The Winners From Day 1 Of The 2024 NFL Draft Combine

The on-field portion of the NFL Combine finally got going on Thursday with the front seven on the defensive side of the ball taking center stage. The greatest value of the Combine is in either providing confirmation of what you’ve seen on the field or opening your eyes to someone who has a skillset that might require some further evaluation.

There are people that go too far in their belief in Combine evaluations, and picking someone off of just a 40 time or their athletic prowess in the Underwear Olympics (trademark, Mike Mayock) is a dangerous game. That said, there’s a lot to learn at the Combine that’s truly valuable. For top guys, it’s more confirming traits (speed, power, fluidity, arm strength, etc.) or showing they’ve been working on weaknesses, but you can separate yourself a bit from others in your position group with a big Combine performance. For guys further down big boards or from smaller schools, a big Combine showing will then send teams back to the film room to take a closer look at the tape to see if their game matches up with what they showed in Indy. If it does, they can rocket up draft boards and really make themselves some money coming into the NFL.

Not everyone is built for the Combine, so we aren’t going to focus on guys that had a tough day in Indy, because one workout shouldn’t overrule three to five years of playing. That said, there were some standouts from Day 1 at the Combine, and we do want to highlight those that shined and either confirmed their status as elite prospects or earned themselves a closer look from scouts and GMs between now and Draft Day.

DL1: Interior Linemen

Braden Fiske (Florida State): No one popped more on Thursday in the tackle group than Fiske, who led all tackles in vertical (33.5″), broad jump (9’9), and 40-yard time (4.78 seconds).

For a smaller (6’4, 292) tackle, that’s the kind of showing you need to prove your athleticism will translate, and he also looked fantastic in the various on field drills.

That’s going to send a lot of folks back to watch his film and he very well could enter the first round conversation.

Byron Murphy II (Texas): The top DT in this draft for many, Murphy confirmed his elite traits on Thursday. He ran 4.85 in the 40, jumped 33″ in the vert and 9’3 in the broad, and shined throughout the on-field portion of the workout. At just over 6’0 and 297 pounds, he needed to put a stamp on his athleticism and now will leave Indy having successfully done that.

Ruke Orhorhoro (Clemson): Orhorhoro really stood out in the on-field portion, moving very well and showing a terrific change of direction, which matched up with his burst and speed shown in the athletic testing (32″ vert, 9’8 broad, 4.89 40). He, like Fiske, will I think garner even more looks from teams looking for some positional versatility along the line because with his frame I think he could bump outside some when needed.

T’Vondre Sweat (Texas): THE BIG FELLA. At 366 pounds, Sweat was the biggest of the DTs and he was excited to show his stuff at the Combine. He ran a 5.27, which is plenty impressive at his size, and maybe more importantly he looked pretty smooth (as smooth as a man that size can be) doing it.

I also love that he showed up to the Combine at his playing weight from college (and what he plans to play at in the NFL), not trimmed down trying to run faster at a non-playing weight. He moved great in on-field drills, even if he was maybe a bit too anxious to flash some athleticism and got his feet out from under him at times, but the power and twitch is going to be very enticing for any team looking for a nose.

Kris Jenkins (Michigan): Jenkins was highly productive at Michigan but at 299 pounds he is not a massive tackle. That meant he needed to test well and he did just that, running a 4.91 in the 40, jumping 30″ in the vert, and 9’7 in the broad, while also showing good movement and bend during the field drills portion. When a lot of your value on film is your burst and athleticism, a good Combine is needed to hold your stock high, and Jenkins accomplished that.

Mekhi Wingo (LSU): A really good pass rusher from the inside, Wingo is 6’0, 284 pounds and, like so many guys on this list, was able to show that his athleticism is for real even at a smaller size for a tackle. He ran the second fastest 40 (4.85) and put up a 31.5″ vert, while showing off his movement skills on the field. He has real wiggle and burst inside and when matched up with productive tape, I think teams will be very interested in his potential.

Gabe Hall (Baylor): Hall is not a 3-tech, but at 6’6, 291 he’s going to be very intriguing for teams looking for a 5-tech (or a 4). He was really good in the on-field portion and while he ran just a 5.03, he showed his explosion with a 31.5″ vertical and a 9’7 broad. He’s probably going to be considered a project type pick who needs some polish, but showing off his physical tools with his length and size (with room to grow) is going to entice some teams.

Logan Lee (Iowa): Lee is very similar to Hall in that he’s a 5-tech at 6’5, 281 pounds and tested almost identically (5.05 40, 31.5 vert, 9’6 broad) while impressing during the on-field workout. He’s a later round guy, but I think teams will look at how well he moved and be able to trust that coming from that Iowa defense he’s well-versed in the fundamentals and think about bumping him up a few notches.

