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2023 NFL Draft Post-Combine Skill Position Rankings

Anthony Richardson

Anthony Richardson

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Eric Froton breaks down the changes in his rankings after attending the NFL Scouting Combine.

Quarterbacks

Bryce Young, Alabama

C.J. Stroud, Ohio State

Anthony Richardson, UF

Will Levis, Kentucky

Hendon Hooker, Tenn

Clayton Tune, Houston

Jake Haener, Fresno State

Tanner McKee, Stanford

Jaren Hall, BYU

Stetson Bennett, Georgia

DTR, UCLA

Aidan O’Connell, Purdue

Max Duggan, TCU

Tyson Bagent, Shepherd

Sean Clifford, Penn State

Tommy DeVito, Syracuse

Todd Centeio, JMU

While the top quarterbacks didn’t necessarily change in terms of their order, the gap between them narrowed considerably. Young eased BMI concerns by weighing in at 204 pounds despite being 5'10, which he really needed to do in order to retain the top spot. Even so, CJ Stroud reinforced the perception that he’s the “safest” QB of the bunch by routinely putting his throws directly in the catch pocket during his Combine throwing session. The big knock on Stroud throughout his evaluation process has centered around his ability to create when forced to maneuver outside of the pocket. Though that critique will remain unanswered until he helms an NFL offense, the ball placement he displayed in Indianapolis was undeniable….What more can I say about Anthony Richardson‘s testing other than the fact I never thought we would see a QB who is even freakier than Cam Newton coming out of Auburn. Unlike a raw Richardson who is still learning the position, Newton had just completed the second greatest collegiate QB season in my lifetime (Joe Burrow, 2019 #1). Yet here we are, as AR ran an inhuman 4.43s 40 with a perfect 10.00 RAS and is officially the most tantalizing ball of QB clay imaginable. Despite unnatural athleticism, his brutal 58% completion rate from 0-9 yards is egregious and will not stand in the NFL where you cannot blow short-yardage layups. Questionable decision making due to him being very inexperienced means AR is likely two years away from being truly comfortable running an NFL offense. Richardson is still only 20 years old, so those mistakes are understandable. With just 13 starts under his belt, it’s important to remember that he still has a long way to go in order to fulfill his other-worldly potential…..I really believe that one, or more, of the Jaren Hall/Clayton Tune/Jake Haener tier of QBs is going to end up as a starting NFL quarterback. Each of them has traits and aspects of their game that I like, and with the dearth of upper-level QB play for about a dozen or so franchises, I can see one of them having an outsized impact on their respective franchises.

Running Backs

Bijan Robinson, Texas

Zach Charbonnet, UCLA

Jahmyr Gibbs, Alabama

Zach Evans, Ole Miss

Tyjae Spears, Tulane

Kendre Miller, TCU

Devon Achane, Texas A&M

Roschon Johnson, Texas

Tank Bigsby, Auburn

Chase Brown, Illinois

Evan Hull, Northwestern

Eric Gray, Oklahoma

Dewayne McBride, UAB

Sean Tucker, Syracuse

Israel Abanikanda, Pitt

Kenny McIntosh, Georgia

Chris Rodriguez, Kentucky

Deneric Prince, Tulsa

Tiyon Evans, Louisville

Keaton Mitchell, ECU

Sarodorick Thompson, Texas Tech

Deuce Vaughn, Kansas State

Mo Ibrahim, Minnesota

Xazavian Valladay, Arizona State.

