NFL | Mar 08, 2024

Risers and Fallers from the 2024 NFL Combine

By Harry Bazley

USATSI 22677699

The NFL Scouting Combine constantly serves a reminder that fresh and exciting new talent is right around the corner and this year was no different. Last week we witnessed a record breaking 40-yard dash and perhaps the most impressive overall performance in the history of the combine.

Now, most of the top recruits performed exactly as expected, and we'll get to the best of the best in another article. Today, we're focusing on the standout risers and fallers, from underrated prospects proving the scouts wrong, and overhyped rookies that didn't quite hit the mark. Without further ado, let's get into it....

Payton Wilson: Riser

At 6'3, 233 pounds, the NC State linebacker's official 4.43s 40-yard dash cannot be overstated. Running that fast at his size is almost unheard of. In fact, that 40 time is in the 99.5th percentile, while his 10-yard split pace was in the 98th percentile at 1.54s. So, yeah, he's quick and he's not small.

PFF graded Wilson in the 90th percentile as an on-field performer in both coverage (90.4) and tackling (90.6), but he exceeded expectations through last week's LB drills. He's currently in competition with Edgerrin Cooper and Junior Colson to be the first off-ball linebacker selected in the 2024 NFL Draft, but with his combine performance he just about takes the top spot for me. With a 9.81 Relative Athletic Score (RAS) with his proportions, he showed that he may be one of the most physically gifted players in the entire draft class.

Kamren Kinchens: Faller

Kinchens entered the combine competing for a top draft spot among the likes of Calen Bullock, Tyler Nubin and Javon Bullard, but after some underwhelming drills, his previously high draft stock may have taken a hit.

His vertical and broad jump measurements ranked among the bottom of his class, but most of all, his less-than-stellar 4.65-second 40-yard dash questions his ability to keep up with elite receivers at the next level. He's also undersized for an NFL cornerback, at just 5'11 and 203 lbs, but he does have great tape from his time in Miami. His overall skillset on display throughout his collegiate career could keep him vying for good draft position but if anything, his combine performance has pushed him down the rankings.

Braden Fiske: Riser

Fiske turned heads with an outstanding combine performance that undoubtedly pushed him even further up the draft boards. He logged impressive measurements in almost every drill with a 4.78-second 40-yard dash, 33.5” vertical and 9’09” broad jump. He may need to add a little weight to truly compete at the next level, but a 9.92 RAS shows great potential to be a freak athlete and a great rusher.

Over his 6 year collegiate career, he racked up 111 stops and continued to dominate even after switching to Florida State following a five-year stint with Western Michigan. Combining his tape with his impressive combine performance should solidify his place as an early Day 2 draft pick.

Keon Coleman: Faller

Coleman entered the draft conversations as one of the standout wide receivers from the 2024 class. After an impressive campaign at Michigan State, he transferred to Florida State and flourished, as he shredded the LSU secondary in his debut performance. He quickly became a top first-round prospect, but the rest of his time on the East Coast did not quite live up to his performance on opening weekend. In any case, scouts were still well aware of his abilities and a great day at the combine would have kept him in the conversation as a first-rounder. Unfortunately, it didn't quite pan out that way...

Coleman recorded a 4.61 40-yard dash - the slowest of all wide receivers in attendance - though he did hit a 10-yard split time of 1.54s, which is fairly average for the position. Now, this one measurement won't decide his entire NFL career, but it's certainly a key drill for receivers. The question is whether the rest of his skills will outweigh his lack of speed at the top-end.

The upside for Coleman is that he ran well in other timed drills - 3rd in slant speed, 4th in the dagger, tied 2nd on the go and 2nd in slot strike. The downside is that scouts often put far too much weight on the 40-yard dash.

Xavier Worthy: Riser

Worthy came into the conversation as a high second-rounder, but after his combine performance that might have changed... In fact, prior to the combine, PFN's Ian Cummings had something to say about his potential to break into the top 32.

Worthy grades out as a top-50 prospect in the 2024 NFL Draft and a potential Round 1 candidate at his position. He’s a fringe top-five WR in a stacked WR class, and he might be the most overwhelming speed threat on the entire board

Ian Cummings

And boy was he right... Worthy recorded not only the most impressive 40-yard dash of this combine, but the fastest time in the history of the event. WR John Ross ran a 4.22 back in 2017 and that record stood for 7 years, until last week, when Worthy beat the record by just 0.01.

The former Longhorn recorded a 4.21 and hit the highest top speed of 24.41 mph, and with that kind of pace, he's now being touted as a perfect fit for the Kansas City Chiefs with the 27th selection. And that's exactly where Worthy hopes to end up, stating "In a perfect world, I definitely would want to go to the Chiefs. Just the way Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs improvise and use you. They had Tyreek Hill. The way they used him, I feel like that would be a perfect fit for me."

Adisa Isaac: Faller

Isaac check into the combine at 6'4, 247lb, which is certainly lighter than desired for an NFL defensive lineman. It's clear that the former Penn State Lion had slimmed down for some more explosive measurables, but he left scouts unimpressed after logging a 4.74s. If he had hit that mark at 260+ then it would have been easier to reason with, but putting it alongside some fairly average test results - a 34.5” vert and 10-3 broad jump - raises some questions about his ability to perform at the next level.

Despite that fact, scouts will be well aware of his college tape and most notably, his very strong 16% pressure rate. He still has the potential to become an great NFL edge rusher in the future, but his trim-down tactic may not have paid off.

(Header Image Credit: Kirby Lee - USA TODAY Sports)