After a hiatus last year due to COVID-19, the NFL Combine is back for 2022. Today we’ll see wide receivers, tight ends, and quarterbacks performing athletic tests and on-field skill drills. New this year is a schedule change, pushing the events to start closer to primetime. Here are the leading headlines for the prospects working out today.
Who’s the fastest wideout on land?
As seems to be the case every year, expect a lot of attention to be on the 40-yard dash for the wide receivers. There may be a couple participants who are able to challenge John Ross’s 4.22 time. That list includes Baylor’s Tyquan Thornton, Penn State’s Jahan Dotson and Calvin Austin from Memphis.
Running the gauntlet
Perhaps the most entertaining drill—and also sometimes the most instructive—is the gauntlet drill that sees wideouts and tight ends catch a series of passes from different directions. It will be particularly important for those tight ends to prove to teams that they can be reliable, safe options in the middle of the field. Converted wide receivers like Greg Dulcich (UCLA) and Cade Otton (Washington) should excel, but how will traditional blockers like Jeremy Ruckert (Ohio State) and Jake Ferguson (Wisconsin) do?
Quarterback on-field separation
With very little separation between prospects coming into the event, it may be one of the more competitive Combines in recent memory. The most important drills for the signal-callers are the throwing sessions, when they are tasked with throwing to various types of routes. Arm talent, timing and accuracy is key. Sam Howell (North Carolina), Kenny Pickett (Pittsburgh) and Desmond Ridder (Cincinnati) should do well. But the ultimate risers may be Malik Willis (Liberty) and Matt Corral (Ole Miss) from an arm strength and athleticism perspective.
(Note: it was announced that Matt Corral would not be participating in on-field workouts)
Mentioned above, this year the schedule is a bit different, as the NFL has sought to ensure the workouts begin around primetime. The on-field drills begin at 4:00 PM EST, and are televised on the NFL Network. They can also be viewed through the NFL and NFL Network apps and through NFL.com, but you may need to sign into your TV provider’s account to watch.
For anyone tuned into the workouts, consider this your open thread to discuss the events.