2022 NFL Scouting Combine: Prospect Interviews Day 1 Highlights

2022 NFL Scouting Combine: Prospect Interviews Day 1 Highlights

by March 3, 2022 0 comments

On Wednesday morning, the quarterbacks, wide receivers, and tight ends met with the media from the Indiana Convention Center in Indianapolis. Ahead of the NFL Combine player workouts that start on Thursday, a number of guys fielded questions. The running backs will head to the podiums on Thursday morning. There were a few different things that stood out from the first day of prospect interviews. Without further ado, let’s dive into it.

Be sure to check out all over other NFL Draft content.

Injury Updates

With a few of these prospects, injuries have been a concern. Even if they are not currently injured, there are some that teams fear will be susceptible to being hurt in the future. Of course, these questions came up on Wednesday. The players in question were able to give affirmative answers to their potential injury concerns.

Jameson Williams (Torn ACL)

Williams tore his ACL in the National Championship game on June 10 and now is about six weeks out of surgery. He said that he has been walking without a brace for the past two weeks and has transitioned to pool work at the Andrews Insitute in Florida. The former Alabama receiver is progressing well in his rehab and was able to spend time at the combine showing off his mobility and stability.

“I was hearing five to seven months [for recovery], but I’m hearing I’m ahead of schedule,” Williams said. “Hopefully, things keep going on this track and we’ll be back as soon as possible.”

Williams did not commit to being fully ready or 100 percent by the start of the 2022 NFL season, but he assured everyone at the combine that he will find the balance between doing what he can to recover and letting the healing run its course.

“As soon as possible,” he said. “I won’t be rushing anything but really it’s going to take some time. I just want to be ready when it does happen.”

Carson Strong

Strong has had lingering knee injuries his entire football career since high school. With that has come a lot of concerns with his mobility and whether he will be able to extend plays with his legs. Before the combine, he had to clear the medicals, which was an interesting process for him.

“It’s definitely interesting, you walk into a room full of doctors and you just sit down, and they’re all just talking about you,” Strong said. “You’re just sitting there and you hear whispers; someone’s saying this, someone’s saying that. Everyone’s got a different opinion, but I know I’m ready to go.”

It was revealed under a year ago that the former Nevada quarterback required offseason surgery on a significant knee injury in high school. Rushing back from the injury to try and prove he could play could have really hindered him. While what he put up on tape this past season wasn’t his best, the injury had a lot to do with it. If he had decided not to play, he wouldn’t have received an invite to the combine. Strong is adamant that his knee is fine and shouldn’t be a problem moving forward.

“Everyone’s judging me based on the tape I put out last season, which makes total sense. But I wasn’t healthy, I had surgery that required a year for recovery and I came back in six months. So what I put on tape this year wasn’t the full me, but what I proved at the Senior Bowl is that I can move fluidly and smoothly. No, I’m not gonna stiff-arm someone or hurdle them, or go run a 50-yard touchdown. But I can extend plays, I can do play-action boot pass. I stepped up in the pocket, got ten yards, and slid when I could at practice. I showed that I can move a little bit and I didn’t wear a knee brace. It’s way better than it was during the season and I think I proved that already.”

Versatility is Key

Jahan Dotson is one of the most versatile receivers in this year’s draft class. He showed off his ability to play in a number of different positions, including X, Y, and Z receiver positions, and took snaps lined up as a running back. He also adds punt return value that can be an asset at the next level.

“I would definitely say my versatility is one of the biggest assets of my game,” Dotson said. “I’m just gonna try to become a pro from day one and just learn from the older guys, learn from vets, and pick up on the little things that I can add on to my game.”

Dotson is one of the smaller receivers, at 5’11”, 283 pounds, but that doesn’t matter to him. As we saw with DeVonta Smith last year, he proved that his size didn’t matter as he went on to have a great rookie season with the Philadelphia Eagles. Dotson just has to believe in his skills and play his game.

“Size is obviously not a big factor to me, just because it was something I was born with, God-given,” he said. “God has let me play at a high level of football, so I’m not really focused on size. Obviously getting bigger in the weight room, that’s something I’m trying to do.”

Working Alongside The Best of the Best

There are a lot of quarterbacks that receivers like Dotson will have a chance to work with, in workouts. For him, he’s not focused on just one, because they are all talented in their own right. Not even just talking about the quarterbacks, but being alongside the other receivers in drills will be fun for him.

“Oh, all of them,” he said. “I’m paired with the best talent in the country and it’s fun to compete with these guys, be on the same field as these guys. Just being in the same company as them and learning new things.”

Growing up, Dotson would throw a ball to himself in bed, which he said was therapeutic for him. That helped him grow into making contested catches on the field and having some of the best hands in this draft class.

“I started playing catch at about four years old, five years old,” Dotson said. “If I didn’t catch the ball I was doing pushups. I’ve been catching footballs all my life and it’s a stress reliever.”

Trey McBride: TE1?

McBride had a phenomenal season at Colorado State his senior season, as he earned the Mackey Award for the nation’s top tight end. He has a lot to give an NFL team and has been viewed by many as the number one tight end. That sentiment can certainly be backed up by his play on the field, but also the strong answers he gave at the combine about his abilities.

“I’m a playmaker, a winner, and a guy that can catch the ball,” McBride said. “[I have] very tough, strong hands, physical, and gritty in the run game as well.”

There have been a lot of great tight ends in the NFL, and ones that McBride has looked up to and was able to learn from. One of them was from his hometown of Port Morgan, Colorado, Joel Dreessen, who went on to play two seasons for the Denver Broncos.

“Joel Dreessen, a guy from my hometown, who played eight or nine years in the league, was a guy I really looked up to my whole life,” McBride said. “Now more so, George Kittle. He’s a guy that I think I play a lot like, a guy that can be a threat in the run game as well as the pass game. Really just a complete tight end.”

Working With Ridder

McBride also got a chance to show his talent at the Senior Bowl, in which he caught a touchdown pass from Desmond Ridder. He described how it felt to play with a quarterback like that who was able to find success in college.

“He’s a great quarterback and guy who was able to bring the guys together,” he said of Ridder. “He’s a really sharp guy, and it’s cool to play with guys like that who have had that success in college. I really enjoyed it and I caught a touchdown pass from him, so it was a lot of fun.”

Do-it-all Tight End

Jeremy Ruckert was a do-it-all tight end during his time at Ohio State. With a team like that who has so much talent on offense, he had to learn how to just blend in and make plays as often as he could. From the combine, he feels that he can show his abilities to do anything.

“My time at Ohio State, I did everything,” he said. “I feel like I’m comfortable in any situation I go in. I played almost every position a tight end can play, I played in-line, I played in the backfield, I’ve been split out. In those kinda situations, with Luke [Farrell] last year I was more of a moving around, F tight end. Then this year, I was more inline-wide. I’m comfortable doing whatever I have to do, and if a team does a lot of 12 [personell], that’s great. Pretty much every team in the NFL does that now. So I feel I have a good experience doing all those jobs that are gonna help me down the road.”

Be sure to check out more from the NFL Combine the rest of this week!

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