NFL Scouting Combine Winners & Losers: Anthony Richardson Not The Big Winner Everyone Assumes

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The 2023 NFL Draft Scouting Combine has come and gone. The next step in the process for most players and teams are the various Pro Days leading up to the event.

Those begin almost immediately, with Indiana hosting NFL teams to take a look at their Draft-eligible players on Tuesday.

But before we begin that, we can take some time to reflect upon the Underwear Olympics, where NFL teams attempt to gain information about football players while they wear no pads or helmets and face no defenders.

There is some valuable information to be gleaned, mostly from the interview process. And, there are some important measurements. But the majority of the information is useless. There, I said it.

Still, it’s a sporting event. And that means there are winners and losers.

2023 NFL Scouting Combine Winners

CJ Stroud, Quarterback

CJ Stroud put on a throwing clinic during the NFL Scouting Combine. At least, that’s what Twitter thinks. Again, he made all the throws with no pads, no helmet and no defense. Do with that what you will.

However, the biggest win for Stroud may have been something he had absolutely nothing to do with. Stroud is competing with fellow signal-caller Bryce Young, from Alabama, to be the #1 overall pick in the Draft.

Young is not a big player, we know that. But we didn’t know exactly how small he was. At the Combine, he measured just 5’10” and 204 pounds. His hands are also below 10,” generally below where teams like quarterbacks to be.

Quarterback C.J. Stroud from Ohio State and quarterback Bryce Young from Alabama during The Heisman Trophy finalists press conference.
Quarterback C.J. Stroud from Ohio State and quarterback Bryce Young from Alabama during The Heisman Trophy finalists press conference. (Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

To me, either you like Young or you don’t. His size doesn’t change much. However, teams can be scared by these numbers and that only benefits Stroud. Stroud has no concerns about size, coming in at 6’3″ and 214 pounds. He has the “prerequisite” 10″ hands.

I still think Young goes #1 but there will definitely be teams nervous about his size who prefer the larger Stroud. And one of those teams might try to trade with the Bears to get the Ohio State product at #1 overall.

Christian Gonzalez, Cornerback

I’ve been saying all along that there are several corners who could stake a claim as the best at the position in this NFL Draft. Though none of them are in that elite range of Sauce Gardner or Derek Stingley from last season, many are worthy of first-round selections.

With the competition fierce for which will come off the board first, Gonzalez improved his stock at the NFL Scouting Combine.

He looked strong in every drill and ran under a 4.4 forty-yard dash.

Personally, I like Penn State’s Joey Porter Jr. just a bit more than Gonzalez, but there’s no question NFL teams are paying attention to what Gonzalez did in Indianapolis.

Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Wide Receiver

Just like at cornerback, there are several wide receivers vying to be the first off the board in late April. I’ve previously had Quentin Johnston as my top wideout, but I think Smith-Njigba will overtake him in my next Big Board.

Why? The questions about Smith-Njigba surround his health. Plenty of talent evaluators believe he might be the best Ohio State receiver, talent-wise, in the past few years. That’s an impressive list to headline, with Garrett Wilson and Chris Olave both selected in last year’s first round.

But he looked plenty healthy during the NFL Scouting Combine, posting the only shuttle time under seven seconds and the best three-cone time by a lot.

Smith-Njigba didn’t run the forty, and neither did Johnston, but USC wide receiver Jordan Addison (another potential first round target) did and posted a disappointing 4.49.

Zay Flowers, another possible first round wideout, ran a 4.42. That’s not terrible, but for a guy who’s 5’9″, teams probably want a little more speed.

With Smith-Njigba’s combination of performing well and others around him not doing much to improve, it was a very good weekend for the likely third Ohio State receiver to go in the first round in the past two NFL Drafts.

2023 NFL Scouting Combine Losers

Anthony Richardson, Quarterback

Yes, Anthony Richardson. I know every single person writing one of these silly Scouting Combine articles is saying how great this weekend was for Richardson. But I disagree.

Here’s why: Yes, he’s going to be drafted higher than he originally would have been without his elite athleticism. Yes, that means more money up front. But it also means higher expectations that are going to hit a lot sooner.

Anthony Richardson of Florida participates in a drill during the NFL Scouting Combine.
Anthony Richardson of Florida participates in a drill during the NFL Scouting Combine. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

Richardson was largely considered to be a mid-to-late first-round NFL Draft pick based on his college tape. You know, the part where he played actual football.

Now, he’s a potential #1 overall pick in the NFL Draft. Are you kidding? I am not.

This is madness and the kid is being set up to fail. If he gets picked in the Top 5 and goes to a bad franchise — like Houston, for example — his career might never get off the ground.

Initially, I liked him at #20 to Seattle. He could sit behind Geno Smith for a year or two and develop. That could still happen, but now seemingly only if Seattle uses their higher first-round selection (5th overall).

I doubt they would sign Geno Smith to a three-year deal and then draft a quarterback in the Top 5. Which means Richardson could go to a franchise looking for a QB savior. Think the aforementioned Houston, or Carolina, or Las Vegas.

All of those are bad situations, for him in particular.

So, yes, Richardson improved his draft stock. But I may be the only one willing to say that’s not necessarily a good thing.

Peter Skoronski, Offensive “Tackle”

I know I said earlier that the NFL Scouting Combine is largely irrelevant. However, there are some important pieces. Particularly, specific measurements for specific positions. There’s no getting around this fact: short-armed players are not successful NFL tackles.

Skoronski was on the list for potential top offensive tackle in this NFL Draft class, but his arm length measured under 33″. That just doesn’t work at the NFL level.

Not to mention, Skornski’s biggest competition for top offensive tackle is probably Ohio State’s Paris Johnson. Johnson has over 36″ arm length. That’s what teams are looking for.

Now, Skornski is still a very good athlete. In fact, he recorded the highest Combine grade among offensive lineman at the NFL Scouting Combine, according to

But his arm length makes him much more likely to play guard at the next level. And while he’s still certainly a first-round pick, Top 10 dreams are probably dead.

Follow Dan Zaksheske on Twitter: @OutkickDanZ

Written by Dan Zaksheske

Dan began his sports media career at ESPN, where he survived for nearly a decade. Once the Stockholm Syndrome cleared, he made his way to Outkick. He is secure enough in his masculinity to admit he is a cat-enthusiast with three cats, one of which is named “Brady” because his wife wishes she were married to Tom instead of him.

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