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The Fantasy Football season ended in January, and the NFL season ended in February. But now it's March, and before free agency kicks into high gear and a ton of players change teams, the annual NFL Combine for the incoming class of draft prospects took place. 

Fantasy Football managers should be awakened. This is when we start learning about who could shape our rosters and help us win championships. 

You all probably know what the Combine is, but there's one thing it's not: it's not football. It's here to feature and measure players' athleticism, but the more important parts of the event are to have doctors evaluate the players' bodies as well as to have teams have a sort of job interview with the players.

If you watched the coverage or saw highlights, you didn't see one helmet, one set of shoulder pads or even one football play involving more than two people. This is just a piece of the draft process, and as far as actual football goes, it's not even close to the most important. 

I thought it was important to lay out which players deserve our attention in the coming months as the draft gets closer and we can sort of pinpoint which players would fit in well with specific teams and coaching staffs. This review of the Combine is just a piece of that process. 

Wide receivers

Fantasy managers are going to LOVE how deep this position is. Just one man's opinion, but there are legit TEN wide receivers who could make a first-year impact with another handful who could be useful for a few weeks at a time. The point is, you'll want to know about these guys for your 2024 redraft and Dynasty leagues.

Marvin Harrison Jr.Malik Nabers
Rome OdunzeBrian Thomas Jr. 
Adonai MitchellXavier Worthy
Roman WilsonLadd McConkey
Xavier LegetteRicky Pearsall
Troy Franklin

Our Fantasy editor and fellow draft nut Dan Schneier took a gander at five big Combine takeaways from this strong position. And a month ago, I hit on some of these wideouts when they dazzled at the 2024 Senior Bowl (along with top-five players at each position, sort of). The Fantasy managers who want to win will start learning about some of these guys right now.

We're not Worthy

Obviously, the big winner from the Combine was Xavier Worthy from Texas, who set the record for the fastest recorded 40-yard dash time at 4.21 seconds, breaking John Ross' record of 4.22. Naturally, if a player is that fast running a straight line in a t-shirt, you have to wonder: Is he as fast when he's playing actual football? And can he be used in more than just a couple of ways?

Here's your answer.

The last 40 seconds of that video are decent evidence that he can be more than just a go-route or screen-pass type of receiver (nearly one-third of his receptions last year were screens). He can do some fun stuff. The more we see him winning on short- and mid-range routes, the more we'll like him.

However, it has to be said that his size and especially his weight (5-foot-11 1/4 and 165 pounds) works against him, just as it did for guys like John Ross, Ted Ginn, Marquise Goodwin and even 2023 rookie Marvin Mims, who weighed nearly 20 pounds more than Worthy did at his Combine. Tank Dell weighed in at 165 as well, but he was two inches shorter and had a track record of running a variety of routes. Speed is important but it isn't everything.

As it stands, Worthy's in the running (pun intended) to be taken as high as the fifth or sixth WR off the board behind Harrison, Nabers, Odunze and at least one if not both of the next two receivers you'll read about. But, because the draft class is so deep, it's not unreasonable to see Worthy fall to around ninth or 10th in the group. A back-end Round 1 rookie-only draft pick or a middle-to-late rounder in redraft is totally within reason. 

Mitchell, Thomas show out

Two other receivers you should know about are Adonai Mitchell (Georgia, Texas) and Brian Thomas Jr. (LSU). It's funny, both are tall, strong dudes who ran sub-4.4 in the 40-yard dash, but neither one got their props because Worthy ran 0.12 seconds faster. No worries, both figure to be in contention to be the fourth wideout taken.

These guys have something Worthy will never have: Size. Thomas measured up at nearly 6-foot-3 and 209 pounds, Mitchell at 6-foot-2 1/4 and 205 pounds. And they also have proven they can win in a multitude of ways besides just being a downfield target.

These are two receivers to focus on if you are WR-needy in Dynasty and pick between sixth and eighth overall. Better yet, they're gonna wind up as early/mid-round picks in redraft leagues in 2024 with upside to be quality Fantasy starters assuming they've got a good opportunity to shine.

Who didn't shine? Oregon WR Troy Franklin weighed in at 176 pounds and ran a 4.41 in the 40 (he did test well in the three-cone drill at 6.9 seconds). He was super-productive for the Ducks but might slide behind Worthy and others. ... Florida State's Keon Coleman ran the second-slowest time in the 40, which isn't exactly a surprise since he's known more for his size than speed, but even his 6-foot-6 teammate Johnny Wilson timed faster. ... Senior Bowl studs Jacob Cowing and Jamari Thrash did not time well in the three-cone drill, putting their agility into question. ... Harrison Jr. and Nabers didn't shine because they didn't work out; Harrison even left the event early and refused interviews with the media. 

Running backs

The rushers are a tougher group to figure out -- no megastars, some good players who could become starters, and a bunch of RBs with multiple flaws. One of the projected top rushers, Jonathon Brooks, is recovering from a torn ACL and didn't do any drills. Another big-bodied power runner, Braelon Allen, didn't do any running. Six other prospects, including Frank Gore Jr., didn't run the 40-yard dash due to injury or other reasons.

