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Anthony Richardson and Will Levis go in different directions

Anthony Richardson

Anthony Richardson

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

With the 2023 NFL Scouting Combine now in our rear view, many players saw their stock rise and possibly plummet after the so-called “Underwear Olympics”. It’s simply the name of the game, whether it truly matters or not, it’s going to garner attention from NFL personnel, sports media and fans. University of Georgia’s Nolan Smith blazed the track with a 4.39 40-yard dash at 6-foot-2, 238 pounds and made himself some money in Indianapolis. Other defensive players like Kelee Ringo, Adetomiwa Adebawore, Calijah Kancey and D.J. Turner (who ran the combine’s fastest 40-yard dash at 4.26) also helped themselves at the combine. For fantasy purposes, we will stick to offensive players who could potentially find spots on depth charts in year one.


Anthony Richardson - QB, Florida

First, let’s be real and get this out of the way, C.J. Stroud was indeed the most impressive thrower at the NFL Combine. His delivery of the football was pure and effortless, but we likely already know that he’ll be one of the first two quarterbacks taken in the 2023 NFL Draft. He pretty much solidified that. Richardson however, has gained a lot of ground on Stroud and Bryce Young after the show he put on in Indianapolis. First was the athleticism he put on display with a 10-foot-9 broad jump, followed by a record-setting 40.5-inch vertical leap. He then headed over and wowed the nation with a time of 4.43 seconds in the 40-yard dash. He did all of this at a size of 6-foot-4, 244-pounds! Richardson also showed off his accurate deep ball while showing he can hit throws on the boundaries. Many came in thinking Richardson couldn’t take heat off of some of his throws, he proved that to be false. The team that drafts him likely will tell us how soon he can be fantasy relevant. Whoever it is will get a star.

Chase Brown - RB, Illinois

I loved Jahmyr Gibbs putting his (now what you should recognize as) elite speed on display by running a 4.36 in the 40-yard dash. He’ll likely be the second running back coming off of the board, but Dameon Pierce and Tyler Allgeier proved in 2022 that you don’t have to be a pick on Day 1 or Day 2 to have immediate success. Without a lot of hype coming out of the Senior Bowl, Brown showed his athletic prowess and ended his combine with a 4.43-second 40-yard dash, 10-foot-7 broad jump and a 40-inch vertical leap at 5-foot-9 ½, 209 pounds. This will not and it should not spring him up draft boards, but with backs like Tyjae Spears (who looked good in drills) and KenDre Miller (injury) not running, it should make Brown feel good he was able to perform well. Scouts and evaluators will certainly be going back to his tape post combine.

Jaxon Smith-Njigba - WR, Ohio State

Some will say JSN was afraid of competing by not running the 40-yard dash at the combine. I say you should know who and what you are, especially during the draft process. By avoiding the 40, Smith-Njigba was able to put on display what he excels at the most, change of direction and route running. He easily had the best three-cone drill out of any receiver clocking 6.57 seconds (the next best was Andrei Iosivas at 6.85). In the 20-yard shuttle he made a mockery of the competition finishing it in 3.93 seconds with Iosivas again trailing at 4.12. Then came the route running drills where JSN did what he does best. You have to remember, this is a man who went 95/1606/9 on a team that had Garrett Wilson and Chris Olave, that’s no small feat. Wilson even said himself that JSN was the best receiver of the trio. By not running the 40, JSN didn’t subject himself to getting lost in the shuffle of 4.3/4.4-speed guys knowing he could out-perform them at what matters most.

Darnell Washington - TE, Georgia

You want to talk about a unit? UGA’s Washington is certainly that. Checking in at nearly 6-foot-7 and 264 pounds, Washington posted a 4.64-second 40-yard dash, a 10-foot-2 broad jump and the fastest 20-yard shuttle amongst tight ends at 4.08 seconds which would’ve been second amongst the wide receivers. Known for his combination of blocking and receiving skills, he put the latter on display in drills when he caught a one-handed fade route. This year’s tight end class is loaded with talent that includes Michael Mayer, Luke Musgrave, Dalton Kincaid and Luke Shoonmaker and Washington did everything in his power to separate himself from that group. Although he still may not be the first tight end taken, you can’t argue with anyone who feels like he should be.


Will Levis - QB, Kentucky

Levis surely didn’t do anything to necessarily hurt is stock after the combine, but C.J. Stroud and Anthony Richardson are so much better that it can hurt his momentum entering the draft. As far as the combine goes, I could strongly argue that Stetson Bennett put on a better overall performance than Levis. It was once thought that all of Levis, Stroud, Richardson and Bryce Young could go No. 1 overall in the NFL draft, but sports books no longer see it that way. Young (-190) is currently the heavy favorite to be the first overall pick by BetMGM. Stroud (+400) and Richardson (+500) come in after Young, but Levis now has the same odds as Alabama edge rusher Will Anderson (+1200). Kentucky has a later pro day (March 24), so Levis will have a chance to leave a lasting impression on those quarterback-needy teams with picks at the top of the draft.

Jalin Hyatt - WR, Tennessee

I don’t think “stock down” is even the right term for these players I’m talking about, but more so they didn’t live up to the combine hype. Hyatt ended up running an official 4.40 in the 40-yard dash which means he’s still going to smoke plenty of defensive backs and take the top off coverage. Many expected him to run in the low 4.3’s or closer to 4.2. However, some would consider him as the second best receiver on his team behind Cedric Tillman. He came into the combine with questions about whether or not he could run the full route tree and while he didn’t do anything to hurt himself there, he’s not coming out to the combine with any new buzz. With receivers like Zay Flowers, Jaxon Smith-Njigba and Bryce Ford-Wheaton impressing, Hyatt will have to up his game at Tennessee’s pro day.

Kayshon Boutte - WR, LSU

The former five-star recruit probably didn’t have the day he envisioned having at the NFL Combine. Running a 4.50-second 40-yard dash certainly isn’t the worst thing in the world, but he’d said he expected to run in the 4.3’s. Boutte was unable to reach 10-feet in the broad jump or 30-feet on his vertical leap. When it comes to playing football, none of these things matter in the grand scheme of things, but we didn’t see him play great football at LSU either. Boutte had looked to establish himself amongst the best receivers in this class, but for now it’ll be tough sledding for him to be even a Day 2 pick at this point. He’ll have another chance to improve his stock at LSU’s pro day.

Tavion Thomas - RB, Utah

Thomas came in at six-feet, 237 pounds, but most who know him and his game knew that he’s a big downhill runner. Some felt like he was overlooked and underrated coming into the combine, but unfortunately not much has changed post Indianapolis. Thomas had a tough year on and off the field so I know he’s put in the effort to do well, it just didn’t work out at the combine. In every event he tested in, he either finished last or second to last amongst running backs. For a player who is on the bubble of even getting drafted, anything would’ve helped. Thomas will surely be looking to improve on his numbers at Utah’s pro day.