The second day of the 2022 NFL Combine is in the books, with the offensive linemen and running backs taking the field and impressing. Continuing the trend from yesterday, this year’s class looks to be one of the most athletic of all time, with a ton of standout testing from both the position groups on Friday.
While the top of the class was more-or-less settled on the offensive line with Evan Neal, Ikem Ekwonu, Tyler Linderbaum, and Zion Johnson, running back was a different story. Depending on who you talked to, RB1 could be one of several different players—including Isaiah Spiller, Kenneth Walker III, Breece Hall, and others. Today’s athletic testing might have helped sort out the top.
I tend to emphasize the winners from these sorts of events as opposed to the losers, and I’ll continue to focus on the positives today. Here are my observations from the second day of the 2022 NFL Combine.
By far the most entertaining group of the day—no offense to the OL, of course—the running back testing started out a bit disappointing. The class lost one of the potential top testers after Isaiah Spiller opted out, and it seemed like pretty much everyone was slower than expected, save Pierre Strong Jr. Once the official 40s came in, the times improved across the board, and ended up making this one of the most athletic RB classes ever.
Interestingly, after seeing how bad the agility times were for the WRs, the RBs universally decided to skip the agility drills. So we won’t have any 3-cone or short-shuttle times until Pro Days. To be honest, I don’t blame them. Making these athletes do agilities after on-field drills at 10 PM is just bad business. I hope the NFL learns their lesson from this and moves the workouts earlier, or at least allows the players to test before the on-field drills.
There were a lot of standouts from this group, so let’s get cracking.
- The overall winner of the day was Iowa State’s Breece Hall, who put on one of the best workouts for a running back we’ve ever seen. I believe it’s ranked 9th all time, per RAS. Hall put up an incredible 9.95u RAS, including a 4.39 40, 40” vertical, and 10’6” broad jump at 5’11, 217. He’s making a strong case to be considered RB1.
- The presumptive RB1 going into the Combine was Michigan State’s Kenneth Walker III. While he didn’t quite match Hall’s ridiculous testing, Walker still finished with an elite 9.08u RAS, including a 4.38 40. He also answered some questions about his receiving ability by looking just fine in the on-field drills as both a catcher and route-runner.
- One of my favorite early-Day 3 prospects, Arizona State’s Rachaad White, also had a dominant day of testing. White finished with the second-highest RAS in the class at 9.84u, with a 4.48 40 at 6’0, 214 and excellent jumps.
- Both Georgia prospects—James Cook and Zamir White—tested very well. White actually ended up the more impressive athlete (3rd overall in this class), finishing with an outstanding 9.81u RAS including a 4.4 flat 40 at nearly 6’0, 214.
Cook also had a terrific day, finishing with an 8.69u RAS and looking like one of the best receivers in the class during the on-field drills. He also officially outperformed his brother, Dalvin Cook, who finished with a 4.65u RAS.
- I generally don’t like to highlight bad performances, but in this case it has to be mentioned. Notre Dame’s Kyren Williams finished as the worst athlete in the class with a 1.74u RAS, which was shocking to me based on his tape. At 5’9, 194, Williams was already undersized and needed to prove his value as a receiver and pass blocker. The receiving skills and pass blocking are both undeniable, but with this athletic profile, there’s no doubt Williams will fall in the draft. Hopefully he can improve these numbers at his Pro Day.
Here are some of the other notable workouts from running backs at the Combine:
FIU RB D’Vonte Price (9.71u)
South Dakota State RB Pierre Strong Jr. (9.66u)
Rutgers RB Isaih Pacheco (8.75u)
Alabama RB Brian Robinson Jr. (8.18u)
Cincinnati RB Jerome Ford (7.76u)
Missouri RB Tyler Badie (6.83u)
Florida RB Dameon Pierce (6.6u)
NC State RB Zonovan “Bam” Knight (4.48u)
This is a good tackle class, with star power at the top in Evan Neal and Ikem Ekwonu all the way down to Day 2 gems like Bernhard Raimann and Tyler Smith. Even though Neal elected to sit out the athletic testing, we got to see pretty much all the big names out there. And they didn’t disappoint.
- The unquestioned winner of the athletic testing was Northern Iowa’s Trevor Penning, who finished with an incredible 9.96u RAS. Other than his vertical jump, which was merely average, Penning blew the testing out of the water at a massive 6’7, 325. He may have officially worked his way into the top-10 and may be in consideration for the Falcons at 8.
- While Penning was the best athlete, the best overall performance came from NC State’s Ikem “Ickey” Ekwonu, who tested out very well (8.22u RAS) and put on a show during the on-field drills. Ekwonu has a legit chance to be the #1 overall pick, but should go top-5 at the worst.
- Projected to be one of the best athletes at the position as a former tight end, Central Michigan’s Bernhard Raimann did not disappoint. He finished with an outstanding 9.81u RAS at 6’6, 303. Raimann is one of my top Day 2 targets for the Falcons.
Here are some of the other notable performances from the OT group:
North Dakota OT Matt Waletzko (9.9u RAS)
Tulsa OT Tyler Smith (8.77u)
Mississippi State OT Charles Cross (8.49u RAS)
UCLA OT Sean Rhyan (8.27u RAS)
Ohio State OT Nicholas Petit-Frere (6.56u RAS)
Louisiana OT Max Mitchell (4.97u RAS)
Center & guard
The interior offensive line class isn’t as star-studded as the tackle class, but there’s a lot of depth here and plenty of good starters to be had. With top center prospect Tyler Linderbaum opting out of the athletic testing, the intrigue was diminished somewhat. We still got to see some standout performances from a number of high-level prospects. Overall, this was a very athletic group.
- The clear winner of the athletic testing and on-field drills was versatile Boston College OL Zion Johnson. Johnson already demonstrated his ability to play guard, tackle, and center, and also proved his standout athleticism at the Combine with a 9.55u RAS—at guard, which is probably his best position.
- Another projected first round pick, Texas A&M OL Kenyon Green checked a box by proving he’s at least an average athlete at his size. His 5.34u RAS isn’t going to wow teams, but he proved he’s got enough mobility to be scheme-versatile.
- Boston College center Alec Lindstrom, brother of Falcons right guard Chris Lindstrom, had a great day at the Combine as well. Lindstrom is a bit undersized and is a center-only prospect, but he tested out very well with an 8.22u RAS and looked smooth in the on-field drills.
Here are some of the other notable workouts from the interior offensive linemen at the Combine:
Texas Tech C Dawson Deaton (9.7u RAS)
Nebraska C Cameron Jurgens (9.26u RAS)
Chattanooga C/G Cole Strange (9.94u RAS)
Georgia G Justin Shaffer (8.69u RAS)
Memphis C/G Dylan Parham (8.83u RAS)
LSU G Ed Ingram (7.12u RAS)
Virginia Tech G Lecitus Smith (6.59u RAS)
Ohio State G Thayer Munford (5.99u RAS)
Kentucky G Darian Kinnard (5.16u RAS)
We’ve still got two more days of Combine testing to go, with the defense getting started tonight. Today’s workouts include edge rushers, defensive tackles, and linebackers. Look for our continued coverage over the remainder of the weekend!