6 min read

2023 NFL Combine: Biggest Winners, Losers From DL, LB Workouts

Georgia edge rusher Nolan Smith stole the show on Day 1 at the NFL Scouting Combine, but he wasn't the only big winner from Thursday's workouts for linebackers and defensive linemen. Here is a rundown from our scouting department of the best and most disappointing showings on Day 1.

What We Learned on Day 1

Day 1 Winners

Nolan Smith, Edge, Georgia

Height: 6'2" | Weight: 238 | Arm: 32 5/8" | Hand: 9"

40 Time: 4.39 | Vertical: 41.5" | Broad: 10-8 | 3-Cone: 7.19 | Shuttle: DNP

Smith (scouting report) showcased his explosiveness and athleticism. His 10-foot-8 broad jump and 41.5-inch vertical were eye-catching, but what stood out was his 4.39-second 40. His 1.52 10-yard split was just a glimpse of how twitchy Smith is and the ground he can cover in a flash. He shut it down after grabbing some great testing numbers, but not before giving teams a taste of his dynamic ability.

Bryan Bresee, DT, Clemson

Height: 6-5 1/2 | Weight: 298 | Arm: 32 1/2" | Hand: 10 1/4"

40 Time: 4.86 | Vertical: 29" | Broad: DNP  | 3-Cone: DNP | Shuttle: DNP

Bresee (scouting report) was one of the better big men that worked out on Thursday. He ran well and showed good overall movement skills. His vertical was in the middle of the pack, but he shined in the position drills. He showed more bend than many people expected, and he has good feet, balance and body control. He had a good day and really helped himself.

Calijah Kancey, DT, Pittsburgh

Height: 6-1 | Weight: 281 | Arm: 30 5/8" | Hand: 9 1/8"

40 Time: 4.67 | Vertical: DNP | Broad: DNP  | 3-Cone: DNP | Shuttle: DNP

Kancey (scouting report) was listed at 6 feet, 280 pounds at Pitt, and it’s well-known in the scouting community that players' heights and weights are often overestimated by programs. That he measured over 6 feet and 280 pounds was somewhat of a surprise. He followed that up with a 4.67-second 40, with a 1.63 10-yard split. Those times put him in the same realm as Ed Oliver and Aaron Donald, who both entered the NFL with similar questions about size but not college activity and production.

Those favorable comparisons will support the hype that is building around him. The one measurement that might cause some concern for teams was his arm length. Since the 2000 combine, of the defensive linemen who had an arm measurement of less than 31 inches, the most notable name is David Pollack, a first-round pick of the Cincinnati Bengals in 2005.

Byron Young, Edge, Tennessee

Height: 6-2 | Weight: 250 | Arm: 32 1/2" | Hand: 9 1/4"

40 Time: 4.43| Vertical: 38" | Broad: 11-0  | 3-Cone: 7.19 | Shuttle: DNP

As he showed on video, Young (scouting report) is all explosiveness. Many scouts who studied him thought he could run in the 4.4s and he did not disappoint. Some scouts in the stands had him at 4.45 seconds, but the NFL officially clocked him at 4.43 seconds. He was fast out of the blocks and looked smooth running his 40. He also had a 1.62-second 10-yard split, made a 38-inch vertical leap and an 11-foot broad jump, all  — eye-popping numbers. Young was very solid in the football drills as well, and he might have solidified a spot in the first round.

Day 1 Losers

DJ Dale, DT, Alabama

Height: 6 1 | Weight: 302 | Arm: 32 7/8" | Hand: 9 3/4"

40 Time: 5.26 | Vertical: 25.5" | Broad: 8-2  | 3-Cone: 7.69 | Shuttle: DNP

Dale really struggled on Day 1. He lacked explosiveness and was near the bottom of the defensive tackles in most categories. He was very ordinary in the jumps, did not run well, and was not as tall or as long as scouts were hoping. He looked stiff in his lower body in the drills. With his ordinary numbers, scouts hoped he would be a bit heavier and certainly longer. It was not a good showing all around for Dale.

Andre Carter II, Edge, Army

Height: 6-6 1/2 | Weight: 256 | Arm: 33 3/8" | Hand: 9 3/8"

40 Time: DNP | Vertical: 30" | Broad: 9-1 | 3-Cone: DNP | Shuttle: 4.36

Carter (scouting report) did not do much, and what he did do was very average. He is tall at 6-foot-6 1/2, but his arm length was not what scouts expected. His vertical jump was only 30 inches, and his broad jump was only 9-foot-1. Some people thought Carter possessed some "wow" athletic potential, but the day was a disappointment for the West Point product. The fact he did not attempt a 40 was disappointing. This was a big day for Carter to show NFL teams he was worthy of being selected high, but he didn't. Now he must work toward his pro day and hope to put up big numbers there.

Mike Morris runs 40-yard dash at 2023 NFL combine

Mike Morris, Edge, Michigan

Height: 6-5 | Weight: 275 | Arm: 33 1/2" | Hand: 10"

40 Time: 4.95 | Vertical: 28.5" | Broad: 9-2 | 3-Cone: DNP | Shuttle: DNP

Many in the NFL scouting world had high hopes for Morris (scouting report). Some thought that he would have good workout numbers, but he was very average. He ran close to 5 seconds flat in the 40 and his vertical jump was only 28.5 inches. He did not appear explosive, and he looked like he has tightness in his hips and his ankles. He looked heavy-legged. This is another player that needs to rebound and improve his numbers at his pro day in Ann Arbor.

Purdue LB Jalen Graham at 2023 NFL Combine

Jalen Graham, LB, Purdue

Height: 6-2 | Weight: 220 | Arm: 33" | Hand: 9 7/8"

40 Time: 4.64 | Vertical: 30.5" | Broad: 9-4 | 3-Cone: DNP | Shuttle: DNP

At only 220 pounds, Graham had to be disappointed with his 40 time. He did not look like he possessed a second gear when he ran. His vertical and broad jumps were very average. When a linebacker is this light, you expect an explosive athlete who has the speed to cover backs and tight ends down the field in the passing game. Graham hurt his stock on Thursday.

The 33rd Team Scouting Department