NFL Draft Scouting Combine | 2022 Workout Winners & Losers
The NFL Combine was back in Indianapolis and it was a sight for sore eyes. This year’s Combine featured so many great athletes and a few record-breaking runs.
Which players had the best performances and raised their draft stock? And who disappointed in the eyes of NFL decision-makers? Here are the biggest winners and losers of the 2022 NFL Scouting Combine.
NFL Draft Combine Winners
Jordan Davis, DT, Georgia
In the history of the NFL Combine, there has never been a “bigger” winner than Jordan Davis. The 341-pound defensive tackle was the second-fastest defensive tackle at the NFL Combine, running a stunning 4.78 40-yard dash. It’s the sixth-fastest time ever recorded by a defensive tackle at the Combine.
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But not only was Davis fast, but he was also explosive too. He had the longest broad jump among defensive tackles and it was 11 inches longer than the next closest defensive tackle. He also had the second-best vertical jump among the class at 32 inches.
Davis is among the most athletic defensive linemen in NFL history and has now firmly cemented himself as a top-15 pick in this year’s class.
Tariq Woolen, CB, UTSA
The NFL Combine was made for people like Tariq Woolen. He didn’t play at a huge school (Texas-San Antonio), but his on-the-field testing numbers have officially put him in the discussion to be a first-round pick.
Measuring in at 6’4, 205 pounds, Woolen ran a stunning 4.26 40-yard dash. It was the second-fastest at the NFL Combine this year and one of the fastest times in NFL history. He also posted a 42″ vertical, which was the highest in the class at any position.
Despite being pretty raw at the cornerback position, Woolen should easily be a top-50 pick in April’s draft. And don’t be surprised if he goes much higher than that as he is one of the most athletic players to enter the league in several years.
Troy Andersen, LB, Montana State
Going into the NFL Combine, Troy Andersen was named one of our biggest sleepers in the 2022 NFL Draft. But after his performance in Indianapolis, he is no longer going under the radar. Andersen ran the fastest 40-yard dash of any linebacker despite weighing in at 243 pounds.
His 4.42 40-yard dash is the third-fastest time for an NFL linebacker at the Combine since 2000. He also posted an incredible 36-inch vertical to go along with a 128-inch board jump, which ranks in the 98th percentile among all linebackers.
While Andersen is still fairly new to the linebacker position, he should be a lock to be a second-round pick in April due to his freakish size and speed. Don’t be surprised if he ends up being a high-end starter in the NFL sooner rather than later.
Travon Walker, DE, Georgia
It was the Georgia Bulldogs show at the NFL Combine. And one of the biggest winners was defensive end Travon Walker. He won the weigh-ins after measuring in at 6’5, 272 pounds. But what was even more impressive was a 4.51 40-yard dash, the third-fastest among all defensive ends.
He also had the second-best 3-cone drill among all defensive ends (6.89). According to the Relative Athletic Score, which measures the composite athleticism of a player, he tested as the third-most athletic defensive end to enter the NFL since 1987. That is quite impressive.
Despite less-than-ideal production at Georgia, he has cemented himself as a top-14 pick in April’s draft. And it’s now even possible that he could jump someone like Kayvon Thibodeaux considering his elite performance.
Walker has raised his stock from a borderline first-round pick to a guy that is now in the conversation to be picked inside the top five.
NFL Draft Combine Losers
Devin Lloyd, LB, Utah
Before anyone gets too mad, it’s worth mentioning that Devin Lloyd certainly didn’t have a bad Combine performance by any means. He still ran a 4.66 40-yard dash at 237 pounds and had above-average testing numbers in the explosion drills.
However, he was expected to be a first-round pick come April and yet, there were eight other linebackers who ran 4.55 or better at Indianapolis. That doesn’t even include Nakobe Dean, who is likely the top linebacker in the class.
While Lloyd is a really good prospect, his so-so Combine performance might have him slipping down boards as there is just so much linebacker depth in this class. And if you can wait a round or two and get a linebacker prospect with more speed from a better conference, like Quay Walker (4.52) or Channing Tindall (4.47) from Georgia, that makes it hard to justify a first-round pick on Lloyd.
Treylon Burks, WR, Arkansas
One player that was expected to have a dominant Combine performance was Treylon Burks. He was praised all season long for his athleticism and he was expected to put up historically great numbers in Indianapolis. Instead, he was one of the bigger disappointments from the week.
Burks ran a 4.55 40-yard dash, which is actually pretty impressive at 225 pounds. However, the expectation was that he would run in the low 4.4s or maybe even in the 4.3s. That didn’t happen and his poor vertical jump (33″) had many concerned about his overall explosion. Plus, he ran a 7.28 3-cone, which was the second-slowest of all receivers.
