2024 NFL Combine Surprises


The 2024 NFL combine has come and gone and now fans and bettors will focus on how all these college prospects will pan out in the upcoming NFL draft. Just like any other year, there are always a few athletes that turn some heads with their performances. Most of those performances are noteworthy and turn heads for good reasons. Sometimes, a potential draft pick’s combine performance turns heads for the wrong reasons. 

Who put on a show at the 2024 NFL combine?

There were far more positive head-turning events than negative ones at the 2024 NFL combine. In this article, Sports Hub’s NFL experts take a look at the biggest surprises at the 2024 NFL combine. Our experts will then examine the best prospects at each position and identify teams that may draft them.

I Feel the Need for Speed

Xavier Worthy shocked everyone watching the 2024 NFL combine when he ripped off a 4.21 40-yard dash. Worthy is a slight 5-11 and 165-pound wide receiver who played at Texas. Worthy had 75 catches last season for 1,014 yards and five touchdowns.

Before the combine, Worthy was projected a mid-round draft pick until his 40 broke the NFL combine record of 4.22 held by John Ross. Ultimately, Worthy’s selection will come down to teams weighing his frame against his tremendous speed and explosion. 


2024 NFL Combine QBs Open Eyes

Caleb Williams and Drake Maye are considered by most as the top two quarterbacks in the 2024 NFL draft. Jayden Daniels is closing the gap on the top two and all three are expected to be selected in the first round of the 2024 NFL draft. 

After the top three, there are another handful of prospects that could go anywhere from Round 1 to Round 7. A few made their presence known at the 2024 NFL combine. One of those was former Oregon QB Bo Nix. 

After three so-so seasons at Auburn, Nix transformed his career with two outstanding seasons with the Ducks. He was the Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Year last year and finished third in the Heisman Trophy voting. At the 2024 NFL combine, Nix turned some heads with his athleticism and throwing ability. 

2024 NFL Combine Surprises
Bo Nix could move up into Day 1 of the NFL draft.

Both Michael Penix Jr. and J.J. McCarthy also looked good at the 2024 NFL combine. The knock against Penix is that he will be a 24-year-old rookie with a history of injury issues. He tore two ACLs while at Indiana before he transferred to Washington to finish his career.

McCarthy won a national championship last year and, while he missed a few throws in his combine workout, he has tons of experience operating a more pro-style offense. He’s one of the few quarterbacks in this year’s draft class that played a majority of his snaps under center. Some of the latest draft reports have McCarthy moving into the first round. Some have him going as high as No. 10.

Big Guys Make Name for Themselves

One of the more amazing sights to see at the 2024 NFL combine was the performances of several of the offensive linemen prospects. Amarius Mims of Georgia is a giant of a human being. He stands 6-8 and weighed in at 340 pounds. Somehow, Mims was able to cover 40 yards in 5.07 seconds.

Mims wasn’t the fastest of all the offensive linemen at the 2024 NFL combine. That accolade belonged to Washington OT Roger Rosengarten. At 6-5 and 308 pounds, Rosengarten ran his best 40 in 4.92, the fastest among all offensive linemen. He’s a likely second day pick in the draft. Rosengarten’s teammate, Troy Fautanu is a probable first-rounder.

2024 NFL Combine Surprises
Rosengarten was a key piece of the Washington offense.

Fautanu is a little short – 6-3¾ – for an offensive tackle, but he makes up for it with speed and athleticism. Fautanu ran 5.01 in the 40 and shined in the offensive line drills portion of the combine. 

The other surprise in the offensive line group was Wisconsin guard Tanor Bortolini. At 6-4 and 305 pounds, Bortolini could rise up and move into the first round. He’s extremely versatile, having played center, guard, and even tight end at Wisconsin. Bortolini has some wheels too. He ran 4.94 in the 40-yard dash.

2024 NFL Combine – RBs Shine

Three running back prospects ran under 4.4 in the 40-yard dash at the 2024 NFL combine. Louisville’s Isaac Guerendo was the fastest, clocking a 4.33-second 40. What makes Guerendo’s performance even more impressive was the fact that he stands 6-0 and weighs 221 pounds. Despite Guerendo’s combine performance, he still does not appear among the first four rounds in the latest experts’ mock drafts.