The Wright stuff

Tennessee's Jaylen Wright wound up showing off his athleticism in the vertical and long jumps and exploded for a 4.38 in the 40-yard dash. At Tennessee, Wright looked thicker than the 210 pounds he weighed in at the Combine. He also was known for his breakaway speed, even if his runs started with slower feet because of his patience and an inconsistent offensive line. 

He profiles as a RB who will split reps in the NFL, just as he did at Tennessee, but his Combine work will get him some attention from NFL teams looking for a rusher with a Day 2 pick. I suspect he'll be a Round 2 pick in rookie-only drafts and a mid/late rounder in redraft.

Guerendo gets on the grid

Louisville fans knew Isaac Guerendo as the 1B rusher in their offense behind Jawhar Jordan (who also participated at the Combine). Before this season it was Wisconsin fans who might say they didn't get to see enough of him. Guerendo led all running backs with a 4.33 run in the 40-yard dash and a 41.5-inch vertical jump while finishing behind only Wright in the long jump at 10 feet 9 inches. He even did well in the three-cone agility drill (6.94 seconds) and the short shuttle (4.15 seconds).

When a running back's athleticism pops like this at the Combine, scouts go back to review his games to see if any of it stands out.

In his highlights, you can easily see his size and balance as big-time factors, but while he did have some long runs, the speed wasn't as consistent in his game. If it was, he might not have split reps in 2023 or transferred after four years at Wisconsin. His age (soon-to-be 24 years old) also works against him. No question, Guerendo will get drafted, but it might be on Day 3 and he might have an uphill battle for playing time because he didn't win over a single backfield in five years of college.

Benson the best bet?

The lone running back who did well in some drills at the Combine, doesn't have an age issue and was a feature back for his team was Florida State's Trey Benson. He'll have just turned 22 when training camp opens, he's been the Seminoles' lead back for two seasons (over 1,100 total yards and at least nine rushing touchdowns in each), and he did just fine in Indy (4.39 in the 40-yard dash, looked OK in his position drill work).

Benson is capable of piling it in from the goal line and speeding away from defenders. He added 20 receptions last year, a sign he can be developed to help in the passing game. He does need to run with more decisiveness and patience and is a work-in-progress in pass protection, but those things could be taught -- the size and speed can't be.

Big Ten bruisers: Wisconsin's Braelon Allen got measured, lifted weights and jumped around in Indy but did not run the 40 or any timed agility drills. But watch his drills and think about what it would take to bring this big hoss down! He's a beast at just over 6-foot-1 and 235 pounds. And he'll be 20 this season -- not 21, 20! ... Another one, Michigan's Blake Corum, disappointed in his 40-time (4.53) but participated in nearly everything else and didn't disappoint there. Corum will turn 24 during the season, so one would have to wonder just how long he'll be able to play at a high level.


We'll see quarterbacks dominate the first five (or three?!) picks of the NFL Draft, but the consensus top three prospects did not participate in any drills. LSU's Jayden Daniels didn't even get measured in front of the NFL scouts, potentially hiding a weight issue. USC's Caleb Williams didn't get checked out by any of the NFL's team doctors and will reportedly only share his medical information with teams he meets with individually, potentially hiding a health issue.

Who's No. 4?

Without Williams, Daniels and Maye throwing, the race to show who the best quarterback prospect participating at the Combine was wide open.

  • Michigan's J.J. McCarthy (21 years old) had a few sideline throws get away from him early on but he finished his drills with fantastic arm strength on deep balls and touch on fade routes.
  • Washington's Michael Penix (24 years old when the season starts) might have had two or three off-target throws in the session but otherwise proved he's got an NFL-caliber arm, complete with the perfect tight spiral and very good velocity you look for. More importantly, Penix said his medical evaluations went smoothly.
  • Oregon's Bo Nix (24 years old) had a good afternoon, missing just a little bit on a couple of long throws and one or two toward the sideline. But for a guy who was wedged into a specific offense at Oregon, he did flash his arm strength. He's an interesting evaluation. 
  • South Carolina's Spencer Rattler (24 years old soon after the season starts) passed the drop-back footwork test, an important note considering he played out of shotgun for most of his career. And after a slightly off-target start, Rattler was on point until the tail end.

If I had to rank this group, it's in the order they're listed in. McCarthy is just too young and too healthy without too many concerns over his arm. I wouldn't be surprised to see him go late in Round 1.

Tight ends

I'd like to tell you that this year's crop of tight ends is special, but it's not. The top prospect, Georgia's Brock Bowers, didn't work out at the Combine. The potential No. 2 tight end, Ja'Tavion Sanders from Texas, didn't have eye-popping athleticism.

So if one guy managed to boost his stock it was Penn State's Theo Johnson. He essentially was a 90th-percentile athlete, posting big numbers in both the vertical and long jumps as well as a very good-for-tight-ends 4.57 in the 40-yard dash and a 4.19 in the short shuttle. These results will send evaluators back to his film to find evidence that he's a better player than what his numbers say (10.0 yards per catch last year, 12 touchdowns in 44 career college games). He'll be a sleeper in Fantasy drafts.