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4 winners and 4 losers from day one of the 2023 NFL Scouting Combine

Day 1 of the 2023 NFL Scouting Combine had some impressive performances.

NFL: MAR 01 Scouting Combine Photo by Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The first day of the 2023 NFL Scouting Combine was filled with some incredible performances. Defensive tackles blazed in the forty while linebackers might as well had rockets strapped to their cleats.

Below are four players who wowed us and four others who struggled under the lights in Indianapolis.


DT Calijah Kancey, Pitt

Kancey was among the four defensive players I was most excited to watch on Thursday at the NFL Combine. He unfortunately did not partake in any of the on-field drills, but what he do was blaze to a 4.67 in the forty-yard dash which was way more than enough to be the top time amongst his position while measuring at 6’1 and 280 pounds. His 10-yard split of 1.64 was also the best while being squarely above the “elite” threshold.

Kancey may have just solidified himself as a first-round pick with just his forty time, but the former Pitt Panther will still perform an entire workout for scouts at the school’s pro day.

DT Bryan Bresee, Clemson

A former top overall recruit at the high school level, Bresee’s time at Clemson wasn’t exactly what he expected. Injuries took a huge toll across his three seasons there and the loss of his sister within the last year really took a toll on him as he navigated the spotlight that came with his resume.

After a notable performance during Thursday’s combine tests, Bresee may have also played his way into the first round with a notable 4.86 in the forty at 6’5 and 298 pounds. While that was the fourth best time for a defensive tackle, he notched a 1.71 10-yard split which was second only to Kancey. That number is much more important for players in the trenches so consider this a job well done by Bresee.

EDGE Nolan Smith, Georgia

We all knew Nolan Smith was going to come in and put up some impressive numbers, but he blew away even some optimistic predictions. At 6’2 and 238 pounds, Smith ran an official 4.39 in the 40 yard dash with a combine record 1.52 10 yard split for EDGE players, he jumped 41.5” in the vertical jump, and had a 10’8 broad jump. He absolutely blew up the athletic testing, which is exactly what he needed to do after measuring in fairly small for an EDGE player.

EDGE Adetomiwa Adebawore, Northwestern

As impressive as Nolan Smith was, Adebawore may actually have won the day from an athletic testing standpoint when you take into account his size. Measuring in at the same 6’2 as Smith but tipping the scales at a very healthy 282 pounds, Adebawore ran an INSANE 4.49 official 40 yard dash. It’s the fastest time ever for any player over 270 pounds at the combine. If that wasn’t impressive enough, he added to that a 37.5” vertical jump and a 10’5 broad jump. So all he did was come in and run a faster time in the 40 yard dash and 10 yard split, jump higher, and jump further than last year’s first overall pick Travon Walker, despite being 10 pounds heavier. Looking at this tweet below, I feel like the Chargers should have “first dibs” based on the other names from that list they’ve drafted in the past.


EDGE Mike Morris, Michigan

Morris was lauded by NFL Network commentator and former Michigan alum Rich Eisen for his versatility and tool box as a defender, but those comments didn’t age well once Morris began to work through the gambit of tests.

At 6’5 and 275 pounds, Morris plodded to a 5.04 in the forty with 28.5” in the vertical and 9’2” in the broad. Those numbers were both last amongst his position group which is never a good sign. Some guys are simply good football players as opposed to athletes, but history hasn’t been very kind to players who test at the bottom of their draft class.

EDGE Caleb Murphy, Ferris State

It’s hard to say a guy from Ferris State getting a combine invite can come away from the day on the “losers” list, but he had a rough day. He had the second slowest 40 time of all the edge players at 4.81, had a very pedestrian 28.5” vertical jump, and had the second slowest 10-yard-split of all the EDGE players 1.65. His stats out of Division II Ferris State are eye popping with 40 sacks and 60.5 tackles for loss, however these numbers are going to give a lot of general managers pause.

EDGE Andre Carter II, Army

Andre Carter had a bad day as well, continuing what is turning out to be a rough draft season for the former West Point Cadet. He had a fairly unimpressive Senior Bowl week and has now followed that up by having a disappointing performance here at the combine. Carter did not run the 40, however he did do jumps which were quite disappointing. He only managed to hit 30” on the vertical jump and had a 9’1” broad jump which are bad numbers for a position that values explosiveness like EDGE.

DT Jalen Carter, Georgia

Jalen Carter was definitely in the conversation to be the first overall pick in this year’s draft. That may be in jeopardy after two arrest warrants were issued for him in Georgia in relation to a possible street racing incident. We don’t know the full details on this yet so I won’t comment further than that, however this happening the night before the on-field workouts for his position group is not helpful for his draft stock. Teams in range to pick him, or that may be thinking about trading up for it, are now going to have to do extra work interviewing him, and others close to him, to get to a place of where they feel comfortable drafting him with these pending charges, because his play on the field is certainly worthy of the first overall pick.