2024 Scouting Combine: Workout warriors to watch in Indy

Mon Feb 26 1:01pm ET
Field Level Media

Selected one spot ahead of Patrick Mahomes, John Ross III caught 62 passes during his five-year career, but man could he run.

Ross was the ninth overall pick by Cincinnati in the 2017 NFL Draft and he's famous -- well, infamous -- for clocking the fastest verified 40 time this century at the NFL Scouting Combine. Ross covered 40 yards in 4.22 seconds and ran his way into the top 10 picks in the draft.

With 17 TD catches as a junior, Ross decided to exit Washington a year early and enter the draft. But Ross delayed shoulder surgery to repair a torn labrum in order to be on the field in front of scouts in Indianapolis.

He never did outrun injury woes.

At the finish line of his record 40-yard run, he strained his calf and couldn't participate in position drills.

While there were definite flashes of greatness -- seven TD catches in 2018, back-to-back 100-yard games to begin the 2019 season -- Ross had knee, shoulder and foot injuries before demanding a trade from the Bengals in 2020. He wasn't traded, but was done in Cincinnati and reclamation bids with the Giants and Chiefs never took.

There are many similar stories of players recognized more for their workout numbers and seasoned scouts understand the warning labels warranted for prospects who win the underwear Olympics in Indianapolis.

By the same token, there are stories of fringe prospects who "win" the combine each year with the traits and on-field results to indicate they're worth a little bit extra on draft day.

The jury remains out on former Florida quarterback Anthony Richardson, the No. 4 pick in the 2023 draft, who left Indianapolis last March as one of the biggest winners. He showcased size (official measurements of 6-4, 244), speed (4.43 40) and rocket arm evident in on-field position drills. He went from a top-32 grade to a top-10 grade in a blink.

Here are the leading candidates for the all-workout team at the 2024 NFL Scouting Combine:

CB Terrion Arnold, Alabama: When Arnold committed to the Crimson Tide he did so with the understanding he was welcome to join Nate Oats' basketball team at the end of the season. But since college football season in Tuscaloosa typically means after the College Football Playoff, Arnold never suited up to play hoops. His vast athleticism, competitiveness and speed are draws for the first-round cover man who could be a top-10 candidate with a superb showing when defensive backs work out for scouts Friday.

WR Keon Coleman, Florida State: How freaky was the FSU receiver room last season? The sidekick to 6-6, 237-pound teammate Johnny Wilson with the Seminoles, Coleman rates as a top-50 pick based on our projections. He dominates in jump-ball situations and has good speed for a 6-4 target. More than the 40-yard dash figure, the explosiveness expected from Coleman's broad jump, vertical and his 10-yard split out of the blocks can boost the former Michigan State Spartans basketball player into the top 30.

CB Quinyon Mitchell, Toledo: For those new to the Mitchell Bandwagon, now's the time to get on board. His short-area explosion was a factor in ranking second in the FBS in pass deflections and his long speed was rarely tested. A 40-yard time in the 4.3s wouldn't be a surprise for Mitchell, widely heralded as a first-round pick at the Senior Bowl.

WR Malik Nabers, LSU: Separation Saturday is a legit chance for Nabers to grab the No. 1 ranking at wide receiver for teams viewing Marvin Harrison Jr. and Nabers as 1 and 1A in the position pecking order. Wide receivers, running backs and quarterbacks are on the field Saturday at Lucas Oil Stadium and Nabers appears to be a lock to run in the 4.4 range based on his 100-meter time at Comeaux High School in Lafayette. He was timed before committing to Mike Leach at Mississippi State -- Nabers flipped his commitment to LSU -- in the 40 and ran a 4.4 at age 17 with a 38-inch vertical.

Edge Demeioun "Chop" Robinson, Penn State: Robinson committed to building an NFL-ready body at this time last year. That's not to say he wasn't already working with NFL timber.

Robinson weighed more than 14 pounds at birth and at 6-3, 255, he has a grade worthy of a top-20 pick before the combine.

A transfer from Maryland, Robinson said he added 10 pounds of muscle and reduced his 40-yard dash time to 4.47 seconds in 2023. Only six edge players this century have clocked under 4.47 seconds in Indy.

