NFL Combine 2022 Results: Highlights, Reaction and Recap from Thursday

AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall

The first day of drills at the 2022 NFL Combine kicked off Thursday with quarterbacks, wide receivers and tight ends hitting the field at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. 

While players like Ole Miss quarterback Matt Corral and Alabama wide receiver Jameson Williams didn’t participate in drills due to injury, many other players put on a show for head coaches, general managers and fans.

The three position groups took part in a variety of testing, including the 40-yard dash, bench press, vertical jump, broad jump and other position drills. Here is a look at some of the most notable performances on Thursday as well as a recap of some of the top-ranked prospects. 

40-Yard Dash

Quarterbacks

Desmond Ridder, Cincinnati: 4.52 seconds

EJ Perry, Brown: 4.65 seconds

Kenny Pickett, Pittsburgh: 4.73 seconds

Dustin Crum, Kent State: 4.75 seconds

Brock Purdy, Iowa State: 4.84 seconds

Bailey Zappe, Western Kentucky: 4.88 seconds

Wide Receivers

Tyquan Thornton, Baylor: 4.28 seconds

Velus Jones, Tennessee: 4.31 seconds

Calvin Austin III, Memphis: 4.32 seconds

Alec Pierce, Cincinnati: 4.33 seconds

Danny Gray, SMU: 4.33 seconds

Bo Melton, Rutgers: 4.34 seconds

Tight Ends

Chigoziem Okonkwo, Maryland: 4.52 seconds

Jelani Woods, Virginia: 4.61 seconds

Grant Calcaterra, SMU: 4.62 seconds

Daniel Bellinger, San Diego State: 4.62 seconds

Greg Dulcich, UCLA: 4.70 seconds

Connor Heyward, Michigan State: 4.72 seconds

*Full combine results available on NFL.com

Malik Willis, Kenny Pickett Among Top Quarterback Performers

Unsurprisingly, Willis and Pickett were two of the top quarterbacks during Thursday’s drills. Pickett ran an impressive 4.73 second 40-yard dash, which was third among all quarterbacks, though Willis did not compete in that drill.

However, Willis impressed with his arm, consistently connecting with receivers down field. Though, this comes as no surprise as the Liberty QB is known for having a very strong arm and being an above-average athlete. 

NFL @NFL

.@malikwillis stealing the show with these deep balls! @LibertyFootball

: #NFLCombine on @nflnetwork pic.twitter.com/3t2rF2dpJp

NFL @NFL

An absolute BEAUTY of a throw from @LibertyFootball
QB @malikwillis

: #NFLCombine on @nflnetwork pic.twitter.com/nBtecvoB2I

NFL @NFL

Reminder: @LibertyFootball QB @malikwillis has an unbelievable arm.

: #NFLCombine on @nflnetwork pic.twitter.com/TuFJukSJv9

While Willis didn’t compete in any other drills except throwing, he still improved his draft stock on Thursday, especially with players like Corral unable to compete due to injury. 

Willis is in contention to be the first quarterback taken in this year’s draft, and it’s not surprising following his senior season at Liberty. The 22-year-old completed 61.1 percent of his passes for 2,857 yards and 27 touchdowns against 12 interceptions in 13 games. He also ran for 878 yards and 13 scores. 

As for Pickett, his day started off poorly after his hands were measured at 8 1/2 inches, which is smaller than any active NFL quarterback. His hand size has been a concern for many throughout the year as some fear he will struggle gripping an NFL-sized football. 

However, Pickett appeared comfortable in throwing drills on Thursday and did what was expected of him. 

Pitt Football @Pitt_FB

4.67 in the 40 for KP8 ⏱

@KennyPickett10 #H2P » @NFLNetwork pic.twitter.com/iZfQCQiXm8

NFL @NFL

.@Pitt_FB QB @kennypickett10 letting it fly. ️

: #NFLCombine on @nflnetwork pic.twitter.com/9wgAtIufd8

Pitt Football @Pitt_FB

Consistent. Composed. Kenny.

@KennyPickett10

Watch the #NFLCombine March 3-6 on the @NFLNetwork #H2P » @NFL pic.twitter.com/8pxi0se69m

Like Willis, Pickett is expected to be one of the top quarterbacks selected in this year’s draft. The Panthers quarterback completed 67.2 percent of his passes in 2021 for 4,319 yards and 42 touchdowns against seven interceptions. He also ran for 233 yards and five scores. 

While Pickett didn’t have as impressive of a day as Willis on Thursday, he’ll surely be able to compete with the Liberty product down the road. 

Tyquan Thornton, Chris Olave, Treylon Burks Among Top Wide Receiver Performers

There were many outstanding performances from the wide receivers on Thursday, but the talk of arguably the entire day was the performance of Thornton in the 40-yard dash. 

The Baylor wide receiver ran an unofficial 4.21 40-yard dash. That time was later updated to a 4.28, which is still the fastest in this year’s combine, but not enough to break John Ross’ record of 4.22 set in 2017. Ross went on to be drafted ninth overall that year and was the third WR off the board. 

NFL @NFL

WOW. JUST WOW.@BUFootball WR Tyquan Thornton might’ve just broken the all-time 40 record with a 4.21u.

: #NFLCombine on @nflnetwork pic.twitter.com/WvR8FfKv6M

Thornton also finished with a 36.50″ vertical jump and 10’10” broad jump. He is considered a vertical downfield threat, so his performances in those drills don’t necessarily come as a surprise. 

