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NFL Combine results: 12 standouts from the wide receiver group

Wide receiver is a deep group and the Detroit Lions could consider a lot of different prospects.

NFL: Combine Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The 2023 NFL Combine has wrapped up defensive drills, and on Saturday, the offense was on the field for televised drills. As is tradition, one group began by running the 40-yard dash, then shifted into position drills, while another group completed agility drills and measured jumps.

Previously, we have profiled the following position groups:

The quarterbacks and wide receivers do their on-field drills together, and while the NFL is supplied with some amazing technology, they somehow lack the ability to identify both the quarterback and wide receiver on their broadcasts. And with the focus of the league being on quarterbacks, it became very difficult to try and track the receivers through the drills with only their number to identify them during a rep.

With that in mind, for this positional review, I am focusing on two things: those players I was able to identify that stood out, and selecting receivers who had solid performances in their measured drills.

While the Detroit Lions seem to have a preference for receivers with speed, there is a commonality among the receivers acquired by Brad Holmes during his tenure as a Lions general manager: most hit certain thresholds in the vertical jump (VJ), broad jump (BJ), and 3-cone (3C) scores.

The key numbers to look for are:
VJ: 37’ or more
BJ: 10-foot-4 or more
3C: 6.9 seconds or lower

Now, not all of the receiver prospects tested in every category, but when any of the 12 receivers selected as standouts hit or exceed a benchmark, their score was bolded for easy identification.

Let’s take a close look at the wide receivers that stood out.

WR-X

Quentin Johnston, TCU, 6-foot-3, 208
(No 40 time), 40.5 (VJ), 11-foot-2 (BJ)

Johnston looks massive and when the ball comes in his range, he swallows it up. He exceeded both jumping benchmarks and the Lions reportedly had a meeting with him earlier in the week.

Cedric Tillman, Tennessee, 6-foot-3, 213
4.54 (40), 37’ (VJ), 10-foot-8 (BJ)

Another WR-X with impressive size and movement skills, Tillman didn’t match Johnston’s numbers, but he also doesn’t carry the same costly price tag either.

Andrei Iosivas, Princeton, 6-foot-3, 205
4.43 (40), 39’ (VJ), 10-foot-8 (BJ), 6.85 (3C)

Iosivas exceeded the benchmarks in all three categories and ran a solid 40-yard dash time as well. He was smooth running his routes at the Combine and showed solid hands. Princeton isn’t a powerhouse for producing NFL players, but he had early Day 3 hype entering the Combine and could see his stock rise with his measurables.

Bryce Ford-Wheaton, West Virginia, 6-foot-4, 221
4.38 (40), 41’ (VJ), 10-foot-9 (BJ), 6.97 (3C)

For Ford-Wheaton to hit the marks he did at 6-foot-4 is awfully impressive, and in drills, he was a bit easier to identify due to his elongated wingspan. Originally identified as a late Day 3 prospect, his combination of size, speed, explosion, and agility usually pushes teams to gamble in the middle rounds.

Grant Dubose, Charlotte, 6-foot-2, 201
4.57 (40), 35’ (VJ), 10-foot-5 (BJ), 6.89 (3C)

A raw prospect with an impressive 3-cone at his size, there is enough potential there to keep an eye on late on Day 3.

Antione Green, North Carolina, 6-foot-2, 199
4.48 (40), 33.5’ (VJ), 10-foot-3 (BJ), 6.99 (3C)

Green did not actually hit any of the previously identified benchmarks—though he was close in a few—but after it was reported that he met the Lions at the Combine, I made a point to keep looking for him. In the gauntlet, he wavered off the line too much for my liking indicating possible balance concerns, but he did attack the ball in the air, which was promising. He’s a developmental late Day 3 prospect for me, but I’ll be going back to watch tape on him.

WR-Z/Slot

Jalin Hyatt, Tennessee, 6-foot-0, 176
4.4 (40), 40 (VJ), 11-foot-3 (BJ)

Hyatt is going to be a WR-Z in the NFL and could be the first receiver off the board come draft day. He is a long strider, makes up room quickly, gets in and out of his breaks with ease, and had strong hands at the catch point. The jump scores match the explosion you see in his game film.

Jaxon Smith-Nigba, Ohio State, 6-foot-1, 196
No 40, 35’ (VJ), 10-foot-5 (BJ), 6.57 (3C), 3.93 (SS)

Primarily a slot receiver at Ohio State, Smith-Nigba is not an exploder, like the Lions Amon-Ra St. Brown, but instead is a more traditional quick receiver that is difficult to handle when he cuts. His 6.57 3-cone score—which measures the ability to change direction at top speed—was far and away the best of the Combine thus far.

Josh Downs, North Carolina, 5-foot-9, 171
4.48 (40), 38.5 (VJ), 10-foot-11 (BJ)

Downs is another slot receiver that may not be a perfect fit in Detroit with St. Brown in that role, but he is capable of getting time outside (as is St. Brown) and his yards after catch (YAC) are special. At the Combine, he displayed terrific body control at high levels of speed and the ability to make sharp cuts quickly.

Tyler Scott, Cincinnati, 5-foot-10, 177
4.44 (40), 39.5’ (VJ), 11-foot-1 (BJ)

Scott fits the Tyler Lockett mold as a WR-Z/slot who will split time in both roles but is best suited as a field stretcher. He is a more natural positional fit with St. Brown than Smith-Nigba and Downs, and he runs with speed and confidence. An underrated player right now.

Marvin Mims, Oklahoma, 5-foot-11, 183
4.38 (40), 39.5’ (VJ), 10-foot-9 (BJ), 6.90 (3C)

Another athlete who exceeded all three benchmarks. Mims can operate at the WR-Z and out of the slot, and his ability to make big plays both on offense and the return game will be appealing. At the Combine, he was smooth and controlled, and his combination of skills and measurable could make him a steal in the third round.

Ronnie Bell, Michigan, 6-foot-0, 191
4.54 (40), 38.5’ (VJ), 10-foot-0 (BJ), 6.98 (3C)

Bell looks like a Day 3 option that could develop into a starting slot/WR-Z with time. He is reliable and a bit unassuming, but he showed nice explosion and change of direction at the Combine. His impressive one-handed grab during a whip route stood out as one of the better catches of this year’s event.

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