2023 NFL Scouting Combine: Biggest winners from Thursday’s workouts

The 2023 NFL Scouting Combine began at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, with edge defenders, defensive tackles and linebackers taking the field.

Here are the prospects who helped their draft stock during Thursday’s testing and on-field workouts:

EDGE Adetomiwa Adebawore, Northwestern

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Adebawore began raising eyebrows in the pre-draft circuit at the Senior Bowl last month, where he was a standout in the trenches. He carried that momentum over to Indianapolis, showcasing his immense athleticism. Checking in at 6-foot-2 and 282 pounds, Adebawore posted a 4.54 40-yard dash, a 1.61 10-yard split, a 37.5′ vertical, and a 10’5″ on the broad jump. Before today, the fastest 40-time at the combine since 2000 by a player over 280 pounds was by Aaron Donald (4.68 seconds).

EDGE Nolan Smith, Georgia

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Despite coming into the combine as one of the top edge rushers in this year’s class, Smith drew some pause when he came in at 238 pounds. However, it wasn’t long after when Smith silenced those in question when he took the field to test. Smith jumped out of the gym, posting a 41.5″ vertical and 10’8″ broad. Soon after, he zoomed down the turf, finishing with a blazing 4.39-second 40-yard dash. His size shouldn’t be a concern, and when you turn on his tape, there are plenty of explosive plays, like what he displayed on Thursday.

EDGE Will McDonald, Iowa State

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McDonald came down with a fever close to 104 degrees on Tuesday evening, according to NFL Media’s Peter Schrager. Despite being sick and losing weight over the last 48 hours, he still worked out on Thursday and had an eye-popping 11-foot broad jump, which ranked second among all defensive linemen and linebackers and third among edge rushers since 2009. Additionally, McDonald had a 36-inch vertical and looked silky smooth and loose during the on-field drills.

DL Calijah Kancey, Pittsburgh

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Kancey generated plenty of buzz before the combine. But he further helped himself on Thursday. Even though he came in with very short arms at 30 5/8 inches, Kancey’s testing overshadowed the measurements. Kancey logged a 4.67-second 40-yard dash, the fastest time recorded by a defensive tackle since 2003. Who did he surpass? Fellow Pitt and Rams superstar Aaron Donald, who ran just 0.01 seconds slower than Kancey. With the numbers he posted and the player on tape, Kancey should be a top-50 pick.

DL Jalen Redmond, Oklahoma

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Seen as a Day 3 player, Redmond needed to have a strong showing at the combine to boost his draft stock. And that he did. At 6-foot-2 and 292 pounds, Redmond finished with a 4.85-second 40-yard-dash with a 1.72-second 10-yard-split. In addition, he had a 34.5″ vertical jump (first among defensive tackles) and a 9-foot-8 broad jump (first among DL). Furthermore, Redmond looked very smooth during the drill work. Now it’s time to revisit the tape.

LB Trenton Simpson, Clemson

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In a relatively underwhelming linebacker group, Simpson is still trying to find his way in the first round. However, his testing may have officially warranted him a spot. Simpson posted a 4.43-second 40-yard-dash, which was second among linebackers. His movement and athleticism are special on tape, and he manifested it on Thursday.

Story originally appeared on Draft Wire