Camerun Peoples, Appalachian State

Travis Dye, USC

Jordan Mims, Fresno State

Christian Beal-Smith, South Carolina

Jarek Broussard, Michigan State

Tavion Thomas, Utah

Titus Swen, Wyoming

Jordan Mims, Fresno State

Chris Smith, Louisiana

Lew Nichols III, Central Michigan

Aidan Bourguet, Harvard

Kaz Allen, UCLA

Christopher Brooks, BYU

Todd Sibley Jr, Albany

Zach Evans choosing to not run the 40 after weighing in at a very light 202 Pounds, He was billed at 215 at Ole Miss, is a major red flag. Though Evans was highly productive on a per-carry basis, leading the Power Five with 24.6% of his carries going for 10+ yards, he failed to separate himself from KenDre Miller at TCU and Quinshon Judkins at Mississippi who outright took the RB1 role from Evans this year. Evans has some juice, but so do several other sub-205 pound backs in this class who don’t have the perceived baggage - Gibbs, Achane, Spears, Tucker, Mitchell, etc. Accordingly, I have Evans in the RB6-10 range pending his Pro Day…..A former five-star Michigan recruit, Zach Charbonnet (6'003/214) boosted his stock by running a 4.53s 40 with a scintillating 9.42 RAS, solidifying himself as an athletic, big back who is ready to assume a three-down role immediately. While Jahmyr Gibbs (5'9/199) is electric in the receiving game, he is going to be replaced in all goal line situations (4 TDs in each of first 2 years) and is destined for a timeshare. With no draft capital assigned yet, Charbonnet is the safer bet to hold down a starting gig for the next 5+ years…..In a class where many running backs checked in noticeably lighter than advertised, Chase Brown (5'094/209) stood out by running a blistering 4.43s 40-yard dash, which was a 93rd percentile score for running backs of his stature. He also hit 40” on his vert (97%), posted a 10'07 broad jump (95%) and tossed up 25 reps on the bench (94%) for a sensational 9.75 RAS score. Despite being a fifth year player coming out of college, Brown has a size and speed combination that few backs in this class possess and is one of the big winners of the Combine…..Perhaps the biggest RB winner is Shrine Bowl attendee, Tulsa RB Deneric Prince who blew away the RB group by running a 4.41s 40-yard dash at 216 pounds (95%). His 9.83 RAS score led all running backs, with his closest athletic comps being Ryan Matthews, DeMarco Murray and Ahman Green, which is a pretty nice group to be mentioned alongside. Despite his physical gifts, Prince only gained first downs on 41% of his short yardage carries (16-of-39) since 2021, the 10th lowest conversion rate nationally. Prince had injury woes in every one of his last three campaigns, clouding his future, but there’s no denying that he is someone to keep an eye on after his eye-popping showing in Indy.

Wide Receivers

Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Ohio State

Zay Flowers, BC

Quentin Johnston, TCU

Jordan Addison, USC

Josh Downs, UNC

Cedric Tillman, Tennessee

Marvin Mims Jr. Oklahoma

Jalin Hyatt, Tennessee

Tyler Scott, Cincinnati

A.T. Perry, Wake Forest

Kayshon Boutte, LSU

Rashee Rice, SMU

Bryce Ford-Wheaton, West Virginia

Jonathan Mingo, Ole Miss

Jayden Reed, Michigan State

Puke Nacua, BYU

Jacob Copeland, Maryland

Parker Washington, Penn State

Michael Wilson, Stanford

Trey Palmer, Nebraska

Nathaniel Dell, Houston

Xavier Hutchinson, Iowa State

Charlie Jones, Purdue

Matt Landers, Arkansas

Mitchell Tinsley, Penn State

Dontay Demus Jr, Maryland

Dontavyion Wicks, Virginia

Rakim Jarrett, Maryland

Justin Shorter, Florida

Andrei Iosivas, Princeton

Ronnie Bell, Michigan

Antoine Green, UNC

Eligah Higgins, Stanford

Jalen Cropper, Fresno State

Michael Jefferson, Louisiana

Demario Douglas, Liberty

Joseph Ngata, Clemson

Tre Tucker, Cincinnati

Jadon Haselwood, Oklahoma

Jalen Wayne, South Alabama

Niko Remigio, Fresno State

Jake Bobo, UCLA

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Though he didn’t run a 40, Jaxson Smith-Njigba managed to cement his status as the 2023 WR1 by torching the Shuttle in 3.93s, a 99th percentile mark, and running a 6.57s 3-Cone that ranks in the 98th percentile. JSN concisely put to bed any athleticism concerns and is now the consensus WR1, which is where I ranked him pre-combine…..If you’re reading this, you’ve already heard about Jordan Addison‘s 4.49s 40 (his opening line was 4.38) and uninspiring 5.82 RAS. His comparables at 5'112/173 are a graveyard of nondescript wideouts who never made a mark in the league, though lighter receivers like DeVonta Smith have shown teams that sub-180 pound receivers can succeed in the pass-happy NFL. Though I still have confidence in Addison’s ball skills and technical refinement, I have to drop him to WR4 in light of the testing data…..I’m a big Cedric Tillman (6'33/213) supporter and was pleased to see him return from the nagging injury he dealt with all season to post a strong set of tests at the combine. Tillman ran a 4.54s 40, which was solid, but really excelled with a 37” vertical (81%) and a 10'08 Broad Jump (92%). His 9.56 RAS reinforces the intriguing traits he flashed during a sensational 2021 campaign that peaked when the UT standout secured 10-of-12 passes for 200 yards and a touchdown against the vaunted Georgia defense. With a healthy Tillman, 2022 Biletnikoff winner Jalin Hyatt was a field-stretching decoy out of the slot, as Tillman masterfully navigated the sidelines as the WR1. I have Tillman in both of my Campus 2 Canton leagues and rank him ahead of Hyatt for NFL Draft purposes because of his well-rounded skill set and prototype X receiver build….Another CFF favorite of mine is Marvin Mims Jr, who I aggressively ranked at WR9 Pre-Combine and is now my WR6 after a blazing 4.38s 40-yard dash (96%), 39.5” vertical (94%) and 10'09 Broad Jump (94%). I was never concerned about Mims’ ability to make plays, as 16.2% of his receptions since 2021 have gone for 40+ yards (#1 in FBS), while his 13.5 yards per target average the last two years paced the FBS as well. It also should be noted that Mims needed less targets (86) to reach the 1,000 yard mark than any other WR in the nation. His advanced body control and downfield ball tracking ability should translate to the NFL, as I see a lot of similarities between him and Jahan Dotson, who is another a sub-6 foot wideout that has a preternatural ability to make plays downfield…..West Virginia’s Bryce Ford-Wheaton cannot be ignored either, as he has risen from a fringe 7th-rounder to a potential top-100 selection. Such a meteoric Combine rise stems from BFW recording the 11th freakiest wide receiver workout of all-time according to his 9.96 RAS score. His 41” Vertical (98%), 4.38s 40-yard dash (96%) and a 4.15 Shuttle (91%) at 224 pounds is simply too gaudy to ignore. Wheaton reeled in 18-of-34 contested catches thanks in part to 33.5” arms and an inability for WVU signal callers to make throws down range. At the Shrine Bowl BFW mentioned that he had not dealt with press coverage in college and how being jammed in the East-West practice sessions was a big adjustment for him. BFW will likely need a year or two to grow into his frame and refine his release package, but his natural gifts are extremely rare.

