against short routes definitely lowers his draft stock.
It will be interesting to see how Porter performs through the drills, but he should show out in 40-yard dashes and agility tests.
Eliminating false steps and jersey tugs. Great clip of Penn State CB Joey Porter Jr. and the two areas that he’ll need to improve. All the ingredients are there, but coaching and patience will be key for him while he works through it. pic.twitter.com/zSrnusiJWV— Jordan Reid (@Jordan_Reid) February 20, 2023
Other Notable Players Include:
Zay Flowers, WR, Boston College
Luke Musgrave, TE, Oregon State
Devon Achane, RB, Texas A&M
Bryce Baringer, P, Michigan State
Tucker Kraft, TE, South Dakota State
Josh Downs, WR, North Carolina
Michael Mayer, TE, Notre Dame
Broderick Jones, OL, Georgia
Isaiah Foskey, DL, Notre Dame
Andre Carter II, EDGE, Army
Paris Johnson Jr, OT, Ohio State
Jalen Carter, DT, Georgia
The 2023 NFL draft is set to bring one of the most talented college classes in recent history. Players at all positions will be moving straight into starting spots wherever they land.
Have we missed anyone from our list? Let us know your favourite combine performances on Twitter -BestSportsOdds (@BestSports_Odds) / Twitter.