The NFL Scouting Combine kicks off in Indianapolis this week and that means it’s time for top prospects to flash their skills and show the NFL world why they are worthy of being selected at the NFL Draft in April. Which quarterback will separate from the others? Who will come out of nowhere to improve their draft stock with some incredible athletic performance. CBS Sports draft analysts provide a preview of the prospects and storylines that could emerge this week from Lucas Oil Stadium:
What’s the biggest storyline entering the combine?
Ryan Wilson: “Bryce Young’s height and weight. There have been small QBs at the combine before — Russell Wilson and Kyler Murray are among the most prominent — but never has there been a quarterback that was under 5-foot-11 and weighed less than 190 pounds. We’ll see if Young has added weight, but whatever the measurements are, he’s still the best QB in the class.”
Chris Trapasso: “The disparity is size, athleticism, and arm strength at the top of the quarterback class. Bryce Young won’t work out, which clears the way for Anthony Richardson and Will Levis to shine in the spotlight. Also, how athletic will C.J. Stroud be?”
Josh Edwards: “Three of the top four perceived quarterback prospects are expected to throw in Indianapolis. They know what is at stake and competitiveness will fuel them. They should put on a show that has not been seen since Baker Mayfield and Josh Allen threw in 2018.”
Which prospect will erupt at the combine?
Wilson: Luke Musgrave, TE, Oregon State — “His 2022 season was cut short by injury but he’s probably the most athletic tight end in the class. He had a good week at the Senior Bowl and he’ll shine in the drills in Indianapolis. He’ll have a chance to be the first tight end drafted.”
Trapasso: Daiyan Henley, LB, Washington State — “He started his career at Nevada playing receiver and even played primarily in the slot! He then flipped to the defensive side and started as a safety. In 2022 he played the position best-suited for him at the next level. He should be incredibly athletic in Indy. Honorable Mention: Kelee Ringo, CB, Georgia.”
Edwards: Kayshon Boutte, WR, LSU — “Boutte has been the forgotten wide receiver prospect in this draft class. He has good size and speed but his final seasons in Baton Rouge were defined by inconsistency and off-field rumors. He should excel in an environment that places heavy emphasis on athleticism.”
Who will run the fastest?
Wilson: Devon Achane, RB, Texas A&M — “Texas A&M running back Devon Achane is the easy answer. He has legit track speed in the open field and he was already one of the most explosive playmakers in this draft class.”
Trapasso: Achane — “It’s usually a non-marquee prospect, but I’m going with Texas A&M Devon Achane, one of the best running back prospects in the class. He is a blur on the field.”
Edwards: Achane — “Achane is probably the correct answer but I’ll also add Maryland wide receiver Jacob Copeland, who Shrine Bowl director of football operations Eric Galko claimed could run under a 4.3 seconds 40-yard dash.”
Which under-the-radar prospect is bound to be a household name after the combine?
Wilson: Cody Mauch, OL, North Dakota State — “Folks who follow the draft might be familiar with Mauch’s name — he was dominant at left tackle for NDSU in the fall but his NFL future will likely be inside. And that’s fine, too; Mauch worked at guard and center at the combine and he was a natural, and the fact that he looks like Thor’s cousin doesn’t hurt, either.”
Trapasso: Ji’Ayir Brown, S, Penn State — “Brown is a twitched-up specimen on film. Very explosive. He should have one of the most impressive workouts at the safety spot and he’s not little either. That matters.”
Edwards: Tyler Scott, WR, Cincinnati — “Scott is a thinner built wide receiver but he does a good job of flattening his routes across the field and eluding defenders post-catch. He should run the gauntlet well and show off his athleticism over the course of the week.”
Which quarterback will have the best combine?
Wilson: Aidan O’Connell, Purdue — “The Purdue QB quietly had a solid season and while he will never be confused with Young, Stroud, Richardson or Levis in terms of athleticism, he’s a smart player and a team leader.”
Trapasso: Anthony Richardson, Florida — “Easily. He moves like he’s Young’s size — and has better explosiveness and long speed — but should be north of 6-foot-2 and 225 pounds.”
Edwards: Will Levis, Kentucky — “Levis stacks up well in regards to sheer size, mobility and arm strength. I think teams will generally be impressed with his interviews, particularly the amount of information that he has absorbed in a short time at Kentucky.”
Who needs a huge combine the most to save/boost their draft stock?
Wilson: Will Levis, QB, Kentucky — “Levis is the glaringly obvious answer. NFL teams like him better than media and fans, and the reality is that he could choose not to take part in any drills in Indianapolis and he’d still be a first-round pick. But he also has a chance to answer his critics, still impress in the interviews, and improve his stock in the process.”
Trapasso: Andre Carter II, EDGE, Army — “Carter didn’t build on a 2021 campaign that was an good as Aidan Hutchinson’s and got worked over a little bit in the run-blocking drills at the Senior Bowl. He’s long, with quality pass-rush moves. Teams want to see just how athletic he is. I do too.”
Edwards: Bryan Bresee, DT, Clemson — “Bresee’s final season was not that of a first-round pick. However, he had a lot going on in his personal life and was still not far removed from the torn ACL he suffered in 2021. Can Bresee show the athleticism that will have teams buying into his potential?”
What happens with the No. 1 overall pick? Who makes it and who gets selected?
Wilson: “The Bears will trade down, the Colts will trade up, and Chicago will have an opportunity to fix the myriad holes currently on the roster.”
Trapasso: “I have mocked Anthony Richardson to the Colts after a trade up to the No. 1 spot of late. I think it’ll feel like more likely after the combine but it still won’t have the best odds. I’ll stay chalk and go Colts moving into the No. 1 spot to grab Bryce Young.”
Edwards: “Chicago will trade out and I suspect stay in the top five. Could they work deals with both Houston and Indianapolis? It seems unlikely so my best guess is that the Colts trade up.”