Photo Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
2023 NFL Draft: Anthony Richardson, Tyjae Spears among pre-draft all-stars
Between January and April, prospects are typically granted multiple opportunities to stand out and improve their draft position at well-attended events such as the Senior Bowl and NFL Scouting Combine.
These platforms are a chance to display their talent for decision-makers and often include NFL coaching at position drills, live practices, and all-star games.
Here are the players whose grades were boosted by college all-star games and individual workouts since the end of the 2022 college football season:
1. Anthony Richardson, QB, Florida
Balancing questions around subpar production and consistency with potential and undeniable elite athleticism and size for a quarterback is the conundrum for scouts. The leap of faith on Richardson is considerable based on his poor completion percentage and streaky play at Florida, where his record in 13 career starts was 6-7 with 24 TD passes and 23 turnovers (eight fumbles). A third-year sophomore who played last season as a 20-year-old, the flip side with Richardson is he’s 6-4, 244, ran a 4.43 40-yard dash, and compares to former No. 1 pick Cam Newton and was viewed by coaches as an emerging leader with the Gators.
2. O’Cyrus Torrence, OG, Florida
Bigger than an Uber at 6-5, 337 with 11 1/4-inch hands, Torrence was the man amongst boys at the Senior Bowl and should be a virtual lock for a spot in the first round.
3. Tyjae Spears, RB, Tulane
Yes, the running back class is rich and free agency had name value, too. Top production last season — 1,800 yards from scrimmage as a college senior and a high school senior — and a stellar performance in Mobile are certain to heighten interest in Spears, a dynamic playmaker and explosive big-play threat as a runner and receiver. He ran a solid 4.52 40 at his pro day to seal the deal.
4. Adetomiwa Adebawore, DL, Northwestern
A winner from the moment his wingspan was measured at a fingernail less than 7 feet, no one expected the polish or constant push he showed as a pass rusher in Senior Bowl practices. Then came a showstopping workout in the DE group at the combine, where his 4.49 40-yard dash, 37.5-inch vertical, and 10-5 broad jump sent GMs back to spruce up their scouting reports.
5. John Michael Schmitz, C, Minnesota
Proof of value was not the mission for Schmitz at the Senior Bowl, but he elevated his grade with consistent dominance and the visible chip on his shoulder that NFL offensive line coaches covet.
6. Daiyan Henley, LB, Washington State
Fast, smooth, and high-energy are winning traits for the converted wide receiver. Natural mover, he matched with running backs and slot receivers without perspiring at the Senior Bowl, but not everyone will be thrilled with his developing defensive instincts or weight (225).
Keeanu Benton, DT, Wisconsin
Jack Campbell, LB, Iowa
Zay Flowers, WR, Boston College
Calijah Kancey, DT, Pitt
Will McDonald IV, Edge, Iowa State
Ivan Pace Jr., LB, Cincinnati
Nolan Smith, Edge, Georgia
–Field Level Media