2024 NFL combine winners, losers: Which players helped or hurt draft stock?

The annual summit of the NFL world held in Indianapolis has come to a close, with the 2024 scouting combine now wrapped up.

With less than two months remaining until this year's NFL draft, prospects still have the opportunity to make a statement at their respective pro days and team visits. But the combine provides players with the biggest stage to showcase their abilities. And while the testing and on-field drills are but one portion of the evaluation process – which includes the team interviews and medical assessments that were also conduced during the combine – and often serve as a mere check, several figures no doubt stood out with their work at Lucas Oil Stadium.

With that in mind, here are the biggest winners and losers from the 2024 NFL scouting combine:

2024 NFL scouting combine winners

1. Xavier Worthy, WR, Texas

Texas Longhorns wide receivers Adonai Mitchell (5) and Xavier Worthy (1) celebrate a touchdown by Mitchell during the Big 12 Championship game against the Oklahoma State Cowboys at AT&T stadium on Saturday, Dec. 2, 2023 in Arlington.
Texas Longhorns wide receivers Adonai Mitchell (5) and Xavier Worthy (1) celebrate a touchdown by Mitchell during the Big 12 Championship game against the Oklahoma State Cowboys at AT&T stadium on Saturday, Dec. 2, 2023 in Arlington.

Simple enough: Anyone who breaks the combine record for the 40-yard dash gets the top spot. After racing to a 4.21-second mark on Saturday, the Texas product became the buzz of the combine. In a league that prizes players who can generate explosive plays, Worthy stands out as a singular big-play threat. And while his rare speed was his known selling point, the former track standout separated himself from his peers in this class, finishing more than a tenth of a second better than the next closest receiver (Brian Thomas Jr., 4.33). Meanwhile, his 41-inch vertical leap was fourth among all wideouts. Worthy's gaunt frame leaves questions of whether he can hold up against press coverage and at the catch point, but teams have shown they'll gamble in the draft on game-breaking speed.

2. Troy Fautanu, G/T, Washington

In a deep class for offensive tackles, the spotlight belongs to several hulking blockers, including the 6-9 Joe Alt, 6-8 Tyler Guyton and 6-8 Amarius Mims. On Sunday, however, it was the 6-4 Fautanu who best took advantage of the combine stage. He moved far more nimbly than the competition during his on-field workout, and he put together an impressive testing profile. While he has been projected as a candidate to be moved inside to guard, the Washington left tackle showed the overall physical tools – including 34 ½-inch arms – to make a strong case to remain at his natural position. A mid-first round selection seems like a very likely possibility.

3. Chop Robinson, DE, Penn State

Overlooking his pedestrian production (9 ½ sacks in the last two years) will be easier for teams after Robinson showcased his rare explosiveness. At 4.48 seconds, his 40-yard dash time was the fifth-best mark since 2003 of any pass rusher weighing more than 250 pounds, according to Next Gen Stats. Between his rapid burst and elastic bend, Robinson sizes up a serious threat for any offensive tackle if he's given any runway. Edge rusher is one spot where premium traits are particularly highly rewarded, and Robinson now might have a solid shot at squeezing into the first round.

4. Braden Fiske, DT, Florida State

Fiske delivered one of the signature moments of the combine when he bellowed "oh yeah" as he crossed the finish line of his 4.78-second 40-yard dash, which was unmatched among all defensive tackles. Yet even after continuing to set the bar for his position group with a 33 ½-inch vertical leap and 9-9 broad jump, the Western Michigan transfer truly stood out with his 4.37-second short shuttle, a mark better than Aaron Donald's 4.39 recorded 10 years ago. While the 6-4, 292-pounder still presents some questions about his play strength, any team willing to turn its interior defenders loose will covet his potential to blow up plays in the backfield.

5. Quinyon Mitchell, CB, Toledo

Let's put to rest any questions regarding level of competition. Between the Senior Bowl and Indianapolis, Mitchell has ansered whatever concerns there might have been about his ability to hold up against faster, stronger receivers. The 6-0, 195-pound cornerback blazed a 4.33-second 40-yard dash, good for second at his position and tied for third among all runs at the combine. Mitchell also had a smooth outing during drills after some initial hiccups. The teens seem to be his destined range, with several cornerback-needy teams selecting there.

6. Isaac Guerendo, RB, Louisville

The lack of consensus for a pecking order among the 2024 running backs leaves open the potential for plenty of volatility at the position. Guerendo looks to have seized on that dynamic. The 6-0, 223-pound ball carrier ripped off a 4.33-second 40-yard dash that not only stood as best among all backs this year, but also the top time for any player at his position over 220 pounds since 2003, according to Next Gen Stats. Additionally, his 41 ½-inch vertical leap also paced his position group, while his 10-9 broad jump stood second. Though the Wisconsin transfer was lightly used in college, his freight-train style is readily evident. He should be selected ahead of some more accomplished peers based on his tantalizing upside.

