The hog-mollies had their time to shine at the 2022 NFL Scouting Combine on Friday.
There were multiple running backs to put together strong outings down in Indianapolis on Day 2 of on-field workouts, but the focus among Bears fans likely stays towards the offensive linemen, who as a class were able to display insane athletic ability for a big group of guys.
Let’s not dilly dally any further. I sound like I’m a 60-year-old man from the 70s.
Here are some of the top performers from Day 2 of this year’s Combine.
The offensive line is generally seen as a strength of the 2022 NFL Draft.
Not only are there two linemen with strong cases to be the top pick in the class, but there are several others with first-round arguments and dozens more with starting upside. The group performed very well as a whole, which is good news for lineman-needy teams like the Bears.
- Kellen Diesch, Arizona State - Among the top offensive line testers at the Combine, Diesch was second in the 20-yard shuttle, second in 40-yard dash and third in the vertical jump for linemen. Athleticism was a big calling card of his game, and he lived up to the hype.
- Cam Jurgens, Nebraska - The mustachioed wonder known as “Beef Jurgy”, Jurgens ran a 4.91 40-yard dash with a 1.71 10-yard split. The former high school tight end displayed his stellar agility in positional drills and likely would’ve finished among the top at his position in agility testing had he tested.
- Ikem Ekwonu, NC State - Ekwonu is one of the candidates to be the No. 1 overall pick, and he certainly helped his case with how he performed on Friday. He looked fluid and polished with his footwork in positional drills, and he packed a nice punch in bag drills. Want to know how he tested? Just know he graded as a 99 overall athlete.
- Zion Johnson, Boston College - Though Johnson wasn’t an elite tester, his positional drills were fantastic. His footwork moving laterally was textbook, his base wide and his weight anchored underneath him. He packed a nice punch in bag drills, and his processing was sharp in agility drills.
- Chris Paul, Tulsa - Tyler Smith gets a lot of the hype, and as well as he played, it was Paul who arguably stood out more. He had a 4.92 40-yard dash at 323 pounds with impressive splits, and his lateral movement was crisp in drills. A versatile lineman with guard-tackle ability, Paul is a name for Bears fans to remember late on Day 2 or early on Day 3.
- Trevor Penning, Northern Iowa - Penning tested insanely well, finishing in over 90th percentile in both the 40-yard dash and broad jump at 6-foot-7 and 325 pounds, as well as the best three-cone drill time for offensive linemen. His positional drills showcased his mobility in pass protection for his size, perfectly reflecting the physical upside he brings at the next level.
- Bernhard Raimann, Central Michigan - The 6-foot-6, 303-pound Raimann had a great day of testing, finishing with a great 1.73 10-yard split, 30 bench press reps and a 98th percentile broad jump. He moved well in drills and looked like a top-notch athlete, solidifying the physical upside as a massive part of why he’s viewed as a possible first-round pick.
While there might not be a guaranteed first-round running back in the 2022 draft, this year’s class isn’t without talent at the position.
From three-down bellcows to elusive receiving backs to thundering power backs, there’s a little bit of everything that can be had, especially late on Day 2 and early on Day 3. Six different backs finished with 40-yard dash times under 4.40 seconds, while many others displayed lightning speed and agility in positional drills.
- Pierre Strong Jr., South Dakota State - Strong led all running backs with a blazing 4.37 40-yard dash, and his lateral quickness was on full display in positional drills. He was a favorite of mine for his well-rounded skill-set and his intelligence in between the tackles, so to see him complement his tape with a great performance in Indianapolis was encouraging.
- Breece Hall, Iowa State - The 2022 draft doesn’t really have a consensus RB1, but Hall’s Combine performance did a lot to help out his case to be the top back in the class. Not only did he run a 4.40 40-yard dash, but he tested in 93rd and 96th percentile in the broad jump and vertical jump, respectively.
- James Cook, Georgia - The brother of Vikings All-Pro back Dalvin, Cook was able to put together a strong showing on Friday. He ran a 4.42 40-yard dash and moved very well in positional drills, showcasing soft hands as a receiver in the process. His versatility should be incredibly enticing for NFL teams.
- Zamir White, Georgia - On tape, White looked like an explosive runner with a powerful edge with the ball in his hands. He displayed that explosiveness in testing, finishing with a 4.47 40-yard dash and finished 96th percentile in his broad jump.