Day43 of the NFL Combine has come and gone, officially wrapping up the 2022 edition of everyone’s favorite pre-draft event. The defensive backs and specialists took the field on Sunday and put on quite a show for the fans in attendance and at home.
I described Saturday's workout involving front seven defenders as the day in which freaks come out. That made Sunday the day in which the freaks showed out. Here’s a look at those who made a mark, for better or worse.
Winner: CB Tariq Woolen, UTSA
While we’re on the topic of “freaks”, let’s take a look at the freakiest defensive back in the 2022 class. Tariq Woolen stands at 6-foot-4 and weighs 205 pounds, otherwise known as the ideal size for an NFL press man cornerback. His physical attributes would be enough for almost any team to take a shot at him within the first 100 picks of April’s draft.
He must not have gotten the message because he decided to go out and put up some of the best numbers the NFL Combine has ever seen. Here are his numbers and how they rank amongst all Combine participants since 2003:
- 40-yard dash: 4.26 (2nd)
- Vertical: 42” (T-8th)
As they say in the biz, that’ll do.
Winner: CB Kaiir Elam, Florida
The four days of the NFL Combine are an interesting case study into how people evaluate talent. Some evaluators will allow a fast forty time to help propel a prospect up multiple spots in their rankings. Others take the weekend with a grain of salt and value tape study more than anything. No matter which side you fall on, Kaiir Elam’s stock has continued to rise with more exposure throughout the process.
He’s the guy who put good play on film, put together impressive numbers at the combine, and looked like the most natural pure cornerback in on-field drills. If there is a way to get noticed throughout this process, Elam has taken advantage of it.
Loser: CB Coby Bryant, Cincinnati
Sometimes prospects fall through no fault of their own. Tariq Woolen, Kaiir Elam, and former teammate Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner have all seen their stock rise since the end of the college season. That means others have seen their stock fall in return, and Coby Bryant has been one of those players.
Bryant’s performance at the combine was adequate. He didn’t look bad by any means, but he didn’t do enough to stand amongst the stars that were on display. The world is unfair sometimes.
Winner: CB Kalon Barnes, Baylor
Kalon Barnes is the second fastest player to run at the combine since 2003. As Pats Pulpit’s self professed Senior Draft Analyst, I'm man enough to admit that I didn’t even have him ranked prior to Sunday’s performance.
A fast forty yard dash time doesn’t make you a great football player, that much is true. Legitimate olympic track speed? That might help your case. Barnes is a name to watch moving forward, even if he wasn’t on your radar prior.
Loser: CB Jermaine Waller, Virginia Tech
It was a tough day to be Jermaine Waller on Sunday. After weighing in as the lightest defensive back in this years group, he also happened to run the slowest forty yard dash of all players on hand Sunday afternoon. No bueno.
Winner: CB Zyon McCollum, Sam Houston State
In each of the first three days at the combine in 2022, there has been a player to come out of the workout looking like an athletic marvel.
On Day 1, North Dakota State wide receiver Christian Watson topped the leaderboards of almost every category. On Day 2, Iowa State running back Breece Hall lapped the field in all testing categories. Don’t get me started on Jordan Davis’ day three performance, and now a relatively unknown defensive back out of powerhouse Sam Houston State University, Zyon McCollum putting up one of the best combine performances we've ever seen.
One of the few players to test in more than just a couple of categories, here is how McCollum fared in each of his tests and how he ranked amongst the group.
- 40-yard dash: 4.33 (3rd)
- Vertical: 39.5” (2nd)
- Broad: 11’ (1st)
- 3 Cone: 6.48 (1st)
- 20 yd shuttle: 3.94 (1st)
If you didn’t know the name before, you know the name now.