2023 NFL Combine results: 12 standout wide receiver prospects

2023 NFL He finished the defensive drills, and on Saturday, the offense was on the field for televised drills. As is typical, one group started with a 40-yard run, then moved on to positional drills, while another group completed agility drills and measured jumps.



Previously, we profiled the following groups of loci:

Quarterbacks and wide receivers run their field drills together, and while the NFL is equipped with some amazing technology, they somehow lack the ability to spot both quarterbacks. And wide reception on their broadcasts. And with the league’s focus on quarterbacks, it’s becoming much more difficult to try to track receivers through drills using only their number to identify them during a rep.

With that in mind, for this topical review, I’m focusing on two things: those players I’ve been able to identify that stand out, and select receivers who have put in solid performances in their calculated drills.

While the Detroit Lions seem to have a preference for fast receivers, there is a common denominator among the receivers Brad Holmes acquired during his tenure as Lions’ general manager: most achieved certain thresholds in the vertical jump (VJ), wide jump (BJ) and 3-cone (3C).

The main numbers to look for are:
VJ: 37′ or greater
BJ: 10-foot-4, or more
3°C: 6.9 seconds or less

Now, not all potential receivers in every category have been tested, but when any of the 12 receivers chosen as one of the receivers reach or exceed a benchmark, their score is bolded for easy identification.

Let’s take a closer look at the wide receivers that have popped up.

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WR-X

Quentin Johnston, TCU6ft-3, 208
(no 40 times), 40.5 (VJ), 11 ft 2 (BJ)

Johnston looks huge and when the ball comes within his range, he swallows it up. He passed both jump standards, and the Lions reportedly met him earlier in the week.

Cedric Tillman, Tennessee, 6ft3, 213
4.54 (40), 37′ (VJ), 10 feet – 8 (BJ)

Another WR-X with impressive size and motor skills, the Tillman didn’t quite match Johnston’s numbers, but it also doesn’t carry the same hefty price tag either.

Andrei Iosivas, Princeton, 6-foot-3, 205
4.43 (40), 39′ (VJ), 10 feet – 8 (BJ), 6.85 (3 degrees)

Iosivas exceeded the benchmarks in all three categories and ran a strong 40-yard time as well. He smoothly went his ways in the complex and showed solid hands. Princeton isn’t much of a powerhouse in producing NFL players, but he had an early third-day buzz coming into the pack and could see his stock go up by measurable things.

Bryce Ford Wheaton, West Virginia, 6-foot-4, 221
4.38 (40), 41′ (VJ), 10′-9 (BJ)6.97 (3c)

For Ford-Wheaton, hitting the marks he made at 6-foot-4 is pretty impressive, and in training, he was a little easier to spot because of his wingspan. Originally slated as a late third day prospect, his combination of size, speed, explosiveness and agility usually gets teams to gamble in the middle rounds.

Grant DuBose, Charlotte, 6-foot-2, 201
4.57 (40), 35 ft (VJ), 10 ft – 5 (BJ), 6.89 (3C)

A crude prospect with an impressive triple cone of its size, there is enough potential there to watch as late as the third day.

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Antion Green, North Carolina, 6-foot-2, 199
4.48 (40), 33.5 in (VJ), 10 ft-3 (BJ), 6.99 (3 D)

Green didn’t actually hit any of the previously set criteria — though he was close on a few — but after it was reported that he met Black at the Combine, I made a point to continue looking for him. In the gauntlet he wiggled off the line much to my liking citing possible balance concerns, but he attacked the ball in the air, which was promising. It’s a late third day development possibility for me, but I’ll be back to watch the tape on it.

WR-Z/Slot

Galen Hyatt, TN, 6ft-0, 176
4.4 (40), 40 (VJ), 11ft 3 (BJ)

Hyatt would be an NFL WR-Z and could be the first off-the-plate receiver come draft day. He’s a tall skater, makes up room quickly, gets in and out of breaks with ease, and has a strong hand on the catch point. The results of the jump are consistent with the explosion you see in his game movie.

jackson smith nigba, Ohio State6ft-1, 196
not 40, 35′ (VJ), 10 ft – 5 (BJ), 6.57 (3C)3.93 (SS)

Primarily an Ohio State slot receiver, Smith-Nigba isn’t a bomber, like the Lions’ Amon-Ra St. Louis Cardinals. Brown, but instead is a traditional fast receiver who is difficult to handle on the cut. Its cone score of 6.57—which measures the ability to change direction at full speed—was the best of the combine yet.

Josh Downs, North Carolina, 5-foot-9, 171
4.48 (40), 38.5 (VJ), 10-foot-11 (BJ)

Downs is another slot receiver who may not be a perfect fit in Detroit with the St. Louis Cardinals. At the Combine, he demonstrated impressive body control with high levels of speed and the ability to make sharp cuts quickly.

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Tyler Scott, Cincinnati, 5-foot-10, 177
4.44 (40), 39.5′ (VJ), 11′-1 (BJ)

Scott fits the mold of Tyler Lockett as the WR-Z/slot that will split time in both roles but is best suited as a field stretcher. He’s a more natural fit with the St. Browns than with the Negba Smith and Downs, and he runs fast and confidently. An underrated player now.

Marvin Mims, Oklahoma, 5-foot-11, 183
4.38 (40), 39.5′ (VJ), 10′-9 (BJ), 6.90′ (3C)

Another athlete who exceeded all three criteria. Mims can work in the WR-Z and out of the slot, and his ability to make big plays both on offense and on the run will be attractive. At the Combine, he was smooth and in control, and his combination of skill and measurable ability could make him a steal in the third round.

Ronnie Bell, Michigan, 6-foot-0, 191
4.54 (40), 38.5” (VJ)10 ft – 0 (BJ), 6.98 (3c)

Bell is like a day 3 option that could develop into a starting slot/WR-Z over time. He’s reliable and a bit down-to-earth, but he shows a nice explosion and change of direction on the set. His impressive one-handed grip during the way of the whip emerged as one of the best caught at this year’s event.

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