As a pass rusher first, Robinson's first 10 yards will be scrutinized but he's expecting to be in the 1.51-1.52 range. That's the same get-off time as Georgia's Nolan Smith (first round, Eagles, 2023) at last year's combine. Only four edge players since 2000 have topped that time.

CB Nate Wiggins, Clemson: If Wiggins' size is confirmed at a suspected 6-2, 195 and he runs as fast as scouts expect, he would become a candidate to be drafted in the top 15 despite being knocked for a track mentality. The direct implication that Wiggins isn't physical enough for the NFL has dropped other superior athletes lower in the draft than expected. But the current trend toward tall and long-limbed cornerbacks is here to stay.

WR Roman Wilson, Michigan: Get ready for numbers that imply Wilson has been training for this moment his whole life. Because, well, he has.

So focused on this goal way back in seventh and eighth grade that he legitimately flew to his first several high school attendance days a few islands over in Oahu, Wilson won't disappoint with sudden change-of-direction agility in short shuttle tests and can be in the discussion as one of the fastest players in attendance this week.

Former Wolverines coach Jim Harbaugh said Wilson won the "fastest man" label at Michigan the old-fashioned way, with a few footraces in fall camp. Wilson was timed at 4.36 in the 40-yard dash. He's worked with speed coach David Kamalani since middle school and his mom was a high school track star at St. Ignace in Michigan who lost only one race. A Hawaii native who attended the same high school as Tua Tagovailoa, Wilson also has a vertical in the high 30s.

Player Notes
Trevor Lawrence Apr 16 4:50pm ET
Trevor Lawrence

Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence missed just one game last season, but he dealt with multiple injuries to his lower and upper body that could have affected his play in 2023. In a media availability on Tuesday, the former No. 1 overall pick said he did not feel 100% healthy until March. "When March hit, I felt really good, like lifting and doing everything like totally normal," Lawrence said. "But until March, I'd say that's when I started to feel like 100%, do stuff that I normally do." The 24-year-old threw for 4,016 yards, 21 touchdowns, and 14 interceptions, and the Jaguars lost a Week 18 game against the struggling Tennessee Titans that would have sent them to the playoffs. Ultimately, it was a disappointing season for Lawrence and the Jaguars alike, but a healthy Lawrence could yield better results in 2024. The team has uncertainty at the wide receiver position after the departure of Calvin Ridley, but they are likely to add weapons in the upcoming NFL Draft. Lawrence figures to have a low-end QB1 upside, though he's likely to produce mid-range QB2 numbers in fantasy football.

From RotoBaller

Rashard Higgins Apr 16 4:40pm ET
Rashard Higgins

Veteran wide receiver Rashard Higgins and linebacker Christian Kirksey are signing one-day contracts with the Cleveland Browns to retire with the organization, the team announced on Tuesday. Higgins was selected by Cleveland in the fifth round of the 2016 NFL Draft and racked up 137 receptions for 1,890 yards and 12 touchdowns in 82 games from 2016 to 2021. He spent the 2022 season with the Carolina Panthers but did not log a snap. Kirkey was a 2014 third-round pick by the Browns and played for the team until 2019 before brief stints with the Green Bay Packers, Houston Texans, and Buffalo Bills. Overall, he secured 779 tackles, 16.5 sacks, seven interceptions, and 34 passes defended in 114 career games.

From RotoBaller

Nyheim Hines Apr 16 4:40pm ET
Nyheim Hines

Cleveland Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski said he is "not sure" when running back Nyheim Hines (knee) will practice with the team for the first time. The 27-year-old is rehabbing from a torn ACL that he suffered off the field last offseason as a member of the Buffalo Bills. Despite that, the Browns signed him to a one-year, $1.15 million deal after free agency began. Since being traded to the Bills in the middle of the 2022 campaign, Hines has rushed for negative three yards and caught five passes for 53 yards and a touchdown. Meanwhile, Cleveland has Nick Chubb (knee), D'Onta Foreman, and Jerome Ford on the roster. That said, it'd be surprising if Hines has a role in the offense this season, but he could be a factor in the kick return game if he can work his way back from the unfortunate injury.

