The NFL Scouting Combine is here. On Saturday, NFL Network will be covering the combine workouts for quarterbacks, wide receivers and tight ends — which begin at Noon (Arrowhead Time). Here is more information is how to watch through the weekend.
Here are four wideouts for Kansas City Chiefs fans to watch.
1. Jaxon Smith-Njigba | Ohio State | 6’1” | 200 lbs
If Smith-Njigba had been eligible in the 2022 draft, there’s a real chance he would have been taken in the first 15 picks. He finished his 2021 season with a dominant performance in the Rose Bowl, accumulating 15 catches for 346 yards and three touchdowns. In a Buckeye wide receiver group that included Chris Olave (now with the New Orleans Saints), Garrett Wilson (now with the New York Jets) and potential 2024 top-5 prospect Marvin Harrison Jr., Smith-Njigba stood out as someone who might be the most talented of the bunch.
Unfortunately, his 2023 season was underwhelming. Smith-Njigba struggled all season with a hamstring and other lower-body injuries, which made it difficult for him to get on the field. With questions about his injuries (and concerns about his vertical speed and explosiveness), his draft status is much more up in the air than it was six months ago. Medicals are a big deal for NFL for teams — but if Smith-Njigba is medically cleared and runs well, he could be a top-10 pick. But if these question marks remain, he could fall to the end of the first round — which could make him a potential target for the Chiefs.
2. Kayshon Boutte | LSU | 6’0” | 205 lbs
Like Smith-Njigba, Boutte was lauded as a potential top-15 pick a year ago. He is tremendously talented, possessing a good combination of density, speed and route running. Unfortunately for Boutte, his 2022 season was also underwhelming: he suffered dips in production and film. He was slated to return to LSU in 2023, but the Tigers kicked him out of the program with off-the-field concerns.
Whether or not he tests, his team interviews will be critical. He’ll have to explain his downfall at LSU — and how that won’t affect him in the NFL. Boutte’s testing could help teams decide to take a risk on him — but if he can effectively explain his LSU downfall, there’s a chance he could become a steal. He’s going to have to prove himself to a lot of skeptical teams.
3. Michael Wilson | Stanford | 6’2” | 209 lbs
Over three seasons, Wilson has collected only 855 yards and five touchdowns — but he checks all of the height, weight and speed components you would want. He dominated at the Senior Bowl, which put him on the NFL’s radar.
Still, Wilson has a lot of boxes to check at the Combine. He dealt with injuries in college, so his medicals will be important. Wilson’s athletic testing will also be a big factor in improving his draft stock. If he blows up the Combine with his size and athleticism, there’s a chance Wilson goes on Day 2. While he’s incredibly raw — and therefore needs time to develop — an excellent Combine will likely make a team take a chance on him.
4. Cedric Tillman | Tennessee | 6’ 3” | 215 lbs
Tillman’s an interesting player. He’s got a good size profile and can win down the sidelines — but there are concerns about his overall athleticism. He flashes quality vertical speed, but concerns about his ability to separate will be tested in some of the Combine’s agility drills. In college, Tillman wasn’t consistently required to beat press coverage — and coming from Tennessee’s offense (which has limited route concepts), he will likely face a large NFL learning curve. Tillman’s interviews will go a long way toward proving he’ll be able to quickly handle the workload at the next level.
His tape doesn’t display elite speed or explosiveness — and there are real concerns about hip stiffness. But if he tests well in Indianapolis, there’s a chance Tillman could be a top-50 pick. But if the Combine doesn’t allay these concerns about him, he could fall a lot.