DL2: Defensive Ends/Edge Rushers

Chop Robinson (Penn State): Everyone knew Robinson was a freak, but given he had a down year production-wise at Penn State, he needed a big Combine to remind people exactly how elite his athletic traits are. Well, after running a 4.48 in the 40, jumping 10’8 in the broad, and 34.5″ in the vert, it’s safe to say he did that.

Robinson only ran the one 40, because he didn’t need to improve on that time, and was absolutely flying through the bag and hoop drills on the field. That’s what folks wanted to see and Robinson posted numbers in the 40 and broad not seen by a 250 pound player since Vernon Davis in 2006.

Jared Verse (Florida State): The other contender for top defensive end in this Draft is Verse, and he also showed out with a 4.58 in the 40, jumped 10’7 in the broad, and 35″ in the vert. Verse had a couple hiccups in the hoop drill, but shined in the bag drills and certainly looks the part of an elite EDGE.

Daniel Jeremiah comped him to Will Anderson and while he’s not quite as “can’t miss” his numbers do line up extremely favorably and he has a similar freakish combo of power and quickness.

Jalyx Hunt (Houston Christian): Watching a small school guy pop is always a treat of the Combine, and Hunt (a former safety turned EDGE) from Houston Christian drew a lot of attention on Thursday. He ran 4.64, jumped 37.5″ in the vert, and 10’8 in the broad, and was very impressive moving in the on-field drills. As DJ noted on the broadcast, there’s a lot of rawness to him and things to work on, but when you show those kinds of traits and match physical performance with first round guys, you’re going to earn some extra looks by teams as they look for a steal, even if a project.

Cedric Johnson (Ole Miss): Johnson was impressive at 6’3, 260, running a 4.63, jumping 10’2, and leading the DE group with a 38″ vert.

His movement skills were further on display in the on-field portion, and while his production was inconsistent at Ole Miss, he certainly helped his case with his showing in Indy.

Myles Cole (Texas Tech): One year after Tyree Wilson went in the first round, we have another Red Raider edge rusher worth paying attention to. Cole is a physical freak of nature with helicopter arms on a 6’6 and 278 pound frame, while he ran a 4.67 with a 35″ vert. He looked smooth in the field drills, too.

Javontae Jean-Baptiste (Notre Dame): Tall, long, and athletic, Jean-Baptiste followed up a productive season in South Bend by showing off his length and athleticism in Indianapolis. He clocked in at 6’5, 239 with long arms and big hands, ran a 4.66 40, and put up the third-best broad jump of the group. He also managed to toe a weird line between “looks a little cumbersome” and “looks good” in field drills.


Edgerrin Cooper (Texas A&M): A Daniel Jeremiah favorite coming in, Cooper just looks the part — 6’2 and 230 pounds with long arms — and flew through his 40-yard dash before. His hands weren’t great in the field drills, but he did just about everything else well. Mix this with his tape and you have a guy who is going to be a very good pro.

Kalen DeLoach (Florida State): What a day for members of Florida State’s defense. Like Fiske and Verse before him, DeLoach mixed a comfort in the field drills that impressed with good testing numbers, highlighted by his 4.47 second 40.

Cedric Gray (North Carolina): He has a Day 2 projection and you can see why, as Gray’s testing numbers came out impressive essentially across the board. He looked like a natural once he got onto the field, too, showing off the play speed that makes him a fascinating prospect at 6’1.5 and 234 pounds. The really fun part is he looked good in this setting, because you know he’s going to look even better when he puts pads on.

Dallas Turner (Alabama): Watch any single play from any Alabama game last year and Turner pops. It was expected he’d tear up the Combine, and then, he put up a hilarious 40.5″ vert. AND THEN, he ran a 4.46 second 40-yard dash.

Turner ran with the linebackers and looked smooth in the field drills. He’s going to hear his name called early in a few weeks.

Edefuan Ulofoshio (Washington): He’s an older guy — turned 24 back in January — but Ulofoshio was very productive for the national runners up. His calling card is his athleticism, as Ulofoshio had the best broad jump (10’8″) and vertical jump (39.5″) among players at his position. Mixed with a 4.56 40 and 1.59 second 10-yard split (sixth and fifth among LBs, respectively) and Ulofoshio showed he has traits that will interest teams.

Trevin Wallace (Kentucky): Another guy who put up good numbers in college, Wallace was expected to show off his athleticism in Indianapolis. A 4.51 second 40 at 6’1 and 237 pounds with elite vertical (37.50 inches) and broad (10’7″) jumps does just that.

He was a fluid athlete in field drills, as well, and there’s going to be a whole lot of excitement surrounding him heading into April.

Payton Wilson (NC State): You run a 4.43 second 40 as a linebacker, you’re gonna end up on here. Wilson threw down the fastest 40 time of the day with his first effort, as he just flew through his first attempt.

As a good rule of thumb, if your physical profile gets you compared to Luke Kuechly on the broadcast, you are gonna end up a winner. He might have had the best day of any linebacker, as he also mixed smoothness and tenacity in the field drills.