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2023 NFL Scouting Combine Notes, Day 1: DL and LB

Jeremy Betz gives you the biggest highlights from the prospect workouts in Indianapolis.

NFL: Combine Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Indianapolis is a-buzz once again for the 2023 NFL Scouting Combine. Over the next few days, 300+ college prospects will give their all to prove their athletic prowess on the field.

The so-called “Underwear Olympics” are these players’ best opportunity to impress all 32 NFL teams in person before the Draft. Day 1 features two position groups the Steelers will be keeping close tabs on in 2023, Defensive Line and Linebacker. This grouping also includes EDGE rushers.

Each day, I’ll compile my notes and observations of the on-field workouts into a recap of the day’s activities. I’ll break it down by workout and highlight the most intriguing performances of the day. Let’s dive in!

NOTE: The following observations are from the live coverage of the Combine on the NFL Network. Any results posted outside of that coverage are not included in this piece.


DT Calijah Kancey (Pitt) is an enigma at 6’1”, 281lbs, but there shouldn’t be any questions about his athleticism after a quick 4.67 sec. dash. Even more impressive was his 10-yd split of 1.64 sec. Elite get-off.

EDGE Adetomiwa Adebawore (Northwestern) was moving on his 4.49 sec. 40 at 6’2” and 282lbs. Insanity. Projected Day 2 prospect.

EDGE Robert Beal Jr. (UGA) put up a 4.48 sec. 40 and looked fast doing so. Another rare athlete out of Georgia.

EDGE YaYa Diaby (Louisville) absolutely rocketed out of his stance. Solid 4.51 sec. time and an absurd 1.56 sec. 10-yd split.

Georgia keeps churning out defensive studs. EDGE Nolan Smith looks like a 1st Round pick with a 4.39 sec. 40. Silky smooth runner.

Tennessee’s EDGE Byron Young flew with a 4.43 sec. 40 at 250lbs. Built like a tank, but as athletic as they come.

Alabama EDGE Will Anderson’s 4.60 sec. 40 isn’t terrible, but you see some stiffness that might hurt him a little at the next level.

ILB Owen Pappoe (Auburn) is all speed, matching Nolan Smith’s 4.39 sec. 40. Smaller off-ball LB at only 6’0”, 225lbs but a an absolute baller.

ILB Trenton Simpson (Clemson) looks the part with a 4.43 sec. 40. Dude can motor, and he’s well-built.

ILB Dorian Williams (Tulane) showed that sideline to sideline speed with a 4.49 sec. 40. Coverage LB at the next level.


More Adetomiwa Adebawore with a 37.5” vert. Had a huge day.

Nolan Smith blew away the competition with a Day 1 best 41.5” vertical. Explosion.

Byron Young cleared 38” at 250 lbs. Big time lower body power.

EDGE Will McDonald IV (Iowa St.) got up with a 36” vert. Big time athlete.

ILB Anfernee Orji (Vanderbilt) led all off-ball LBs with a 38.5” vert. 6’2”, 230lbs. Strong ILB.

The big boy from Iowa, ILB Jack Campbell jumped out of the gym with his 37.5” leap at 6’5”, 249lbs.


DT Jalen Redmond (Okla.) and DT Zacch Pickens (S. Carolina) had huge jumps for 300+ lb DTs at 9’8” broad jumps. Pickens specifically showing out. Should sneak into Round 3, but if a team loves him, maybe late Round 2.

Moro Ojomo is an impressive athlete at DT. Big-time broad jump at 9’4”.

Byron Young is killing the Combine, adding an 11’0” broad jump to his alien numbers on the day.

Will McDonald matches Young’s 11’0” broad jump. May be too athletic to pass up on the Edge despite being somewhat undersized.

Surprise, Nolan Smith is an athlete. 10’8” broad jump. Best Combine of the day for anyone.

How about Jack Campell continuing to show elite explosiveness with a 10’8” broad jump?

Louiville’s EDGE Yasir Abdullah showed out with a 10’9” broad jump at 237lbs.


The prospects participate in a viarety of skill drills to test bend, flexibility, agility, quickness, and hand usage. Here’s a breakdown of each drill:

Wave Drill - tests COD and quick-react ability in the open field
Four-Bag Agility Drill - tests lateral agility, foot quickness, turn and run ability
Run-&-Club Drill - tests agility, bend, hand usage, and finish
Pass Rush Drill - tests bend, agility, and hand usage
Run the Hoop Drill - tests agility, bend, and quickness
Body Control Drill - tests quick-react ability and agility
Backpedal & React Drill - tests COD, backpedal ability, quick-react ability
Short Zone Breaks - COD, quick-react ability

Here are the players who stood out in the positional drills:

DL - Gervon Dexter, Cameron Young, Moro Ojomo, Keeanu Benton, Zacch Pickens

EDGE - YaYa Diaby, Will McDonald IV, Keion White, Will Anderson Jr., Byron Young, Robert Beal Jr., Brenton Cox Jr., Ochaun Mathis

LB - Drew Sanders, Trenton Simpson, Owen Pappoe, Jack Campbell

Did anybody stand out to you when watching the NFL Combine coverage on Thursday? Let us know in the comments. For a complete list of 2023 NFL Scouting Combine workouts and results, visit