We’re approaching the final phases of the 2023 NFL Draft, and with that, we’ve concluded almost every pro day workout. That, along with the NFL Combine, can give us the biggest NFL draft risers and fallers from the workout phase in the month leading up to the draft.
Using the 2023 NFL Draft Industry Consensus Big Board, we can track risers and fallers that come from this workout process. With over 40 big boards from across draft media now included, we can track which players rose from their standing in late February to where they appeared at the end of the workout process.
Consensus Big Board Risers
There are a few ways to measure risers and fallers. We could use “total number of ranks” a player has climbed the boards, but it would cut short the dramatic rise a player might have from the bottom of Round 1 to the top — a much more impactful change than moving up from the seventh round to the fifth round.
We could also use a trade chart to value each slot and look at the total number of points that a player rose, but that might move too far in the other direction and exaggerate the rise of a first-round player from one slot to the next. The percentage change in trade-value points could help resolve this but still tends to prioritize bottom-of-the-draft players.
So we’ll mix the approaches around to get a good understanding of risers and fallers through the workout process. With this in mind, who are the consensus big board risers and fallers?
Anthony Richardson, QB, Florida | (Feb. Rank: 24; March Rank: 14)
It’s unsurprising to see Anthony Richardson as one of the top risers throughout the process. He had an incredible Combine — one of the best we’ve ever seen at the position — and impressed evaluators in the on-field positional drills as well.
While there’s some talk Richardson could go first overall, which is possible but seems unlikely, finding himself in the discussion is meaningful and speaks to how much a high ceiling can entice evaluators.
Deonte Banks, CB, Maryland | (Feb. Rank: 66; March Rank: 34)
It’s not surprising that Deonte Banks shot up draft boards, though rising from the top of Round 3 to a potential first-rounder is big. Banks’ speed, agility, and explosion scores were all near the top of his peers.
Though his coverage numbers are pedestrian in the draft — especially the box-score numbers — Banks’ film has earned significant praise from analysts. That, in concert with his workouts, might have been enough to push him ahead of his coverage numbers.
DJ Turner, CB, Michigan | (Feb. Rank: 120; March Rank: 73)
At 4.26 seconds, DJ Turner ran the fastest 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine. Though he did it at 178 pounds, Turner measured in a bit taller than some expected at 5’11 1/4”, and that helped him make a case for being more than just a nickel corner, especially given his speed.
Nickel corners with the speed to cover deep have fewer weaknesses to exploit, so this might have helped move Turner from Day 3 to Day 2 of the draft.
Tyler Scott, WR, Cincinnati | (Feb. Rank: 98; March Rank: 77)
Tyler Scott ran a respectable 4.44-second 40-yard dash at the Combine but really stood out because of his jumps — a 39.5-inch vertical and an 11’1″ broad jump. Then, at his pro day, Scott ran a 4.39-second 40-yard dash with excellent agility scores. Those agility scores map on to slot-type receivers a bit better, so having those in hand might have been a big part of the reason he rose up boards.
Marvin Mims, WR, Oklahoma | (Feb. Rank: 113; March Rank: 81)
Another slot-type receiver, Marvin Mims might have established himself as more than just an inside threat after running a 4.38 40-yard dash and marking a 39.5-inch vertical jump. It’s a crowded field this year for shorter receivers, so ways to stand out will help this year more than most. Like Scott, these scores helped Mims out in such a class.
Tank Dell, WR, Houston | (Feb Ra.nk: 135; March Rank: 92)
Contrary to the other receivers on this list, Nathaniel “Tank” Dell’s workouts weren’t extraordinary. They weren’t bad, but they weren’t class-leading either.
Instead, Dell’s rise seems to be a combination of more people accessing his film and also incorporating his excellent Senior Bowl performances. As analysts work through their first several crops of players, Dell might have moved up boards because of the second and third looks he’s generated in this process.
Terell Smith, CB, Minnesota | (Feb. Rank: 264; March Rank: 181)
Minnesota’s Terell Smith wasn’t on many boards near the end of February, but eventually, everyone on the NFL Combine invite list turns up on draft boards. Rising up over 80 spots is pretty wild, however.
It’s helpful that Smith checked off quite a few boxes. He measured in abve 6’0″ with over 32-inch arms and weighed over 200 pounds. With those boxes checked, analysts must also have been pleased to see Smith run a 4.41-second 40-yard dash.