Tight Ends

Dalton Kincaid, Utah

Darnell Washington, Georgia

Michael Mayer, Notre Dame

Sam LaPorta, Iowa

Luke Musgrave, Oregon State

Zach Kuntz, ODU

Will Mallory, Miami

Tucker Kraft, South Dakota

Luke Schoonmaker, Michigan

Payne Durham, Purdue

Josh Whyle, Cincinnati

Davis Allen, Clemson

Brenton Strange, Penn State

Blake Whiteheart, Wake Forest

Brayden Willis, Oklahoma

Marshon Ford, Louisville

Leonard Taylor, Cincinnati

Daniel Barker, Michigan State

Ben Sims, Baylor

Cameron Latu, Alabama

Joel Wilson, Central Michigan

Jahleel Billingsley, Texas

Travis Vokolek, Nebraska

It should be noted that if i’m ranking for fantasy purposes, then I am knocking down Washington 3 spots since I don’t think he’ll be deployed in a manner that will produce a large target volume. Michael Mayer was billed at 6'4/265 throughout his collegiate career at Notre Dame, so it was quite a shock when Mayer checked in at 6'044/249 pounds. While his 4.7s 40 was an 80th percentile score historically, 10 other tight ends from the 2023 class also ran a 4.7 or better. In fact, only two tight ends - Davis Allen and Payne Durham - ran slower than Mayer in Indy. While Mayer is undoubtedly accomplished and projects as a dependable TE1 at the next level, the whispers about him being an somewhat ordinary athlete have proven to be well founded…..Sam LaPorta (6'032/245) is yet another NFL caliber TE reared in the cornfields of Iowa who shined in his athletic testing. The Hawkeyes’ leading receiver ran a 4.59s 40-yard dash (95%) and a 6.91s 3-Cone (93%), to go with a pair of 93rd percentile jumps. His sterling 9.25 RAS score and huge 10.25” hands were exactly what I wanted to see in testing, since LaPorta’s receiving acumen speaks for itself. A true flex tight end, he lined up outside 20.2% of the time, which was the most of any TE in the Power Five last year. LaPorta is slightly undersized, but has unassailable traits and a fantasy-friendly slant to his game, since any team that drafts him isn’t going to keep him in to block defensive ends…..We know LaPorta leads the 2023 TE class in outside reps, but the 2023 TE who ran the second the second highest percentage of routes on the outside was former Penn State commit, and eventual Old Dominion Monarch, Zack Kuntz (16.5%). Though he was injured after just four games in 2022, Kuntz was one of only two FBS tight ends who garnered 100+ targets in 2021, as ODU HC Ricky Rahne built the team’s passing attack around his dynamic TE. It was plainly obvious to see why during Combine testing, as Kuntz (6'073/255) literally scored a perfect 10.00 according to Relative Athletic Score testing data. His performance eclipsed even Jelani Woods’ outstanding 2022 Combine, posting a 4.55s 40, 40” Vert, 10'08 Broad, 6.87 3-Cone and 4.12s Shuttle, with all of those scores charting in the 96th percentile or above. Throw in 10.25” mitts with a pair of 34” arms, and Kuntz has got all the makings of a major TE sleeper.