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6 prospects who could boost their stock the most at 2023 NFL Combine

The 2023 NFL Draft process truly starts at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis with more than 300 prospects and all 32 teams around Lucas Oil Stadium. Everyone knows the big names at the top of the latest NFL mock draft, but this process is important for others.

While players who are essentially locked into being top-10 picks skip drills and use this time to simply meet with teams and coaches, some of their peers will take advantage of this opportunity. The NFL Combine is a four-day window for athletes to showcase their skills and athleticism in front of general managers, scouts and coaches.

Related: 2023 NFL Combine guide

Every year we see prospects who arrived in Indianapolis as a projected Day 2 pick, catapult their stock into Round 1 and even the top-20 range. One strong performance can be the difference in millions of dollars and shape an athlete’s entire future.

Keeping all of that in mind, here are six prospects who could significantly boost their stock at the 2023 NFL Combine.

Luke Musgrave, tight end, Oregon State

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Many are familiar with Notre Dame tight end Michael Mayer, a projected top-20 pick who draws some lofty NFL comparisons. The 2022 consensus All-American will be the first tight end drafted in 2023, but the NFL Combine could push another tight end into Round 1.

Related: Biggest questions entering the 2023 NFL Combine

Luke Musgrave, age 22, has the makings of an offensive weapon at the next level. The nephew of long-time NFL coach Bill Musgrave, the Beavers’ star arrived as a three-star recruit but wasn’t a focal point of their offense.

  • Luke Musgrave career stats: 47 receptions, 633 receiving yards, 13.5 ypc in 20 games

Standing at 6-foot-6, Musgrave made a name for himself at the Senior Bowl. While he isn’t a traditional in-line tight end, Musgrave was one of the best athletes tested at Senior Bowl practices. He was clocked at 20.05 mph, per Dane Brugler, the fastest max play speed ever recorded for a tight end and he did it at 255 pounds.

Drawing comparisons to Dallas Goedert by NFL.com, Musgrave is in a perfect spot to explode at the scouting combine. He should run the fastest 40 among tight ends, impress in all athletic drills and is expected to standout running routes. By the time he leaves Indianapolis, Musgrave will be in Round 1 of mock drafts.

Jalin Hyatt, wide receiver, Tennessee

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The NFL Combine isn’t a flawless event. John Ross, Marquise Goodwin, Tyrone Calico, J.J. Nelson, Jacoby Ford, Rondale Moore, Quez Watkins and Denzel Mims have run some of the fastest 40s among wide receivers in combine history. Each player elevated their draft stock by showcasing their blazing speed, but it didn’t translate to a standout NFL career.

Keep that in mind this week. Jalin Hyatt, a unanimous All-American and the reigning Fred Biletnikoff Award winner, was one of the fastest players in college football last year. Projected as a Day 2 pick right now, he is going to be one of the most impressive athletes at Lucas Oil Stadium.

Excellent athletic testing will push Hyatt back into the first round of mock drafts and at the very least generate a lot of buzz that he’s a lock for a top-45 selection. None of that is to suggest he’ll be a great receiver at the next level. Hyatt benefitted from playing in a system that can’t work in the NFL and he profiles strictly as a vertical threat. Despite the long-term concerns, events like the combine are perfect for Hyatt.

Related: Freak athletes poised to blow up at the NFL Combine

Andrei Iosivas, wide receiver, Princeton

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The growing popularity of the NFL Draft means fans are becoming increasingly familiar with players long before the NFL Combine happens. However, even a lot of football loyalists might not recognize the name Andrei Iosivas.

  • Andrei Iosivas stats (2022): 66 receptions, 943 receiving yards, 14.3 ypr

A native of Hawai’i, Iosivas faced a winding road to get here. He received limited opportunities as a sophomore and then had his junior season wiped out by the COVID-19 pandemic, In the past two seasons, though, he showed why he ranked 15th on Bruce Feldman’s freak athletes list.

Related: NFL Combine records

Consider that Iosivas ran the fastest 60 in the heptathlon (6.71) in NCAA history, his 370-pound bench press numbers, a 39-inch vertical jump and a 40-time under 4.4 seconds. All of this from a 6-foot-4 Ivy League wide receiver. Surrounded by players from Power 5 schools at Lucas Oil Stadium, Iosivas can prove he is one of the best athletes in the 2023 NFL Draft. If he does that, Princeton may have a player drafted in Round 2.

Kelee Ringo, cornerback, Georgia

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Georgia Bulldogs cornerback Kelee Ringo’s draft projection is best described as a rollercoaster. He entered the season as a likely top-10 pick, viewed as a future No. 1 cornerback in the NFL. Despite playing relatively well, though, Ringo’s stock slid up and down throughout the season.

Related: 2023 college football rankings

Ringo’s game logs, via Pro Football Focus, help explain the volatile stock. Quarterbacks targeting him this season had a 90-plus NFL passer rating four times and he allowed 50-plus yards five separate times. On the other hand, the 6-foot-2 cornerback had eight games with fewer than 40 receiving yards allowed in coverage.

The film itself delivers mixed results, but the NFL Combine is about athleticism. It means a player with a max speed of 23 mph with an extensive background in track (10.43 100 and 21.18 200-meter times) gets to showcase his elite athleticism.

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Ringo should thrive in all of the athletic testing and his size will tie it all together with an outstanding Relative Athletic Score. Combine that with his instincts and SEC pedigree, Ringo will suddenly find himself back in the mix as a top-20 pick.

Jack Campbell, linebacker, Iowa

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NFL teams love defensive players from the Iowa Hawkeyes and linebacker Jack Campbell could be the next in line. While Campbell primarily stands out as a run defender, that might be exactly what coaches are looking for after what happened last season.

Take a look at year-to-year NFL statistics and there is a stark contrast between the 2022 seasons and its predecessors. NFL teams averaged 4.5 yards per carry and 121.6 rushing yards per game in 2022. It’s the first time in league history that teams averaged 4.5 ypc and only the second time since 1988 that the league average eclipsed 120 rush ypg.

Standing at 6-foot-5 and graded as one of the best run defenders in college football by Pro Football Focus, Campbell already profiles nicely. However, the NFL Combine is an opportunity for him to prove he is an even better athlete than anyone realizes. Prospects spend months after the season training to increase their athleticism to improve their times. If Campbell shows out in Indianapolis, his draft stock will soar.

Anthony Richardson, quarterback, Florida

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The momentum around Florida Gators quarterback Anthony Richardson is already building. If you thought the pre-draft hype was already out of control now, though, it pales in comparison to what happens if Richardson dominates at the NFL Combine.

Related: 2023 NFL Draft rumors

For one thing, this event will showcase his athleticism. One of the few quarterbacks named to Feldman’s ‘Freaks List’ before the season, this is a 6-foot-4 quarterback who will likely run the 40-yard dash in around 4.5 seconds. If that’s not enough, he carries elite arm strength and will showcase how easily he can flick the football 70 yards downfield.

Richardson’s flaws also can’t really be exposed at the NFL Combine. Facing nothing but air, he can stand in a clean pocket and launch precision airstrikes all over the field. While NFL teams know it gets a lot more complicated when he is in the game, the scouting combine is purely about physical tools and athleticism.

We’re not simply talking about Richardson becoming a top-10 lock when he leaves Lucas Oil Stadium. There’s a legitimate possibility the conversation shifts in March to contemplating whether or not Richardson is worth taking No. 1 overall because his pure upside surpasses every other player in the 2023 NFL Draft class.

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