The 2023 NFL scouting combine is on the books, which means the final leg of the NFL Draft season is coming. Private workouts, pro days and a slew of unseen stock-related rumors will fill the NFL’s newsfeed until the end of April, when the draft finally begins. Right after the combine is a great time to take players’ temperatures as teams have been able to meet them and the majority of them have standardized measurables.
That means it’s time to bring back an off-season edition of the Four Greens column, fresh out of a week in Indianapolis. Let’s dive into it.
Anthony Richardson, it’s your world
The combination can be a bit funny in that the things we know to be true can be double counted. Anyone who’s seen former Florida quarterback Anthony Richardson play knows he’s a powerful athlete unlike most quarterbacks who’ve ever played in the NFL, but there’s still a level of appreciation that is gained by watching it in person.
Richardson, unsurprisingly, blew open the doors of the combine. He ran an official 4.43 40-yard dash at 244 pounds and landed a vertical of 40.5 inches, propelling him into arguably the best quarterback combination ever. According to Kent Lee Platte of Relative Athletic Scores, Richardson’s all-time sports comparisons in the NFL are Daunte Culpepper and Cam Newton. It doesn’t answer some of the questions Richardson has about his film, but it is a strong confirmation that he has the athletic edge to become one of the NFL’s most dangerous weapons. Players that size just don’t move like that — at any position, let alone quarterback.
Reports from the combine suggest that Richardson did well in his blackboard sessions with teams, which at the very least shows that he can explain what he was doing in Florida at a high level and reduces potential reasons for not writing it. Scouts and media analysts have said Richardson’s biggest problem with his passing game is his footwork, not his understanding of schemes. The shaky footwork can make some passes look scatter, which was apparent throughout his combined practice, but he also tore up some nice deep passes that showed off the talent that won teams over.
At this point, it would be tough to see Richardson drop to the top 10 picks in the first round of the NFL Draft. He impressed at Indianapolis in a big way that will net him a big buck at the end of April.
Northwest defensive lineman puts his name on the map
Familiarize yourself with the name Adetomiwa Adebawore.
Adebawore is a do-it-all defensive lineman from Northwestern who had a bizarre practice at the combine.
Adebawore was 6-foot-2 and 282 pounds, but posted practice numbers of a player half his height. A 4.49 40-yard dash at 282 pounds. I will repeat it to you. Adebawore ran a 4.49 40-yard dash at 282 pounds. It’s wild! (And you kind of wonder how he ended up at Northwestern in the first place, but it’s neither here nor there.) Not only does he have an athleticism level above 1%, but he had a decent production in his last two years with the Wildcats.
According to Sports Reference, Adebawore has 17.5 tackles for loss and nine sacks in his last 24 games in college. He’s not a world production, but also nothing to sneeze at – and NFL coaches will look to Adebawore as a player they can coach and teach a few things as they try to maximize his skill set.
His combination could get him into the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft. There aren’t many players with his body composition in the league. His frame suggests he can play defensive tackle, but his measurable metrics paint a picture of a versatile player who can have his hand in a bit of everything. The Baltimore Ravens even asked him to do linebacker practice, which doesn’t mean he’d be an off-ball linebacker standing next to Roquan Smith, just to see how he moves in coverage because standing linebackers in a 3-4 defense you have to do it sometimes.
Aaron Donald ran the 40 in 4.6 at 285 pounds. Adebawore ran a fucking 4.49. Get used to hearing his name often before the April draft.
Georgia, once again, stole the show from the combine
Turns out, you need a lot of good players to win back-to-back national titles. Last year, the Georgia Bulldogs set the combine on fire with five first-round draft picks from their defense alone. This year wasn’t quite the same level of dominance, but Georgia players stole the show in Indianapolis.
The Dawgs had a pair of combine dash rushers in Nolan Smith and Robert Beal, who ran 4.39 and 4.43 in the 40-yard dash, respectively. They were two of the quickest defenders in the whole combination and they don’t even play positions like cornerback. They had cornerback Kelee Ringo running the 40-yard dash and he posted a blistering 4.36 seconds in that drill.
According to Relative Athletic Scores, Georgia had five players ranked as elite athletes after this year’s scouting combination: Smith, Beal, Ringo, offensive tackle Broderick Jones and tight end Darnell Washington.
Washington was, quite literally, one of the biggest combine stories this year. He came in at nearly 6-foot-7 and 264 pounds and still managed to run a 4.65 40-yard sprint. Even more impressive is the time he hit in the short 20-yard shuttle – a blistering 4.08 seconds. This time was faster than all but two participants in the entire combine this year. Only Ohio State’s Jaxon Smith-Njigba (196 pounds) and Kansas State’s Julius Brents (198 pounds) had faster times this year.
If you need to find a prospect with some teeth this year, better get yourself a Dawg. Georgia head coach Kirby Smart is chasing aliens from Athens right now.
CJ Stroud may have cemented QB1 status
Richardson had the most explosive quarterback performance in the combine, but Ohio State quarterback CJ Stroud might have had the deepest. Tossing up without defenders isn’t exactly the hardest thing for a talented quarterback to do, but Stroud definitely looked like the No. 1 overall pick in Saturday’s throwing session.
Stroud threw the ball with confidence and, above all, with precision. There’s an added degree of difficulty throwing to new receivers in such an intense environment, but Stroud made it look like he was throwing to receivers he’s known for a long time.
It was a different type of impressive than what Richardson had put together, but Stroud was fluid and in control of what was asked of him. Sure, it’s different when there’s a host of talented rushers trying to get Stroud out of the pocket, but there doesn’t seem to be a quarterback this year with a higher floor than Stroud. He might want to start looking for houses in Houston.