Day 1 of the 2022 NFL Scouting Combine is in the books.
Most of the skill players in the class had their time to shine, as the quarterbacks, wide receivers and tight ends partook in on-field workouts. The receivers stole the show, but a handful of tight ends and quarterbacks were able to snag some headlines down in Indianapolis.
Let’s not waste any time: here are some of the winners from the first day of Combine workouts.
The 2022 draft is widely considered to be a solid group of tight ends that might not have a consensus TE1, but features a handful of talents late on Day 2 and early Day 3 that could produce at the next level.
That said, the Combine provided an opportunity for several tight ends to propel themselves into the TE1 territory. These are some of the top performers at the position from Thursday:
- Jelani Woods, Virginia - A 6-foot-7 monster who ran a 4.61 40-yard dash, Woods surpassed the high expectations draftniks had for him coming into the event. He looked raw as a route runner — as he does on tape — but he showed the NFL just how much physical upside he has.
- Chigoziem Okonkwo, Maryland - His ceiling is limited due to his having a smaller frame for a tight end, but Okonkwo’s blazing 4.52 40-yard dash certainly turned some heads. He looked fluid in positional drills and showcased some of the athletic tools that made him a versatile playmaker in college.
- Greg Dulcich, UCLA - His testing was solid, but it was the positional drills that really helped Dulcich separate from the rest of the field. He moved fluidly in drills, showcasing very good body control and coordination as a hands-catcher in receiving workouts. He’s a smooth athlete who should generate Day 2 looks.
- Daniel Bellinger, San Diego State - I was especially surprised to see Bellinger test as well as he did, seeing as though I had a below-average athletic grade on him heading into Thursday. That said, he looked fluid in drills, finished fourth with a 4.63 40-yard dash, and he showed some good drive in his anchor in bag drills.
There might not be a consensus QB1 in the 2022 draft, nor is there a true blue-chip prospect in the class. However, there are multiple players who could potentially develop into starters at the next level.
Did any singular quarterback do enough to completely separate from the group? Maybe not, but there were definitely a few who might have boosted their draft stock.
- Carson Strong, Nevada - Quarterbacks with huge arms have the chance to wow audiences at the Combine, and Strong took advantage of that. The distance behind his deep balls and the placement on some of those passes was truly impressive. He’s raw, but his arm talent could see him drafted in Round 1.
- E.J. Perry, Brown - Out of the quarterbacks viewed as Day 3 picks or later, Perry arguably had the best performance on Thursday. He ran a 4.60 40-yard dash, and he showcased some nice flashes of touch from all parts of the field.
- Malik Willis, Liberty - Even if he didn’t run a 40-yard dash that probably would’ve been the fastest among all quarterbacks, Willis was still able to put on a show. He had some stinkers, but the arm talent he put on display was fantastic, as was the touch he threw a majority of his deep balls with.
- Sam Howell, North Carolina - Howell had a well-rounded outing down in Indianapolis, delivering passes with a good sense of anticipation and showing some nice zip behind his throws. While unknown whether he goes Round 1 or not, he should definitely generate looks from NFL teams in need of a future starting quarterback.
The wide receivers were the talk of the day at the Combine, and rightfully so: many of them put on a clinic.
Unofficially, 12 receivers managed to run a 40-yard dash under 4.40 seconds, with three of them crossing into 4.2 territory. The speed this class displayed was absurd, making for incredibly fun viewing from both groups. The Bears need wide receivers, and while it was tough to narrow it down, these receivers were among those who stood out.
Honorable mentions: Ty Fryfogle, Indiana; Khalil Shakir, Boise State; Isaiah Weston, Northern Iowa; Jahan Dotson, Penn State; Kevin Austin Jr., Notre Dame; Calvin Austin III, Memphis; Velus Jones Jr., Tennessee
- Christian Watson, North Dakota State - Those who watched Watson’s tape and his Senior Bowl outing knew how athletic he was, but some might not have expected him to run as fast as he did. With a 4.28 40-yard dash — and elite testing numbers in the vertical and broad jumps — he showcased the explosiveness that makes him a rare specimen for any receiver, let alone one who’s 6-foot-4.
- Chris Olave, Ohio State - Did you expect Olave to run a 4.26 40-yard dash? I didn’t, and I thought he was more athletic than people gave him credit for. He looked good in drills, but defiantly shattering any potential long speed concerns should not only make Olave a first-round lock, but a potential top-15 pick.
- Tyquan Thornton, Baylor - Thornton might have broken the 40-yard dash record. Enough said.
- Alec Pierce, Cincinnati - Many expected Pierce to perform well at the Combine. Still, a positional-best 40.5-inch vertical jump and a 4.33 40-yard dash for a 6-foot-3, 211-pound receiver is nothing to scoff about. His athletic profile is among the best in the class at any position.
- Bo Melton, Rutgers - Melton rose into prominence once he got invited to the Senior Bowl, but he wasn’t seen as much more than a late-round pick by most analysts. He tore the house down in Indianapolis, running a 4.34 40-yard dash and looking coordinated and refined running routes and snagging passes in positional drills.
- Skyy Moore, Western Michigan - Not only did Moore run a 4.41 40-yard dash, but he measured as having the biggest hands out of any receiver in the class, despite being a hair short of 5-foot-10. He looked dynamic and crisp in drills and showcased the speed that made him such a dynamic threat at Western Michigan.