Because athletic qualities are essential in this sport, the NFL Combine allows certain players to score points with NFL staff. Who shone? Who lost spots in the 2022 draft?
- Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner, BC, Cincinnati
- Tariq Woolen, BC, UTSA
- Nick Cross, S, Maryland
- Zyon McCollum, BC, Sam Houston State
Became favorite to be the first cornerback selected in the draft, Ahmad Gardner confirmed its potential at the combine. Author of a 4.41 at 40 yards, which is very good for his size and weight, he was very lively on the workshops, with in particular very good lateral mobility.
Tariq Woolen, an increasingly trendy player from UTSA University, also shone in Indianapolis. Extremely fast (4.26 seconds), it shone in all the workshops measuring athletic abilities. He ticks all the boxes to become a second-day draft surprise. Still in the athlete category, here is Nick Cross. Fast, fluid and mobile, he dominated his position head and shoulders in this combination. Good news for him, the top 5 at the safety post is still wide open.
Finally, each year a player from the lower level stands out during the NFL Combine and 2022 was the turn of Zyon McCollum (Sam Houston State). Tall and strong, the one who played safety in high school is a physical player and not devoid of ball skills (13 interceptions in 4 seasons). Already good during the Senior Bowl, especially in the 1 vs 1, he signed a beautiful Combine: 4.33 seconds over 40 yards (3rd time for defensive backs), 1 meter of vertical relaxation (2nd), 3.35 meters in long jump from a standing start (1st)! His time of 6.48 seconds on the 3 Cone also places him in the top 10 of the last 20 years, all positions combined. Player with very high potential, he has undoubtedly earned his place for the Friday of the draft (rounds 2 and 3).
Kalon Barnes (Baylor) went very close to the record for 40 yards, failing 0.01 seconds behind John Ross. Many cronerbacks have taken advantage of the trick to put themselves forward: Kaiir Elam de Florida is still in the running for the top 50, Cam Taylor Britt (Nebraska) is aiming for day two, Decobie Durant (South Carolina State) for its part can be the pleasant surprise of this cuvée.
- Coby Bryant, BC, Cincinnati
- Jermaine Waller, BC, Virginia Tech
While his teammate Gardner scored points, Coby Bryant lost some. Slow on 40 yards (4.54), he saw many of his rivals be more explosive and mobile than him in this combination. Not enough to threaten his place in the draft, but it may take him away from the second day.
Speed isn’t everything, but 4.68 seconds for a player as light as Jermaine Waller is bad news. We will have to recover at Pro Day to avoid a fall in the draft.
Smoke Monday (Auburn) is like Waller, too slow and not explosive enough this Sunday. Derek Stingley can be seen as a “loser”, since the others shone in his absence. Kerby Joseph (Illinois) lost its distance duel with Nick Cross, not shining in any category.