Heel Tough Blog: Who Helped Themselves the Most At the Combine?
It has now been a week since the conclusion of the 2023 NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis and with the dust finally settling, it is time to look back at how the Tar Heels in attendance performed out there. Three of the four participated in some proportion in the on-field portion of the event, doing rather well for themselves leading to the questions about who helped themselves the most. Here is a look at which we think helped their draft stock the most in Indy.
1. Antoine Green
Green actually ran the faster 40 of the two Tar Heel receivers in attendance, posting a 4.47 official, an outstanding number for him. His 10’3” broad jump was one of the worst among the receivers, but guys that will be high picks like Jordan Addison also struggled in that area. He also struggled a bit in the vertical, posting just a 33.5” inch jump, but that number was once again similar to Addison’s in that department. The biggest positive for him, though, was how he caught the football on Saturday. He caught nearly everything and looked really solid in his routes, as well. He still has some limitations that will keep him in the late rounds, but this was another nice boost for the stock.
2. Josh Downs
Downs, as expected, was one of the guys who shined on Saturday. His athletic testing numbers were really strong and he coupled that with an outstanding performance in the drills. His 4.48 40-time was very solid for him and his 1.49 10-yard split was top five amongst receivers, showing his quick release of the line of scrimmage. He also showed great explosiveness with a 38.5” vertical and a 10’11” broad jump. He caught all but one pass that was thrown his way, showing very natural hands and making everything look effortless. His route running was very fluid the entire day and he thrived with the change of direction routes. This performance should give teams at the end of the first round something to think about and probably solidifies him as an early second round guy.
3. Asim Richards
Richards chose not to do the athletic testing, instead opting to wait for his pro day to log all of those numbers. His focus was the on-the-field drills, which he looked solid in. With his athleticism and fluidity as a former high school tight end, it should come as no shock that he looked good in these drills that are formulated to showcase those abilities. When you combine this with his performance in Mobile at the Senior Bowl where he showed some versatility by kicking inside to guard, there is a good chance that Richards has secured himself as a Day 3 selection.
4. Noah Taylor
Because of the season-ending right knee injury that he suffered against Pittsburgh, Taylor was unable to do anything physically in Indianapolis outside of the bench press, where he put up 22 reps on the bench, which was a below-average number amongst the edge rushing group that was in attendance. Just being able to interview with teams was helpful for him, but it seems almost certain at this point that he will not be drafted. Because of that, he should strongly consider playing for the New Orleans Breakers of the USFL, who drafted him last month in their college player draft, if he is healthy enough.