Performing well at the NFL combine does not at all mean automatic success at the NFL level. But it can help shape the decisions of NFL talent evaluators and decision-makers, which heavily influences major variables in a prospect’s profile: draft capital and landing spot.

Here are three 2024 NFL Combine winners that need to be on your radar during both your dynasty rookie drafts and one-year redraft fantasy football leagues.

Xavier Worthy

While many prospects put on impressive performances as 2024 NFL Combine winners, one shined above the rest:

His size could be considered a concern – at 5’11”, 165, there is a history of smaller players with blazing 40 times that turn out to be major busts (see Ross, John). However, there is a hugely important difference between players like Ross and the new 40-time record holder: age-adjusted production.

Worthy put up those numbers as an 18-year-old when no one else on the team even eclipsed 380 yards (hence his 97th-percentile breakout age). Having 36.2% of his team’s receiving yards and 41.3% of their TDs as a true freshman separates him from other pure speed demons. With production like that, we can very much project a Will Fuller/Marquise Brown type of player, considering he has almost assuredly locked up 1st round draft capital.

Indeed, Worthy led his team in receiving yards in all three years at Texas despite the presence of Adonai Mitchell, another potential 1st-round receiver. As DeVonta Smith and the Alabama receivers have helped teach us, we need to pay attention when a receiver on a college team with multiple first-round offensive talents continues to outproduce his teammates. Additionally, Worthy is an early declare and will play his entire rookie season at age 21.

Worthy looks unlikely to be drafted in the top half of the first round, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. There is a decent probability that he ends up on the Bills or Chiefs (NFL.com’s well-respected scout and analyst Lance Zierlein just mocked him to the latter) – in which case, he’s going to be a heavily coveted dynasty asset as Josh Allen or Patrick Mahomes’ explosive deep threat for years to come.

We also have to remember that fantasy football’s top-end wide receivers are getting lighter and smaller, so Worthy’s size does not matter nearly as much as it would have 5-10 years ago:

Editor’s Note: Excited to draft some of these exciting rookies at a discount? We have many excellent orphan dynasty teams available, which are half the price of a new dynasty startup! You can look at each team’s roster and 2024 rookie draft picks on our Orphan page.

Brian Thomas Jr.

While Xavier Worthy’s record-setting performance was the headline-grabber, he was far from the only wide receiver to turn heads as one of the 2024 NFL Combine winners:

The 2023 LSU Tigers put up points and production in a way not seen there since the Joe Burrow/Ja’Marr Chase/Justin Jefferson days, catapulting QB Jayden Daniels and WRs Malik Nabers and Brian Thomas Jr. into guaranteed 2024 first-round picks. Thomas cemented first-round status at the combine with top-end speed and above-average explosion at a massive 6’3″, 209lbs (credit to Relative Athletic Score):

Brian Thomas Jr.'s Relative Athletic Score

His speed/size combination shows up on tape and in the box score as well: a whopping 25% of his 68 catches went for touchdowns (17, which led the FBS).

Thomas did run a limited route tree mostly consisting of deep routes and hitches/comebacks, but that was likely due to how defenses were playing him:

Thomas’s lack of age-adjusted production (never had more than 31 catches or 361 yards until his junior season in 2023) is certainly a strike against him, and he was definitively less productive than Nabers all three seasons at LSU.

But it’s rarely a bad idea to take the early declare (Thomas turns 22 in October) who is huge, fast, and has put up video-game numbers at a major school. This approach certainly worked out for dynasty managers who bought into the passing production of the aforementioned Burrow/Chase/Jefferson LSU squad.

You won’t have to have a top-three pick in your dynasty draft to acquire him, and like Worthy, he may go to an already-stable (or better) passing offense as a likely selection in the middle/latter half of the first round. His top two comparable players (I gave him 20th overall draft capital for this exercise) also are cause for excitement (per our friends at RotoViz):

Brian Thomas Jr.'s most comparable players per Rotoviz

Ricky Pearsall

Many fans are already familiar with Pearsall and his likely 2023 college football catch of the year:

While not on the same tier as Worthy or Thomas in terms of college production and likely draft capital, Pearsall’s combine showed that his underwhelming counting stats at Arizona State and Florida may have been more about low passing volume and poor quarterback play (credit to Relative Athletic Score):

Ricky Pearsall's RAS

Pearsall was already ranked as one of Daniel Jeremiah’s top 50 players heading into the combine, so he is not simply an athletic specimen who took the combine by storm. However, finishing 1st among wide receivers at the combine in the 3-cone drill and 3rd in vertical jump and 20-yard shuttle may launch a player further up teams’ draft boards as one of the definitive 2024 NFL Combine winners.

Danny Kelly of The Ringer compares him to Robert Woods as a sharp route runner with elite agility and short-area quickness, a tape evaluation heavily supported by his combine numbers.

Pearsall’s raw production numbers are not pretty, but they need to be contextualized. Besides his true freshman season in 2020 at ASU (a COVID-shortened year where the team only played 4 games), Pearsall led his team in receiving yards every season thereafter (ASU in 2021, Florida in 2022-2023).

Draft capital and landing spot will be a significant part of the final prospect evaluation, as his production and age (will play his rookie season at age 24 as a late declare) are sub-optimal.

But Pearsall has the profile of an immediate contributor if he goes to a functional passing offense where he’ll see significant target volume, something he never had in college. Going on Day 2 (seemingly a lock at this point, a recent Dane Brugler mock has him going 54th overall) to a decent passing offense would make him a nice value rookie pick anytime in the second round of 2024 rookie drafts.

While “the next Puka Nacua” is too optimistic, the prescient JJ Zachariason has compared him to another cheap 2023 rookie difference-maker: