NFL Combine Reaction

By: Gus Wilson

The National Football League (NFL) just wrapped up their NFL Draft Combine in Indianapolis, Indiana at Lucas Oil Stadium from March 3rd to the 6th. Every year since 1982, the NFL has held the Combine and invited prospects for the upcoming NFL Draft to impress scouts and either raise their draft stock or drop it. This most recent Combine, however, was more memorable than years past, showing how athletic the 2022 draft class truly is.

On the first day of the NFL Combine, the tight end, quarterback, and wide receiver prospects participated in the on-field drills, measurements, and other athletic drills. Eight wide receivers ran the 40-yard dash in under 4.4 seconds, making it the fastest wide receiver class since 2003. Tyquan Thorton out of Baylor ran the fastest time out of offensive players with 4.28. During these drills, he ran an unofficial 4.21, which would’ve been an NFL record, but the timers struggled with the receiver group and announced it was an official 4.28. Some of the top receiver prospects—Treylon Burks, Garrett Wilson, Chris Olave, and George Pickens—impressed all with their 40-yard dash and on-the-field drills. The biggest riser in this group was Christian Watson out of North Dakota State University. Measuring at 6 foot 4, and 208 pounds, he ran a 4.36 40 yard dash, had a 38.5 inch vertical, and an 11-foot broad jump. Watson is now expected to be taken within the first two rounds. University of Cincinnati quarterback Desmond Ridder put on the best athletic performance of his group. Ridder ran a 4.52 40-yard dash, had a 36-inch vertical, and a 10 feet 7 inches broad jump. Malik Willis of Liberty University performed the best on the field, and it was reported that Sam Howell from the University of North Carolina had the best interviews among the teams. Trey McBride continued to prove he was the best tight end in the class with impressive on-the-field drills.

Day two was the time for the running backs and offensive linemen to shine. Running backs Breece Hall from Iowa State and Kenneth Walker III from Michigan State proved that they were the best two running backs in the class. Along with a running back best 40 inch vertical, Hall ran a 4.39 40 yard dash. Walker ran a surprising 4.38 40 that pushed him past Isiah Spiller as the second-best back in many scouts’ eyes. Rachaad White and Zamir White may have had the best days, however. Rachaad White ran a 4.48 40 yard dash, had a 38 inch vertical, and a 10 foot 5-inch broad jump. Zamir White tied for the best broad jump with 10 feet 8-inches and ran a 4.4 40 yard dash. All four running backs were also exceptional in the on-field drills.

Day three, defensive linemen and linebackers, was dominated by the National Champion Georgia Bulldogs defense. The most impressive performance of this years’ Combine and maybe the greatest combine of any prospect ever was that of Georgia defensive lineman Jordan Davis. Measuring in at 6’6 and 341 pounds, Davis ran one of the fastest 40-yard dashes from a player weighing more than 300 pounds at a 4.78, faster than star quarterbacks like Tom Brady and Patrick Mahomes. His athleticism doesn’t stop there, as he had a 32-inch vertical jump and 10’3 foot broad jump. His teammates on the same defensive line showed out as well, with defensive tackle Devontae Wyatt running a 4.77 40 at 304 pounds, and defensive end Travon Walker running a 4.51 40, having a 35.5 vertical jump and a 10’3 foot broad jump. Besides the stars for the Bulldogs, a defensive end out of Virginia Tech, Amare Barno, ran a ridiculous 40 at 4.36 with an almost 11-foot broad jump.

The final day of the Combine took place on Sunday when the defensive backs and special teamers took the field. Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner proved he was the best corner in the draft after coming into Indianapolis at 6’3 and 190 pounds and ran a 4.41 40 yard dash while looking more than impressive during the on-the-field drills. The fastest 40-yard dash ran in this year’s Combine and 2nd fastest of all time was run by Kalon Barnes. Barnes ran the 40 yards in an almost record-setting 4.23 seconds, only 0.01 seconds off of tying the record set by John Ross. Tariq Woolen also showed off his blazing speed with a 4.26 40 yard dash, along with an impressive 42 inch vertical. Punter Matt Araiza had an insane punting performance at the end of the day as well. While many players that showed out in Indianapolis have been mentioned, many of the other young prospects showed out and increased their draft stock. To see the statistics of every player who participated, check out the Combine section on nfl.com. The NFL Draft is a little over a month away and prospects and fans alike can’t wait to see these players’ dreams realized.

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