The 2022 NFL Draft is a little under two months away. This weekend, Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis hosted the NFL Combine. A yearly tradition among the pre-draft festivities, scouts and coaches from all 32 teams across the NFL were in attendance to watch the top prospects and formulate their big boards. Participants completed interviews with teams while also testing in multiple drills and undergoing medical evaluations. Every year, there are a handful of players who improved their NFL Draft stock thanks to the Combine.
Quarterbacks, tight ends, and wide receivers kick-started the party on Thursday night. The event concluded on Sunday with the defensive backs. With multiple competitors showing out during the drills and increasing their respective draft grades, in this article, we are going to take a look at five players who improved their NFL Draft stock at the combine.
2022 NFL Draft Combine: 5 Players Who Improved Their Stock
5. Christian Watson
A three-year starter with the North Dakota State Bison, Watson already saw his draft stock rise. This was after a strong week in Mobile at the senior bowl. The Floridian showed out during the team practices all week while hauling in one pass for 38 yards during the game. However, the 22-year-old likely cemented his status as an early day two pick after an outstanding performance at the combine.
Showing off his blazing speed, he clocked in a 4.36 during the 40-yard dash, including a ten-yard split of 1.54 seconds. Along with this, he recorded a vertical jump of 38.5 inches and a broad jump of 11-foot-4. Currently checking in with the fourth-highest Relative Athletic Score (RAS) among wideouts, he is expected to fly up draft boards.
4. Jordan Davis
Davis put on a show on Saturday night in what is widely regarded as one of the best combine workouts of all time for a defensive lineman. Confirming himself as one of the most athletic players at the position in recent memory, the 341 pounder checked in at 4.78 seconds during the 40-yard dash. This was the fastest time for a participant over 330 pounds since 2006. Along with this, he also showed off to scouts with a 32-inch vertical jump and a 10-foot-3 broad jump.
The anchor for the Georgia Bulldogs defense last season, he finished ninth in Heisman voting after recording two sacks and 32 tackles, with five of them being for a loss. Largely regarded as a late first-round pick throughout the process, the North Carolina native will likely go early on in the teens, with the Chargers and Raiders emerging as potential fits.
Like Watson, Austin III had a strong week at the Senior Bowl in February. Showing off his speed and quickness during team practices, the 5’8″ wideout went on to haul in two receptions for 45 yards during the game. Once again, improving his draft stock during the combine, the University of Memphis product tested extremely well with a 40-yard dash time of 4.32 seconds.
Furthermore, he finished third among receivers with a 39-inch vertical jump and fourth in the broad jump at just over 11 feet. The perfect player for today’s NFL, the 22-year-old can win down the field both in the slot and out wide. He also possesses the ability to make an impact on special teams both as a kickoff and punt returner.
Bellinger quickly made a name for himself on night one of the combine. Seen as a sixth-round pick on most draft boards, the San Diego State product put together one of the best workouts at the position. He finished fourth among tight ends with a 4.63 40 yard dash. He also completed 22 reps during the bench press session and finished with the top time in the three-cone drill and the farthest distance in the broad jump.
This led him to earn a RAS of 9.49, the 53rd highest mark for tight ends in the last 35 years. Primarily seen as a blocker in Brady Hoke‘s offense in 2021, the Las Vegas native can run a variety of routes and has the potential to be a vertical threat at the pro level.
Expected to be the first cornerback off the board when the draft rolls around in April, Garnder has begun to challenge Notre Dame safety Kyle Hamilton to be the first defensive back taken. Confirming his rare athleticism at 6’3, the Cincinnati Bearcats alumn blazed with a 4.41 time in the 40, with a ten-yard split of 1.54. Along with this, he also looked fluid during the other drills during his workout.
Possessing all the tools to be a shutdown player in the NFL early on, the 21-year-old never allowed a touchdown during his entire college career. Projected to go in the middle of the first round, there is now talk that the Michigan native could go in the top five. He checks in as the final member on our list of who improved their NFL Draft stock at the 2022 NFL Combine.