From RotoBaller

Matt Ryan Apr 16 4:20pm ET
Matt Ryan

The Atlanta Falcons secured quarterback Kirk Cousins this offseason on a four-year, $180 million deal, setting them up to have above-average quarterback play for the first time since Matt Ryan parted ways with the organization. However, the team is not done adding to the quarterback room. "We're definitely gonna add a quarterback," Falcons general manager Terry Fontenot said. "We're not going to into the season with two arms." The team has Cousins and Taylor Heinicke on the roster, but most teams carry between three and five quarterbacks in the offseason. It's unlikely that Atlanta will consider a first-round quarterback in this year's class, but they could begin to take fliers on signal-callers as soon as Round 2 begins. Cousins will turn 36 years old before the start of the 2024 season, so throwing a dart on players like Michael Penix Jr. or Bo Nix would make sense if they fall to the second round. On Day 3 of the draft, Spencer Rattler, Michael Pratt, and Joe Milton III are potential project options to consider. Although any quarterback Atlanta adds can be safely ignored in single-quarterback formats, they might be worth rostering in deep superflex and two-QB setups considering Cousins' age and the major Achilles injury he is coming off of.

From RotoBaller

Tyreek Hill Apr 16 4:13pm ET
Tyreek Hill

Dynasty | Dolphins receiver Jaylen Waddle is having his fifth-year option exercised. Dynasty Analysis: Waddle has strung together three straight 1,000-yard seasons to start his career, so this is hardly a surprise. While his 72/1,014/4 year was a bit of a disappointment in 2023, Waddle has still shown a lot of ability and could be a player who excels later in his career when Tyreek Hill moves on. While not in the elite level of receivers, Waddle still makes for a solid WR2 target in dynasty leagues and this move ensures we'll have at least two more seasons of him in Miami.

From Dynasty League Fantasy

Deshaun Watson Apr 16 4:10pm ET
Deshaun Watson

Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson (shoulder) told reporters on Tuesday that he is "throwing full speed" with no limitations on motion or velocity. The 28-year-old said he's making 40-yard and 60-yard throws while following his doctor's lead, and the plan is for him to participate in OTAs in late May or early June in some capacity. However, the former Pro Bowl quarterback and the organization are likely to be careful with him during that time and focus on getting him 100% ready for training camp. Watson was limited to just six games last year before suffering a season-ending shoulder injury, and he has only played in 12 total games over the last three years. Although it's been a long time since he has delivered strong fantasy numbers, his QB21 price tag in early FFPC drafts makes him worth taking a flier on for the 2024 campaign.

From RotoBaller

CeeDee Lamb Apr 16 3:13pm ET
CeeDee Lamb

Dynasty | Cowboys receiver CeeDee Lamb is not attending the latest series of voluntary workouts. Dynasty Analysis: This really isn't much of a story as few expected Lamb to be around until he gets a contract extension. He's entering the last year of his deal and is inevitably going to be one of the league's highest paid players after a 135/1,749/12 season. Lamb is quickly putting some heat on players like Ja'Marr Chase and Justin Jefferson to be the overall WR1. Dynasty managers shouldn't be concerned until the season draws closer.

From Dynasty League Fantasy

DeVonta Smith Apr 16 3:13pm ET
DeVonta Smith

Dynasty | The Eagles and wide receiver DeVonta Smith have agreed to a $75 million contract extension. Dynasty Analysis: Smith is now under team control through the 2028 season and Smth gets $51 million in guaranteed money as part of the deal. It's a hefty price to pay for a WR2 but Smith is clearly one of the best receivers in the game and is coming off back-to-back seasons featuring more than 1,000 receiving yards and seven touchdowns in each year. While AJ Brown gets a lot of the attention, Smith could hold more true value as our WR13.

From Dynasty League Fantasy

Davante Adams Apr 16 3:13pm ET
Davante Adams

Dynasty | Las Vegas wide receiver Davante Adams has recently indicated he wants to stay with the Raiders. Dynasty Analysis: Adams is coming off a decent 103-1,144-8 season but also one that saw his production come in peaks and valleys. As the article indicates, Adams is basically saying he'd already be gone if he wanted to be. The Jets have reportedly made some overtures but those were quickly extinguished. At this point, it would be a surprise to see Adams anywhere other than Vegas next season. However, finding a decent quarterback to keep his stats where they should be is another challenge altogether. Adams has dropped to our WR26 but is still a solid trade target for a contending team.

