INDIANAPOLIS -- The first group of receivers set the tone for Thursday night's workouts at the 2022 NFL Scouting Combine, with four separate players posting sub-4.4-second times in the 40-yard dash. Then the second group took the field and nearly blew the roof off Lucas Oil Stadium. Ohio State's Chris Olave led off with an unofficial time of 4.26. A short time later, Baylor's Tyquan Thornton recorded an unofficial time of 4.21, putting John Ross' combine record of 4.22 in question.
Ross ultimately kept the crown, though, as Thornton's official time came in at 4.28. Olave's mark also dropped -- to 4.39 -- in the official results.
Even with those adjustments, the 2022 WR class provided a breathtaking display of speed that's without equal in the NFL Network era, which began in 2003. A record eight wideouts cracked 4.4 seconds in the 40-yard dash. Altogether, the 2022 WR class averaged a 40 time of 4.48 seconds -- the fastest figure by any position group at a single combine since '03.
Long story short, this prospect crop of wideouts has speed to burn. Thornton's 4.28 and Olave's 4.39 ended up sandwiching the other six sub-4.4 runners: Tennessee's Velus Jones (4.31), Memphis' Calvin Austin III (4.32), SMU's Danny Gray (4.33), Rutgers' Bo Melton (4.34), North Dakota State's Christian Watson (4.36) and Ohio State's Garrett Wilson (4.38).
That last figure, Wilson's 4.38, could be the most notable of all. Already rated as the top wide receiver -- and No. 6 overall prospect -- on NFL Network draft guru Daniel Jeremiah's board, Wilson was generally viewed as more of a premier route runner than a speed merchant. That blazing-fast time provides a resounding response to those doubting Wilson's long speed -- and a welcome boost to an already-strong prospect résumé.
Olave and Wilson went on to shine in the on-field drills, elevating themselves in a class filled with quality talent -- and historic speed.