NFL Combine Day 5 Risers: Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Darnell Washington, and Jonathan Mingo Star

Who were the biggest NFL combine risers from Day 3 of testing in Indianapolis, with QBs, WRs, and TEs taking to the field?

Day 5 of the 2023 NFL Combine brought some of the best performers of the week.

While many of the receivers did not run as fast as expected, we still saw some terrific position work from the wideouts. It was a different story for the tight ends who scorched the field and exceeded expectations, then also impressed scouts catching the ball. Here are 11 players who really stood out during Saturday’s workout at the Combine.

If you want to keep note of everything surrounding your favorite 2023 NFL Draft prospects, PFN is tracking every single player’s Combine measurement and testing results. Here are a few takeaways from Friday at the Combine.

NFL Combine Takeaways From Day 5

Jaxon Smith-Njigba, WR | Ohio State

Jaxon Smith-Njigba, the Ohio State junior, rated as my number-one receiver prior to the start of the Combine, did not run the forty but looked outstanding in catching the ball and was magnificent in the three-cone and short shuttle. His three-cone timed at 6.57 seconds and 20-yard shuttle at 3.93 seconds, both elite marks.

During position drills, Jaxon Smith-Njiba proved to be a seamless route runner who displayed smooth, fluid footwork and quickly got into breaks. He tracked the deep ball well, making the catch in stride downfield. If Smith-Njigba runs a solid forty during the Buckeyes pro-day of March 22, he will lock himself into the middle of round one.

Darnell Washington, TE | Georgia

Darnell Washington was much faster than anyone expected and tested incredibly well. He measured 6’7’’ and 264 pounds, with arms a tad under 34.5 inches and hands 11 inches large.

His forty timed 4.64 seconds with an equally swift ten split of 1.57 seconds and Washington touched 10’2’’ in the broad jump. He caught the ball exceptionally well, easily moved about the field, and played to his forty times. Washington is about to watch his draft stock take off and has cemented himself as a second-round pick.

Jonathan Mingo, WR | Mississippi

Jonathan Mingo had a terrific Combine workout from start to finish. He tested well, timing 4.46 seconds in the forty, touching 39.5″ in the vertical jump and 10’9’’ in the broad jump. Mingo did all this after measuring 6’2’’ and 220 pounds.

The Ole Miss product then looked exceptional in position drills, running quick routes for a bigger wideout and catching the ball extremely well. Mingo was smooth, easily adjusted to errant passes, and consistently extended to catch the ball away from his frame.

Zach Kuntz, TE | Old Dominion

Zach Kuntz, who saw his senior season come to a premature end after five games with an injury, had a Combine workout to remember. His testing numbers were outstanding for a tight end who measured 6’7’’ and 255 pounds.

Kuntz’s forty clocked 4.55 seconds, he touched 40 inches in the vertical jump, and his broad jump reached 10’8’’. Kuntz caught the ball extremely well and often outran passes being delivered by the quarterbacks. Prior to his injury, scouts graded Kuntz as a middle-round prospect, and this workout will revive that conversation.

Sam LaPorta, TE | Iowa

Sam LaPorta has been highly rated on my board for three years yet he exceeded expectations during his workout. His forty time of 4.59 seconds was more than one-tenth faster than scouts thought he could run. LaPorta further proved his athleticism with a 35″ vertical jump and 10’3’’ broad jump.

He looked like a receiver in position drills, easily moving around the field, and was very natural in catching the ball. LaPorta is another who cemented himself as a second-round pick.

Nathaniel Dell, WR | Houston

Nathaniel Dell was expected to run the forty faster than the 4.49 seconds he clocked, though it must be noted his 1.49 10-yard split was the one of best from the receiver group. Yet once the position drills started, it was easy to see Dell is football fast. He was outstanding in the Gauntlet drill, running a near-perfect straight line, catching everything, and outrunning the passes thrown his way.

Even on the deeper passes, Dell proved too fast for the quarterbacks. He was quick, explosive, and ran outstanding routes. Dell had three terrific days of practice at the Senior Bowl and kept the momentum going here in Indianapolis.

Demario Douglas, WR | Liberty

Demario Douglas was a Shrine Bowl star and impressed during Combine workouts. He timed 4.44 seconds in the forty, hit 39.5 inches in the vertical jump, and 11’2’’ in the broad jump- all solid marks.

He ran outstanding routes during position drills, displaying quick footwork in then out of breaks. Douglas was always on balance and displayed soft hands catching the ball.

Jason Brownlee, WR | Southern Mississippi

The Combine is all about beating expectations, and that’s exactly what Jason Brownlee did during position drills. Brownlee measured 6’2’’ and 198 pounds. His arm length of 33 3/4 ‘’ is exceptional for a receiver.

During drills, Brownlee ran great routes, showed outstanding balance, and practiced much faster than his disappointing forty time of 4.59 seconds. He tracked the ball exceptionally well and easily caught both deep passes and fades. Brownlee also hit 39.5″ in the vertical jump and reached 10’11’’ in the broad.

Jayden Reed, WR | Michigan State

Jayden Reed’s testing marks were okay as he timed 4.45 seconds in the forty and hit just 33.5 inches in the vertical jump. His work during position drills was another story. Reed ran super quick routes displaying great footwork. He stayed low exiting breaks, was balanced, and consistently extended his hands to make the reception. Reed also displayed a terrific burst and caught the deep pass well.

Tre Tucker, WR | Cincinnati

Tre Tucker tested well, timing 4.4 seconds in the forty, touching 37.5 inches in the vertical jump and 10’4’’ in the broad jump. He was outstanding in the Gauntlet, running in a straight line and catching everything. He showed excellent footwork running routes and displayed outstanding eye/hand coordination, snatching the ball away from his frame.

Matt Landers, WR | Arkansas

Matt Landers’ positional work was solid, yet he was one of the few receivers on Saturday who tested much better than anyone expected. Scouts considered Landers a possession receiver who would not dip below 4.5 seconds in the forty.

He proved them completely wrong, timing 4.37 seconds in the forty as well as touching 37″ in the vertical jump and 10’10’’ in the broad. Teams now know the 6’4’’, 200-pound Landers has the speed to be a vertical threat, and they need to coach it out of him.

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