The first few days of the NFL Combine are always fun. Executives and coaches from around the league met with the media to give a state of the union about their team. Stephen Jones and Mike McCarthy were behind the mic for the Dallas Cowboys, and the former offered myriad nuggets about the offseason agenda.
On Thursday, though, the Combine served its true purpose as defensive linemen and linebackers took to the Lucas Oil Stadium field for drills. Cornerbacks and safeties followed suit on Friday, and set the stage for an exciting weekend.
For the most part, participants wowed onlookers with their speed in the 40-yard dash and shuttle drills, and their explosiveness and athleticism with the vertical and broad jumps. Others weren’t so fortunate, however.
Some of the biggest winners include Georgia DE Nolan Smith, who logged a blistering 4.39 40-yard dash and tallied a 41.5-inch vertical and 10-foot-8 broad jump. He cemented himself as a surefire top-20 pick.
Northwestern defensive end Adetomiwa Adebawore was arguably the biggest winner from Day 1. His wingspan is one thing (33 7/8-inch arm), but the former Wildcat opened eyes with his 4.49 40, 37.5-inch vertical, and 10-foot-5 broad jump.
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- Iowa LB Jack Campbell and Pitt DT Calijah Kancey are other Day 1 standouts. Campbell finished with an RAS (relative athletic score) projection of 9.98, while Kancey notched the fastest 40 time for a defensive tackle since 2003 at 4.67 seconds.
- In terms of cornerback and safety winners, Maryland CB Deonte Banks tested superbly, recording a 4.46 50, 42-inch vertical and 11-foot-4 broad jump, which is the third best for a cornerback ever. Penn State CB Joey Porter Jr., meanwhile posted a 4.47 40 and placed in the 99th percentile (!) for arm length and wingspan. Plenty of other corners tested well. It’s a stacked class.
- Some of the biggest losers from Day 1 and 2 of the Combine include Army DE Andre Carter, whose vertical and broad jump ranked in the 16th and 26th percentile, and Michigan edge Mike Morris, who stumbled multiple times during field drills, and underwhelmed in the 40, vertical, and broad jump.
- Transitioning to non-Combine news, Michael Gehlken of the Dallas Morning News reported Thursday there’s “little momentum” between Dallas and Dalton Schultz in contract negotiations. It’s looking increasingly likely Schultz will test free agency once the legal tampering period opens on March 13.
- Ravens WR Rashod Bateman called out team GM Eric DeCosta on social media for his comments about Baltimore’s poor track record of drafting receivers. Bateman has since deleted the tweet, but the post received support from a number of former Ravens, including Marquise “Hollywood” Brown.
- The Jaguars are expected to use the franchise tag on tight end Evan Engram, though extension negotiations are still ongoing. Engram set career highs in catches and receiving yards to go with four scores in 2022. The Cowboys did the same thing with Dalton Schultz last offseason after a breakout 2021, though it looks like both sides are heading for a split this time around.