Yasir Abdullah, EDGE, Louisville | (Feb. Rank: 260; March Rank: 184)
Most of the boards in response to March workouts were put together before Yasir Abdullah’s pro day on March 28, so his rise is likely a response to excellence in the 40-yard dash and a deeper look at his résumé, which showcased some really impressive production in 2021 along with 2022.
Abdullah’s 4.47-second 40-yard dash — overshadowed by Nolan Smith — likely put him on the radar of several analysts who might see linebacker potential in the undersized edge rusher.
Stetson Bennett, QB, Georgia | (Feb. Rank: 266; March Rank: 213)
Surprising many onlookers, Stetson Bennett ran a 4.67-second 40-yard dash officially but hand-clocked a 4.59. With a good short-shuttle score to boot, Bennett may have raised his profile from a fringe draft candidate to a draftable player with his athletic workouts and performance in throwing drills boosting him in the eyes of a few draft industry experts.
Consensus Big Board Fallers
Myles Murphy, EDGE, Clemson | (Feb. Rank: 4; March Rank: 10)
Myles Murphy didn’t work out at the NFL Combine and has a separate pro day scheduled for April 4, meaning that draft analysts don’t have the full picture yet. That will play against him, but the more meaningful factor for Murphy’s fall is the number of players jumping ahead of him with excellent workouts or interviews, thus pushing him down without doing much to combat it. Murphy might jump back up boards after his private pro day.
Michael Mayer, TE, Notre Dame | (Feb. Rank: 12; March Rank: 19)
Like with Murphy, Michael Mayer didn’t do anything of note to “drop” him much in the eyes of NFL analysts. The issue is that other tight ends performed extraordinarily well.
Players like Dalton Kincaid and Darnell Washington, though not appearing on this list, demonstrated that they might be worth first-round selections. With a tight end class as deep as it is and perhaps even more athletic than many expected, it’s hard to justify spending an early pick on a player like Mayer, who still remains the top tight end on most draft boards.
Jordan Addison, WR, USC | (Feb. Rank: 14; March Rank: 17)
Jordan Addison is still regarded as a high-level prospect in the draft, but measuring in below 6’0″ and 175 pounds really limits his perceived upside, especially with 30 7/8” arms.
It’s hard to find super lightweight receivers who have succeeded without also running a fast 40-yard dash. Even Antonio Brown was more than 10 pounds heavier than Addison, so additional concerns have cropped up for Addison, who evaluators still like. Just not as much as before.
Bryan Bresee, DT, Clemson | (Feb. Rank: 17; March Rank: 21)
Dropping four ranks may not seem like very much, but in the first round, it’s a $1 million difference. But Bryan Bresee’s fall is somewhat like Murphy’s — more a product of a few people in a similar draft spot around him rising. Bresee’s workouts were fine in Indianapolis, and he had good agility drills for his position at Clemson’s Pro Day.
Kelee Ringo, CB, Georgia | (Feb. Rank: 23; March Rank: 27)
Kelee Ringo ran a fast 40-yard dash at 4.36 seconds, but that was expected. It didn’t help him too much, but missing a checked box with arm length (31 1/4”) and the explosion scores didn’t help. Really poor scores in the agility drills at Georgia’s Pro Day hurt even more.
Ringo’s stiff play was a concern at Georgia, and his 4.26-second short shuttle and 7.21-second three-cone did little to resolve those concerns. That doesn’t mean most evaluators don’t see him as a first-round pick, but it’s a bit easier to justify drafting Banks, Cam Smith, or Devon Witherspoon ahead of him.
Clark Phillips III, CB, Utah | (Feb. Rank: 35; March Rank: 47)
It would have been difficult for Clark Phillips III to come out ahead in the Combine process, given that analysts already dinged him for his size and speed, but he underperformed many of those expectations as well.
At 5’9” with 29 1/8” arms, Phillips’ range was even more limited than analysts expected. With a 4.51-second 40-yard dash, it’s hard to find the athletic trump card that Phillips could rely on, especially after a disappointing 33-inch vertical leap.
Antonio Johnson, S, Texas A&M | (Feb. Rank: 33; March Rank: 44)
A somewhat weak safety class was at least hopefully buoyed by the fact that the safeties at the top were purportedly versatile players with the ability to rush the passer or cover from the slot. But that kind of versatility really needs to be paired with the athletic chops to back it up.
