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Tue Mar 14th 2023

Post-Combine Risers and Fallers

I'm not one to overreact to Combine results, but they are the second reflection point in my process, where I adjust my rankings significantly. After my initial rankings post the first week in February, I consumed a vast amount of content from NFL scouts, beat writers, and professionals in the fantasy football world to learn more about the rookie class and where they project to get drafted. I also watched the Senior Bowl and Shrine Bowl to assess the players who received an invitation to those games. That information and the NFL Combine bring me to my second rookie rankings.

After this process, I compare my post-combine rankings with my early rankings to see which players are risers and fallers. This year I had a lot more risers than fallers. Naturally, players fell my rankings as others rose, but few fell more than ten spots even as many rose more than ten spots. Here is a list of the players that went up or down my rankings by at least ten spots or more.

Rookie Risers

Marvin Mims - 31st to 17th

  • Mims jumped up 14 spots in my rankings after I learned more about his pedigree, after learning more about what NFL teams think about him, and after his incredible Combine performance. Mims was a 4-star recruit, but I learned he had the most receiving yards in high school than any wide receiver in the country. That's impressive. NFL scouts are higher on him than I was initially, predicting that he will get drafted in the third round with a possibility of getting drafted in the second. I was initially concerned that he could only become a deep threat since that's what he was primarily at Oklahoma, where he averaged 19.5 yards per catch in his three years there. I was also concerned about his size at 177 pounds. He weighed a little heavier at the Combine at 183 pounds, and his Combine measurables were impressive. He posted a 4.38 40-yard dash, 6.9 three-cone, 10' 9" broad jump, and 39.5" vertical jump. His athleticism and deep-threat ability will get him drafted higher than I thought, and he proved to have the burst and quickness to get open other ways if he's coachable. He's worthy of a mid-second-round pick now, but I am not willing to move him into the first round as I have seen other analysts do since the Combine.

Anthony Richardson - 35th to 19th

  • I reluctantly moved Richardson up 16 spots in my one-quarterback rankings after he posted the best quarterback Combine in history. It became abundantly clear that he would get drafted in the top of the first round by an NFL convinced they could develop him. That said, his lack of starts and his inaccuracy in throwing the ball are still an enormous concern for me. I know someone will draft him before I do, but I still needed to move him up my rankings, making him a late second-round pick instead of a third. He's still way further down in my ranking compared to other analysts, but I moved him up because I can't argue with the fact that he is the most athletic quarterback ever. I prefer passing accuracy and collegiate productivity far higher than athleticism.

Darnell Washington - 35th to 25th

  • Compared to quarterbacks, where college production is more important than athleticism, athleticism at the tight end position is nearly equal to that of college production. That's why I had to move Darnell Washington up ten spots in my rankings. Additionally, I learned that he and Michael Mayer were the top two tight-end recruits in their class. Maher produced as a pass catcher right away, while Washington was more of a blocker, making his college production terrible with just 45 catches for 774 yards and three touchdowns in his three years. Mayer had four times as many catches, three times as many yards, and six times as many touchdowns. All of that to say, I still have Mayer as my top-ranked rookie tight end even after his average scores at the Combine, but Darnell Washington has closed the gap significantly since he looked great in passing drills at the Combine and posted an athletic score of 91. He's now projected to be a first-round draft pick behind two other tight ends, Mayer and Dalton Kincaid, and he's now my third-ranked tight end in the class behind those two players.

Tyjae Spears - 41st to 26th

  • Spears started moving up my rookie draft board as reports came out about his dominance in Senior Bowl practices. He did not do much in the game, but his practice reports were glowing. It's always hard to know how to evaluate a player from a smaller school team and conference like Tulane, but in his final season with the team, he has 1837 total yards and 21 touchdowns. He weighed 201 pounds at the Combine and posted excellent numbers on the only two drills he participated in. He had a 39" vertical jump and a 10' 5" broad jump. He looks plenty fast and quick on tape, even though he did not participate in the Combine drills to measure it. Buzz on Spears is building, and he's now predicted to get drafted on day two at the end of the third round. His draft capital will determine if he can move up or down, but I now see him as a third-round draft pick in dynasty drafts.

