NFL combine: Winners (WRs class, CB Quinyon Mitchell) and losers (Spencer Rattler, combine itself)

The NFL scouting combine has come and gone, with many prospects showing off their skills in front of league personnel for the first time. This year’s crop of players had some strong performances and some duds, giving us the perfect avenue for a classic winners and losers evaluation from the 2024 combine.


Braden Fiske, DL, Florida State

Fiske turned heads with his performance during the athletic testing. The 24-year-old former Western Michigan star ran a blazing fast 4.78 yard 40-yard dash and hit a 9-feet, 9-inch broad jump. He hasn’t been a highly talked about prospect up to this point, but this weekend should be a major boost to his draft stock.

Amarius Mims, OT, Georgia, and Joe Alt, OT, Notre Dame

This may be a version of double counting because we already knew that Alt and Mims were ridiculous athletes for offensive linemen, but they still put on a show in Indianapolis. Both of them hovered around the 5-second mark in the 40-yard dash, but the 340-pound Mims separated himself with a short shuttle time of 4.33 seconds, a time that would have fared well when compared to players more than 100 pounds lighter than him. Mims still has questions to answer about his durability, especially after tweaking his hamstring during his second 40-yard dash attempt, but his ability to play right now and potentially be the best tackle in football may get him into the top-10 of the draft.

Any team in need of a wide receiver

College football continues to pump out talented WRs who are ready to help NFL offenses immediately. Marvin Harrison Jr. and Malik Nabers didn't work out in Indianapolis, but several wide receivers shined. Wideouts of all different types and draft projections were able to shine. Washington’s Rome Odunze most likely locked himself in as a top-10 selection. Georgia’s Ladd McConkey ran a 4.39 40-yard dash and looked the part in drills. LSU’s Brian Thomas and South Carolina’s Xavier Legette showed that big receivers can still be blazing fast. There’s a wide receiver for every need in this draft class and they’re expected to fly off the board early.

Quinyon Mitchell, CB, Toledo

Mitchell may wind up as the first cornerback drafted after his impressive workout. Mitchell ran the 40-yard dash in 4.33 seconds and notched a 38-inch vertical, giving him the standout athletic performance he needed to solidify his stock atop of the draft.


The combine as a concept

Things are changing for the NFL as far as the combine and the participation are concerned. This year set a new benchmark when Ohio State wide receiver Marvin Harrison Jr. opted to not show up to his podium news conference without notice. LSU quarterback Jayden Daniels and his teammate, wide receiver Malik Nabers, didn’t even weigh in — let alone do drills. The prospects at the top have figured out that participating can only hurt them. Beyond that, most prospects aren’t even going through the full gamut of athletic testing, with many players not taking part in the agility drills.

If this is going to be the trend for the combine, the on-field portion of the event may lose its importance. Of course, this will always be a helpful event for lesser known prospects, but it will be interesting to see if the NFL views top prospects not participating as a problem that needs fixing. The draft habits suggest they don’t care all that much, which is what the players are reacting to at the end of the day.

Kamren Kinchens, S, Miami

Kinchens had an opportunity to gain momentum in a weak safety class, but failed to take advantage of the athletic testing. Kinchens ran a 4.65 40-yard dash and finished with a broad jump number of 9-2; multiple offensive linemen jumped farther than the 203-pound Kinchens.

Kinchens' stock will be determined by how comfortable teams feel with these numbers in hand, but his performance in Indianapolis will most likely hurt him come draft day.

INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA - MARCH 2: Spencer Rattler #QB10 of South Carolina participates in a drill during the NFL Combine at the Lucas Oil Stadium on March 2, 2024 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Kevin Sabitus/Getty Images)
Spencer Rattler of South Carolina didn't wow talent evaluators with his drills at the scouting combine. (Photo by Kevin Sabitus/Getty Images) (Kevin Sabitus via Getty Images)

Spencer Rattler, QB, South Carolina

This one is far less important because Rattler’s play doesn’t really revolve around him being a true dual threat, but finishing last in every testing drill among the quarterbacks this year is definitely a disappointing outcome. Of course, it was a very small pool of quarterbacks who did test, but the results are the results.

These numbers won’t determine Rattler’s draft stock at the end of the day. That’s more about how comfortable teams feel taking him given his inconsistent production throughout college.