NFL Analysis


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2024 NFL Combine: Ranking 11 Biggest Freak Athletes At This Year's Event

LSU wide receiver Brian Thomas Jr.
Louisiana State wide receiver Brian Thomas (WO29) during the 2024 NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

One of the most exciting NFL weekends is over, as the 2024 NFL Combine has concluded. Now, free agency and pro days are the only thing standing in the way of the 2024 NFL Draft.

With a ton of elite athletic testing put on display last week, we look at 11 of the freakiest athletes who participated in this year’s combine.

>> READ: Full List of Combine Times, Results

11 Freaky Combine Performances

11. Amarius Mims, OT, Georgia

One of the more disappointing aspects of the combine was Georgia OT Amarius Mims injuring his hamstring during his first 40-yard dash attempt.

Even after the injury, Mims ran a blazing 5.07-second 40-yard time at 6-foot-8, 340 pounds. He didn't match the elite testing of others on this list. However, taking a closer look at Mims' athleticism — packed into his massive frame with 36 1/8-inch arms — makes him one of the freakier offensive tackle specimens we have seen in some time.

It sounds like Mims hopes to test again at his pro day, giving him another chance to improve on some of his numbers and letting his hamstring heal.

10. Troy Fautanu, OT, Washington

One of the best workouts of the weekend came from Washington OL Troy Fautanu. With questions swirling about Fautanu playing guard or tackle, he balled out Indianapolis. He proved he can play anywhere on the offensive line at a high level.

Fautanu finished his workout Sunday, posting an impressive 5.01-second 40-yard dash, 1.71 10-yard split, 32.5-inch vertical jump and 9-foot-5 broad jump. That earned him a 9.40 relative athletic score (RAS).

Fautanu’s only blemish was his height (6-foot-4 3/4). Still, his overall athleticism and versatility were put on display all day Sunday. He shined in the athletic testing and drill portion of the combine, proving he's one of the class's best offensive linemen.

Wisconsin offensive lineman Tanor Bortolini
Wisconsin offensive lineman Tanor Bortolini (OL09) during the 2024 NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. (Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports)

9. Tanor Bortolini, iOL, Wisconsin

Wisconsin iOL Tanor Bortolini had one of my favorite combine performances and is one of my favorite Day 3 players in this year’s class.

Coming into the week, we knew Bortolini would fall on the small end of the spectrum, and his 6-foot-4, 302-pound frame does have some concerns regarding matching up against NFL power.

But his athletic profile and position versatility eased most of those concerns, and knowing just how high-end his athletic traits are was a huge win for Bortolini. He ran the second-fastest 40-yard dash at 4.94 seconds, had the third-fastest 10-yard split and posted a blazing fast three-cone drill at 7.16 seconds and short shuttle drill at 4.28 seconds. 

Bortolini’s speed, explosiveness and agility allowed him to end up with an impressive 9.97 RAS score, the sixth-best RAS score ever recorded for an offensive guard.

8. Braden Fiske, DL, Florida State

It took everything in my power to not place Florida State DT Braden Fiske at No. 1 on this list. Weighing in at 6-foot-4, 292 pounds, Fiske showed up in Indianapolis ready to open some eyes. He is not a prototypical defensive tackle but showed off enough high-end athleticism to be an instant contributor in the NFL.

Fiske finished with a 9.88 RAS score, landing in the elite range in speed and explosiveness. His 1.68-second 10-yard split ranked third. His 4.78-second 40-yard dash, 33.5-inch vertical, 9-foot-9 broad jump and 4.37 short shuttle ranked first among defensive tackles.

Fiske is a tad undersized and lacks the ideal length. Still, he proved to be one of the combine's biggest winners, showing off some freaky athleticism that flashed at Florida State and throughout Senior Bowl week.

7. Rome Odunze, WR, Washington

Heading into the combine, all eyes were on WR Rome Odunze because Marvin Harrison Jr. and Malik Nabers elected not to test or go through drills.

Odunze answered the call in all aspects, testing and performing well in drills. Weighing in at 6-foot-3, 212 pounds, Odunze closed out the combine by posting a 9.91 RAS score. He tested as a great athlete across the board from a size, speed, explosiveness and agility standpoint.

Odunze’s 6.88-second three-cone drill and 4.03-second short shuttle were two of the more impressive testing highlights of the week, showing his easy change-of-direction skills.

Odunze was the only 200-plus pound receiver to run a sub-7.00-second three-cone drill and a sub-4.10 short shuttle this year. Trust me, that agility shows up on tape often.

