The 2022 NFL Scouting Combine has officially come to an end, and the last day of workouts was certainly an incredible one.
The defensive backs had their chance to shine on Sunday, tearing up the 40-yard dash and putting their mobility out on full display in Indianapolis. Several prospects put together fantastic days, but which players stood out among the rest?
Here are some of the defensive backs who performed the best on Day 4 of this year’s Combine.
As was the case in the previous three days, Day 4 brought plenty of speedsters to the field, including several at cornerback.
From physical specimens to late-round sleepers, many cornerbacks were able to use the spotlight of the Combine to propel their draft stock in the grand scheme of things. The Bears in particular should be happy with how many cornerbacks were able to excel on Sunday.
- Tariq Woolen, UTSA - Does a 6-foot-4 cornerback who can run a 4.26 40 and can reach 42 inches in a vertical jump sound enticing to you? If so, you’d love Woolen, who predictably shredded the Combine.
- Kalon Barnes, Baylor - Many saw Barnes as a candidate to break the 40-yard dash record of 4.22, and he came extremely close: 0.01 seconds away, to be exact. His expected speed more than lived up to the hype, and his explosiveness out of his breaks helped him out in drills.
- Kaiir Elam, Florida - Elam seemed to be suffering from prospect fatigue heading into Sunday, but his Combine performance did a good job of reminding NFL teams just how good he is. A 4.39 40-yard dash runner at 6-foot-2, Elam was also very reliable catching passes and tracking down the deep ball.
- Sauce Gardner, Cincinnati - Gardner ran a very good 4.41 40, but his drills stood out more than anything. For a 6-foot-3 cornerback, he showcased remarkable mobility and brought his lateral agility to Indianapolis that he displayed over the course of his collegiate career.
- Decobie Durant, South Carolina State - I had not heard of Durant prior to workouts, but I came away impressed with what I saw from him at the Combine. He finished with a 4.38 40 — fifth among all cornerbacks — and was easily one of the most fluid movers in positional drills. Though small, his mobility caught my eye and makes him a priority for me to watch this week.
- Cam Taylor-Britt, Nebraska - I had questions about whether Taylor-Britt was a cornerback or a safety at the next level, but I have much fewer concerns about his fit as a corner at the next level now. Not only did he run a 4.38 40, but his fluidity stood out in drills, and he showcased some of the best hands of any defensive back in Indianapolis.
Not to be overshadowed by the cornerbacks, the safeties of the 2022 NFL Draft also put together a stellar outing as a group.
This year’s group is full of rangy safeties with serious chops in coverage, and the outings from this class reflected that. Regardless of your own personal philosophy at the safety position, there was something for everyone with the group of safeties down in Indianapolis.
- Jalen Pitre, Baylor - Pitre didn’t run the 40-yard dash, but he stood out to me because of just how crisp his movements were. He’s lower to the ground at 5-foot-11, which gives him a lower center of gravity, but his flexibility in his lower half and sharpness in his cuts was remarkable.
- Kyle Hamilton, Notre Dame - Though his 4.59 40 tied for the worst time among safeties at the Combine, he was a top tester elsewhere, placing third among safeties in the vertical jump and second in the broad jump. His drills were predictably stellar, as he’s a better lateral athlete than a straight-line athlete, and his ball skills were fantastic. He looked the part of a physical freak at 6-foot-4 and 220 pounds.
- Percy Butler, Louisiana - Another name that I did not know heading into Sunday, Butler was able to stand out to me from an athletic perspective in workouts. He ran a 4.36 40 and looked smooth in drills, changing direction with ease when given plenty of space. I’m looking forward to breaking down his tape this week.
- Lewis Cine, Georgia - Cine’s mobility allowed him to tear up positional drills. He also led all safeties with an 11-foot-1 broad jump, placed fifth with a 36.5-inch vertical and ran the fifth-best time for a safety in the 40 at a blazing 4.38. There was nothing the Georgia standout didn’t excel in.
- J.T. Woods, Baylor - Explosiveness is the calling card of Woods’ game, and he showed that in spades on Sunday. He ran a speedy 4.36 40, led all safeties with a 39.5-inch vertical jump and finished in the top five for his position in the broad jump. His positional drills were also solid, finishing what continues to be a great offseason circuit for him.
- Nick Cross, Maryland - There wasn’t a test that Cross took that he didn’t finish as a top-four player at the safety position. He led all safeties with a 4.34 40-yard dash at 212 pounds, and his vertical and broad jumps were both also superb. His positional drills were rock solid, further conveying to teams just how explosive the Maryland defender is.