From Dynasty League Fantasy

Jordan Addison Apr 16 3:13pm ET
Jordan Addison

Dynasty | Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson is not attending voluntary workouts. Dynasty Analysis: Jefferson is entering the final year of his rookie contract and is in line to possibly be the highest paid receiver of all-time. Minnesota has Jordan Addison as well but Jefferson is clearly one of the biggest difference makers in the league so it would be shocking to see him hit free agency. Regardless, Jefferson is playing it safe here and dynasty managers don't need to be too concerned at this point in the off-season. He remains our WR1 at this point in time.

From Dynasty League Fantasy

Louis Rees-Zammit Apr 16 2:40pm ET
Louis Rees-Zammit

Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid said that former rugby star Louis Rees-Zammit will be started off as a running back in his transition to the NFL game in 2024. Reid said it's "not an easy transition, but he seems to be wired" for the professional game due to his experience in rugby. Rees-Zammit is getting acclimated to the team by working with quarterback Patrick Mahomes and company in Texas during in-person work. "We'll start him off at the running back position, get him to feel comfortable with that going forward here," Reid said. The head coach also said Rees-Zammit will get looks from special teams coordinator Dave Toub in the return game once the team gets into offseason work. The signing of the rugby star was interesting this offseason, but Rees-Zammit will be a long shot to become fantasy relevant in 2024.

From RotoBaller

Tua Tagovailoa Apr 16 2:30pm ET
Tua Tagovailoa

NFL Network's Cameron Wolfe threw cold water on the idea that the Miami Dolphins could take a quarterback in Round 1 of the upcoming NFL draft. Instead, Wolfe thinks the team will go after either an offensive or defensive lineman at pick No. 21 overall. Wolfe said he'd "be shocked" if the Dolphins took a signal-caller in the first or second round this year. In addition to their offensive and defensive-line needs, the Dolphins could also use help at tight end. Don't forget that the Dolphins have only two picks in the top 150 this year, so spending a luxury pick on a QB seems like a reach if they plan on eventually extending Tagovailoa for the long term. Although nothing is official with an extension for Tagovailoa yet, all signs point to him staying in Miami long-term, so it would make sense for the Dolphins to hone in on more protection for him early in this year's draft.

From RotoBaller

Jaylen Waddle Apr 16 2:20pm ET
Jaylen Waddle

Miami Dolphins general manager Chris Grier told reporters on Tuesday that the team plans to pick up the fifth-year options for wide receiver Jaylen Waddle and pass-rusher Jaelan Phillips prior to the deadline. These moves don't come as much of a surprise, especially for Waddle, after he put up his third straight 1,000-yard season in 2023 to begin his NFL career. The 25-year-old is the first pass-catcher to do that in franchise history, and it's even more impressive doing it alongside All-Pro wideout Tyreek Hill the last two years. Hill's presence limits Waddle's overall fantasy upside, but he's proven these last two seasons that there's still plenty to go around for Waddle in Miami's high-octane offense. Waddle will now be guaranteed to stick in Miami for the next two seasons.

From RotoBaller

Odell Beckham Jr. Apr 16 2:20pm ET
Odell Beckham Jr.

There is "nothing imminent" on an agreement between the Miami Dolphins and free-agent wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., according to general manager Chris Grier. Beckham was in the facilities a few weeks ago to meet with the Dolphins and an offer was made, but it doesn't sound like the two sides are particularly close to getting anything done. OBJ would offer some more receiving depth for the Dolphins behind one of the best one-two receiver punches in Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle if he were to sign with Miami. The 31-year-old former 12th overall pick of the New York Giants in 2014 out of LSU is clearly past his prime due to several significant lower-body injuries, but he can still splash for some big games as a deep threat. Beckham had 35 catches for 565 yards and three touchdowns in 14 regular-season games (six starts) in Baltimore in 2023.

