The 2023 NFL Combine is one of the last stops on the road to the NFL Draft. Hours of film study, live scouting and research all culminate in the NFL Combine. While at Lucas Oil Stadium, on-field workouts and various drills enable NFL personnel to tie a bow on their scouting reports.
319 invitees are presented with an opportunity to showcase their skills beginning Thursday, and NFL.com Bucky Brooks, a former NFL player himself, is one of the latest experts to express enthusiasm about the tentpole event.
Brooks released a list of 10 prospects whom he shared excitement about evaluating in Indianapolis.
Here are the players on Brooks' list:
Bryce Young, QB, Alabama
Bucky Brooks commended Young's "arm talent, football IQ and clutch playmaking of a franchise quarterback," but he also shared questions about his size. Brooks likened his size to Arizona's Kyler Murray:
"All of that said, Murray is more densely built than Young. And Murray is a more explosive athlete than Young. This further underscores a growing question with all of the different body types emerging at the game's most important position: How small is TOO small? So, yeah, the Alabama product's height/weight measurements could be the most highly anticipated numbers of the entire 2023 combine." --Brooks
Quentin Johnston, WR, TCU
Brooks said Johnston has the potential to boost his draft stock in Indy, especially given the lack of size at the receiver position as a whole.
"Despite the TCU standout's rich contributions in Sonny Dykes' version of the Air Raid offense -- contributions that helped the Horned Frogs take college football by storm this past fall and advance all the way to the national championship game -- questions persist about the wideout's hands and ability to separate. With a chance to show coaches and scouts that he can deftly run the entire route tree and consistently corral the football, the extra-large pass catcher can abate potential concerns about his skill set." --Brooks
Kelee Ringo, CB, Georgia
Brooks said Ringo's "surface-level attributes" check all the boxes for NFL teams. Ringo has the "size-speed combo with explosiveness." How he uses those attributes to his benefit in Indy remains to be seen:
"But there are questions about his anticipation, technique and ability to track the football in the air. His tape from the 2022 campaign was a mixed bag.
Ringo's rare athleticism should shine in the combine setting. The question is how he'll perform in positional drills. If he can showcase better-than-anticipated footwork and technique, as well as scheme versatility, Ringo could see his draft stock soar." --Brooks
Darnell Washington, TE, Georgia
Brooks spoke highly of Washington, saying, "The combine is made for freak shows, and this guy fits the bill." He touched on his unique 6-7, 270 pound frame and called Washington a "unicorn at a position that has become the biggest mismatch spot in football."
"If Washington can display refined skills as a route runner and pass catcher, he could push his way into serious first-round consideration as a rare specimen with blue-chip traits." --Brooks
Tyjae Spears, RB, Tulane
Coming off a "magnificent" Senior Bowl performance, Brooks thinks Spears can boost his draft stock at the Combine.
"The electric runner displays remarkable stop-start quickness and short-area burst. In addition, Spears has impressed as a versatile playmaker with the potential to impact the game as a runner and receiver." --Brooks
NFL Media analyst Daniel Jeremiah updated his ranking of the top 50 prospects in the 2023 NFL Draft.
O'Cyrus Torrence, OG, Florida
Brooks called Torrence a "mammoth interior blocker" and said Torrence's performance at the Combine will be telling ahead of the NFL Draft.
"A bona fide people mover in the run game, Torrence has displayed light feet and outstanding balance in pass protection. He can cement his status as a blue-chip prospect in Indy with an impressive showing in positional drills." --Brooks
Isaiah Land, EDGE, Florida A&M
Another Senior Bowl standout, Brooks was bullish on the 2021 Buck Buchanan Award winner.
"With another chance to show off his athleticism and movement skills among the best players from the FBS ranks, Land can entice teams to view him as a front-line hybrid (edge rusher/linebacker) with the potential to play multiple spots in a defense that features various sub-packages and personnel groupings." --Brooks
Josh Downs, WR, North Carolina
Brooks specifically named Downs' impressive college statistics, but said his undersized frame adds an element of uncertainty about Downs in the first round of the draft.
"If Downs blazes the Lucas Oil Stadium turf with an exceptional time in the 40-yard dash and shows great change-of-direction skills in the shuttle drills, coaches and scouts are more likely to ignore the durability concerns associated with slender pass catchers in the league." --Brooks
Andre Carter II, EDGE, Army
Carter's collegiate upbringing at Army makes him an unusual "top-notch draft prospect," according to Brooks.
"The Army standout burst on the scene in 2021 with 15.5 sacks during a breakout junior season. His senior campaign wasn't nearly as statistically dominant, though he dealt with injury and extra blocking attention from every single team the Black Knights played.
If Carter displays his unique skills with a spectacular workout, the long, rangy pass rusher could boost his draft stock and emerge as one of the stories of draft weekend." --Brooks
Trenton Simpson, LB, Clemson
Brooks commended Simpson's "sideline-to-sideline range," but said Simpson has a lot to prove in Indy.
"That said, the NFL's current status as an overwhelmingly pass-centric league will challenge Simpson's proficiency in coverage. He must display enough awareness and ability to hold up against the pass in order to warrant a Day 1 grade." --Brooks