2023 NFL Scouting Combine Winners and Losers: Quarterbacks

John Hogue

Let’s start with this: the biggest winner(s) from the quarterback workouts at the 2023 NFL Scouting Combine is every single one of us superflex players.

After a dreadful QB class in 2022, littered with career backups and Kenny Pickett’s tiny hands, it’s a breath of fresh air to see starting-quality passers preparing to enter the league. The fact that the QB position was so hotly contested at the 2023 Combine is a very good thing for dynasty players, as our rookie picks add value as more players gain fantasy viability.

“Winners and Losers” analysis is always relative based on the draft class. Last year, Malik Willis was the big winner at the Combine, which earned him a day two selection and a role as a career backup. This year, Bryce Young is the big loser, which might lead NFL GMs to consider letting him fall to the second overall pick… before ultimately taking him first overall.

Let us take a breath and release a sigh of relief that the 2023 QB class has finally arrived to restock the QB position in superflex leagues, and that the nightmare class of 2022 is only a memory. Now… on to the winners and losers, and the very different meaning that carries than a year ago.


Anthony Richardson, Florida

In a class full of polished pocket passers, how do you steal the spotlight when you’re known as a running QB? Let’s see… a 4.43-second 40-yard dash would probably do it; it is, after all, the fourth-fastest QB 40 time ever. So would a 10’9” broad jump and a QB-record 40.5” vertical jump. Heck, just show up at 6’4” and 244 lbs, that would probably turn some heads by itself. Richardson just said: “how about all of the above?”

His passing wasn’t quite as impressive, though a perfect RAS score sets a high bar. His footwork will need some refinement, and his intermediate passing accuracy was shaky at times. But his deep ball was a continuation of his measurables: a superior athlete on full display.

Richardson routinely launched 50+ yard bombs (with minimal effort, by the way), cementing him as a tantalizing prospect with a sky-high ceiling, both for the NFL and for fantasy purposes. Richardson now finds himself in the conversation for the top QB in dynasty leagues, in the tier with Bryce Young and CJ Stroud.

CJ Stroud, Ohio State

Stroud was headed for the “Losers” list after he did not participate in the athletic testing, considering his mobility is his biggest question mark. But the moment he set foot on the field and started throwing to receivers, we were reminded of why he has been in the conversation for the first overall pick in the NFL Draft for a year now.

He was the best passer at the Combine, with a quick, fluid throwing motion and surgical accuracy. He threw every route with immaculate precision, even the deep balls, which he threw with plenty of power as well. Several QBs had impressive showings, but Stroud put on a stone-faced clinic, reminding us all that he is the best pure passer in the class.

Will Levis, Kentucky

His athletic tests were overshadowed by Richardson’s, and his passing paled in comparison to Stroud’s. But a 34” vertical and a 10’9” broad jump displayed plenty of athleticism for a 6’4”, 229 lb-er. He also threw a 59-mile-per-hour fastball, a precursor of things to come in the throwing session.

The velocity and deep ball arm strength lived up to the hype, but Levis really helped his cause by displaying unexpected accuracy. He certainly wasn’t at Stroud’s level, or even Richardson’s, for that matter. But the big knock on Levis was a lack of accuracy that makes him a long-term project at the pro level, and his workouts would indicate otherwise. He won’t be the most accurate passer in the class anytime soon, but he showed that he is ready for some on-the-job training starting in week one.


Bryce Young, Alabama

Again, this is all relative. Young will still be in consideration for the top pick in the NFL Draft, and is still one of the best prospects we’ve seen in decades. But he didn’t work out at all at the Combine, giving scouts absolutely nothing to fixate on other than his size. While Richardson improved his stock by running and jumping, and Stroud solidified his standing by filling the air with footballs, Young was the forgotten man sitting in the bleachers.

What’s worse is, Young measured in at 5’10” and a transparently inflated 204 lbs, drawing comparisons to former first overall pick Kyler Murray. As Murray struggles early in his career with injuries and apparent character issues, the comparison isn’t exactly flattering for Young’s purposes.

Young’s escapability will continue to be a question, especially as coaches and front office execs wonder about his ability to defend his tiny self. And his passing was out of sight, out of mind for the weekend. He’s still a prospect of the same order as Trevor Lawrence and Andrew Luck, and Alabama’s pro day will give him every opportunity to reestablish himself. Maybe he will ultimately be proven right for sitting out the Combine workouts, but for the moment, he is getting lapped by Stroud and Richardson because of his absence.

Tanner McKee, Stanford

Again, this is all relative. McKee wasn’t going to work his way into the top ten picks of the NFL Draft. He is in competition with Stetson Bennett as borderline day one draft picks, most likely headed to day two and backup roles. But McKee hurt his stock more than he helped, starting with his measurables and athletic testing. He is the tallest QB in the draft at 6’6”, but finds himself in a three-way tie for smallest hands in the class at 9 3/8 inches. Then, he confirmed a lack of athleticism with the lowest broad jump and the third-lowest vertical, despite his height advantage.

The workouts were also relative, as McKee found himself in the same group as Stroud and Richardson, who completely overshadowed his good-not-great performance. McKee’s unorthodox throwing motion is amplified when compared to the technically sound motions of Stroud and Richardson, and exaggerated even further by his spotty accuracy and general lack of arm strength.

While Bennett looked sharp in a forgettable group, McKee was just okay in an elite group, which could be the ballgame if any late first-round NFL teams are considering one of the two players as a potential starter.

john hogue
2023 NFL Scouting Combine Winners and Losers: Quarterbacks