From RotoBaller

Courtland Sutton Apr 16 2:10pm ET
Courtland Sutton

Denver Broncos wide receiver Courtland Sutton did not report on Monday for the start of voluntary offseason workouts as he seeks a new contract, according to a source. Sutton is going on his 10th starting quarterback in seven seasons in Denver and has only $2 million guaranteed left on his current deal. He had 10 touchdowns in 2023 while ranking 56th in the league in targets (90). The former second-round pick in 2018 out of SMU also had 59 receptions for 772 yards last year, but now that Russell Wilson is in Pittsburgh and the Broncos currently have Jarrett Stidham as their starter under center, Sutton is due for some big regression (mainly in the TD department) in 2024 if he sticks around in Denver. Even with Jerry Jeudy also gone, the 28-year-old Sutton could struggle to come close to another 1,000-yard season with more questions at QB.

From RotoBaller

Jared Goff Apr 16 2:10pm ET
Jared Goff

Detroit Lions left tackle Taylor Decker (ankle, foot) said on Tuesday that he underwent surgery on his ankle and foot this offseason. The surgery was related to an injury that he's been dealing with since college. Decker said he feels great walking around now. He'll be limited this spring but should be fine for the start of the 2024 regular season this fall. Despite not being 100 percent healthy last year, the 29-year-old only missed two regular-season games for the Lions and played in all three of their playoff contests. The former 16th overall pick by Detroit in the 2016 NFL draft out of Ohio State is one of the big reasons why the Lions' offense has soared in recent seasons as he's protected quarterback Jared Goff's blind side.

From RotoBaller

Nick McCloud Apr 15 9:30pm ET
Nick McCloud

New York Giants restricted free-agent cornerback Nick McCloud signed his free-agent tender offer on Monday to officially return to the team for the 2024 season. McCloud played in all 17 regular-season games (three starts) but was injured in the regular-season finale against the Philadelphia Eagles. The 25-year-old finished his third year in the NFL with 28 tackles (20 solo), his first career interception, three forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries. He entered the NFL in 2021 with the Cincinnati Bengals as an undrafted free agent out of Notre Dame. In his three years in the league, McCloud has picked up 71 tackles (55 solo), 1.5 sacks, one interception, nine passes defended, three forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries in 33 games (11 starts).

From RotoBaller

Shemar Jean-Charles Apr 15 9:30pm ET
Shemar Jean-Charles

The New Orleans Saints re-signed cornerback Shemar Jean-Charles on Monday after not tendering him as a restricted free agent. Jean-Charles spent the 2023 campaign with the San Francisco 49ers and Saints and will now return to the Big Easy in 2024 after finishing last year with a combined four tackles (three solo) in eight games (zero starts) with both teams. The 25-year-old Florida native was originally a fifth-round selection by the Green Bay Packers in 2021 out of Appalachian State and spent the first two seasons of his NFL career in Green Bay, recording just seven solo tackles in 20 games played (zero starts). Jean-Charles will merely be hoping to make New Orleans' active roster this summer out of training camp.

From RotoBaller

Emanuel Wilson Apr 15 9:20pm ET
Emanuel Wilson

The Green Bay Packers re-signed exclusive-rights free-agent running back Emanuel Wilson to an undisclosed deal on Monday. Wilson entered the league as an undrafted free agent out of Fort Valley State in 2023 with the Packers and had 14 carries for 85 yards and caught four of five targets for 23 additional yards in seven regular-season games (zero starts) in his rookie campaign. Barring injuries to the team's running back room, the 24-year-old should be in line for a similar depth role behind backs Josh Jacobs and AJ Dillon in 2024, making him pretty useless to begin the year in fantasy circles. Wilson is currently the team's No. 3 RB, but that could change, depending on what the Packers do at the position in the upcoming NFL draft.

From RotoBaller

Ronnie Rivers Apr 15 9:20pm ET
Ronnie Rivers

Los Angeles Rams running back Ronnie Rivers and offensive lineman Alaric Jackson both signed their free-agent tender offers on Monday. Rivers will be heading into his third year with the Rams in 2024 after entering the NFL in 2022 with LA as an undrafted free agent out of Fresno State. The 25-year-old had 32 carries last year for 129 yards and caught all five of his targets for 22 additional yards in nine regular-season games (one start) in his second year. Depending on what the Rams do in the upcoming NFL draft, Rivers could be battling with Zach Evans for the No. 2 backfield role in training camp this summer behind starter Kyren Williams. At best, Rivers will be a handcuff option in deeper leagues for fantasy managers that take Williams.

From RotoBaller