The first “prime time” NFL combine is off to an exciting start. Thursday night’s performance by the tight ends, quarterbacks and a highly-anticipated receiver class didn’t disappoint, as several players turned in impressive performances in the first night of combine drills ever, which wrapped up just after 11 p.m. ET.
Below you can find some notable 40-yard dash times and a few takeaways from the night. We’ll be back with live coverage on Friday starting at 4 p.m. ET.
Key official 40-yard dash times
QB Cole McDonald: 4.58
QB Jalen Hurts: 4.59
QB Justin Herbert: 4.68
QB Steven Montez: 4.68
QB Jordan Love: 4.74
QB Jacob Eason: 4.89
WR Henry Ruggs III: 4.27
WR Quez Watkins: 4.35
WR Denzel Mims: 4.38
WR Darnell Mooney: 4.38
WR Devin Duvernay: 4.39
WR Antonio Gibson: 4.39
WR Chase Claypool: 4.42
WR Justin Jefferson: 4.43
WR John Hightower: 4.43
WR Jerry Jeudy: 4.45
WR Jalen Reagor: 4.47
WR Donovan People-Jones: 4.48
WR CeeDee Lamb: 4.50
WR Brandon Aiyuk: 4.50
TE Albert Okwuegbunam: 4.49
TE Brycen Hopkins: 4.66
TE Stephen Sullivan: 4.66
TE Cole Kmet: 4.70
Quarterbacks shine with top two sidelined
With quarterback — and the likely first overall pick — Joe Burrow looking on and with Tua Tagovailoa still recovering from a brutal hip injury suffered last November, Jalen Hurts, Justin Herbert, Jordan Love and Jacob Eason delivered quality outings.
Hurts recorded an impressive 40 time while also showing his accuracy during his on-field work. The Oklahoma prospect has been dogged by questions of whether he can stick at quarterback, but he certainly looked like he belonged during the throwing portion of the night.
Herbert, the prolific passer out of Oregon, also raised eyebrows with his deep sideline passes during his on-field work. He’s the presumed No. 3 quarterback in this class, but NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported on Thursday that the buzz surrounding Love was real and that the Utah State passer could find himself in the top half of the first round.
Fastest 40 doesn’t break record
The star of Thursday night was Alabama wide receiver Henry Ruggs III, who recorded a blazing time of 4.27 seconds in the 40-yard dash. Unfortunately, that came five-hundredths of a second short of matching the combine record of 4.22 seconds, set by top-10 pick John Ross.
While his time was far and away the best of the night, Ruggs was openly disappointed with his 40 time, which he will look to surpass during Alabama’s pro day next month — if healthy.
The speedy receiver prospect was unable to continue after his 40s and could be seen with an ice pack around his quad. That injury prevented Ruggs from taking part in the rest of the on-field drills, which means scouts were deprived the chance to see some of this year’s big-armed QBs air it out to the fastest man in the class.
Receiver class proves deep and talented
This year’s receiver class, a highly touted group heading into the combine, has lived up to its billing as likely the deepest position in this year’s draft. Ruggs impressed with his speed, while Oklahoma’s CeeDee Lamb turned heads in the receiver drills, particularly with his jumping, pirouetting catch in the combine’s new end zone fade drill. Alabama’s Jerry Jeudy also looked the part with a solid all-around day.
The depth of the class was even more on display. LSU’s Justin Jefferson an outstanding 4.43-second 40 for a player of his size and continued to excel during the on-field drills, and he could be ticketed for a spot in the first round if he did enough to set himself apart from the second tier at the position.
Chase Claypool has had to endure calls that he should be moved to tight end, but the big target also blazed an incredibly-fast 40 for his size at 4.42, and combined with his good on-field work surely improved his draft stock on Thursday night.
And even Southern Miss’ Quez Watkins emerged as a potential sleeper with a 4.35-second 40 and smooth work in the drills, particularly the gauntlet. And we could go on (TCU’s Jalen Reagor disappointed with his 40 but plays faster, and he had his moments in the drills), and on (Liberty’s Antonio Gandy-Golden is a huge target from a small school but looked the part while running drills), and on (SMU’s James Proche skipped the 40 but showed off great hands in the other drills), and on (Baylor’s Denzel Mims blazed a 4.38-second 40 despite his 6-foot-3 size), and on.
More from Thursday
With regard to the tight ends, Purdue’s Brycen Hopkins did nothing to hurt his stock as one of the top-rated players at his position. Missouri’s Albert Okwuegbunam and Dayton’s Adam Trautman (whose 18 bench reps put him in the top 10 at his position) put themselves on the map with impressive showings Thursday night.
Relive Thursday night’s action of the combine by checking out or live blog below. Friday’s coverage of the combine starts at 4 p.m. ET, and you can watch on NFL Network or stream on fuboTV (Try for free).