All those roles don’t mean much if one can’t cover deep downfield or demonstrate range. Every workout from Antonio Johnson was pretty poor — from a 4.52-second 40-yard dash to a 31-inch vertical leap — and that undercut his argument to be a first-rounder.
Rashee Rice, WR, SMU | (Feb. Rank: 52; March Rank: 66)
In a short receiver class, Rashee Rice has distinguished himself a little bit by measuring in at 6’0″, but the movement of other players around him hurt his relative stock. Despite that, he’s not worth dismissing.
A 41-inch vertical jump is interesting, while the disparity between Rice’s hand times and electronic times are worth investigating. He ran a 1.41-second 10-yard split and 4.39-second 40, according to the stopwatches, but the official NFL time put him at 1.50 seconds and 4.51 seconds, respectively.
Andre Carter II, EDGE, Army | (Feb. Rank: 55; March Rank: 79)
Andre Carter II did not run at the NFL Combine, but he did do some workouts and put together some respectable measurements — like an 81-inch wingspan and a 6’6 1/2” frame.
But the workouts Carter did perform were unimpressive, with a 30-inch vertical and 9’1″ broad jump being remarkably disappointing. Those watching for better pro day results didn’t get to see Carter perform the explosion drills, and he ran a 4.93-second 40-yard dash.
The thing is, Carter might still end up being a steal. The most important workout for an edge defender is the three-cone, and he ran a blazing 6.97 seconds in it.
Kayshon Boutte, WR, LSU | (Feb. Rank: 58; March Rank: 86)
We anticipated that Kayshon Boutte would fall as a result of his showing at the NFL Combine, and it’s showing up in analyst rankings. After an exciting sophomore year — ending in injury — and a mediocre junior season, many were hoping that Boutte would be able to show more in terms of potential, especially given that he lacked the production résumé to truly make him an exciting second-round pick.
But when your best argument is your athleticism, it’s hard to make your case after you fall flat in workouts, with a disappointing 4.50-second 40-yard dash and a 29-inch vertical. The fact that Boutte chose not to re-do drills at the LSU Pro Day reinforces this general problem.
Jaylon Jones, CB, Texas A&M | (Feb. Rank: 79; March Rank: 108)
Texas A&M’s Jaylon Jones had some excellent workouts but missed several marks in the most important elements of the cornerback evaluation at the Combine. A 4.57-second 40-yard dash is almost a death knell for cornerbacks, and a 30 3/4″ arm length hurts, even though he has a 6’2 1/8” frame. The relatively limited wingspan and long speed diminish the impressiveness of Jones’ 6.88-second three-cone or 38-inch vertical leap.
Dontayvion Wicks, WR, Virginia | (Feb. Rank: 99; March Rank: 135)
It’s hard to find successful 4.62-second receivers, and although Dontayvion Wicks performed well in the jumping drills — 39 inches in the vertical leap and 10 feet, 10 inches in the broad jump — the fact that he plays and tests like a big receiver is at odds with the fact that he’s a 6’1”, not 6’3″, receiver.
Wicks improved his 40-yard dash at his pro day with a 4.52-second showing, but it’s still a disappointing overall performance. On top of that, not every analyst has included Virginia’s relatively late pro day into their results.
Henry Bainivalu, G, Washington | (Feb. Rank: 173; March Rank: 218)
NFL guards aren’t necessarily expected to be stellar athletes, but the guards that fit power running more than zone running are expected to be bigger than Henry Bainivalu. Meanwhile, zone-blocking guards are expected to be more athletic.
Bainivalu’s 302 pounds and 5.50-second 40-yard dash combine the least-compelling elements of both types of offensive guards with very worrisome agility scores (4.97-second short shuttle and 8.34-second three-cone) and poor explosion numbers. Bainivalu wasn’t expected to trounce the Combine, but it makes sense that he fell as far as he did.
Myles Brooks, CB, Louisiana | (Feb. Rank: 196; March Rank: 241)
It doesn’t take much to tumble from 196 to 241. At that point in the draft, thin margins can mean massive differences in draft slot. Nevertheless, Myles Brooks’ fall is notable.
Brooks didn’t work out at the NFL Combine, which might have hurt him in a strong cornerback class in the eyes of many analysts. His pro day workout wasn’t particularly special either after running a 4.51-second 40-yard dash and doing poorly in the agility drills without a high score in explosive drills. An arm length of 30 3/4” made it pretty easy for analysts to take all of that together and drop Brooks into near-undraftable range.
