The fourth and final day of the NFL Combine has concluded, and it did not disappoint. Sunday followed in the footsteps of the previous days, finishing strong with a truly exceptional group of athletes at both cornerback and safety. Although we’re still waiting for it to become official, it appears we have a new top athlete at CB (in terms of RAS score). While safety didn’t necessarily produce a new individual record, the athleticism of the class as a whole may have.
Sunday featured workouts from the cornerbacks, safeties, and special teamers. No offense to ST—Matt Araiza was booming some 80 yard punts during workouts—but I’ll be focusing on the defensive backs in this column.
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 final day of the 2022 NFL Combine.
As it was on the previous two days, things got off to a bit of a lackluster start with the unofficial times coming in a bit slower than expected. Once the official times came in, however, the true athleticism of this cornerback class was revealed—and boy, it is something. This is a deep class, with pretty much all the top prospects testing well and high-upside players available deep into Day 3.
A few top prospects did not participate in workouts: Clemson’s Andrew Booth, LSU’s Derek Stingley, and Georgia’s Derion Kendrick. There were also a number of players that did not complete their testing, and thus don’t have a complete RAS score. We’ll have to wait for Pro Days to get the complete picture.
Cincinnati CB Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner (4.41 40)
Washington CB Trent McDuffie (4.44 40)
Washington CB Kyler Gordon (4.52 40)
Florida CB Kaiir Elam (4.39 40)
Here are some of the most impressive performances from the cornerback group.
- The clear winner of the Combine testing was UTSA’s Tariq Woolen. Woolen was always known as a terrific athlete at 6’4, 205, and there was buzz he might run in the 4.3s or even high 4.2s based on his GPS speed numbers from the Senior Bowl. He blew all expectations out of the water, claiming a 10u RAS and the best cornerback workout of all time. His 4.26 at over 6’4 is also the fastest time for a player of his height ever recorded at the Combine—and it’s not particularly close. Woolen has potentially worked himself into the late-first conversation, as he’s a unicorn-level athlete who could also potentially play safety.
- Right behind Woolen in the testing was Sam Houston State’s Zyon McCollum, who also had a tremendous workout. McCollum is another big-bodied corner at 6’2, 199, and had a blazing-fast 4.33 40, 6.48 3-cone, and excellent jumps. If not for Woolen, he’d be the best athlete in the group and finished with a 9.99u RAS. McCollum was a projected late-round prospect, but will almost certainly be an early-to-mid Day 3 pick with this testing.
- Another big winner of the athletic testing was Tennessee’s Alontae Taylor. Taylor was impressive at the Senior Bowl and had good tape this year, but was still behind the big group of late-first/early-second corners on most boards. With his 4.36 40 and excellent broad jump at 6’0, 200, he may have worked his way into the second round.
- Missouri’s Akayleb Evans also had a great workout overall. As a big-bodied outside corner, there were some concerns about long-speed and overall athleticism on tape. Evans answered those with a terrific workout and likely lifted himself into the late-Day 2/early-Day 3 range.
Here are some of the other notable cornerback workouts:
While no safety blew the doors off the testing to the extreme level of Tariq Woolen, there were still a number of incredible workouts from this group—which is likely to go down as one of the most athletic safety groups in Combine history. This class lacks the depth of cornerback, but does have a number of high-end prospects and some quality players on Day 2.
There were a few players who either did not test or did not test completely, so we won’t have their full RAS scores until their Pro Days: Baylor’s Jalen Pitre, Cincinnati’s Bryan Cook, Illinois’ Kerby Joseph, and Kentucky’s Yusuf Corker.
Here were some of the biggest standouts from the safety group.
- It’s tough to pick the biggest winner, as there were a number of terrific performances. I think I have to go with Georgia’s Lewis Cine, who I knew was physical and explosive. What I didn’t know was how fast he truly was, which raises his ceiling significantly. Cine finished with a 9.78u RAS after a blazing-fast 4.37 40 and over an 11’ broad jump at 6’2, 200.
- While Notre Dame safety Kyle Hamilton—my #1 overall player—didn’t test out quite as incredible as expected, he still finished with a very good workout overall. Hamilton had bad starts on both his 40 attempts, and I expect his true speed to be closer to 4.50. Even with his official 4.59, Hamilton finished as an elite athlete with a 9.02u RAS.
- Another player who tested out far better than expected was Toledo’s Tycen Anderson. A player I’ve liked as a Day 3 sleeper since the Senior Bowl, Anderson won’t be slept on anymore after his incredible testing produced a 9.66u RAS. I knew he was physical and athletic enough for box and split-safety work, but this testing shows he’s got the upside and range to handle deep coverage responsibilities as well.
- Baylor’s J.T. Woods was expected to be one of the best testers of the group, and he didn’t disappoint. Woods tied for the fastest 40 time of any safety at 4.36 and also posted excellent jumps at 6’2, 195. He’s working himself into the Day 2 conversation.
There were a lot of terrific workouts at safety—these were just the most impressive. Here are some of the other notable testing numbers:
Maryland S Nick Cross: 9.91u
USC S Isaac Taylor-Stuart: 9.59u
FAMU S Markquese Bell: 9.53u
Auburn S Smoke Monday: 9.23u
Miami S Bubba Bolden: 9.23u
Penn State S Jaquan Brisker: 9.13u
Michigan DB Daxton Hill: 8.91u
Georgia Tech S Juanyeh Thomas: 8.60u
Texas A&M S Leon O’Neal: 7.87u
That’s officially a wrap on the 2022 NFL Combine! Thanks for following along with us here at The Falcoholic. Stay tuned for my final thoughts and biggest overall winners from Indianapolis on Tuesday.