7. Adonai Mitchell, WR, Texas

If not for being bettered in the 40 by his former Longhorns teammate, Mitchell might have been the talk of the receiver group. His 4.35-second run was blistering for a 6-2, 205-pound target whose quick cuts can throw off defensive backs, and his eye-popping 11-4 broad jump was tied for second among all combine participants. Mitchell entered the event being linked by many to the Chiefs at No. 32 in the first round, but now it might be a stretch he makes it to that point.

8. Payton Wilson, LB, North Carolina State

This year's crop of linebackers might be the most lackluster of all the position groups. Wilson, however, served up a stellar reminder of his impressive all-around athleticism. The 6-4, 233-pounder first turned heads by notching the best 40 in his group (4.43 seconds) and then continued to impress in position drills. The Bednarik Award winner is accomplished on the field as well, but his draft stock ultimately might be determined by his medical outlook given that he has undergone 10 surgeries, according to the Fayetteville Observer.

9. Max Melton, CB, Rutgers

The younger brother of Green Bay Packers wide receiver Bo Melton has had no trouble making a name for himself, an effort that continued Friday with an excellent performance both in testing and drills. His 4.39-second 40-yard dash placed him among the fastest cornerbacks, and his broad jump (11-4) and vertical leap (40 ½ inches) reinforced that he should bring a dynamic presence to any secondary. Melton's fluidity was apparent on the field, too, making him a good bet for a spot on Day 2.

10. Theo Johnson, TE, Penn State

With Brock Bowers opting not to partake in any athletic work in Indianapolis, the door was open for someone to make a statement among the tight ends. Johnson – along with Kansas State's Ben Sinnott – pounced, exhibiting a seldom-seen profile (6-6, 259 pounds, 4.59-second 40-yard dash, 39-inch vertical) that suggests his best days as a receiver are still ahead of him. The outing could help him solidify being one of the first four or five tight ends taken.

11. Jaylen Wright, RB, Tennessee

With no apparent bell-cow backs in this class, the draft outlook at the position could come down to teams' taste. Any franchise looking for a breakaway threat should be drawn to Wright, who underscored his home-run ability with a 4.38-second 40-yard dash. Strong showings in both the broad jump (11-2, best among running backs) and vertical leap (38 inches) further highlighted his explosiveness. Once ball carriers likely start coming off the board on Day 2, Wright shouldn't have too wait too long to hear his name called.

2024 NFL scouting combine losers

1. Kalen King, CB, Penn State

King was the victim of some premature hype, as a standout sophomore season in 2022 earned him some consideration last spring and summer as a potential first-rounder. A shaky follow-up campaign, however, revealed some serious concerns for the 5-11, 191-pound cornerback. Most notably, his 4.61-second 40-yard dash reignited questions about whether he can turn be trusted to turn and run with receivers downfield. It's going to be difficult for King to land on Day 2 given how the last six months have gone for him.

2. Bralen Trice, DE, Washington

What's his role in the NFL? At first, it seemed obvious that Trice would be a powerhouse edge presence who would fluster offensive tackles by consistently generating pressure through sheer force. At the combine, however, he showed up at 245 pounds – down nearly 30 from his listed weight at Washington. Still, he only managed a pedestrian 4.72-second 40-yard dash. There's undoubtedly a place for Trice with the right scheme. He just might be in for a wait as teams prioritize more dynamic and rangier edge rushers.

3. Kamren Kinchens, S, Miami (Fla.)

Any team taking Kinchens will likely be placing its faith in his tape rather than his testing, as he turned in a lackluster performance at Lucas Oil Stadium. Despite displaying good range in coverage en route to recording 11 interceptions over the last two seasons, Kinchens recorded a 4.65-second 40-yard dash that tied for worst among all safeties. Between that and some struggles backpedaling during drills, he might be pigeonholed to zone-heavy schemes.

4. Leonard Taylor III, DT, Miami (Fla.)

Unlike his former Hurricanes teammate Kinchens, Taylor doesn't have an extensive resume to fall back on, with the former top-50 recruit only showing glimpses of his promise during his time in college. At a time when many interior defenders were catching attention, Taylor failed to make much of a mark during both testing and drills. His 7.81-second three-cone drill was particularly disappointing.

5. Bucky Irving, RB, Oregon

A 4.55-second 40-yard dash isn't necessarily disqualifying for a smaller back, as Los Angeles Rams standout Kyren Williams clocked in a full tenth of a second slower two years ago and has still managed to become a top contributor. But an overall subpar run of testing seems likely to ding his drafts stock. Like Williams, he might need to land in an offense that accentuates his savvy and elusiveness.

6. Troy Franklin, WR, Oregon

Franklin started off the event on shaky ground after measuring in at a rail[thin 176 pounds, down 11 from his listed weight at Oregon. While he showed off his long speed with a 4.41-second 40-yard dash, he was inconsistent during drills and looked considerably less refined than much of his competition. In a deep collection of pass catchers, that could make a significant difference come draft day.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: 2024 NFL draft winners, losers from combine: Who helped draft stock?