1-J.J. McCarthy

Heading into the combine, buzz was already growing that McCarthy could not only join the likes of Caleb Williams, Drake Maye and Jayden Daniels in the first round but could get drafted closer to those quarterbacks — who might go 1-2-3 in some order — than previously anticipated. When that trio opted out of participating in drills in Indianapolis, the stage was set for McCarthy, and the fact that he strode right onto it bolstered perceptions that NFL front offices value his leadership qualities. McCarthy showed a live arm he did not always get to unleash with the Wolverines, in one test throwing with only slightly less velocity than howitzer-toting Tennessee product Joe Milton.

2-Michael Penix Jr

Yes, hond size is still a trait for quarterbacks, and Penix landed in the top 5 all-time at his position with a 10.5-inch measurement. He also showed off an 81-inch wingspan, got a clean bill of health and reminded everyone he possesses an unusually strong arm, with the big mitt at the end of it gripping and zipping balls in beautifully tight spirals. All that may have helped get Penix’s draft stock back to the lofty heights it reached before somewhat shaky performances in the national championship game and at the Senior Bowl.

3-Xavier Worthy

Sure, 165 pounds is alarmingly light for an NFL player, but hulking defenders can’t crush what they can’t catch, right? In hurtling his slender frame down the 40-yard course in an official time of 4.21 seconds, Worthy set a combine record that electrified the crowd at Lucas Oil Stadium. The display of speed makes for the kind of you-can’t-teach-that physical asset that gets guys drafted in the first round.

4-Theo Johnson

Even leaving aside a freshman season in which he was scarcely used, Johnson’s numbers over his final three years with the Nittany Lions — 73 catches for 882 yards and 12 touchdowns — don’t leap off the page. His 39.5-inch vertical jump at the combine, though, is another matter, as it placed him second among tight ends, as did his numbers in the broad jump (10 feet 5 inches) and the 40 (4.57 seconds), not to mention a best-in-class mark of 4.19 seconds in the 20-yard shuttle. Johnson did all this at 6-foot-6 and 259 pounds, giving him one of the best relative athletic scores of any tight end since 1987.

By Azan

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