INDIANAPOLIS -- The NFL Scouting Combine has a new 40-yard-dash king among defensive backs, and it nearly had a new record-holder in the event.
Baylor cornerback Kalon Barnes ran a 4.23-second 40 on Sunday, the fastest time by a combine DB in the NFL Network era (since 2003) and the best mark of the 2022 combine.
Barnes came within one one-hundredth of a second of tying John Ross' combine record (4.22, set in 2017) and departs Indy with the second-fastest time of any player since '03. The defensive backs put on a historic display of speed on Sunday, as 16 ran a sub-4.4 40, the most DBs to accomplish the feat in a single combine since '03.
UTSA cornerback Tariq Woolen, who was in the same combine group as Barnes, clocked a 4.26 40, which is tied for the fourth-fastest time since '03, behind Ross, Barnes and former Titans RB Chris Johnson (4.24 in 2008). Former Steelers RB Dri Archer ran a 4.26 in 2014, nine years after former Texans WR Jerome Mathis posted the same time.
This year's combine turned into a showcase for turf burners from Baylor. Heading into Sunday, former Bears wide receiver Tyquan Thornton had the best time of the '22 combine. He ran a 4.28 on Thursday night, and BU safety JT Woods ran a 4.36 on Sunday, which tied for the 10th-fastest time this year. Baylor is the first school to have three players run a sub-4.4 second 40 at a single combine since 2003, per NFL Research.
Barnes' speed should not have come as a surprise to NFL evaluators, as he was ranked second on NFL.com analyst Daniel Jeremiah's list of candidates to run the fastest 40 in Indianapolis. The 5-foot-11 1/2, 183-pound CB holds the Texas high-school record in the 100-meter dash (10.22 seconds) and was a member of the track team at BU.