This could be the fastest wide receiver class in NFL history

Garrett Wilson, Ohio State Buckeyes. (Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports)
Garrett Wilson, Ohio State Buckeyes. (Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports) /

Eight wide receivers ran a 4.40 or better 40-yard dash as the 2022 NFL Scouting Combine.

Though speed is not everything, it is something, as a record-setting eight wide receiver prospects did 4.40 or better on the 40-yard dash at the 2022 NFL Scouting Combine.

While some of this might have to do with there being a new timer at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, there are other factors to the likes of Ohio State’s Chris Olave (4.39), Memphis’ Calvin Austin III (4.32) and Baylor’s Tyquan Thornton (4.28) all surpassing the 4.40 40-yard threshold. Simply put, more star athletes are opting to play wide receiver than running back these days.

So how does potentially the fastest wide receiver class impact the NFL going forward?

NFL Scouting Combine: Is this the fastest wide receiver class ever?

The five other receivers to run 4.40 are better are Tennessee’s Velus Jones Jr. (4.31), SMU’s Danny Gray (4.33), Rutgers’ Bo Melton (4.34) North Dakota State’s Christian Watson (4.36) and Olave’s Ohio State teammate Garrett Wilson (4.38). Though all eight players will see their draft stock improve after the impressive 40 times, the one player who stands to benefit the most is Wilson.

With the combination of on-field accolades at blue-blood Ohio State and a fantastic showing in Indianapolis, Wilson could be the first wide receiver taken in the 2022 NFL Draft. He was a lock to go in the first round anyway, but he could go top-10 now. As for Olave, he has been a borderline first-round pick throughout the process. Though he may only go top-40, he can crack the top-32.

Ultimately, being a great wide receiver professionally is more than just running very fast in a straight line with no pads on. Route-running, hands, physicality and contested catches are all attributes that can give a talented college wideout staying power in the NFL. This is why of the eight players who ran 4.40 or better, Wilson and Olave are in the best positions going forward.

Speed may kill at the combine, but it is versatility and being coachable that work at the next level.

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