The NFL’s Scouting Combine begins on Feb. 27 at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, with the first day of on-field drills beginning on March 2 and running through March 6. This is the second in a series of predictions from The 33rd Team’s Scouting Department leading into the event.
- Monday: Small-School Stars
- Tuesday: Biggest Money-Makers
- Wednesday: Bold Predictions
- Thursday: Players with Most at Stake
Combine stars can come from anywhere. Maybe it’s the superstar who lives up to the hype? Maybe it’s a player who was stuck in a part-time or de-emphasized role in college. Maybe their team didn’t garner much attention, or they had to adapt to various positions. Whatever the case, when they have a chance to showcase their physical talents in front of NFL personnel, their potential becomes obvious.
We asked three of our former NFL general managers and four members of our scouting team which player will emerge as a star of the combine and make himself the most money.
The 33rd Team Scouts
- Jeff Diamond: Former GM of the Minnesota Vikings and team president of the Tennessee Titans
- Rick Spielman: Former GM of the Dolphins and Vikings
- Mike Tannenbaum: Former GM of the New York Jets and Miami Dolphins
- T.J. McCreight: Former player personnel executive for the Philadelphia Eagles and former director of college scouting for the Indianapolis Colts
- Justin Casey: Worked for the Arizona Cardinals in football administration and then as the senior player personnel executive for the Montreal Alouettes
- Kevin Cohn: Former scouting assistant for the Jacksonville Jaguars and assistant director of player personnel for the University of Connecticut
- Evan Pritt: Former Eagles scouting assistant and player personnel assistant for the University of Maryland
Diamond: Quentin Johnston, WR, TCU
“This draft class doesn’t have a lot of big wide receivers who are ultra-talented like Quentin Johnston (scouting report). Big receivers who can run and are athletic are always in demand in today’s pass-oriented NFL. When Johnston showcases his 4.4 speed at 6-foot-4, 216 pounds along with his reported 42-inch vertical leap, it will further reinforce what the scouts saw in his breakout 2022 season (60 catches for 1,069 yards , 6 TDs), including a huge national semifinal performance against Michigan (6 for 163, with a 76-yard TD catch-and-run).
“But it’s always buyer beware for players who are workout warriors. Johnston is an excellent route runner but needs to improve against press coverage, which was the case when Georgia held him to one catch for 3 yards in the national title game. Johnston could well be the first wide receiver off the board after an excellent combine performance.”
Spielman, Lukas Van Ness, DE, Iowa
“Lukas Van Ness (scouting report) was in a defensive line rotation at Iowa. He looks to have all the physical tools to develop. There are mixed opinions about whether he should be selected in the first round. If he has a star-like performance at the combine, he will shoot up draft boards. Coaches love working with and developing players with unique physical traits, and the 6-foot-5, 275-pound Van Ness has those.”
Tannenbaum: Will Anderson, Edge, Alabama
“Will Anderson (scouting report) will separate himself from Georgia defensive tackle Jalen Carter with his movement skills and athleticism. Anderson will emerge from Indianapolis as the unquestioned No. 1 defensive player off the board.”
Casey: Luke Musgrave, TE, Oregon St.
“Oregon State’s Luke Musgrave (scouting report) could run a sub-4.5 40, which would make him just the fifth tight end weighing more than 250 pounds to break that time threshold in combine history. Despite playing in just two games in 2022 and catching only 47 passes and two touchdowns in four college seasons, there is chatter in the scouting community that he is a solid second-round selection. After some eye-popping testing numbers and a dynamic workout at Indy, his name will be mentioned as a potential first-round pick.”
Cohn: Andrei Iosivas, WR, Princeton
“Andrei Iosivas (scouting report) will be a breakout prospect. Iosivas has impressive straight-line speed, and I expect him to run the 40 in the 4.3s or low 4.4s. He was an All-American heptathlete in 2022, so teams will love his overall athleticism, and I expect him to test very well in a variety of drills. He has good size and a solid build, measuring an eighth of an inch short of 6-3 and 212 pounds at the Senior Bowl in January. I expect Iosivas to shine this week and raise his stock.”
McCreight: Jalin Hyatt, WR, Tennessee
“Jalin Hyatt (scouting report) will be the star of the combine after the scouts watch him on the field during the workout. He might be the most explosive player at the event. His speed is real, and you can ‘feel’ it. When you watch him on film, his burst jumps off the screen, but he is more than just really fast. Hyatt is a very polished receiver who will show excellent routes, quickness and body control. If you watch closely, you will see the subtle way he sets up his routes with a slight body weave to get defenders to turn their hips. This allows him to make his cut and have more room. He is also a natural hands catcher who can snatch the football out of the sky. He catches the ball away from his body, has the outstanding leaping ability to go up and get it, and is capable of making ‘wow’ catches over the top. He will be a fun player to watch because he is dripping with talent and explosiveness.”
Pritt: Anthony Richardson, QB, Florida
“Anthony Richardson (scouting report) will make plenty of money at the combine because his testing numbers will be better than expected and put him in contention to be the first quarterback selected. Once the throwing drills begin, team scouts will get a glimpse at how lively Richardson’s arm is. When you watch his film, his sky-high upside is obvious. A good showing at Indianapolis will only elevate his draft stock.”