Tennessee’s Jaylen Wright clocked the second-fastest 40 at the 2024 NFL combine among running backs. Wright, who is 5-11 and weighs 210, ran 4.38 and recorded a 38-inch vertical jump too. Florida State’s Trey Benson ran 4.39 at 6-0, 223 pounds. Both Wright and Benson are projected to be gone by the third round of the draft.

2024 NFL Combine Surprises
Wright will probably be the first running back selected in the 2024 NFL draft.

One of the big surprises that could arise in the draft at the running back position is Dylan Laube. The 5-10, 206-pound Laube played at FCS New Hampshire. At the 2024 NFL combine, Laube ran a 4.54 in the 40 and showed great explosiveness with a 37-inch vertical jump. What Laube adds is the ability to catch the ball out of the backfield or from the slot.

2024 Draft WR Class

While Worthy’s blazing 40-yard dash will likely increase his draft stock, he wasn’t the only wide receiver that improved his chances in next month’s draft. One such receiver was Worthy’s teammate, Adonai Mitchell. The former Texas star measured in at the 2024 NFL combine at 6-2 and 205 pounds. 

Mitchell clocked the third-fastest 40 time among wide receivers at the combine. Mitchell’s 4.34 and 39.5-inch vertical jump show his explosiveness. Mitchell had 55 receptions last season and led the Longhorns with 14 receivin touchdowns. 

2024 NFL Combine Surprises
Harrison, LSU’s Malik Nabers, and Washington’s Rome Odunze are among the top wide receivers in the 2024 NFL draft.

An almost identical prospect to Mitchell is North Carolina WR Tez Walker. He ran 4.36 at 6-1½ and 195 pounds. Walker played in the Air Raid offense at UNC and led the Tar Heels in yards per reception (17.0) and receiving touchdowns (7). 

One prospect to watch is Western Kentucky’s Malachi Corley. He’s a small-school phenom who had 79 catches and 984 yards for the Hilltoppers last season. Corley also led WKU with 11 touchdown receptions. He’s got solid speed. Corley ran a 4.50 in the 40 at the 2024 NFL combine. 

Best Defenders at 2024 NFL Combine

Toledo CB Quinyon Mitchell is a name all NFL draft fans should know by now. Mitchell should be the first corner taken in the 2024 draft. He had the second-fastest 40 at the 2024 NFL combine among all corners at 4.33. He also showed great twitch with a 10-foot-2-inch broad jump and a 38-inch vertical jump. 

Everyone is talking about Alabama edge rusher Dallas Turner. If Mitchell is the first corner off the board, Turner is going to be the first defensive player taken this year. He measured in at the combine at 6-3 and 247 pounds. Turner was a linebacker in Alabama’s scheme, but his game is all about rushing the passer. 

2024 NFL Combine Surprises
Alabama’s Turner should be the first defender selected in the 2024 NFL draft.

Turner ran an amazing 4.46 in the 40 at the 2024 NFL combine. His ability to get off the ball and get after the quarterback are traits that any of the 32 NFL teams would like to have. Turner is a freakish athlete that can also cover and play in space. He’s a true hybrid in today’s modern NFL defense.

Florida State DT Braden Fiske is another guy whose 2024 NFL combine performance will pay off. Fiske transferred to the Seminoles from Western Michigan. At 6-4 and 292 pounds, Fiske ran a 4.78 40-yard dash and wowed scouts with his speed, quickness, and tenacity in the position drills. A projected fourth to fifth round draft pick, Fiske’s combine performance may push him higher into Day 2 of the NFL draft.

Best Prospects Post 2024 NFL Combine

Despite not participating at the 2024 NFL combine, USC QB Caleb Williams is still viewed as the best prospect available. The Chicago Bears, who hold this year’s first pick, just recently traded QB Justin Fields to the Pittsburgh Steelers. It appears the Bears were clearing the quarterback room in anticipation of drafting a quarterback. Whether it’s Williams or not remains to be seen.

After Williams, Ohio State WR Marvin Harrison Jr. is the top non-quarterback prospect. Harrison is a big, fast target at 6-4 with a 40 time in the 4.30s. He has a huge catch radius and has played against elite competition as a Buckeye. Harrison is the prototypical NFL receiver and should have an immediate impact with whatever team drafts him. Most project Harrison, who did not participate at the 2024 NFL combine, going to Arizona with the fourth overall pick.

