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2023 NFL Scouting Combine Day 4 - Offensive line and running back workout winners

Which players helped themselves the most on the final day of the Combine?

NFL Combine Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images

The 2023 NFL Scouting Combine is officially in the books. We now move on to the packed slate of pro days as teams pinball around the country for one last look at prospects as they finalize their big boards.

Today was a potentially significant one for the New York Giants. The Giants need to find long-term answers for their offensive line, and they got a good, close look at the prospects today. OL Coach Bobby Johnson was frequently featured on the TV broadcast as he

The Giants could also need to find a running back, and this is a very deep class.

Who were the winners in the final workouts of the Combine?

Jon Gaines (iOL, UCLA)

Gaines is one of the more versatile offensive linemen in the draft. He’s played several positions for UCLA’s offensive line, and he also proved to be one of the most athletic blockers in his position group. His body-type (6-foot-4, 303 pounds, with 33⅝-inch arms) suggest that the interior is in his future. Gaines maintained good hip level in his field drills, and he could be a potential center convert.

Blake Freeland (OT, BYU)

The Freeland put up the best numbers in his group, and had the best vertical in Combine history (among offensive linemen). He also had a great 4.96 40 time with a very impressive 1.68 10-yard split. Freeland has pad level issues at 6-foot-8, and will need to be careful to maintain good knee bend in the NFL. If he can play with good leverage, he definitely has the athleticism to hang on the edge.

Matthew Bergeron (OL, Syracuse)

Bergeron didn’t run the 40-yard dash, but there weren’t any questions regarding his movement skills once the field drills started. Bergeron moved very well in space, with quick feet and great control while on the move. He opened his hips well when changing direction and had great change of direction as a puller. Bergeron is a natural knee bender and had good hands when striking the pads. He’ll likely be a Day 2 pick, and some team is getting a good, versatile player.

Sidy Sow (OG, Eastern Michigan)

Sow is a small (or smaller) school prospect with big-time athleticism. He ran and jumped very well in the measurable events, and showed some pretty quick feet in the field drills. Sow’s knees straightened over the course of longer drills, which is something teams will want to work on at the next level. However, he could be one of the players who send scouts back to his tape to see if he’s a potential steal.

Jordan McFadden (OL, Clemson)

McFadden caught my eye on Clemson tape, and I was interested to see how he’d perform today. He measured very well with 34-inch arms on a 6-foot-2 frame, and he posted near-elite 1.74 10-yard split. McFadden’s height might keep teams from trying him at tackle, but his natural leverage, great burst, and ability to redirect could make him a good candidate to convert to the interior.

Darnell Wright (OT, Tennessee)

Wright has been steadily rising up draft boards, and today’s workout will only help his cause. Not only did he show up with great size at 333 pounds at 6-foot-5 and 33 ¾-inch arms, but he is carrying his weight very well. He started off with a great 9-foot-7 broad jump, followed that up with a 5.01 second 40, and then was one of the smoothest performers in the field drills. His kick-slide was effortless, he was able to redirect with ease, and hit the bags plenty hard. He can play either left or right tackle, and some lineman-needy team is going to get a good one.

Keaton Mitchell (RB, Eastern Carolina)

Everyone knew that Devon Achane (Texas A&M) was a speedster coming into the combine, but I don’t know that many people had Mitchell on their radar. He’s an undersized back at 5-foot-7, 177 pounds, but he’s one of the most explosive runners on the property with a 4.37 second 40, 38 inch vertical, and 10-foot-6 broad jump.

Chase Brown (RB, Illinois)

Chase’s brother, Sydney Brown (S, Illinois), was one of my “winners” from Friday’s workout. Chase not only did great in the measurable events with a 4.43 second 40, but the top vertical (40 inches) and broad jump (10-foot-7) among the running backs. He has very explosive and showed an absolutely violent jump-cut in the field drills. It isn’t really any wonder why Brown’s 1,883 scrimmage yards were third-most in the FBS.

Illinois has quietly (or not-so quietly) produced some very exciting players this year.

Tyjae Spears (RB, Tulane)

Spears started rising up draft boards at the Reese’s Senior Bowl, and he should continue to do so through the Draft Process. Spears was one of several runners who didn’t do a 40-yard dash, but he showed off what makes him special in the field drills. Spears has fantastic contact balance, quickness, and change of direction skills. He also showed off his receiving skills as well.

Deuce Vaughn (RB, Kansas State)

The folks who love big players should probably avert their eyes, but Deuce is the shortest player ever measured at the Scouting Combine at 5-foot-5. Vaughn didn’t run his 40, but is quickness was instantly noticeable in the field drills. He has great stop-start quickness and change of direction skills, and showed very good vision on tape.

He also has upside as a receiver, and it didn’t matter if it was a quarterback or a scout throwing the ball. Measuring smaller than he was listed will hurt him in the eyes of some teams, however he is a firecracker with the ball in his hands.