6. Chop Robinson, EDGE, Penn State

Stop me if you have heard this before: A Penn State Nittany Lion dominated the combine.

We knew heading into the event that Chop Robinson would dominate the athletic testing portion, and he did just that. He started things off on the right foot, weighing in at 6-foot-3, 254 pounds, reaching the 250-pound threshold many wanted to see.

Robinson did not stop there. He ran a 4.48-second 40-yard dash, posted a 34.5-inch vertical and a 10-foot-8 broad jump, and he ran the fastest 10-yard split ever recorded for a 250-plus pound edge rusher at 1.54 seconds.

While he's still on the smaller side for an every-down edge rusher, Robinson’s 9.68 RAS score proves how dynamic of an athlete he is when rushing the passer.

5. Joe Alt, OT, Notre Dame

It is rare to see 6-foot-9, 321-pound offensive tackles coming out of college. It is even rarer to see offensive tackles that size move as smoothly and explosive as Notre Dame OT Joe Alt. Alt is a consensus top-10 pick and one of the freakiest athletes we've seen in recent years.

Fortunately for all NFL and draft fans, there are multiple rare athletes at the offensive tackle position in this draft. Alt’s 5.05-second 40-yard time, 1.73 10-yard split, 7.31 three-cone drill and 4.51 short shuttle earned him a 9.92 RAS score.

He graded out with great size and speed, elite agility and good explosiveness. With his freakish size and athleticism, Alt should be the first offensive lineman drafted. He has one of the highest ceilings possible for an offensive lineman coming out of college.

4. Dallas Turner, EDGE, Alabama

We have heard a lot about how good of an athlete Dallas Turner was during the last two years, but I did not expect this type of performance from the former Alabama edge rusher.

Coming into Lucas Oil Stadium, we knew Turner was not expected to weigh in all that well. After coming in at 6-foot-3 and 247 pounds, Turner needed to put up some eye-popping numbers to make up for his underwhelming weigh-in, and boy, did he ever.

Turner’s 4.46-second 40-time, 40.5-inch vertical and 1.54-second 10-yard split all led or tied for the lead at this year's event. Turner pairs excellent tape with excellent testing at one of the NFL's money positions. All signs point to the Alabama edge rusher being the first defensive player drafted in April.

3. Adonai Mitchell, WR, Texas

With Texas WR Xavier Worthy catching most of the headlines, Adonai Mitchell is flying under the radar, but I am here to give him his flowers. This is one of the few cases where the testing surprised me a bit. So I'll be heading back to the Texas tape for further evaluation before finalizing Mitchell’s grade.

Based on film, we knew Mitchell was a big-bodied X-receiver, but the questions of how high his athletic ceiling was were warranted. He answered a bunch of those questions in Indianapolis, posting one of the highest RAS scores of the weekend with a 9.98.

Mitchell came in at 6-foot-2, 205 pounds and put up some of Saturday's best testing numbers: a 4.34-second 40-yard dash, a 1.52-second 10-yard split, a 39.5-inch vertical jump and an 11-foot-4 broad jump. 

While his college production was a little underwhelming, Mitchell’s NFL projection, because of his size and elite athletic profile, paints a pretty picture of the caliber of player Mitchell could develop into.

2. Xavier Worthy, WR, Texas

After initial concern about measuring in at 5-foot-11, 165 pounds, Xavier Worthy quickly silenced all the negativity by etching his name into the history books, breaking John Ross’ 40-yard dash record. Worthy not only shocked the world with his 4.21-second 40-yard time, but he also jumped out of the gym at Lucas Oil Stadium, posting a 41-inch vertical and a 10-foot-11 broad jump.

There were zero questions coming into the week about Worthy’s explosiveness and speed. While the weight concerns will likely (and should) continue to come up in his evaluation, Worthy possesses rare speed and explosive traits that cannot be taught.

Those traits could see him pushed up draft boards to where his name is called much earlier than expected in April's draft.

>>READ: How Did Combine Affect Worthy's Draft Status?

1. Brian Thomas Jr., WR, LSU

From a height, weight, speed and agility standpoint, you will not find many better athletes than Brian Thomas Jr. Measuring in at 6-foot-3, 209 pounds, Thomas meets all the thresholds from a size and speed standpoint.

To pair with his size, Thomas' 4.33-second 40-yard time, 1.50-second 10-yard split, 38.5-inch vertical and 10-foot-6 broad jump has him ranked as a top 10 RAS athlete of all time at wide receiver.

With his ball skills and ability to win downfield, along with him testing as one of the freakiest athletes ever at the wide receiver position, expect Thomas’ name to be called much earlier than expected next month when we get to Detroit.