Some of the most well-defined names coming out of the NFL Combine didn’t make the list one way or the other. Why is that?
Nolan Smith, EDGE, Georgia
Like many of the star athletes out of the NFL Combine, Nolan Smith was a riser. And in many ways, his stock rose more than some of the players we identified, moving up from a fringe first-round candidate to a solid chance of being selected before the end of Day 1.
However, Smith didn’t rise as much as some others because people expected his workouts to be stellar, and his weight remains a concern.
Lukas Van Ness, EDGE, Iowa
Lukas Van Ness turned out to be another riser that didn’t quite hit the same thresholds to be a riser. More players rose by a number of spots than fell, so it was harder to stand out.
Like Smith, Van Ness rose from fringe first-round contention to being a solid first-rounder in general. Interestingly, Van Ness’ workouts and his play style don’t quite match. Mediocre explosion scores and elite agilities don’t fit the profile of a bull rusher without much bend, so how NFL teams navigate that will be telling.
Jack Campbell, LB, Iowa
Of the players with excellent workouts, Jack Campbell was the only one who fell a few spots. Given that his incredible workouts were a bit of a surprise to many on-lookers, this is hard to resolve.
That said, late second-round, early third-round contention was likely Campbell’s ceiling regardless because his film never screamed first-round prospect to most analysts. Nevertheless, a workout as elite as Campbell’s should have pushed him, not hurt him.
Mazi Smith, DT, Michigan
Mazi Smith was a known entity heading into the Combine and was No. 1 on Bruce Feldman’s Freak List at the beginning of the college football season. The reason Smith didn’t move much up or down boards after his extraordinary workout is because that upside was already baked into his evaluation.
Smith did rise, but only a few spots. For him, the bigger question is the value that a nose tackle can bring and whether he always brings this gym impressiveness to the field as consistently as he should.
Zack Kuntz, TE, Old Dominion
It’s not as if Zack Kuntz didn’t rise a healthy amount from his NFL Combine performance. He did. But it wasn’t very dramatic, and many evaluators always thought of him as an athletic tight end that needed some work.
Most evaluators already had Kuntz on their radar in part because of his time at Penn State but also because they had known he was going to be invited to all-star games and the NFL Combine, so a great — but not blisteringly elite — performance only helped him so much.
Blake Freeland, OT, BYU
Generally seen as a Combine riser, Blake Freeland did very well in several drills, especially with a 37-inch vertical. But the needle barely moved for Freeland.
This has something to do with the fact that in drills that correlate to offensive line play — like the short shuttle and three-cone — he was largely average. On top of that, Freeland’s 302-pound weigh-in creates worries on top of a 6’7 7/8” frame. His short shuttle and three-cone drill performances at his pro day were much better, but that may not have been enough for some evaluators.
Christopher Smith, S, Georgia
A slow safety that comes in under the expected size for the position and has poor explosion numbers should have seen his draft stock plummet. Christopher Smith fell a few spots, but not that many.
Part of that has to do with the weak safety class, but part of it might be a reaction to Kyle Hamilton, whose poor Combine performance had little to do with what turned out to be a very strong rookie year. Whatever the reason, analysts didn’t bite when it came to downgrading the Georgia safety.
Deuce Vaughn, RB, Kansas State
There was some hope that Deuce Vaughn would crack 5’7” at the NFL Combine, but he didn’t. Vaughn measured in at 5’5” and only weighing 179 pounds.
Vaughn’s fall wasn’t that far, however, as he essentially tested and measured as many expected. It was on the low end of those expectations, but a lot of that worry was already baked into most of the rankings. When selecting early in Day 3, it’s more about finding a running back that can fit a role than it is about finding a complete back.
Tavion Thomas, RB, Utah
One of the most worrisome Combine performances came from Tavion Thomas, who ran an agonizingly slow 4.74-second 40-yard dash. He did it at 237 pounds, which gives us some sense of his eventual NFL role. But without some good explosion — a 30-inch vertical is pretty poor for an ostensible goal-line type back — we should have seen Thomas fall pretty far.
But the NFL likes finding roles for players, and Thomas was never expected to test out of the water. His evaluation had already accounted for the lumbering, big-size back he’ll be asked to be in the NFL.
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