The NFL Combine is back, and I couldn't be more happy. Given that we have over 20 years of comprehensive combine data, player workouts from the event will easily be compared to prospects in the past. Hundreds of NFL scouting department employees and media members will dot the streets in Indianapolis for the athleticism evaluation convention.
Here are some of the storylines to follow and everything that you need to know for 2022 NFL combine:
How to watch the NFL combine
Date: Thursday, Mar. 3 | Time: 7 p.m. ET
Friday, Mar. 4 | Time: 7 p.m. ET
Saturday, Mar. 5 | Time: 7 p.m. ET
Sunday, Mar. 6 | Time: 2 p.m. ET
TV: NFL Network | Stream: fuboTV (try for free)
Where is the NFL combine?
The 2022 NFL combine will take place at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Indiana, home of the Indianapolis Colts. The event has been held in Indianapolis since 1987 but starting next year the league has said it's possible it'll move between 2023 and 2028.
How big will Kenny Pickett's hands be?
I hate to start this article in this fashion. Believe me. I do. Hand-size stuff is mostly silly. But it matters. Especially when it comes to how early a quarterback will be picked.
And we can mostly all agree -- Pickett's film in 2021 is awesome. Not flawless but loaded with big-time throws and improvisational brilliance. But #DraftTwitter will erupt if Pickett's hands are well under the nine-inch threshold most NFL teams have for the quarterback spot.
It's a shame, really. Because there's not much evidence hand size correlates with the quality of quarterback play. But small hands just freak out NFL front offices, mostly surrounded by the thought that more fumbles will occur and in inclement weather, those quarterbacks will have recurring problems simply gripping the football.
Regardless of the size of Pickett's hands, I didn't notice them hindering his ability at Pittsburgh in general or, specifically, in cold-weather games. But it will factor into his draft position in late April, and at the combine, it's really difficult to take anything of substance from a quarterback's performance on the field, so Pickett's hand size is a major storyline.
How will Aidan Hutchinson, Kayvon Thibodeaux compare?
Most projections today have Hutchinson being selected ahead of Thibodeaux and, overall, being the better prospect. I have Hutchinson just ahead of the Oregon star on my Big Board.
But -- and this is major -- if Thibodeaux tests noticeably better than Hutchinson, the race for EDGE1 will heat up considerably. And the comparison between the two at the combine will stretch further than the on-field workouts. Thibodeaux was listed at 6-foot-5 and 258 pounds. Hutchinson? 6-6 and 266. How close are they stature-wise? Who has longer arms? Will one drastically outperform the other in the bench press, which, is hardly the be all, end all of strength measurement but the best one the combine offers.
At this very moment, it feels like there's no way Thibodeaux could be picked ahead of Hutchinson. The combine has board-altering powers, and if Thibodeaux measures up to Hutchinson and then has a better workout, there will be a lot less clarity at the top of the edge rusher position. Conversely, if Hutchinson tests even close to Thibodeaux or better, it'll all but officially close the door on Thibodeaux being drafted ahead of him.
Will Kyle Hamilton or Derek Stingley work out?
Hamilton and Stingley are two of the premier prospects in this class. Doesn't matter who you ask. They'll agree. They're sizable, gifted athletes from blue-blood schools who had dazzling college careers that prematurely ended due to injury. Neither of those injuries were of the super-serious variety, so there's a chance either the Notre Dame safety or LSU cornerback will take to the field in Indianapolis to showcase just how athletic they are. Hopefully they both do.
If that happens, we'll be able to compare Hamilton to the likes of Isaiah Simmons and Derwin James, recently "oversized" safeties with supreme length and athletic talent. For Stingley, a tall and incredibly fluid outside cornerback, we can compare his athletic talent to the likes of Jalen Ramsey, Marshon Lattimore, Jeff Okudah, Patrick Surtain, and Jaycee Horn, all bigger outside corners who went early in recent first rounds.
Will any receiver prospect separate himself athletically?
Like clockwork, this receiver class is loaded. That's been the case the past five or so drafts, and it's going to continue given the passing obsession at the college and NFL levels.
What's fascinating about this group is there isn't quite a consensus No. 1 wideout and who belongs in the top tier is up for debate much more than we've seen in a while.
Will the tall and lanky Drake London from USC test like a top half of the first-round receiver? How fast will Treylon Burks run at 6-3 and 225 pounds? Will he be that big? How about Garrett Wilson and Chris Olave, the studs from Ohio State? Will they test similarly? We of course won't see Jameson Williams on the track -- a shame because he looks lightning-fast on the field -- because of his torn ACL. But will another name like Penn State's Jahan Dotson, Western Michigan's Skyy Moore, North Dakota State's Christian Watson or someone else prove to have first-round athleticism at the receiver spot to generate buzz that they could sneak into the first 32 picks?
And lastly, will anyone prove to be significantly ahead of the pack athletically, thereby increasing the chances they're the first receiver off the board?