5 takeaways from offensive line day at the 2023 NFL Scouting Combine
The 2023 NFL Scouting Combine is in the books after the offensive linemen and running backs took the field on Sunday in Indianapolis.
While the quarterbacks and defensive backs received most of the headlines throughout the weekend, several offensive linemen helped themselves on Sunday.
The Washington Commanders need plenty of help on the offensive line and spent multiple evenings having formal meetings with several prospects. Offensive tackle Darnell Wright of Tennessee and center John Michael Schmitz of Minnesota were among those who met with the Commanders.
While you can’t really say an offensive lineman’s stock dropped because of his 40 times, we offer some thoughts from Sunday’s offensive line workouts.
Peter Skoronski remains the top offensive lineman
Northwestern offensive lineman Peter Skoronski (OL41) during the NFL Scouting Combine Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Is he a tackle or a guard? That’s what many draft analysts debate when discussing Northwestern offensive tackle Peter Skoronski. Here’s a quick answer: Who cares.
Throughout the pre-draft process, Skoronski has been considered the top overall prospect. It’s not that he has the highest ceiling, but he’s as safe as a prospect there is in the entire 2023 NFL draft. Skoronski could become a day-one starter at offensive tackle or a Pro Bowl guard in his rookie season.
Skoronski’s arm length [32 1/2″> could be a concern for some, but his athletic testing solidified his status.
Northwestern OT Peter Skoronski recorded the 2nd-best vertical (34.5") and broad jump (9'7") of the OL group at the 2023 NFL Combine, earning an 83 athleticism score.
Skoronski is the top ranked offensive lineman on @MoveTheSticks' latest top 50 big board (7th overall). pic.twitter.com/qVpsHVW9vh
— Next Gen Stats (@NextGenStats) March 5, 2023
Dawand Jones continues his rise up the boards
Ohio State offensive lineman Dawand Jones (OL26) during the NFL Scouting Combine. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Ohio State offensive lineman Dawand Jones wowed NFL people at the Senior Bowl by recording the largest wingspan in the game’s history. Jones was a solid prospect with the Buckeyes on tape, but some had concerns. Heading into the pre-draft process, many looked at Jones as a solid third-round prospect.
However, Jones impressed scouts during his week of practice at the Senior Bowl. He continued that positive momentum with a solid weekend at the combine. Jones measured 6-foot-8 and 374 pounds, with 36 3/8″ arm length. Jones ran the 40 in 5.35 seconds and recorded a 10-yard split of 1.92 seconds. Overall, another good week for Jones.
Dawand Jones is 6'8" 374 pounds and ran a 5.36 40 today…
Do people realize how insane that is? #Athlete pic.twitter.com/buNhvwygiw
— WeAreBigGuys (@WeAreBigGuys) March 6, 2023
Darnell Wright is a first-round lock
Tennessee offensive lineman Darnell Wright (OL50) during the NFL Scouting Combine. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Tennessee offensive tackle Darnell Wright has always been considered a solid prospect. He didn’t often land in the first round throughout mock drafts during the season. That should be no more. Mel Kiper recently had Wright in the first round to the Commanders at No. 16 last week, and that wouldn’t be a surprise. Washington met with Wright.
Wright has plenty of experience playing on either side but projects as more of a right tackle in the NFL. At 6-foot-5, 333 pounds, Wright ran the 40 in 5.01 seconds. If you consider everything, Wright is a first-round pick.
Tennessee offensive tackle Darnell Wright ran a 5.01-second 40-yard dash at 333 lbs, the 3rd-fastest among offensive lineman weighing at least 330 lbs at the combine since 2003.@VolsFootball | #NFLCombine pic.twitter.com/jz7c23rsXG
— Next Gen Stats (@NextGenStats) March 5, 2023
Broderick Jones doesn't make it to the Commanders at No. 16
Georgia offensive lineman Broderick Jones (OL25) during the NFL Scouting Combine. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Georgia offensive tackle Broderick Jones will go in the first round of the 2023 NFL draft. How high? In some mock drafts, Jones has made it to the Commanders at No. 16. In others; he’s landed in the top 10. Jones looks the part of a future NFL left tackle.
CBS ranked Jones as one of Sunday’s winners:
Jones ran the fastest 40-yard dash (4.97) and was a graceful moose in the on-field workouts, gliding around the field and changing directions in an effortless flash. Measuring north of 6-foot-5 with nearly 35-inch arms opened some eyes too. Lock him into the top 20.
What a day for BYU's Blake Freeland
Brigham Young offensive lineman Blake Freeland (OL17) during the NFL Scouting Combine. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Some players have days at the NFL combine you never forget. BYU offensive tackle Blake Freeland had one of those Sunday. Freeland, who measured in at 6-foot-7, 302 pounds, ran the 40 in 4.98, recorded a 10-yard split of 1.68 seconds and set an offensive line record for the vertical jump at 37 inches.
While this performance doesn’t give Freeland a dramatic jump in the eyes of NFL personnel, they’ve certainly taken notice. Teams who employ zone blocking may look at Freeland as a starting right tackle early in his career. He looks like an ideal replacement for Mike McGlinchey if the 49ers let him walk in free agency. Regardless of how you view Freeland’s performance Sunday, it was memorable.
BYU’s Blake Freeland had a 37” vertical at the 2023 Combine, the highest by any OL since official data has been tracked in 2003. 🐰
The previous mark was held by All-Pro Tristan Wirfs, who jumped 36.5” in 2020.
@BYUfootball @FreelandBlake #NFLCombine2023
— NFL Research (@NFLResearch) March 5, 2023