The 2023 NFL Combine is in the books. Scouts and draft experts spent an entire week evaluating the upcoming class of talent, looking for flaws and trying to confirm their strengths. We saw a bit of everything at Lucas Oil Stadium, from quarterbacks and defensive tackles setting records in the vertical leap and 40-yard dash.
But the final day was all about running backs and the big boys who are tasked with protecting quarterback and opening up lanes for the ground game. This means several first-round prospects like Texas RB Bijan Robinson had a chance to improve their draft stock, in addition to Ohio State’s Paris Johnson Jr., Northwestern’s Peter Skoronski, and several others.
Yet, those are the big-name prospects who were already on the radars of several draft pundits whether they’re doing so for their mock drafts, or simply trying to get an early start on identifying the next NFL star.
Recapping the final day of the NFL Combine, here are the biggest winners who stuck out to us on Sunday.
Related: 2023 NFL Combine Guide
Winners from NFL Combine Day 4
Devon Achane, RB, Texas A&M
Draft analysts expected Devon Achane to be among the very fastest players to hit the NFL Combine this year. They weren’t wrong. Achane blazed a 4.32 40-yard dash, the fastest among all running back prospects this year.
While Achane may have slightly boosted his stock, Achane is supposed to run fast. He’s likely not creeping anywhere near the first round, due to his 5-foot-8 frame which could lead to durability concerns.
Still, expect Achane to get in the mix on Day 2 of the NFL Draft for teams looking for a change-of-pace back who has electric speed. After topping 1,000 yards in each of his past two seasons with the Aggies, Achane should be an immediate contributor at the next level.
Jahmyr Gibbs, RB, Alabama
Another player who may not have boosted his stock as much as simply re-establishing his status as one of the top running backs in this draft class is Alabama’s Jahmyr Gibbs. Like Achane, he’s a true speedster. Gibbs closed an official 4.36 40 time, the second-best mark of all running backs in the 2023 NFL Combine.
Gibbs also showed well in pass-catching drills, showing he can be an effective weapon as a receiver out of the backfield as well. Another trait NFL scouts look for, especially among running backs, is how smooth their feet are moving in traffic. If so, Gibbs once again aced this drill.
Like Achane, expect to see Gibbs get selected at some point on Day 2 as a high upside scat back who can provide a change of pace, establishing himself as a playmaker at the next level.
Broderick Jones, OT, Georgia
Already viewed as a likely first-round prospect, Georgia offensive tackle Broderick Jones put on a strong showing at the NFL Combine. This kid’s strength is evident, shown here tossing aside a Steelers offensive line assistant helping conduct drills.
But it’s not just his strength that will get Jones drafted in the pros. He also displayed his above-average athleticism by leading all other offensive linemen in the 40-yard dash, with a 4.97 time. Unfortunately, he opted out of the bench press, which is likely another area scouts wanted to see him tested in. But, he at least aced the other drills.
Blake Freeland, OT, BYU
You can tell just from the chosen picture here that BYU’s Blake Freeland had the time of his life at the NFL Combine. For good reason too, as the little-known offensive tackle prospect led all other lineman with an elite 1.68 10-yard split, a measure that may be much more useful than measuring a lineman’s ability to run 40 yards in a straight line. Still, Freeland knocked that out of the park too, clocking the second-quickest 40-yard dash among pass protectors.
Freeland no doubt showed he’s one of the most athletic linemen in the 2023 NFL Draft class, which should gain the attention of teams who prefer to operate zone run-blocking schemes.
But it wasn’t just testing his speed, Freeland dominated the drills without pads, showing up strong in nearly every aspect. Oh, and did we mention this kid is 6-foot-8? That type of size and athleticism is unheard of, but scouts certainly noticed.
Dawand Jones, OT, Georgia
The biggest player at the 2023 NFL Scouting Combine is Georgia’s offensive tackle Dawand Jones. This absolute mountain of a man will have a hard time going unnoticed during draft weekend.
Yet, as you can imagine, Jones didn’t exactly blaze trails, running a 5.35 40-yard dash, but let’s be real, as some like to say, the only time an offensive lineman will sprint 40 yards in a straight line, either something really bad, or really good has happened. In other words, it’s a rare occurrence.
Teams don’t care how fast Jones can run, they want to know if he can hold his own in pass protection, while also seeing if he can move other men in the running game. Based on his size alone, Jones will have no issues doing either at the next level. Jones also has ridiculously long arms, which teams also like on the edge.