While the 2022 NFL Combine shouldn’t make or break a prospect’s NFL Draft projection, there were a plethora of performances that should help several players solidify or skyrocket their stock. North Dakota State wide receiver Christian Watson and Georgia defensive dominator Travon Walker headline a list of prospects who ignited their stock in Indianapolis.
Five NFL Draft prospects who improved their draft stock at the 2022 NFL Combine
Tape over everything. It’s a common phrase in scouting communities. However, it is particularly relevant as we reflect on the 2022 NFL Combine. While athletic testing is a part of the puzzle, it shouldn’t be the piece that defines the whole jigsaw. Confirmation and clarification are what the Combine is for. That said, multiple standout performances should help clarify the prospects who boosted their NFL Draft stock.
Christian Watson, WR, North Dakota State
The North Dakota State wide receiver built off a sensational Senior Bowl performance by crushing the 2022 NFL Combine. There’d been much speculation about what the 6’4″, 208-pound wide receiver would run in the 40-yard dash. Any detractors were quickly silenced on Thursday night as Christian Watson raced to a ridiculous 4.36-second official time.
It was just the cherry atop the cake of an explosive Combine performance. Watson put up an even more impressive 38.5″ vertical jump. Additionally, he led all prospects with an 11’4″ broad jump. Away from the testing numbers, the NDSU wide receiver was smooth and sensational during on-field drills. Considered a Day 3 prospect earlier in the year, could Watson be knocking on the door of the first round in April?
Travon Walker, DL, Georgia
In all honesty, you could take out Georgia DL Travon Walker‘s name and position from this header and replace it with any Bulldogs prospect. There’s been a sensational week of performances by the reigning national champions. Particular attention should be paid to safety Lewis Cine, who showcased the exceptional speed that has made him a nightmare for opposing offenses and could land him a spot in the first round.
However, amongst those performances, Walker potentially made himself the most money at the 2022 NFL Combine. The versatile defensive lineman was a top-five performer at almost all of the athletic testing drills. He also showcased his incredible agility during on-field workouts. As his scouting report reveals, Walker has the potential to play at any weight, at any alignment, and at his current trajectory, the potential to be a top-five pick in April.
Zyon McCollum, CB, Sam Houston State
Joining Watson as an FCS prospect who helped skyrocket their NFL Draft stock at the 2022 NFL Combine is Zyon McCollum. The Sam Houston State CB has been one of the stars of the FCS level for the past five years. An incredibly productive playmaker, he’s tallied 54 pass breakups that include 13 interceptions during his career for the Bearkats.
McCollum is now attracting national attention. An impressive size/speed threat on the outside, he ran an official 4.33-second 40-yard dash in Indianapolis. Furthermore, the Sam Houston State CB posted elite shuttle (3.94s), three-cone (6.48s), vertical jump (39.5″), and broad jump (11’0″) numbers. Having also showcased fluidity during on-field drills, McCollum should see a significant boost in his stock as scouts return to his tape.
Zion Johnson, G, Boston College
With Kenyon Green struggling, Boston College’s Zion Johnson potentially solidified himself as the No. 1 guard prospect in the 2022 NFL Draft. Johnson is a versatile lineman with in-game experience at left tackle and guard. Furthermore, he lined up at center during practice for the Senior Bowl, an event where he continued to ascend his draft stock.
The bench press is considered an important athletic test for offensive linemen. Johnson led all players at his position with 32 reps. Furthermore, he posted incredible agility numbers with a 7.38 three-cone and 4.46 shuttle. Both times were in the top five among all offensive linemen. The Boston College guard was also excellent on the field, rounding off an impressive process that may result in a first-round selection in April.
Jelani Woods, TE, Virginia
In a talented tight end class, Jelani Woods is emerging as a potential difference-maker. Somewhat unknown coming into the all-star game cycle, his sensational performances at the East-West Shrine Bowl helped elevate his profile. While he caught a touchdown during the game, he impressed all week with his ability to create separation with ease.
However, his performances at the NFL Combine will help continue the ascent of his draft stock. Measuring in at 6’7″ and 259 pounds, Woods ran a ridiculous 4.61 40-yard dash time. Meanwhile, he led all tight ends with 24 bench press reps. This feat is made even more astounding when you consider his 34 1/8″ arms.