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2024 NFL Scouting combine wrap-up: Skill position Saturday

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By: Chris Pflum

Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images

This receiver class is beyond stacked

It was a long, long day in Indianapolis on the third day of the 2024 NFL Scouting Combine as the running backs, wide receivers, and quarterbacks took the field.

This is the day pretty much everyone was waiting for, as some of the top prospects in the entire draft would be on the field. It’s a potentially huge day for the New York Giants, who are widely expected to be in the market for a wide receiver and possibly a quarterback as well.

One of the biggest stories of the day was who wouldn’t be on the field. Top quarterbacks Caleb Williams, Drake Maye, and Jayden Daniels, as well as top wide receivers Marvin Harrison Jr. and Malik Nabers all opting out of the on-field portion of the Combine. It’s unlikely to hurt their draft stock at all, but it would have been fun to see the top prospects compete.

Running backs

Flyin’ Cardinal

Louisville Cardinals running back Isaac Guerendo wasn’t getting much pre-combine buzz. However, he’s cemented himself as one of the most athletic running backs to ever work out at the Combine. He had a 4.33 second 40-yard dash with a 41 12 inch vertical and 10-foot-9 broad jump at 6-foot, 220 pounds.

To put that in some kind of context, pretty much everyone was amazed when Saquon Barkley ran a 4.40 second 40 with a 40-inch vertical at 6-foot, 233 pounds.

Who’s going to be the first running back drafted?

Frankly, we won’t know that question until draft day — and maybe the second round at that. This class doesn’t have a true “top” running back, but this class has a bunch of runners who’re going to be players on Sunday and several who could be important parts of their future offense.

Trey Benson (Florida State), Ray Davis (Kentucky), and Jaylen Wright (Tennessee) probably the most impressive workouts of the “top” runners from a height/weight/speed perspective. Each also did good work in the on-field portion of the workout as well. And that’s where this class is going to be judged. There aren’t many elite athletes in this running back class, but guys like Blake Corum and Bucky Irving are very good at the intangible aspects of playing running back. They showed quick feet, balance, and receiving upside in the field drills and make them headaches for defenses.

It’s worth noting that Texas running back Jonathon Brooks is still recovering from a torn ACL suffered during the season. He might have been the top back in the draft had he not been injured.

Wide receivers

They made another McCaffrey?

This is definitely a “legacy” draft with Marvin Harrison Jr, Frank Gore Jr, and Brendan Rice. There’s also another McCaffrey in the draft as well, with Luke McCaffrey coming out of Rice. Luke is the younger brother of 49ers star running back Christian McCaffrey and the son of former NY Giants receiver Ed McCaffrey.

The younger McCaffrey not only beat his brother (by a hundredth of a second) in the 40-yard dash, but he showed that he’s ready to take up the family business as a pass catcher.

As good a runner as CMC is, it’s his lower body fluidity and natural hands that has always stood out for me. Luke seems to have those same traits.

With the 21st overall pick, the Miami Dolphins select…

The Dolphins have been collecting speed at the skill positions and were rewarded with one of the most dangerous offenses in the NFL. If they want to keep doubling down on speed, or if the rest of the NFL wants to ape the Dolphins’ formula, we could see Texas WR Xavier Worthy go earlier than many are expecting. After all, he re-sent the Combine record with a blistering 4.21-second 40. That is the rarest kind of speed.

Receiver quick hits

  • Ladd McConkey (Georgia) isn’t a sleeper anymore. The Georgia receiver has rocketed up draft boards after starting the process as an under-the-radar prospect in Brock Bowers’ shadow. Not only has McConkey had a fantastic week at the Senior Bowl, but he showed out at the Combine. The Combine broadcast crew compared him to former OROY Garrett Wilson, and the numbers were pretty spot-on.
  • Adonai Mitchell (Texas) was on a lot of people’s radar, but he’s generally been in the lower second or third tier of the class. He might have leapt up to the top of the second tier after a great workout. He showed good movement skills as well as some spectacular athleticism.
  • We knew Xavier Legette is an athletic freak, but he had a great workout. He cracked 4.40 on the 40 (4.39) at 6-foot-1, 220 pounds with a 40-inch vertical and 10-6 broad jump. Legette ran some nice routes in the field drills as well, and we’re going to hear some “AJ Brown” comparisons for him over the next two months.
  • Ever wonder what “Game Speed” looks like? Just watch Keon Coleman in the gauntlet drill. The FSU receiver had a disappointing 4.61 second 40, but he averaged the highest top speed during the gauntlet.

  • Rome Odunze checked all the boxes. He was the highest regarded receiver to work out today, and he didn’t do anything to harm his draft stock. He measured out with an “X Receiver” frame at 6-foot-2, 215 pounds, and had a solid 4.45 second 40-yard dash.

  • How is Brian Thomas Jr. an afterthought in this draft class? Thomas has great size at 6-foot-2, 209 pounds, ran the second-fastest 40-yard dash at 4.34 seconds, had a 38.5-inch vertical and 10-6 broad, and was great in just about drill.

It’s a mark of just how deep this class is that players like Thomas Jr, Troy Franklin, Roman Wilson, and Ricky Pearsall are viewed as second or third tier options. Any of them would have been in the conversation for top receiver last year.

This might be the best year to need a wide receiver in the history of the draft.


Joe Milton’s got an arm
Okay, we knew this already. There weren’t any questions regarding his arm strength, but plenty of questions regarding his ability to throw with timing and touch on the short and intermediate routes. Milton looked improved in those passes — albeit playing against air and without a pass rush — but it was his arm strength that got people excited. It’s been a while since we’ve seen a QB throw a ball like this at the Combine.

J.J. McCarthy’s issues to the left continue
The Michigan QB has steadily risen over the course of the last two months, at least in public. As often happens, it could be that the public perception of McCarthy is catching up to where the NFL has been on him.

McCarthy weighed in at a surprising 219 pounds (answering questions about his frame) and looked good in most of the drills. He threw with accuracy, touch, and timing down the field and to the right.

However, he still needs to clean up his footwork when throwing to the left. I noted a tendency on film for him to use a very open stance when throwing left, to the point of his feet pointing completely off-target and trusting his arm elasticity to make up the difference. I had hoped to see that get cleaned up prior to the Combine, but unfortunately that issue remains.

He’s athletic and young, not to mention a dedicated worker. There doesn’t appear to be a mechanical reason why the issue can’t be resolved with work, but it’s starting to look like it might be a long-term project.

Bo Nix makes it look easy
Oregon QB Bo Nix wasn’t as spectacular as Joe Milton, and isn’t getting the stock boost that McCarthy has gotten since winning the National Championship. However, he was probably the smoothest and most consistent quarterback on the property today. His footwork and throwing motion were compact and efficient, and he was accurate to every area of the field.

Michael Penix reminded folks who he is

The lefty from Washington was the talk of Draft Twitter after the 2023 season and the Playoff game against Texas. His draft stock seemingly slipped after a poor performance against a very tough Michigan defense. The Combine, however, gave him the perfect platform to play to his strengths, and he took advantage.

Originally posted on Big Blue View