Chase Brown - 38th to 27th

  • I moved Brown up eleven spots just behind Spears after his decent Senior Bowl outing and excellent Combine performance. Brown posted an 84 athletic score after running a 4.43 40-yard dash, a 40" vertical jump, and a 10' 7" broad jump. Brown is an older prospect with a later breakout age. He played five years because of the COVID year, his first at Western Michigan, before transferring to Illinois, where he played for four years. His breakout year was his third year at Illinois when he broke the thousand-yard mark on the ground, and he has the fourth most rushing yards in the country his final season with 1643 yards on the ground plus 240 yards in the air. He's an older prospect (22) with a lot of wear-and-tear with 676 collegiate carries, but he has the frame to carry it. I suspect I will now be higher on Brown than the NFL scouts and dynasty analysts, but I've grown to like what I see in Brown more than most. He'll be a day-three draft pick, but if he lands on a team where he can compete, I like his chances to get playing time and compete for a significant role as a rookie.

Jonathan Mingo - 47th to 30th

  • Mingo moved up my rookie board 17 spots because of a few reasons. He had the 12th ranked grade among the wide receivers at the Combine. He was talked up as a sleeper by Greg Cosell, an analyst I trust a lot, and he's one of the only wide receivers in this class with prototypical size, if there is such a thing anymore for wide receivers. He's 6' 2" and 220 pounds. I believe some NFL teams see size as a trait and want to add size to their wide receiving corps, especially a guy who can run a 4.46 40-yard dash and jump 39.5" in the vertical 10' 7" in the broad. The NFL Mock Draft Database predicts he will get drafted 157th in the NFL draft but list a peak draft pick as 54th. That's the kind of variation NFL teams will have with Mingo, especially since his college production was modest, too. Mingo will fall significantly in my rankings if he's taken as late as 157th, but if a team is willing to draft him 54th or even early in the third round, he'll remain about here in my rankings.

Zack Kuntz - unranked to 41st

  • I should have ranked Kuntz in my first set of rankings, but now I have added him and moved him to 41st, making him a player to target in the fourth round. After my initial rankings, I learned that Kuntz was recruited by and played for Penn State before leaving to follow his Penn State coach to Old Dominion. The fact that he was recruited to Penn State first changed my mind about Kuntz, and his Combine performance did so next. He finished the Combine with an athletic score of 94 after his 4.55 40-yard dash, 40" vertical jump, 10' 8" broad jump, and 6.9-second three-cone drill. Penn State guys are always workout warriors at the Combine, so he may have carried some of that past work with him. As I said before, the tight-end position is the one position where it's wise to draft guys based on athletic performance. His excellent Combine will move him up NFL draft boards, where he's currently projected to get drafted 136th as the 8th tight end off the board in a stacked tight-end class. The landing spot will matter a lot for his final ranking among this class, but for now, he's a player I'd consider drafting in the 4th round.

Andrei Iosivas - 54th to 44th

  • Iosivas is from Princeton, which alone makes him a difficult player to evaluate and an unlikely player to become a fantasy contributor. Still, his Combine proved that he could hang with the big boys and caused me to move him up ten spots and into the fourth round instead of the fifth. He finished tied for 11th in the 40-yard dash with a 4.43, tied for 10th in the vertical jump with 39", 15th in the broad jump with a 10' 8", and a fantastic 2nd in the three-cone drill at 6.85 seconds. He did all that while being one of the bigger receivers in this class at 6' 3" and 205 pounds. It's hard to imagine an Ivy League player taking the league by storm, but he's a player I'm now willing to take a chance on late in rookie drafts.

Rookie Fallers

Kayshon Boute - 9th to 20th

  • Boute was a first-round pick in my initial rankings, mainly based on his breakout freshman season when many analysts named him their highest-ranked devy player. He failed to build upon that breakout season and struggled with injuries and, some say, attitude problems. Initially, I trusted that he could give maximum effort once healthy and return top-prospect form. His Combine proved that he could not. His 40-yard dash was not terrible at 4.5, but his vertical jump was awful at 29" (the worst in the class), and his broad jump was too at 9' 10" (the second worst in the class). His pedigree keeps him as a second-round player to take a stab on, but if he's not drafted until day three due to his poor Combine, I'll move him back to the third round.

Kenny McIntosh - 30th to 46th

  • I already had questions about McIntosh. Given his age and minimal college production, I initially thought he could become a good passing-downs back in the NFL. He was very effective as a receiver out of the backfield for Georgia last year in their championship season. His poor Combine, however, makes me think he can't even do the one thing I thought he could do well. He ran a 4.62 40-yard dash and abstained from the rest of the drills. It's hard to judge when he did not participate in the rest of the drills, but seeing what many in the class could do made me move them ahead of McIntosh and move him down as well. Tyjae Spears and Chase Brown have moved ahead of him following the Combine, as have other running backs in this class that may not have jumped up by ten spots but have moved ahead of him.

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