NFL Combine: Which QBs are throwing this weekend, who to watch in the 40-yard dash and more
The weekend is here, which means it's time for quarterbacks, receivers and running backs to take the field at Lucas Oil Stadium at the NFL scouting combine.
Here’s everything you should keep an eye on, and what you won’t see, this weekend in Indianapolis.
Which QBs are actually going to throw?
Though Bryce Young won’t be throwing Saturday, several other top quarterbacks will.
Ohio State’s C.J. Stroud, Kentucky’s Will Levis and Florida’s Anthony Richardson are all scheduled to participate in quarterback drills Saturday. Those three, along with Young, are all widely projected to be selected in the first round of the draft. Yahoo Sports’ Charles McDonald has all four of them going in the top-10, with Stroud leading the way at No. 2 to the Houston Texans.
Young, who won the Heisman Trophy in 2021, injured his throwing shoulder last season with Alabama. He has since recovered, but the decision to sit out at the combine apparently isn’t related to the injury. Young threw for 3,328 yards and 32 touchdowns with just five interceptions last season.
While he isn’t throwing, talk about Young’s size doesn’t sound like it's going to die down.
Cutout is LIFE SIZE pic.twitter.com/VbfoX65Ubx
— Mina Kimes (@minakimes) March 2, 2023
All four of these quarterbacks have already proven themselves. And with them all being projected to be top-10 picks, it’s hard to imagine a particularly strong showing Saturday ends up impacting their draft stock too much.
Look out for Bijan Robinson
Bijan Robinson is widely considered the best running back in the draft. The former Texas star is planning to be a full participant when running backs take the field in Indianapolis. After no RB was taken in the first round of last year’s draft, Robinson is looking to ensure that trend doesn’t continue.
Robinson ran for a career-high 1,580 yards and had 18 rushing touchdowns last season for the Longhorns, and McDonald has him going at No. 30 overall in his latest mock draft.
A good showing this weekend, along with a solid 40-yard dash time, can ensure that Robinson goes in the first round next month. And with Texas’ pro day set for next week, Robinson will have another chance to back up his performance, good or bad, right away.
Jaxon Smith-Njigba skipping 40-yard dash
It would have been great to see Jaxon Smith-Njigba run the 40-yard dash this weekend, especially after his hamstring injury from last season.
Fans, however, will have to wait.
Smith-Njigba confirmed Friday that, while he’s “100%” healthy, he’s going to wait to participate in the 40-yard dash.
“I’m taking things slowly to close the book on this nagging injury, which I feel like I have” he said, via ESPN. “But I just haven’t had enough reps on the 40 yet, so pro day you’ll see me run.”
Even after missing most of last season, Smith-Njigba is one of the best receivers in the draft. He had 1,606 receiving yards and nine touchdowns in 2021 while helping Ohio State grab a Rose Bowl win. McDonald has him going No. 12 to the Houston Texans in his latest mock draft, which puts Smith-Njigba as the first receiver off the board. USC’s Jordan Addison and TCU’s Quentin Johnson aren’t far behind. Any of them could be the top receiver.
Whether Addison or Johnson can surpass Tyquan Thornton’s combine-best mark of 4.28 seconds by a receiver in the 40-yard dash from last year remains to be seen.