On-field workouts officially began at Indianapolis for the 2022 NFL Scouting Combine, and the quarterbacks, wide receivers and tight ends were up first. Here are a few notes from the evening.
-- The tight ends were the first position on the field to run the 40-yard dash, and the clear winner in the group was Maryland's Chigozien Okonkwo, who ran a 4.54 in the first attempt and a 4.52 in the second attempt. Okonkwo had 52 receptions for 447 yards and five touchdowns in 2021. He had a few drops last season, but if he gets the ball in his hands, he could be a dangerous vertical threat.
-- Colorado State's Trey McBride said during his media availability that he doesn't want people to overlook his ability as a blocker. He offered scouts a taste of the during the sled drills. He was explosive out of his stance and had good hand placement, but the way he finished the drill was the most impressive. He rolled his hips and more importantly, kept his feet moving. Out of all the tight ends who participated, he was among those who had the most solid technique.
-- Michigan State's Connor Heyward had several nice catches during the gauntlet, and he continued that in the receiving drills throughout the evening. Heyward, who also ran a 4.72 in the 40-yard dash, wasn't as active in the passing game as other tight ends last year with 35 catches for 326 yards and two touchdowns. He might be a Day 3 pick, but his ability as a pass-catcher could be enough to convince a team to take a chance on him.
-- There were some speedsters in the first group of receivers. Several players ran in the 4.3s, and among them were Memphis' Calvin Austin III and Tennessee's Velus Jones, Jr., both of whom ran a 4.32. Coming in behind them were Notre Dame's Kevin Austin Jr. with a 4.37, Western Michigan's Skyy Moore with a 4.39 and SMU's Danny Gray. Austin was an explosive player at Memphis, and while he's likely not a Day 1 pick, the high 40 time could bump him up to the second or third round. Not to be outdone, Ohio Chris Olave set the tone in the second group with a blazing 4.26, only to be beaten by Baylor's Tyquan Thornton's insane 4.21. This year's receiver class is easily the fastest in Combine history.
-- If you were looking forward to seeing Sam Howell run the 40-yard dash, you would be disappointed. The quarterbacks and receivers were separated into two groups, and only Jack Coan and Dustin Crum ran in the first bunch. Howell did participate in the throwing drills, though, and looked impressive delivering passes to multiple receivers. His throws were on time and on target, while his footwork was solid as well. He also threw a nice deep pass to Jones.
-- Cincinnati's Desmond Ridder put up some solid metrics throughout the evening. He started with a 36-inch vertical, and then followed that up with a 10-foot-7 broad jump, which was the third-best among quarterbacks since 2003. Ridder has exuded confidence all week, saying that he is the most prepared for the NFL from a physical and mental standpoint. At the very least, he's backing up those claims.
-- Speaking of Jones, the Volunteer had a nice day with some crisp routes. Jones was second among Tennessee's pass-catchers with 62 catches for 807 yards. The Draft Network grades him as a six-round pick. However, this is a deep wide receiver class, so he could still add value on the back end of a roster.
-- Here are some other 40 times of note from the second group of quarterbacks: Ridder led the group with the fastest run of the night with a 4.49. Pickett fell in behind him with a 4.67, while Western Kentucky's Bailey Zappe, who had nearly 6,000 yards for the Hilltoppers, rounded things out with a 4.78.