Tony Pauline’s 2023 NFL Scouting Combine Preview: Jordan Addison, Cedric Tillman, Josh Downs, and More

    The 2023 NFL Scouting Combine is nearly here, so we preview some prospects to keep an eye on during the week-long event.

    Tony Pauline’s 2023 NFL Scouting Combine Preview: Jordan Addison, Cedric Tillman, Josh Downs, and More

    Workouts for the 2023 NFL Scouting Combine begin this week at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. There will be an endless number of storylines as everyone descends upon Indianapolis and even more when we all depart.

    Forty times, workouts, and all other information from the receiver and cornerback groups are often among the main headlines from the week. And I am hearing that it’s going to be a very fast group of wideouts and cornerbacks, with some Maryland Terrapins players among some of the top options.

    Here’s what to expect as we head toward Indianapolis.

    2023 NFL Scouting Combine Preview

    WR Jordan Addison, USC

    USC receiver Jordan Addison has looked terrific during Combine training. The junior is working with former Pro Bowl receiver Anquan Boldin in Florida and, by all accounts, has looked spectacular in position work. His route running and pass catching have been off the charts, and I’m told to expect some really fast shuttle and three-cone times from Addison.

    One of the concerns about Addison is his size, or lack thereof. He’s a slimmer wideout and expected to measure around 6 feet tall and weigh between 175 to 180 pounds.

    WR Josh Downs, North Carolina

    Josh Downs of North Carolina is expected to test off the charts. The junior WR should replicate the home-run-hitting speed he shows on the field in the 40. Hence, I’m expecting times in the low 4.3s. Downs’ vertical jump should top 40 inches, and his broad jump over 11 feet.

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    Downs has been described to me as being a “great athlete,” which compliments the film we’ve witnessed the past two years when he was a phenomenal receiver for North Carolina.

    CBs Deonte Banks and Jakorian Bennett, Maryland

    I’ve received glowing reviews on two players: Cornerbacks Deonte Banks and Julius Brents.

    Banks is receiving several first-round grades in the scouting community, and his Combine workout could bring more Round 1 believers. From what I’m told, if Banks doesn’t time under 4.3 seconds in the 40, he’ll come close. I’m told Banks has run as fast as 4.32 seconds in training recently, and his other testing marks will be equally outstanding.

    Expect a vertical jump near 40 inches, if not higher, and a broad which will touch longer than 11 feet. The irony is Banks was not on the scouting radar before the season but has watched his draft stock take off with a brilliant campaign.

    Banks cornerback teammate, Jakorian Bennett, has been slightly faster, clocking 4.31 seconds during training. Bennett, a two-year starter, broke up 27 passes and intercepted four the past two seasons. He presently holds a fifth-round grade on my board.

    CB Julius Brents, Kansas State

    Brents, who measured 6-foot-3 and 202 pounds at the Senior Bowl, besides having one of the largest wingspans of any defensive back ever measured in Mobile (his arms were 33 3/4 inches), may not time as fast as Banks in the 40. Yet, the remainder of his marks will be near the top of the class.

    I’m told Brents’ vertical jump is expected to be higher than 40 inches and his broad jump longer than 11 feet, while his three-cone time will be in the 6.7 range and his short shuttle under four seconds.

    Only one defensive back, Zyon McCollum of Sam Houston State, was able to time under four seconds in the short shuttle and faster than 6.7 seconds in the three-cone during the 2022 NFL Combine.

    WR Jacob Copeland and Rakim Jarrett, Maryland

    The fastest Maryland receiver is Jacob Copeland, as first reported by Eric Galko, director of the Shrine Bowl and friend of Pro Football Network. I can confirm Galko’s report from earlier this week.

    Copeland timed as fast as 4.29 seconds in the 40 during Combine training. He began his college career at Florida and started the past three seasons for both the Gators and Terrapins. He caught 26 passes for 376 yards last season, his only campaign at Maryland.

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    Serving double duty, Copeland also averaged 16 yards on eight kick returns. He measured a shade under 5-feet-11 during Shrine Bowl weigh-ins and tipped the scale at 204 pounds. His hands were smaller than scouts usually desire at 8 and 5/8 inches. Copeland is a developmental prospect graded as a sixth-round prospect on my big board.

    Receiver Rakim Jarrett has been the slowest of the bunch, timing 4.34 seconds in training. An underclassman, Jarrett started the past three seasons at Maryland. As a sophomore in 2021, he caught 62 passes for 829 yards with five touchdowns. His number dropped to 40-471-3 last season.

    He too holds an early sixth-round grade on my board.

    OT Jaelyn Duncan, Maryland

    Jaelyn Duncan, the Maryland left tackle who put together three terrific days of practice at the Senior Bowl, could run faster than 4.8 seconds in the 40. Duncan was a four-year starter for the Terrapins, breaking in the first team as a redshirt freshman in 2019. He’s an athletic and mobile lineman on the left side, yet a little small by today’s standards.

    Duncan measured 6’5 1/2″ and 298 pounds at the Senior Bowl, with an arm length of 33.5 inches. He’ll be a great fit in a zone-blocking scheme at tackle or possibly guard. I presently have a third-round grade on Duncan, though scouts have some concerns about his game. Specifically, Duncan’s toughness has been questioned, and the fact he’s never improved his run blocking, which is below par.

    WR Shaquan Davis, South Carolina State

    Small-school prospect Shaquan Davis of South Carolina State, who participated in the Shrine Bowl, has been running incredibly well. I’m told Davis has recently clocked as fast as 4.35 seconds in the 40. If he’s able to match that time on the turf of Lucas Oil Stadium, that will be two-tenths faster than scouts expect, having pegged Davis as a 4.55-second 40 man.

    He’s a long, almost lanky pass catcher who measured 6’4 3/4″ and 217 pounds in Las Vegas at the Shrine Bowl. His arm length was 34 1/8 inches — a great mark for a receiver. On film, it’s easy to see Davis uses all those measurables, as he’s consistently out-positioning or high-pointing passes over defenders.

    WR Cedric Tillman, Tennessee

    Tennessee’s Cedric Tillman took a backseat to Jalin Hyatt last year after suffering an injury three games into the season, which sidelined him for a month and a half. Regardless, Tillman is a terrific next-level prospect who’ll shine at the Combine. I’m told he’s measuring around 6-foot-3 and 215 pounds in training.

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    Tillman will run “faster than expected,” as I was told, so expect something in the low 4.4s, potentially faster. His vertical jump is expected to be over 40 inches, and his broad jump is longer than 11 feet.

    Tillman is a hidden gem at receiver, as he’s polished in every aspect and plays the position like a linebacker the way he attacks the ball and opponents. He dominated some of the best cornerbacks in the SEC last season, including Georgia’s Kelee Ringo as well as South Carolina’s Cam Smith. Tillman presently holds an early Day 2 grade on my board.

    Tony Pauline is an NFL Draft Analyst for Pro Football Network. You can read all of Tony’s work here and follow him on Twitter: @TonyPauline.

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