While his weight-adjusted athleticism is still good, it’s hard not to be a bit disappointed based on the hype surrounding him going into the week. Burks had a chance to establish himself as the No. 1 receiver in the class in Indianapolis and that didn’t happen.
Kyren Williams, RB, Notre Dame
There were six running backs who ran in the 4.3s at the NFL Combine. There were another eight who ran in the 4.4s. So for someone like Kyren Williams to run a 4.65 (slowest among all running backs), it’s pretty concerning. He weighed in at just 194 pounds and did not impress in any of the workout drills.
We know the history of running backs and 4.65 40 times is pretty low, but you’ll be hard-pressed to find any that had success while weighing less than 195 pounds. Williams was a potential top-100 pick going into the NFL Combine and now it’s fair to wonder if he’ll even be selected in the first five rounds.
Post-Combine NFL Draft Notes
Only Two WRs Run Sub-7.00-Second 3-Cone
The 2022 wide receiver class was the lightest in NFL history. And yet, very few performed well in the 3-cone drill that showcases change of direction and agility. Only two receivers ran a sub-7.00 3-cone drill from this class. That is shocking considering in 2017, there were 23 receivers who ran a sub-7.00 3-cone.
Is that due to receivers becoming less agile, or more about receivers now having to complete the drill after their 40-yard dash and all of the other on-the-field drills? It’s time for the NFL to consider moving the 3-cone drill ahead of the 40-yard dash to get accurate times like they did a few years ago.
No Running Backs Run 3-Cone
After poor numbers by the wide receivers in the 3-cone, the entire running back class opted out of the drill. That has never happened before in the history of the Combine. What is frustrating about not having the 3-cone numbers for the running backs is that it’s one of the most important drills for that position.
Unless the NFL Combine starts to change the structure of the event, this won’t be the last time we see entire positional groups skip drills.
After reading about the best and worst 2022 NFL Draft Scouting Combine performances, read about the best Combine workouts to use to judge each NFL Draft Prospects group.
Best QB Combine Drill
There aren’t many drills at the NFL Combine that correlate well with success for quarterbacks. It’s more about “checking boxes” and meeting thresholds than anything else.
Quarterbacks who run a 5.0 40-yard dash are quickly becoming extinct in the NFL, but that doesn’t mean they can’t have success. Ideally, you want someone who can move a little bit in the pocket and that’s why the 20-yard shuttle has taken on some meaning for quarterback prospects.
Over the last few years, we’ve seen some impressive shuttle times from first-round quarterbacks. Patrick Mahomes ran a 4.08. Josh Allen ran a 4.40 shuttle at 237 pounds, as did Justin Herbert.
As long as quarterbacks can avoid posting a 4.50 shuttle time or worse, they should be just fine.
Positional Average Since 1999: 4.33 seconds
Best RB Combine Drill
The 40-yard dash is vital for running backs as there aren’t many in the league that have run a 4.65 or worse and had sustained success.
The NFL is so much about speed, especially at the running back position, where breaking big runs and making plays in the open field matters more than ever.
Take a look at the top 10 rushing leaders from the 2021 season and you will see that each player weighs over 200 pounds and ran a sub 4.55 40-yard dash.
|Running Back||40-Yard Dash Time (sec)||Weight (lbs)|
|Najee Harris||4.52 (projected)||232|
When you average it out, the top 10 rushers from this past season ran the 40-yard dash in 4.47 seconds at 224 pounds.
And that doesn’t even include other talented running backs like Austin Ekeler, Javonte Williams, Leonard Fournette and A.J. Dillon, who all ran incredible 40-yard dash times at their respective weights.
Positional Average Since 1999: 4.56 seconds
Best WR/TE Combine Drill
Easily the most significant drill for wide receivers and tight ends is the 40-yard dash.
While running fast doesn’t necessarily correlate to success, running a slow time is a death knell for most prospects.
There aren’t many receivers in the NFL today who ran a 4.60 40-yard dash or worse. Those that do are likely destined for slot or special teams duties. Here is a list of every receiver since 2000 to run the 40-yard dash in 4.61+:
Here is every wide receiver who has run a 4.61 or worse 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine since 2000: pic.twitter.com/5GSmoabfdl
— Marcus Mosher (@Marcus_Mosher) January 15, 2021
As you can tell, most of those guys didn’t pan out. There is always an outlier, however, and in this case it’s Super Bowl 56 MVP Cooper Kupp, who ran a 4.62 40-yard dash in 2017.
While Kupp is an exception, most top receivers do tend to be reasonably fast. If you were to look at the top 10 receivers from this past year in terms of receiving yards, their average 40-yard dash time was 4.45.