Along with Williams, North Carolina QB Drake Maye and LSU QB Jayden Daniels are expected to go somewhere in the Top 5 of the draft. LSU WR Brian Thomas is a tall, speedy receiver that could be an impact player immediately in the right system. His teammate Malik Nabers is also a first-round caliber prospect. 

Thomas is 6-3, weighs 210, and ran a blazing 4.33 in the 40. Nabers is a 6-0, 200-pounder with plenty of wiggle. With Harrison the presumptive first receiver off the board, a number of NFL draft experts are projecting that Nabers will be the second. Many project the Giants at No. 6 taking Nabers.

Bears Hold First Pick in 2024 Draft

The Chicago Bears hold the first pick in the 2024 draft. The pick came from Carolina in a trade made last year with the Panthers. With the Bears trading Justin Fields to Pittsburgh, it’s apparent that they are most likely going to draft a quarterback. Currently, the Bears have Tyson Bagent and Brett Rypen on the roster. 

Chicago traded down last year in the first round. They had 10 total draft picks and ended up with two starters and six backups. At the 2024 NFL combine, there was no question that the Bears had their eyes on all the quarterbacks. Chicago is projected to select USC’s Wllliams with the first pick. 

The Bears have D.J. Moore at one receiver and they just recently signed former Chargers WR Keenan Allen. With the receivers set, the Bears could also use some help up front on the offensive line, particularly at center. 

Projecting 2024 NFL Draft Picks

The first three picks in the 2024 NFL draft are held by teams in need of a quarterback. The Bears are likely to select Williams and then the Washington Commanders will have to choose between Maye and Daniels. Washington signed Marcus Mariota after the 2024 NFL combine to be the bridge quarterback. 

The New England Patriots pick third and they are likely to take whichever quarterback is left after Washington chooses. The Patriots just traded Mac Jones away to make room for a rookie first-rounder. Jacoby Brissett comes back to the Patriots and he will be the experienced veteran in the QB room.

2024 NFL Combine Surprises
This is the 2024 NFL draft order.

There could be a fourth quarterback selected in the first round. The Minnesota Vikings lost Kirk Cousins to the Atlanta Falcons. They need a quarterback and the Vikings appear to have an affinity for McCarthy. Minnesota would have to trade into the first round to ensure getting McCarthy. Some mock drafts have the Vikings taking McCarthy in the second round. 

Nix could end up in Tampa Bay as a backup to Baker Mayfield, who signed a new contract with the Bucs. Adonai Mitchell and Worthy could boht be first-round picks, but most mock drafts have Worthy going high in the second round. The Chiefs could take Mitchell with the final pick of the third round. Tennessee is a team that would benefit at the receiver position from a guy with speed like Worthy’s. Corley could fall to the second or third round and end up in San Francisco.

The Ravens running game is the best in the NFL. They could add to it with Fautanu up front and the speedy Benson in the backfield.

2024 NFL Combine FAQs

When was the 2024 NFL Combine?

The 2024 NFL combine was held in Indianapolis at Lucas Oil Stadium beginning on Feb. 27 and running through March 3. Different positions work out on different days. The entire event is now televised by ESPN.

Who gets invited to the 2024 NFL Combine?

There are usually about 330 players that attend the annual combine. Roughly 250 are invited before the college bowl season. More players are invited after the bowl season. Underclassmen that declare for the draft may be added to the combine roster. There were over 300 players at the 2024 NFL combine.

Why does the NFL hold the combine every year?

Prior to the NFL combine, teams had to scout and test players on their own. A number of services started to bring players and NFL teams together for evaluation purposes. Eventually, those scouting services merged to form what is today the NFL combine.

What players are eligible for the NFL combine?

Players that are eligible for the NFL draft are eligible to participate in the NFL combine. Typically, that is players three years removed from high school or players that have exhausted all of their college eligibility.

When was the first NFL combine?

The 2024 NFL combine was held in Indianapolis at Lucas Oil Stadium as it has been for the last several decades. In 1984, three different scouting camps were combined into one and renamed the NFL Scouting Combine. The event was held in Arizona in 1985, New Orleans in 1986, and has been held in Indianapolis every year since 1987.