NFL Scouting Combine Preview: Watch Out For Will Anderson, Myles Murphy, and Tyree Wilson


Feb 28, 2023

It’s NFL Scouting Combine week, with all 32 teams and over 300 prospects descending on Indianapolis. Beginning on Thursday, when the defensive linemen and linebackers take the field at Lucas Oil Stadium, there will be bench presses, 40-yard dashes, and vertical jumps aplenty. 

We’ll start where the NFL does, with an excellent group of defensive line prospects:

The Cream of the 2023 NFL Draft Crop

There are two defenders in this draft class who stand above the rest. Many believe, without putting extra weight on the importance of the quarterback position, they are the top two players on most big boards.

Jalen Carter, Georgia (Interior D-Line): Carter will not work out in Indy. However, if you’re looking for a reason to bump him ahead of Will Anderson, it’s simple economics: supply and demand. The demand for elite interior linemen is just as high for edge rushers, but the supply is far shorter.

Odds to Go No. 1 Overall: +1000: Carter’s line has shifted from +500, but the Georiga product still has the shortest odds of any non-quarterback and is tied with Anthony Richardson for the fourth-shortest odds overall.

Will Anderson, Alabama (Edge): The most anticipated weigh-in will be that of Anderson’s teammate, Bryce Young. But don’t underestimate the emphasis some clubs will put on the edge rusher’s ability to tip the scales. If the lightning-quick defender weighs in at 250-plus, he’ll help his cause.

Odds to Go No. 1 Overall: +1400: Anderson’s number is the sixth-shortest, and while he’s closer to the top than the next player’s odds, it’s a significant shift from +500 early in the process (when he was tied for third-shortest).

The Next Tier Going Into the Combine

After quarterback, the most desirable position is an edge rusher (like Anderson) or a disruptive interior lineman (like Carter), and that’s the focus of the second tier of defensive prospects, as well.

Tyree Wilson, Texas Tech (Edge): Recovering from a fractured foot, Wilson will not participate in most of the drills in Indianapolis, instead giving himself more time to get back to 100 percent leading up to his Pro Day back in Lubbock. Wilson will go under the bar for the bench press.

Odds to Go No. 1 Overall: +7500: Way behind the super six, but Wilson is the steepest riser and leapfrogged several prospects on the odds board.

Myles Murphy, Clemson (Edge): With no questions surrounding his size (275 pounds), Murphy is expected to test very well with his vertical and 40-time, flashing elite explosiveness to solidify himself in the top ten.

Odds to Go No. 1 Overall: +15000: Once at +5000, Murphy had the sixth-shortest odds, third among defenders behind Anderson and Carter, but has since slipped behind Wilson and is tied for eighth overall.

Bryan Bresee, Clemson (Interior D-Line): Some expect Bresee to go in the top ten along with Murphy; however, that is far from the consensus evaluation. Other teams don’t have Bresee with a first-round grade.

Odds to Go No. 1 Overall: +15000: Now level with Murphy, Bresee has seen his odds shit from +10000 earlier in the draft process.

Potential High Risers in Indy

What prospects sitting outside the top ten or 20, possibly with a Day-2 grade going into Indianapolis, have a chance to improve their draft stock this week? A pair of Big Ten defensive linemen comes to mind.

Lukas Van Ness, Iowa (Edge): You typically don’t think of Iowa as producing freaky athletes, but a notable buzz surrounds Van Ness leading up to the combine. Expect to hear a lot about his traits this week, which include size, athleticism, power, agility, speed, and versatility. 

Mazi Smith, Michigan (Interior D-Line): The Michigan man topped Bruce Feldman’s Freaks List heading into the season, which was also his best on the field. At nearly 340 pounds, Smith is a rare space eater who is athletic and agile in addition to his power and ability to anchor.

Thumbnail photo via Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

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