Any opinions expressed in this article do not reflect those of the team.
In just a few days, college football's top prospects will be at Lucas Oil Stadium for the 2022 Scouting Combine.
The event, which was canceled last year because of the COVID-19 pandemic, will be one of the best opportunities for players to get noticed by scouts and improve their stock, and with more than 300 athletes getting ready to converge on Indianapolis, it's time to get more acquainted with them.
Over the next week, Commanders.com will take a dive into each position to see what they have to offer. Here are the positions we've looked at so far:
Next up are the wide receivers.
The top prospect (according to ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr.): Drake London, USC
The Trojans didn't have much of a successful season, as they finished with a 4-8 record, but Drake London was a definitive bright spot before an ankle fracture forced him to miss the final four games. He had six games with at least 130 receiving yards in 2021, including 171 against Notre Dame. And even though he missed a chunk of time, he still led the country with 19 contested catches, according to Pro Football Focus.
Many analysts are fans of his 6-foot-5, 210-pound frame as well as his hand size and catch radius. NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein also points out that his basketball background makes things like "angles to the ball, body positioning and high-pointing come very naturally to him."
"London's pro career would benefit from playing with a diverse receiving corps that allows play-callers to play to London's strengths," Zierlein wrote.
London needs to improve in what he does after the catch, but he still has a collection of traits that make him worthy of a first-round pick.
Looking to improve their stock: Chris Olave, Ohio State
The Buckeyes' Chris Olave might be the best deep threat in this year's class. He had 35 touchdowns over the course of his college career; he averaged 14.6 air yards per target; and 13 of his catches resulted in touchdowns last season. If a team is looking for an explosive playmaker, Olave has the talent.
"Olave can make defenders look silly in coverage; there are lots of plays on tape in which he doesn't have a player within 5 yards of him," Kiper wrote of Olave on his big board.
There are some concerns, though, namely when it comes to run blocking and a couple of critical drops. Still, Olave has some useful traits if developed properly, and Zierlein also compares him to someone Commanders fans are familiar with: Terry McLaurin.
"He's fast but efficient and plays with the bend and foot agility to uncover on all three levels," Zierlein wrote. "Olave possesses natural, well-rounded ball skills but needs to add play strength to ward off the physical challenges that are headed his way. His play traits should allow for success beyond the scheme and talent advantages surrounding him at Ohio State."
Most intriguing: Calvin Austin III, Memphis
Austin isn't the biggest prospect (he's 5-foot-9 and 162 pounds), but he is one of the more versatile players who will be in Indianapolis next week. He racked up more than 2,200 receiving yards in his final two seasons at Memphis and scored 20 touchdowns in that span.
Austin's best stretch came last season, when he had five straight games of 100-plus receiving yards. Two of them went for at least 200 yards, giving two of the top five performances in program history.
While he's not a Day 1 pick, Austin could be a nice Day 2 or 3 pickup for a team trying to find a change-of-pace player. What's more, his speed could be useful on special teams.
Full list of prospects
- Calvin Austin III, Memphis
- Kevin Austin Jr., Notre Dame
- David Bell, Purdue
- Slade Bolden, Alabama
- Treylon Burks, Arkansas
- Dai'Jean Dixon, Nicholls State
- Jahan Dotson, Penn State
- Romeo Doubs, Nevada
- Dontario Drummond, Mississippi
- Erik Ezukanma, Texas Tech
- Ty Fryfogle, Indiana
- Danny Gray, SMU
- Johnny Johnson III, Oregon
- Josh Johnson, Tulsa
- Velus Jones, Tennessee
- Drake London, USC
- Bo Melton, Rutgers
- John Metchie, Alabama
- Skyy Moore, Western Michigan
- Jalen Nailor, Michigan State
- Chris Olave, Ohio State
- Kyle Philips, UCLA
- George Pickens, Georgia
- Alec Pierce, Cincinnati
- Makai Polk, Mississippi State
- Charleston Rambo, Miami
- Reggie Roberson Jr., SMU
- Wan'Dale Robinson, Kentucky
- Justyn Ross, Clemson
- Braylon Sanders, Mississippi
- Khalil Shakir, Boise State
- Tyquan Thornton, Baylor
- Jalen Tolbert, South Alabama
- Tré Turner, Virginia Tech
- Christian Watson, North Dakota State
- Isaiah Weston, Northern Iowa
- Devon Williams, Oregon
- Jameson Williams, Alabama
- Garrett Wilson, Ohio State
- Mike Woods, Oklahoma