Keion White bench presses 225 for 30 reps. / NFL.com
How many continuous reps can you bench 225? That’s the NFL bench press test, and fewer and fewer NFL prospects are electing to do it at the scouting combine, if at all. Last year, this came to a head when the bench press was scheduled on the same day as other measurables, including the 40-yard dash and on-field drills. Agents advised clients not to bench, fearing it would hurt their other, more important numbers and ultimately the most important number of all: where they get drafted. As a result, in 2022, only 43 out of 324 prospects opted to do the bench press at the combine. The best tally last year was 29. With many more benching, 11 guys reached or exceeded 29 reps this year. And one repped out an inspiring 38.
This year, the bench press was on a separate combine day from the other measurables. On the first day with defensive linemen and linebackers up, still fewer than half (42 out of 95) opted in. Though a majority of interior defensive linemen (14 of 22) benched, only 10 of 32 linebackers did. The diminished importance of bench pressing 225 lbs. (102 kg.) for reps isn’t just reflected in combine participation. While other numbers, like the 40 and vertical jump, continually improve for all positions, the bench plateaued over a decade ago, at least for the biggest guys on both sides of the line who put up the biggest numbers.
The record for all scouting combine participants (51 reps) was set way back in 1999, and the record for those who played in the NFL (49 reps) was reached a dozen years ago in 2011. For the marks in various positions and categories, check out: NFL Combine Bench Press Records
2023 NFL COMBINE BENCH PRESS TOP 11
38 reps — Andrew Vorhees (guard; USC)
34 reps — Anthony Bradford (guard; LSU)
34 reps — Jovaughn Gwyn (guard; South Carolina)
34 reps — Mazi Smith (interior d-line; Michigan)
31 reps — Tyler Steen (o-line tackle; Alabama)
30 reps — Tyler Lacy (interior d-line; Oklahoma State)
30 reps — Jaquelin Roy (interior d-line; LSU)
30 reps — Peter Skoronski (o-line tackle; Northwestern)
30 reps — Keion White (edge; Georgia Tech)
29 reps — Moro Ojomo (interior d-line; Texas)
29 reps — Owen Pappoe (linebacker; Auburn)
Only 19 guys all-time have hit 40 reps or better at the scouting combine. USC’s 6’6″ 310-lb. guard Andrew Vorhees came close to joining the 40-Rep Club, as he ran away with the biggest bench performance of the 2023 combine with 38 reps. Incredibly, Vorhees did this on Monday after tearing his ACL in on-field drills on Sunday. With crutches and his leg in a straight brace, he limped to the bench and, unable to use his right leg, put up an inspiring 38.
Props also to 6′, 225-pound Owen Pappoe who ran a 4.39 40-yard-dash (the NFL combine record for a linebacker) and the next day bench pressed 225 for 29 reps (the most by a linebacker at this year’s combine and the lightest guy in the top 27).
With 25 reps, Illinois’ 5’9½” 209-lb. Chase Brown tallied the most by a running back this year. Brown also led all running backs in the vertical jump and broad jump and ran the fourth-best 40 for his position (4.43).
More pound-for-pound strength: Florida 6’2″ defensive back Trey Dean III, who weighed in at only 200 lbs., also benched 25 reps, the most of any DB this year.
You can see all the 2023 bench press NFL combine results here.