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NFL Combine
NFL Draft

NFL Combine 2023: Who Will Run Fastest 40 And More

  • Ryan Fowler
  • February 27, 2023
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With the full list of prospects invited, the 2023 version of the NFL Combine is right around the corner. With that, let’s take it back to high school and the infamous superlatives page where the “most likely to’s…” took over hallway conversations and the years that followed. 

For the NFL Combine, while the topics change and labels alter, the premier event for players to showcase their athletic ability got our wheels turning here at Draft Network. With just a few days remaining until the NFL spotlight falls on Indianapolis, here’s a look inside each of the major events set to take place, and a few players to keep an eye on in the 40-yard dash, bench press, and vertical jump.

40-Yard Dash

Trey Palmer WR, Nebraska

Expected to blaze at the NFL Combine, Palmer could wear the 40 crown when things are all said and done. He’s rumored to be running in the mid 4.2s during NFL Combine prep, and watching his tape at Nebraska showcased an athlete that can flat-out GO.

Terell Smith DB, Minnesota

Smith ran a 10.39 100-meter dash in high school. Track speed is just different, folks.

Jalin Hyatt WR, Tennessee

A wideout known for his ability to threaten the roof of defenses, Hyatt is going to fly on the fast turf at Lucas Oil Stadium. The NFL has and will always value speed and Hyatt as plenty of it. There are concerns about how well-rounded his game is, but a blazing time could sway teams toward making him their WR1 in the class.

Tre Tucker WR, Cincinnati 

Extremely explosive off the line of scrimmage, Tucker wastes no time in working up to fifth gear and I wouldn’t be shocked if he posts the top time. His 5-foot-8 frame showcases little wasted movement, allowing him to glide down the track. 

Israel Abanikanda RB, Pitt

My sleeper pick, Abanikanda has been “consistently in the low 4.3s,” and landing a few ticks slower in the mid-4.3s could still end up being the fastest time posted. Turning on his tape at Pitt showcased an athlete that was consistently the fastest on the field, and I expect his overall stock to rise in Indianapolis.

Vertical Jump

Quentin Johnston WR, TCU

While I’d like to see Johnston become more dominant in the air during games, this is simply about how high a guy can jump and I expect him to fly off the ground. The top vert last spring came via Channing Tindall (Dolphins) and Tariq Woolen (Seahawks), who each jumped 42 inches. It wouldn’t surprise me if the former Horned Frog reaches, or trumps, that number. 

Josh Downs WR, North Carolina

Downs posted a 42-inch vert a few years back, and I expect him to be fired up under the bright lights of the NFL Combine. One of the best pound-for-pound athletes in the class, Downs is extremely explosive in his lower half, which I expect to catapult him off the turf. 

Rakim Jarrett WR, Maryland

A five-star prep athlete for a reason, Jarrett is one of the more unique athletes in the 2023 class. I expect him to jump extremely well in both the vert and broad. 

Andrei Iosivas WR, Princeton

An All-American in the heptathlon, Iosivas will thrive during the testing portion of the week. He may not break any records, but I expect him to sit near the top of the charts in various measurables. 

Darius Rush CB, South Carolina

A former WR, watching Rush move on tape all year was a fun watch, but getting eyes on him down at the Senior Bowl showcased a smooth, dynamic athlete that can play above the rim. 

Kaevon Merriweather DB, Iowa

An all-around smooth athlete, I think Merriweather could go pro in multiple sports. He’s got basketball and track in his background, and pure athletes shine in these types of events. 

Zack Kuntz TE, Old Dominion

An unknown name to the public eye, the former Penn State recruit will open eyes in Indianapolis with his athletic profile. He’s got a ways to go as a modern ‘F’ tight end, but he’s as electric an athlete as there is at 6-foot-8, 250 pounds.

Bench Press

Adetomiwa Adebawore DL, Northwestern

Adebawore is extremely powerful in his upper half and he’s got meathooks for hands. He’ll do exceptionally well. 

Mazi Smith DL, Michigan

I expect Smith to throw the barbell around. The strength and conditioning program for the Wolverines has been well documented, and Smith has been one of the program’s elite testers for some time. 

Brent Laing OL, Minnesota-Duluth

A thrower in track and field during his prep days, I don’t see 225 being much of an issue for Laing. He’s looking to become just the fourth player ever drafted out of Minnesota-Duluth and the first since 1988. 

Trey Dean III SAF, Florida

This event is usually a time for the big boys to showcase, but here’s a hint at what Dean will do come his time on the bench.

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Written By

Ryan Fowler