NFL Combine 2022 Results: Highlights, Reaction and Recap from Friday
The second day of on-field drills at the 2022 NFL Scouting Combine took place Friday, with offensive linemen and running backs participating in the events at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.
Quarterbacks, wide receivers and tight ends already took part in drills Thursday, with Liberty quarterback Malik Willis and Arkansas wide receiver Treylon Burks among those who impressed.
Some offensive linemen and running backs opted not to participate in drills Friday, but many put on a show for the general mangers, head coaches, scouts and fans.
Here is a look at some of the notable performances and a recap of some of the top-ranked prospects from Friday's group.
Top OL Standouts: Ikem Ekwonu, Trevor Penning, Kellen Diesch
Ikem Ekwonu was arguably the most impressive offensive lineman on the field. The 6'4", 310-pound offensive tackle out of NC State finished the 40-yard dash in 4.93 seconds and recorded a 29-inch vertical jump.
He also showed off his athleticism, smooth movement and footwork in the five-yard wave drill. Big men aren't necessarily known for those qualities, but Ekwonu could end up being a player who redefines the position.
Ekwonu is in contention to be the first player taken in this year's draft, and he only bettered his case Friday. While he is known for his size, power and athleticism, he also has great hands, smooth movement and great footwork, which helps him bulldoze opposing players.
ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr. projected Ekwonu to be taken first overall by the Jacksonville Jaguars, though Kiper has him ranked as the No. 2 prospect behind Michigan's Aidan Hutchinson.
Northern Iowa's Trevor Penning also had an impressive afternoon, finishing the 40-yard dash in 4.89 seconds, which tied for second among offensive linemen. He is just the fourth player since 2003 to weight 320-plus pounds and run a 40-yard dash in under 4.90 seconds at the combine, according to Next Gen Stats.
The Athletic's Nick Baumgardner compared Penning to the Las Vegas Raiders' Kolton Miller. As noted on the combine broadcast, the 6'7", 325-pound Penning doesn't have consistently great technique, but he never gives up on a play and will often get into the face of another player after making a tackle.
Kiper projects Penning to be taken 18th overall by the Baltimore Ravens in his latest mock draft. He has the New Orleans Saints trading up to Baltimore's No. 14 spot.
Arizona State's Kellen Diesch ran the 40-yard dash in 4.89 seconds and finished third among offensive linemen with a 32.5-inch vertical jump.
At 6'7", 301 pounds, Diesch is quick with his feet, has great hand placement, does a nice job of getting low to attack and has great athleticism.
While Diesch may have increased his draft stock Friday, it's unlikely he'll be selected in the first round. His NFL combine profile projects him as an "average backup or special teamer."
Top RB Standouts: Breece Hall, James Cook
Iowa State's Breece Hall is expected to be one of the top running backs taken in the 2022 draft. However, he might have improved his draft stock Friday to compete with Michigan State's Kenneth Walker III.
Hall performed well in both ball-carrying and pass-catching drills. In addition, he ran a 4.39 second 40-yard dash.
Hall is considered a good third-down back and a patient runner. The 5'11", 217-pound player has good strength and footwork, which makes him difficult to tackle.
During his junior season at Iowa State, he rushed for 1,472 yards and 20 touchdowns and caught 36 passes for 302 yards and three scores. It was his second straight season with more than 1,400 yards and 20 scores on the ground.
Georgia running back James Cook is the brother of Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook, and it appeared as though he's taken lessons from one of the best running backs in the NFL in his brother.
Cook showed out during ball-carrying and pass-catching drills. He also ran a 4.42-second 40-yard dash.
Cook probably already had the attention of NFL scouts entering Friday's combine drills because of his brother, but his performance at Lucas Oil Stadium stood on its own.
The athletic Cook is versatile, which should draw the attention of scouts given today's game and serve him well in the NFL.
Cook, who never led the running back room in Georgia, had the best season of his college career for the Bulldogs as a senior in 2021. He ran for 728 yards and seven touchdowns while also catching 27 passes for 284 yards and four scores.
While Cook likely won't be a first-round pick, he'll be an incredible depth addition for any team that takes a chance on him in the later rounds. His combine profile projects he has the ability to be an "above-average backup."