5 winners from OL, RB workouts at 2023 NFL combine
Every team can use an additional offensive lineman or two.
The Jacksonville Jaguars are reportedly working hard to try to keep their starting right tackle Jawaan Taylor from hitting free agency, but other NFL teams aren’t convinced they’ll be able to make it happen.
Either way, the Jaguars — like every other team — would benefit from adding depth up front.
On Sunday, the on-field drills at the 2023 NFL Scouting Combine with the fourth and final group of players at Lucas Oil Stadium. With all eyes on offensive linemen and running backs, here are five players who stood out from the pack:
Blake Freeland, OT, BYU
The unquestioned star of the combine among the linemen was Freeland, a 6’8 BYU product who was a four-year starter, but is still just 21.
The massive offensive tackle set a combine record among offensive linemen with a 37-inch vertical jump and he cracked the five-second mark in the 40-yard dash.
OL Blake Freeland has impressed at the #NFLCombine so far today.
• 302 pounds
• 33 7/8” arms
• 37” vert (Combine record)
• 4.96u 40-yard dash (1.68 10-yd split)
• 10’ broad jump (best among OL)
The #BYU product is having himself a day. 🔥 pic.twitter.com/IiyOGIEe0L
— uSTADIUM (@uSTADIUM) March 5, 2023
The challenge for Freeland will be adding weight and strength to complement that height and athleticism. For now, he’s a player who can struggle with leverage and power.
But the combine only helped Freeland’s draft stock and should convince a team that his skills and frame are rare tools worthy of an investment.
Broderick Jones, OT, Georgia
While Jones is a two-time national champion and earned First Team All-SEC honors in 2022, he’s behind consensus top tackle Peter Skoronski on most experts’ draft rankings and battling with a few tackles to be the second off the board.
Jones made a strong case Sunday to come off the board early in April.
While Georgia listed Jones at 6’4, he surprisingly measured in close to a half-inch over 6’5. Then the bigger-than expected tackle put down a sub-five-second 40-yard dash with a 1.74-second 10-yard split.
Georgia offensive tackle Broderick Jones ran an official 4.97-second 40-yard dash, the fastest by any offensive lineman at the 2023 NFL Combine.
Jones earned a 85 athleticism score with his performance so far, pending shuttle and bench drills. pic.twitter.com/yw1UjDXw6O
— Next Gen Stats (@NextGenStats) March 5, 2023
Does running 40 yards quickly matter much for offensive linemen? Not really. But the 10-yard split shows burst and athleticism that can certainly translate into size and strength turning into explosive power.
Sidy Sow, G, Eastern Michigan
One of the members of the all-name team of the 2023 NFL Draft class earned a spot on the all-combine team too.
Sow has prototypical size for an interior lineman at 6’5, 323 pounds and was among the top players in all the testing drills, recording an impressive 32-inch vertical, 9’2″ broad jump, and 5.07-second 40-yard dash.
Eastern Michigan OL Sidy Sow
6-5 323 | 33 5/8 arms | 10 3/8 hands
5.07 40 (1.8 10s)
Has really moved well in drills. Started a school-record 54 games.
Even got a kudos from Jeff Stoutland in pass drops. pic.twitter.com/uUwGNA2rmh
— Nick Baumgardner (@nickbaumgardner) March 5, 2023
Only four offensive linemen recorded a better vertical than Sow and all of them were at least 10 pounds lighter.
Chase Brown, RB, Illinois
Brown was a Doak Walker Award finalist in 2022, but hasn’t received much draft hype. Perhaps that’ll change after some very impressive numbers in Indianapolis.
He was the only running back to reach 40 inches in the vertical jump and he also led the field in the broad with a 10’7″ jump. Then Brown capped the testing drills with a 4.43-second 40-yard dash, fifth best among running backs.
40” vertical for @IlliniFootball RB @chasebrown____ 🐰
📺: #NFLCombine on @nflnetwork
📱: Stream on NFL+ pic.twitter.com/PnBVMM5AGj
— NFL (@NFL) March 5, 2023
Brown was voted a Practice Player-of-the-Week at the Senior Bowl by the linebackers who had to deal with him in Mobile, Ala. earlier this year.
After a strong performance in Indianapolis, Brown’s draft stock continued to rise.
Jahmyr Gibbs, RB, Alabama
Gibbs spent just one season with the Crimson Tide, but accounted for 1,628 all-purpose yards, contributing as a rusher, receiver, and kick returner.
Anybody who watched him during his time at Alabama knew he was fast, but Gibbs still raised eyebrows by putting down a 4.36-second 40-yard dash Sunday.
4.36 on his second attempt!
— PFF College (@PFF_College) March 5, 2023
Only diminutive (5’8, 188-pound) Texas A&M alum Devon Achane recorded a faster 40 on Sunday.
While he’s a little shorter, Gibbs’ burst and speed earned him a comparison to former Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles, one of the NFL’s all-time kings in yards per carry.
— Daniel Jeremiah (@MoveTheSticks) March 5, 2023
All four of ESPN’s draft analysts rank Gibbs as the second best running back of the class behind only Bijan Robinson of Texas.