The NFL Combine continued on Friday with a day that has become a favorite amongst many. The offensive lineman, running backs, and specialists worked out on Day 2, putting on a second straight record-breaking performance in terms of how they stacked up with past classes.
As always, there were standouts at all positions. Here are the guys who improved their stock and some who saw their stock fall.
Winner: OL Ikem Ekonwu, NC State
The wrap on Ikem Ekonwu coming into the week was that he excelled as a run blocker and was good going downhill, but may struggle with change of direction as he moved to the next level. He erased most, if not all concerns that people had about his lateral agility with a special performance at Friday’s workout.
Ekonwu paired his smooth footwork throughout the offensive lineman drills with a sub-5.00 second forty yard dash that not many saw coming from a man who weighs over 300 pounds. He was always going to be one of the first three offensive lineman off the board. After his performance this week, he looks like he has a real shot at being the number one pick.
Loser: OL Darian Kinnard, Kentucky
Darian Kinnard has been a different player throughout the draft process than the guy you see on film. After dropping a significant amount of weight, he seems to lack the explosion you would look for in a starting tackle at the next level. When Kinnard isn’t able to display his strength, you see the lack of other high end traits that has really held him back from taking a jump into the first round.
Winner: RB Breece Hall, Iowa State
Talk about testing well...
Let’s take a look at Breece Hall’s Combine numbers:
- 40-yard dash: 4.39
- Vertical: 40”
- Broad: 10’6”
Oh yeah, he did that at 5-foot-11, 217 pounds. That’ll do.
Winner: OL Spencer Burford, UTSA
Spencer Burford may have been the smoothest athlete that we saw take part in offensive line drills at this years combine. He didn’t display elite speed or explosive numbers but his performance during on field drills stood out. He didn’t guess on mirrors, he climbed well on duos, and best of all, he showed a strong punch on the pads. A good day for the former 4-star prospect.
Winner: OL Zion Johnson, Boston College
Zion Johnson earned himself a hefty bag of cash on Friday, showing that he was far and away the best interior offensive lineman on the field, and may even have moved himself into the conversation for a first round pick. Smooth, strong, well balanced, and smart. He was able to prove that he was all of those things this week.
Winner: RB Kenneth Walker, Michigan State
Heading into the combine, Kenneth Walker had very few knocks against him. He’s a strong back who can run downhill and catch it out of the backfield, producing very well in college. The one thing people wondered was if he had the straight line speed to pull away from NFL defenders. With a 4.38 forty time put those wonders to bed. In many people’s books he became RB1 on Friday.
Winner: OL Trevor Penning, Northern Iowa
The stock continues to rise for FCS products in the 2022 NFL Draft as Trevor Penning was able to pair his nasty mentality that was on display at the Senior Bowl with a strong combine showing on Friday.
Penning, a New England Patriots fit through and through, may officially be out of their range following his strong performances in February.