NFL 2022 Combine Preview

Story posted March 3, 2022 in

With the NFL Draft just about two months away, one of the biggest events in that process is about to begin – The Combine.

Every year, the prospects see their stock rise and fall as a result of their combine performances and measurement, but this year, many players will not be in attendance due to controversy surrounding the bubble format along with their injury concerns.

This has been a trend over the past few years as prospects generally prefer the pro day format, but there will still be some premier talent at the Combine so here’s a look at who could be the biggest stories when it wraps up.

Calvin Austin III

The most popular event at the Combine tends to be the 40-yard dash, and Calvin Austin seems to be the current favorite to take home the crown of fastest player.

The wide receiver out of Memphis is slightly undersized for his position, currently being measured at 5’9” and just 162 pounds, which is oddly similar to former Louisville wide receiver Tutu Atwell, who was able to launch himself into the second round last year in large part because of his blazing speed.

If Austin runs in the 4.2 to 4.4-second range, he could see a similar jump in his draft stock and overall public recognition.

Malik Willis

Malik Willis is another player everyone should be excited to watch run the 40-yard dash.

The Liberty quarterback is the most athletic quarterback prospect the league has seen since Lamar Jackson in 2018 and there was plenty of disappointment among football fans when he didn’t run the 40-yard dash at his combine.

The current record holder for fastest 40 time at the Combine among quarterbacks is Robert Griffin III with a 4.41-second run. Willis could potentially break this.

He is also expected to throw so, considering he has arguably the best arm in this draft class, Willis could potentially be in serious consideration for a top-10 pick.

Kyler Gordon

While Washington cornerback Trent McDuffie has been receiving a lot of praise and first-round projections recently, his teammate, Kyler Gordon, could potentially go higher than him.

Gordon, while raw as a prospect, is widely considered one of the best athletes this draft class has to offer and is expected to test off the charts.

His explosiveness will surely show up in the 40-yard dash, vertical and broad jump, as well as allowing him to stand out in the individual cornerback drills.

Gordon has received comparisons to Byron Jones, who put on one of the best shows in combine history back in 2015, so don’t be surprised when his name is called in the first round of the draft on Apr. 28.

Travon Walker

The evaluations on Walker are currently all over the place due to the mystery surrounding his position at the next level, but his raw athleticism could prove to be too good to ignore after the combine.

The pass rusher out of Georgia is one of the most explosive athletes on the defensive side of the ball in this draft and he happens to be 6’5” and 275 pounds of muscle.

Because of this he should not only test well on the field but also dominate the bench press.

So while he is unlikely to jump the top two pass rushers in Hutchinson and Thibodeaux, Walker could potentially be another player to vault himself into the conversation for a top 10 pick.

Jakob Schnur is a second-year majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him email, jks6463@psu.edu