NFL Combine 2023 takeaways: Who is the #1 QB? Plus the biggest climbers, losers and other burning questions answered

The NFL Scouting Combine 2023 is in the books! Hundreds of prospects traveled to Indianapolis in hopes of improving their design inventory, and many did just that.

CBS Sports NFL Draft Analysts Chris Trapasso and Josh Edwards recap all the action below, including QB performances, biggest risers and fallers, sleepers and more.

What’s the biggest story to come out of the combine?

Bryce Young’s metrics

Josh Edwards: Young met the desired height and weight thresholds. It’s great to see he can reach that number, but it means very little that that’s happening in March if he has no intention of maintaining that weight throughout his playing career.

Anthony Richardson’s dominance

Chris Trapasso: Richardson met (exceeded?) the immense expectations. at 6-foot-4 and 244 pounds. I was in the overwhelming majority believing the former Florida quarterback would rock in Indy. Admittedly, I don’t think I would have predicted such a ridiculous combine as Richardson ultimately did. Because as sensible as Young’s decision to sit down was, it was clearly an intelligent decision by Richardson to showcase his otherworldly athletic gifts.

Who helped their draft stick the most?

Adetomiwa Adebawore, EDGE/DL, Northwest

Josh Edwards: Adebawore would have been the most impressive performer had it not been for Florida quarterback Anthony Richardson. He tested the charts in virtually every category. He ran a 4.49-second, 40-yard dash at 282 pounds after jumping 37.5 inches vertically and 10 feet 5 inches. The Florida native gained 225 pounds on the bench press 27 times. Teams need to have a plan for his size, but he’s ticked a lot of boxes sportingly.

Jakorian Bennett, CB, Maryland

Chris Trapasso: A bit unclear about this choice because it was so difficult to choose just one. Bennett’s teammate Deonte Banks entered the combine as a marquee corner from Maryland. Bennett leaves as someone with almost identical explosiveness, and he ran 4:30 to Banks 4:35. At 5’11 and 188 pounds with arms just under 32 inches, Bennett won’t hit every single team’s size threshold, but he’s played more indoors and outdoors than Banks, and now we know he’s a top athlete.

Who damaged his design the most?

Kayshon Boutte, WR, LSU

Josh Edwards: Many were willing to rule Boutte out of the doubt during his time at Baton Rouge due to inconsistency. The team was going through changes at the top, and quarterback play was a problem after Joe Burrow. However, given the way things ended and its athletic tests underperformed, it’s a lot harder to shore up its shares.

Jordan Addison, WR, USC

Chris Trapasso: Addison weighed a feather at 5ft 11 and 173 pounds with arms under 31 inches and hands just under the 9 inch threshold that many teams want out of their receivers. Then, despite his minimal weight, Addison ran 4.49 in the 40, 21st fastest among wideouts. Surprisingly slow. His 34-inch vert was seventh-lowest and his 10-foot-2 width was eighth-lowest at the position. Look, Addison’s a slippery, dependable stud on film. Here at the combine, Addison’s stock plummeted. He should have tested more explosively at 173 pounds.

Who had the most impressive performance?

Anthony Richardson, QB, Fla

Josh Edwards: Richardson had a historic achievement for his size. He set the tone early in the day with a 40.5-inch vertical jump and a 10-foot-9-inch long jump. When he first stepped out in front of the nation, he ran a 40-yard dash in 4.43 seconds and followed that up with a tremendous performance on the field. Athleticism is only going to get one quarterback in the NFL so far, but if Richardson can figure out the rest, he’ll be something special.

Zack Kuntz, TE, Old Dominion

Chris Trapasso: We mentioned the absurd efforts of Richardson and Adebawore. Let’s add some sparkle to Kuntz. Measuring 6-foot-7 and 255 pounds with 34-inch arms, this former Penn State tight end ran 4.55 in the 40 and led at his position on all the big lifts. Highest vertical (40 inches) and long jump (10-foot-8) and amazingly fastest tricone at a receiver list of 6.87 seconds. You know how hard it is for a 6-7 tight end to pull off a three cone drill that clean?

