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2023 NFL Draft: QB, WR Scouting Combine Preview

Bryce Young

To preview the 2023 NFL Scouting Combine, The 33rd Team's experts are going position by position breaking down what NFL teams look for when evaluating prospects in Indianapolis. 

Quarterbacks and wide receivers will participate in the NFL Combine's on-field workouts on Saturday. With so many prospects competing at the same time, it can be difficult to know what to look for, which is why The 33rd Team is highlighting the drills that matter and how NFL teams use them to evaluate prospects.

What You Need to Know

QB, WR Workouts

  • When: Saturday, March 4
  • Time: 1-8 p.m. ET
  • How to Watch: NFL Network, NFL+

Kentucky QB Will Levis


The 33rd Team's Top 5 Quarterbacks

Player Overall Rank Grade
Will Levis No. 4 7.05
Bryce Young No. 7 6.98
C.J. Stroud No. 9 6.96
Anthony Richardson No. 14 6.79
Jaren Hall No. 96 6.11

What Scouts are Watching

Many offenses at the collegiate level are running shotgun. So you're trying to determine how a player looks when he has to actually drop back or do some play action. You want to see him doing the things that are going to be required when he gets up to our level.

You're also looking at his footwork, you're looking at the timing on his feet. Does it coordinate with his throwing motion? So there are a lot of different things you're looking for. Arm strength is another one — can he make some of the deep-out throws? Can he make throws across the field, from one hash to the opposite boundary? You can see all that and you can really see how the ball comes off his hand. The velocity of the ball is at a tight spiral, a lot of things like that.

People get so hung up on stuff like, "well, he missed four receivers." Maybe the one receiver ran an out-route 2 yards short. Maybe the next receiver ran the route two yards too deep. So it's hard for the quarterback and a lot of these receivers to get on the same page with the timing of the route because the quarterback is trying to anticipate the receiver coming out of his break. So the ball's coming out of his hands a lot quicker, trying to time it up with the receiver so that the ball will be on them as soon as they get out of their breaks.

But that, as you know, takes some time and that takes a lot of practice. So I never really put as much emphasis on the accuracy part of it as I did on the throwing motion. I just wanted to know how long it was going to take him to adjust — to do a drop-back pass or to do play action and other different things that he will have to do in the NFL that he probably did not do at the collegiate level.

TCU WR Quentin Johnston

Wide Receivers

The 33rd Team's Top 5 wide receivers

Player Overall Rank Grade
Quentin Johnston No. 3 7.07
Jordan Addison No. 19 6.95
Jalin Hyatt No. 11 6.94
Rashee Rice No. 18 6.76
Kayshon Boutte No. 20 6.74

Showing Off Body Control

I always like to see — and sometimes we can't see it on video — do they extend and catch away from their body? Or do they have enough body control, as I like to say, can they torque their body where they're flexible enough to make catches with some off-target throws? A lot of times they have a drill specifically where they'll throw the ball and you can't look back at the quarterback. You want to try to track the ball over your shoulder so scouts can see how well you track the ball.

But it's funny when you watch these receivers go back-to-back-to-back and, let's say, they're running a 10-yard, out route — well, you see some guys that'll put their foot in the ground and come right down that 90-degree angle. And right at the 10-yard mark, they're staying on that line.

You see other guys that start to gear down at 10 yards, but then all of a sudden, he's a little stiffer through his lower body or a little long-legged. And then he's going to have to go two or three more steps in that 10-yard out where that quarterback is throwing. Next thing you know, it becomes a 12- or 13-yard out because that receiver is a little stiffer through his lower body and struggles to get into and out of his cut.

Favorite Drill: The Gauntlet

I was a huge gauntlet fan because when I started my first combine back in 1990, I was throwing the gauntlet at the time. So they would call me and I would start out as a 10-yard timer and I worked my way up through the years to be a 40-yard timer while I was college scouting. And then from there when I did throw, that was my favorite drill because I got the participate.

The problem was I had zero touch, so it was a 90 mile-per-hour fastball. And they said to me, "Please do not take the kids' heads off. Just let them throw the ball, let them catch the ball and then move on. You're not here getting tested, nobody is going to sign you because you've got a strong arm as a quarterback. So move on in life and make sure the drills run the right way."