2022 NFL Combine: Winners And Losers Among Mountain West Prospects
Which of the 14 Mountain West football prospects improved their standing and who fell flat in this year’s NFL Combine?
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Encouragements and letdowns from the weekend that was.
The NFL Combine is officially in the books and, quite clearly, some of the Mountain West’s top prospects did more to improve their NFL Draft stock than others. Who shined and who still had something left to prove?
1. Boise State wide receiver Khalil Shakir
“More quick than fast” is a label often thrown around by draftniks who believe they have a sense of a player’s top gear, so when someone like Shakir goes out and defies that notion at the combine, people take notice.
This WR class is crazy fast.@BroncoSportsFB Khalil Shakir with a 4.35u.
📺: #NFLCombine on @nflnetwork pic.twitter.com/zKh84Vgx36
— NFL (@NFL) March 4, 2022
The official time ended up being 4.43, but that display of speed can only help him remain the conversation as a solid Day Two pick in a position class that suddenly appears to be chock full of them.
2. San Diego State tight end Daniel Bellinger
Bellinger showed out well at the Senior Bowl and proved that was no fluke with a performance that compared very well to one of his predecessors, Kahale Warring:
Foe the sake of comparison, former San Diego State TE Kahale Warring ran a 4.67 40, did 19 bench press reps, had a 36.5" vertical and a 122" broad jump back in 2019. https://t.co/Pt7ebgRdX5
— Mountain West Wire (@MWCwire) March 4, 2022
Warring, you’ll recall, was a third-round pick back in 2019. Bellinger came into draft season with well-established bonafides as a run blocker, but more chances to show off soft hands has only improved his stock in a deep tight end class that generally showed out on Thursday.
Daniel Bellinger had a great Combine, and even if his splits (projected shown) end up being lower, having Travis Kelce as a close athletic comparison can't hurt. #RASCompare pic.twitter.com/xNMykmhVej
— Kent Lee Platte (@MathBomb) March 4, 2022
3. Wyoming linebacker Chad Muma
It may not have been Festivus in Indianapolis but Muma was all about feats of strength at the combine. He ran a solid 4.63 40-yard dash, but the real eye-opener was the 27 reps he had on the bench press (the average for a linebacker is 22, per Mockdraftable), which he combined with well-above-average results in the broad jump and vertical to put himself in a strong position to best Logan Wilson’s third-round selection come draft day.
As expected, Chad Muma put up an elite #RAS. Probably a bit disappointed in his own 40 time, even though it's still a very good one. pic.twitter.com/aDXF9n916c
— Kent Lee Platte (@MathBomb) March 6, 2022
1. San Diego State defensive end Cameron Thomas
Thomas’s recent streak of hard injury luck continued at the combine when, as noted by the East Village Times’ Andre Haghverdian, he reaggravated the hamstring injury which had curtailed his week at the Senior Bowl. He’d already set himself a limited slate of activity and showed out well in what he was able to get done — only Kayvon Thibodeaux had more bench press reps than Thomas’s 24 — so while he still has plenty of proponents and his overall standing isn’t likely to drop, it’s still something of a missed opportunity to gain ground.
2. Nevada wide receiver Romeo Doubs
Unlike Thomas, Doubs came to the combine, had his measurements taken, had some interviews with teams and… that’s about it. Considering the legion of wide receivers who showed off immense speed and agility throughout Thursday, including Shakir, Doubs will have a lot to do in order to prove he belongs in that group at the Wolf Pack’s pro day on March 21.
3. Fresno State running back Ronnie Rivers
Running a 4.6 40-yard dash isn’t so much of an issue when you’re built like BYU’s Tyler Allegier, but when you’re 5-foot-7 and 195 pounds like the Bulldogs’ producive runner, it can put a ceiling on your upside down the road.
Historically, Rivers’s Speed Score of 85.6 puts him in the same range as former Mountain West runners like Donnel Pumphrey, Dee Hart and Robbie Rouse, none of whom ever broke through on the NFL stage. While he’s probably received higher marks as a pass catcher than that trio in this pre-draft process, finding a way to improve that speed coukd be the difference in bevoming a late-round lottery ticket or signing somewhere as an undrafted free agent.