Of course, you don’t have to run incredibly fast to be a good receiver, but most of the top guys do run sub 4.55 40-yard dashes.
Another thing to keep an eye on for pass-catchers is the 10-yard split.
Receivers who can explode off the line of scrimmage typically fare well in the NFL. A strong 10-yard split combined with an impressive 40-yard dash time can go a long way for a prospect.
WR Positional Average Since 1999: 4.52 seconds
TE Positional Average Since 1999: 4.78 seconds
Best OL Combine Drill
You would think that the bench press would correlate to NFL success for offensive linemen, but it’s the opposite.
There is nothing to suggest that a high bench press number shows that offensive linemen will succeed at the next level.
However, the one drill that does predict NFL success for offensive linemen is the 20-yard shuttle. That drill tests how quickly you can move from side to side, which is vital for players in the trenches.
Since 1999, you will not find a single offensive lineman with sustained success in the NFL who ran a 5.00 short shuttle or worse.
But if you’re looking to find the next Pro Bowl and All-Pro offensive linemen, they typically run the short shuttle in about 4.50 seconds.
Positional Average Since 1999: 4.75 seconds
Best DT Combine Drill
The broad and vertical jumps should be tied together as they both show off explosion.
For interior defensive linemen, that’s what really matters. How fast can you get off the line of scrimmage and up the field?
The NFL average for an interior defensive lineman is 29.5 inches, but you would love to see a first-round defensive tackle jump above 32 inches, especially if they weigh less than 310 pounds.
Positional Average Since 1999: 29.3 inches
Best EDGE Combine Drill
Top Drill: 3-Cone
The drill that might correlate the best for success at any one position is the 3-cone drill for EDGE rushers.
The 3-cone drill measures a player’s speed and flexibility. An EDGE has to be able to bend around offensive tackles to get to the quarterback.
A sub-270-pound defensive end has to run a 7.15 second 3-cone or less, but we’ve seen bigger defensive ends run even faster times.
Here is a look at the top seven players in sack production in 2021 and their 3-cone time at the NFL Combine:
|Name||3-Cone Time (sec)||Weight (lbs)|
It’s always important to adjust your expectations based on weight, as a 245-pound EDGE rusher should run a faster 3-cone than a 275-pound rusher. With that said, the number most EDGE rushers should be shooting for at the NFL Combine is a sub 7.15 3-cone.
And if you see a player over 245 pounds running a sub 7.00 3-cone, that’s when we start to get really excited.
Positional Average Since 1999: 7.24 seconds
Best LB Combine Drill
Much like offensive linemen, one of the most important drills for a linebacker is the 20-yard shuttle, as it tests your quick movements from side to side.
Linebackers play in a confined area and need to quickly move from one gap to another to make a tackle.
However, the 40-yard dash has also become more important for linebackers of late as there aren’t many linebackers in the league running a 4.70 40-yard dash or worse.
Linebackers are getting faster, as we have seen Micah Parsons, Devin White, Isaiah Simmons, and Bobby Wagner all run sub 4.50 40-yard dashes.
While a fast 40-yard dash doesn’t make a linebacker great, a slow 40-yard dash can make a linebacker nearly undraftable.
With the NFL becoming more and more of a passing league by the year, teams would be wise to only draft linebackers who run a sub 4.65 40-yard dash.
Positional Average Since 1999: 4.72 seconds
Best DB Combine Drill
Speed is the name of the game for defensive backs.
If you can’t run, you can’t play.
Here is the list of every cornerback to run a 4.61 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine since 2000. As you’ll see, only one or two of these players are considered hits:
Here is every cornerback who has run a 4.61 or worse 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine since 2000.
How many hits do you see? pic.twitter.com/zUbNeVHv1y
— Marcus Mosher (@Marcus_Mosher) January 15, 2021
While 4.60 is the “threshold” for cornerbacks, most starting NFL cornerbacks run a sub 4.50 40-yard dash. The elite cornerbacks such as Marlon Humphrey (4.41), Jalen Ramsey (4.41), and Marshon Lattimore (4.36) are even faster.
Safeties are similar to corner backs in that most of the top players are all elite athletes. They have the size and speed to match up with the game’s best tight ends.
2021 All-Pro safeties Jordan Poyer (4.54) and Quandre Diggs (4.54) both ran sub 4.55 40-yard dashes at their respective combines.
This year’s two second-team safeties, Derwin James (4.47) and Budda Baker (4.45), posted even faster 40-yard dash times in their visits to Indianapolis.
Again, running fast doesn’t mean that you can play in an NFL secondary, but running slow will almost assuredly mean you won’t.
CB Positional Average Since 1999: 4.50 seconds
S Positional Average Since 1999: 4.57 seconds