Thornton spent his entire four-year career with Baylor but had a breakout 2021 season. He caught 62 passes for 948 yards and 10 touchdowns in 14 games, which are all career highs. He addition, he averaged 15.3 yards per catch. 

While Thornton’s 40-yard dash time won’t vault him over players like Williams, Olave, Burks and Drake London, it’s still enough to get scouts and general managers talking. 

As for Olave, he also had an impressive outing in the 40-yard dash, finishing with an unofficial time of 4.26 seconds, which was the second-best among WRs behind Thornton. Olave’s time was later updated to a 4.39. 

NFL @NFL

4.26u, holy moly.@OhioStateFB WR @chrisolave_ with a jaw-dropping 40.

: #NFLCombine on @nflnetwork pic.twitter.com/xKZxr9Cd78

Olave has somewhat fallen out of the discussion about who is the top receiver in this year’s class, and he needed an impressive performance on Thursday to re-enter that conversation. He did just that by competing with some of the draft’s best at Lucas Oil Stadium. 

The Buckeyes receiver also had an impressive senior season, catching 65 passes for 936 yards and 13 touchdowns. After his performance during the 2021 season and in the combine, it’s hard to imagine he’ll fall out of the first round. 

Moving on to Burks, he arguably had the second-most impressive 40-yard dash time. At 6″2′, 225 pounds, the Arkansas product ran the 40-yard dash in 4.50 seconds, which is incredibly impressive given his size. 

NFL @NFL

.@RazorbackFB WR @TreylonBurks improves his time to 4.5u.

: #NFLCombine on @nflnetwork pic.twitter.com/CFyDKp2zI4

Following his performance, Burks was drawing heavy comparison to Tennessee Titans wide receiver A.J. Brown. 

Next Gen Stats @NextGenStats

Arkansas WR Treylon Burks profiles similarly to Titans WR A.J. Brown in both size and athleticism.

Burks (6’2″, 225) & Brown (6’0 1/2″, 226) performed comparably in both the 40-yard dash and the broad jump at the NFL combine.#NextGenScores pic.twitter.com/0NBBG4x25F

Burks could be the top wide receiver off the board in this year’s draft. The junior had an incredible 2021 season for the Razorbacks, catching 66 passes for 1,104 yards and 11 touchdowns in 12 games. 

The 21-year-old’s size and versatility make him one of the most sought-after receivers in this year’s class. The only question remaining is whether he’ll be drafted toward the beginning or middle of the first round. 

Jelani Woods, Chigoziem Okonkwo Among Top Tight End Performers

While Colorado State’s Trey McBride and UCLA’s Greg Dulcich are considered two of the best tight ends in the 2022 draft class, two players who often fly under the radar shined during Thursday’s first day of drills. 

Virginia’s Jelani Woods had one of the best performances of any tight end at the combine, running a 4.61 40-yard dash at 6″7′, 259 pounds. He also led the bench press with 24 reps as his stock skyrocketed.

NFL @NFL

Jelani Woods led all TEs in the bench press with 24 reps.

Now he just ran a 4.61u. Keep your eyes peeled for this @UVAFootball TE.

: #NFLCombine on @nflnetwork pic.twitter.com/aylmuPPy4H

NFL Research @NFLResearch

Jelani Woods ran a 4.61 40-yard dash at 6’7 1/8″, marking the fastest 40-yard dash time by a TE taller than 6’7″ since 2003 and 2nd-fastest by any player taller than 6’7″ over that span (behind DL Margus Hunt’s 4.60 in 2013)#NFLCombine

NFL @NFL

.@UVAFootball TE Jelani Woods led all TEs with 24 bench press reps.

Keep your eyes out for @jelani_thegreat today.

: #NFLCombine starting at 4pm ET on @nflnetwork pic.twitter.com/zPM8oDC5Mn

Woods checked all the boxes on Thursday, including in the pass-catching drills, where he was calm, cool and collected. NFL general managers and head coaches should be drooling over the opportunity to draft Woods following his performance.

Preston Willett @PrestonWillett

A standout first day for UVA tight end Jelani Woods at the NFL Draft Combine:

– Most bench press reps for a TE (24 reps)
– 2nd fastest 40 Yard Dash among TEs (4.61), the fastest by a TE taller than 6’7″ since 2003

Here’s what @jelani_thegreat had to say⬇️ pic.twitter.com/gFbHRGBEGv

And while Woods flew under the radar until Thursday, he finished the 2021 season with 44 catches for 598 yards and eight touchdowns in 11 games for the Cavaliers. It was a standout season for the senior, who spent the first three years of his collegiate career at Oklahoma State. 

Okonkwo was another player who caught the attention of NFL teams on Thursday. He finished with the fastest 40-yard dash among tight ends. At 6″2′, 238 pounds, the Terrapins standout finished with a time of 4.52 seconds. 

NFL @NFL

.@TerpsFootball TE Chigoziem Okonkwo with a speeeeedy 4.54u.

: #NFLCombine on @nflnetwork pic.twitter.com/xIg2Gq68oM

His vertical jump also came in at 35.50″, which ranks second among all tight ends.

Okonkwo is projected to be a middle- or late-round round pick in April’s draft. He missed the 2020 season because of myocarditis, which likely hurt his stock, but he did have a breakout 2021 campaign, catching 52 passes for 447 yards and five touchdowns. 

If anything, Okonkwo proved he can be effective at the NFL level. It’s just a matter of which team will take the chance on him.

(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today)