What was your biggest takeaway from the QBs?

Top QBs shine

Josch Edwards: All three respected top quarterback prospects who threw (Anthony Richardson, Will Levis and CJ Stroud) threw the ball really well. Talent evaluators should be feeling a lot better about the group at the top, and that’s good news for the Chicago Bears, who picked the No. 1 overall pick on the trading block.

Stroud lives up to the hype

Chris Trapasso: Stroud lived up to the “ball placement specialist” label he gave himself during throwing sessions, which historically has been a big challenge for quarterbacks when throwing at a random group of unknown wideouts. His passes also had plenty of momentum, and he had no trouble pushing it more than 60 yards down the field. Ball never fluttered, never hung in the air forever. Overall, Stroud was a surgical passerby on Saturday night.

Who is your #1 QB and why?

Bryce Young, Alabama

Josh Edwards: What happened on the lawn at Lucas Oil Stadium was impressive, but the biggest part of a review is the tape. Young is the most natural playmaker in this position. He’s a great leader with the ability to make plays outside of the game structure.

CJ Stroud, Ohio State

Chris Trapasso: For many of the reasons I listed above. I’ve seen more “big” throws from him on film than any of the other quarterbacks, and he has shades of Patrick Mahomes, Justin Herbert’s athleticism in that he’s not a freaky, designed run-game guy, just explosive and naturally gifted enough to evade rushers, to lengthen plays, and to find open receivers in scramble drills.

Who’s a sleeper who should be keeping an eye on the Pro Days/rest of the draft process?

Carrington Valentine, CB, Kentucky

Josh Edwards: Valentine had an impressive 39″ vertical jump and a 10ft 8″ long jump. However, he should also run fast and move well on his Pro Day. Ball production hasn’t been there and there are some concerns, but teams will be intrigued by the sporting tests.

Durell Nchami, Rand, Maryland

Chris Trapasso: From what we’ve seen from Banks, Bennett, offensive tackle Jaelyn Duncan, and wideouts Dontay Demus and Rakim Jarrett, picking a Terrapin feels like a relatively safe bet. I loved Nchami in the movie, and while he’s never rekindled the pass rushing magic since he started college, he has burst, bending, and pass rush moves. Also, he has that lean body type that lends itself well to an electric Pro Day workout.

Which position is the strongest?

Close end

Josh Edwards: Tight ends are the strongest. They have several true differentiators at the top, but the value is at the bottom. Teams will be able to get really good players in the Late Day 2, Early Day 3 position.

Edge rusher

Chris Trapasso: As smart as it would be for me to copy Josh’s answer – because Josh is a great evaluator and I agree with the tight end strength – let’s take a different direction for a change. I’ll go with the edge rushers. There could be five or six going first round, then five or six more in round 2: Will Anderson Jr., Tyree Wilson, Lukas Van Ness, Nolan Smith – monster workout! – BJ Ojulari, Will McDonald IV, Felix Anudike-Uzomah, Myles Murphy, the list goes on. Even Ohio State’s Zach Harrison, Army’s Andre Carter II, App State’s Nick Hampton, Georgia Tech’s Keion White, Notre Dame’s Isaiah Foskey and Tennessee’s Byron Young make it around the corner. The marquee talent is here. Likewise the depth of quality.

What are you most looking forward to as the design process continues?

Which QBs go where

Josh Edwards: It’s a cliché, but it has to be when and by whom the quarterbacks are taken. The group has significant potential and last year’s course made me want more. The narrative that runs parallel to the available talents are the trading opportunities. Who will act and how soon will the fourth quarterback, whoever that ends up being, be taken?

Impact of Pro Days

Chris Trapasso: How the Pro Days will provide an opportunity to top up the stocks of many of the big prospects who haven’t practiced in Indianapolis. It’s always fun to see those mid-April waves. Young, Anudike-Uzomah, Tulane running back Tyjae Spears, TCU wide receiver Quentin Johnston at 40, Texas Tech’s Tyree Wilson during practice at Texas Tech Pro Day. It will be fascinating to monitor and track everything.

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