NFL Scouting Combine set to kick off in Indianapolis

The NFL Scouting Combine is set to begin this week in Indianapolis, perhaps for the last time as the league plans to rotate cities in the future.

The event, which will be held from March 3 to March 6 at Lucas Oil Stadium, will have position groups making staggered arrivals over the four days. Prospects will undergo the usual physical testing, including the 40-yard dash, and field drills on their final day. Players go through interviews with NFL clubs and media, as well.

Last year, due to COVID-19, combine wasn’t held in traditional form; instead, interviews were handled virtually, and workouts were deferred to college pro days.

Here are some of the key questions that are certainly going to be discussed heavily this week.

Who will be the number one overall selection?

The number one overall pick is always a hot topic of discussion, and this year is no exception. Many are saying that if the Jacksonville Jaguars keep the top pick, it will be one of the top defensive edge rushers, such as Aidan Hutchinson of Michigan or Kayvon Thibodeaux of Oregon. Not everyone agrees as there are those who feel that it would be prudent to protect franchise quarterback Trevor Lawrence and so selecting an offensive lineman such as Evan Neal of Alabama or Ikem Ekwonu of North Carolina State would be wise.

Still, one franchise may well be convinced to trade up for the top quarterback, and right now the discussion flip flops between Kenny Pickett of Pittsburgh and Malik Willis of Liberty. Or, how about a total change of pace? Notre Dame safety Kyle Hamilton, is considered by many to be the top-rated player pound-for-pound available.

Is there any chance still for a player boycott?

The NFL removed all ‘bubble’ restrictions following a threatened boycott of the Combine by a 13-agent group representing 155 players.  It is still conceivable that a handful of top prospects will wait until their pro day to work out. According to the NFL Draft Bible, potential first-round picks such as Ole Miss quarterback Matt Corral, Alabama offensive lineman Evan Neal and LSU cornerback Derek Stingley Jr. (injury) will not participate in combine testing.

Who will be the fastest man at the Combine?

There is no denying that NFL players tend to get bigger, faster and stronger every year! The 2022 NFL Draft Class is no different.

There are a number of athletes who will no doubt push the ‘modern-day’ 40-yard dash record set by wide receiver John Ross (4.22 in 2019). One is USC cornerback Isaac Taylor-Stuart, who in high school ran personal bests of 11.38 in the 100 meters and 22.43 in the 200 meters. Apparently, he also ran between a 4.2 and 4.3 40-yard dash.

UTSA cornerback Tariq Woolen was the fastest player clocked during Reese’s Senior Bowl. The 6’4″, 205 pound speedster reached a top speed of 22.45mph, according to Zebra Technology. Woolen, if picked, would be the third ever UTSA player selected in the NFL Draft. And there is good reason as his measurements are worthy of note. Reportedly, he has 33 1/4-inch arms with a 78 3/8-inch wingspan.

Other notable defensive backs include cornerback Kalon Barnes of Baylor and safety Daxton Hill of Michigan. On offense, candidates include Jahan Dotson of Penn State and Skyy Moore of Central Michigan. Still, there is an underlining belief that Memphis wideout Calvin Austin III will be the fastest player in Indianapolis and could challenge the Ross record.

All in all, with the next major event being the NFL Draft to be held in Las Vegas starting April 28, there is no doubt the 2022 NFL Combine will garner plenty of attention.

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