5 takeaways from the 2024 NFL Scouting Combine 

HOUSTON, TEXAS - JANUARY 5: Michigan Wolverines Team Arrival at George Bush Intercontinental Airport on January 5, 2024 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by CFP/Getty Images)

Hundreds of college football prospects gathered in Indianapolis where the 2024 NFL Scouting Combine commanded the attention of the football world. 

This year, record-breaking runs and jumps took center stage, all the while spiral passes were aplenty and many an NFL executive likely left with new impressions on some of their future players. 

READ: Pitt WR Bub Means looks to gain momentum from NFL Combine

Widely projected No. 1 overall pick USC quarterback Caleb Williams was among the biggest talking points of the combine. Williams chose not to take part in measurements and on-field workouts, instead opting to share medical information with specific teams interested in drafting him, and he did take the podium for a media session. 

Also absent from the combine was Biletnikoff Award winner and Ohio State wide receiver Marvin Harrison Jr. He’ll likely compete at the Buckeyes Pro Day on March 20. 

The NFL Draft is less than two months away beginning April 25 in Detroit. Here are five takeaways from this year’s combine. 

Texas wide receiver Xavier Worthy breaks records. Could he climb the draft board? 

John Ross’ previous combine 40-yard dash record has been broken. 

It took Texas wide receiver Xaver Worthy two tries before he earned the crown of fastest 40 time in combine history. Worthy blazed his way to a 4.21 official time, topping Ross’ best by 0.01 seconds. 

So now, how does this affect Worthy’s draft positioning? According to Daniel Jeremiah’s top 50 draft-eligible prospects, Worthy is No. 41 among top players expected to be taken in April’s NFL Draft. 

Ross went No. 9 overall to the Cincinnati Bengals in the 2017 NFL Draft. Worthy might not be selected that high while competing against other receivers such as Harrison, LSU’s Malik Nabers and Washington’s Rome Odunze for who takes WR1 this draft, but his 40-yard dash time will certainly draw interest from NFL teams. 

Worthy finished second in the Big 12 Conference with 1,014 receiving yards and third with 75 receptions. He added five touchdown receptions. 

Could a defensive back make a surprise early selection? 

Every year since the 2020 NFL Draft, a defensive back has been selected within the top 10 picks. 

READ: Texas WR Xavier Worthy breaks 40-yard dash record with 4.21 time at NFL Combine

According to Daniel Jeremiah’s top 50draft-eligible prospects, the highest ranked defensive back is Alabama cornerback Terrion Arnold at No. 9. 

Arnold had a strong combine performance in Indianapolis. He scored a 90 on the production rating to place first among cornerbacks, according to NFL.com

Arnold ran a 4.5 40 and leapt to a 10-foot, nine-inch broad jump and 37-inch vertical. He led the Southeastern Conference with 17 passes defended and tied for first with five interceptions last season. 

Clemson cornerback Nate Wiggins also impressed with his speed. He ran a 4.28 40, fastest among cornerbacks, but felt a pop in his groin and dealt with injury. 

Among other combine standouts in the secondary were Utah safety Cole Bishop and Toledo’s Quinyon Mitchell. Bishop ran a 4.45 40, fifth-fastest among safeties, and Mitchell led with 20 reps on the bench press. 

Each year it seems a defensive back rises the draft board and hears his name called earlier than expected. The 2024 NFL Draft might not be much different for teams looking to upgrade their secondary. 

Which lineman saw his draft value rise most? 

Sometimes, the game is won in the trenches. 

Defensive linemen kicked off the combine on Thursday and offensive linemen wrapped up the event on Sunday. Plenty of players stood out along the line of scrimmage and during on-field workouts, leading to eyebrow-raising evaluations for some. 

Penn State tackle Olumuyiwa Fashanu and Georgia’s Amarius Mims didn’t compete fully due to injuries. Fashanu suffered a right thigh injury, while Mims had a right hamstring injury, according to Stacey Dales of NFL Network. Both are projected to be among the top offensive linemen taken in the draft. 

READ: Alabama WR Jermaine Burton ready to ‘bring the same intensity and energy’ on Saturdays to NFL Combine

Wisconsin center Tanor Bortolini might be one lineman who saw his value rise most. Bortolini ran a 4.94 40, which was the second-fastest time among offensive linemen, and his 99 athleticism score was first among centers according to NFL.com

Who might’ve rose most along the defensive line? Well, one wouldn’t have to look much further than the South. 

Florida State’s Braden Fiske and Texas’ Byron Murphy II clamored some of the most buzz on Day 1 of the combine. Both defensive tackles placed among the top-three at their position in the 40, running 4.87 or better, while Fiske led with a 33.5-inch vertical, 9-foot, nine-inch broad jump and 4.37 shuttle run. 

Murphy had top-five finishes in the 10-yard split, vertical and on the bench. The DeSoto, Texas, native had 8.5 tackles for loss and five sacks last season. 

For teams looking to take an anchor along the line this draft, they’ll have some viable options to choose from. 

Longhorns likely a strong combine winner 

Perhaps no other college program had a better combine than Texas. 

Murphy opened some eyes during defensive tackle drills, and his teammate and Outland Trophy winner T’Vondre Sweat was expected to lead in his group as well. 

Sweat ran a 5.27 40 with a 1.8-second 10-yard split, and he also jumped 26 inches on the vertical and 8-feet, 2-inches on the broad jump. His production score was fourth among defensive tackles according to NFL.com

READ: Arizona WR Jacob Cowing hopes to impress at NFL Combine

In addition to the defensive line standouts was Worthy, who broke the record for fastest 40 time with a 4.21 clock. 

Texas had 11 participants in the combine this year: Murphy, Sweat, Worthy, running backs Jonathon Brooks and Keilan Robinson, wide receivers Adonai Mitchell and Jordan Whittington, tight end Ja’Tavion Sanders, offensive lineman Christian Jones, linebacker Jaylan Ford and defensive back Ryan Watts. 

The Longhorns went 12-2 last season and won the Big 12, advancing to their first College Football Playoff appearance under third-year head coach Steve Sarkisian. They’ll return quarterback Quinn Ewers for his senior season. 

According to Daniel Jeremiah’s top 50 draft-eligible prospects, Murphy is the highest projected at No. 22. Mitchell is close behind at No. 33. 

All eyes are on USC’s Caleb Williams and LSU’s Jayden Daniels 

The combine this year didn’t get to see a pair of Heisman Trophy-winning quarterbacks throw on the field at Lucas Oil Stadium. 

But the beat goes on. 2022 Heisman winner Williams will have the chance to throw at the Trojans’ Pro Day on March 20, and LSU quarterback and last season’s Heisman recipient Jayden Daniels will throw at his Pro Day on March 27. 

Williams said it was a team decision for him not to take part in measurements and on-field workouts, and Daniels spoke similarly while both met with numerous NFL teams. 

Williams is No. 1 and Daniels is No. 6 — one spot behind North Carolina quarterback Drake Maye at No. 5 — according to Daniel Jeremiah’s top 50 draft-eligible prospects list. 

READ: Oregon State WR Anthony Gould wants to ‘give the scouts a reason to cut up my tape’ at NFL Combine

The Chicago Bears hold the No. 1 pick in the draft, and they have an interesting situation to address with starter Justin Fields. The Bears have been tied to Williams plenty this draft cycle, while rumors swirl about Daniels being picked as early as No. 2 to the Washington Commanders or No. 3 to the New England Patriots. 

Much is left to be determined between now and the start of the 2024 NFL Draft. Both Williams and Daniels will throw at their pro days and continue to meet with NFL teams. 

But the race for the No. 1 pick is on.