The 2022 NFL Scouting Combine is in the books. This event represents one of the final opportunities for prospects to put their best foot forward in front of scouts to boost their NFL Draft stock. Year in and year out, Notre Dame is one of the more well-represented programs at the event. This year, the Irish sent five players to Indianapolis: quarterback Jack Coan, running back Kyren Williams, wide receiver Kevin Austin Jr., safety Kyle Hamilton, and defensive end Myron Tagovailoa-Amosa.
Those names don’t comprise Notre Dame’s entire 2022 NFL Draft class, but they are the cream of the crop among Irish prospects. The five aforementioned players put on a show this weekend, so let’s take a look at their performances.
Weight: 220 lbs
Measurements: 33″ Arms, 9 1/4″ Hands
It would be a disservice to not start with who is widely regarded as the best player from Notre Dame in this year’s class as well as a projected top-10 pick, safety Kyle Hamilton. He missed the second half of the 2021 season due to injury, so the combine marked scouts’ first chance to see him in action in quite some time.
Hamilton tested extremely well, clocking a 4.59-second 40-yard dash matched with a 4.32-second 20-yard shuttle. Those numbers prove the quickness he shows on tape is no fluke. Anybody who has watched Hamilton over the last few seasons at Notre Dame knows he has the range of a center fielder and can make a play on almost any ball regardless of how much ground he has to cover.
He clocked a 6.9-second 3 cone drill and turned in relatively good jumps in both the broad (131) and vertical (38). Hamilton elected to not participate in the bench press or 60-yard shuttle, but through NFL’s Next Gen stats, he is rated as an elite prospect with first-year starter potential. He also received a 6.88 prospect score, which was good for the highest of any player at the NFL Combine.
I cannot recall the last time I’ve seen a mock draft with Hamilton outside the top 10, and a vast majority of them do not have him dropping out of the top five. Notre Dame fans were blessed to watch a generational over the last few seasons, and one would expect that level of play to transfer over to his NFL career.
Kyle Hamilton has elite size and intangibles for an NFL safety. He has put in the work to be even better than when he showed up on campus. Hamilton will be fun to watch at the next level and I would be willing to bet any amount that he starts right away, instantly improving his future team’s secondary.
Kevin Austin Jr.
Position: Wide Receiver
Weight: 200 lbs
Measurements: 32 7/8″ Arms, 9″ Hands
Kevin Austin Jr. was perhaps the most intriguing Notre Dame prospect at the 2022 NFL Combine. While he had a productive career at Notre Dame, fans would have loved to see him play an even bigger role in an offense that is dependent on its tight ends and running backs. But when his number was called, he performed. And he followed up a great career in South Bend with a strong combine in Indianapolis over the weekend.
Austin Jr. recorded a 4.43-second 40-yard dash and a 4.15 20-yard shuttle, showcasing his top-end speed. He had the ability to take almost any pass the distance in college along with elite jump-ball skills and quality route running abilities. Austin Jr. also tested well with his jumps during the combine, recording a 39-inch vertical jump and a 132-inch broad jump.
He has immense value later in the draft and should be expected to compete for snaps as a WR3 or WR4 on certain teams. Kevin Austin Jr. could benefit from playing some special teams at the NFL level, similar to the role Ben Skowronek served in last year for the Rams. What should not go understated is that Austin Jr. is an athletic freak, so don’t be surprised to see him make a bigger impact than anticipated during his rookie season.
Weight: 218 lbs
Measurements: 31 1/8″ Arms, 9 1/2″ Hands
Not many people knew what to expect from Jack Coan when he transferred to Notre Dame. But he put together a productive season, took care of the football, and led the Irish to another 10-win season. Coan may not have the hype of a top-10 pick, but he does all of the little things right, is a winner, and could end up starting one day in the NFL.
Coan needed to have a good combine showing to improve his draft stock, and he threw the ball pretty well over the weekend. He showed the ability to escape pressure and pick up a few extra yards when necessary in college, but his 40 time was 4.9. Coan is your prototypical pocket quarterback, so that score should not deter a team from drafting him. He recorded a 55 MPH pass in his first year at the combine, which is impressive.
Additionally, Coan recorded a 4.39-second 20-yard shuttle and a 6.95-second 3 cone drill. He did not bench at the combine, and one would expect that he will throw again at Notre Dame’s pro day with his receivers in front of NFL scouts.
Similar to how Jack Coan’s college career played out, he should be able to produce in the right scheme with the right players around him at the next level. He played phenomenally down the stretch for Notre Dame in 2021, and he’s still relatively raw. I could see Coan going in the later rounds and serving as a backup or practice squad player upon entering the NFL.
Position: Running Back
Weight: 194 lbs
Measurements: 28 5/8″ Arms, 9″ Hands
Kyren Williams had arguably the most productive career of all Notre Dame players in attendance at the 2022 NFL Combine. Despite his stellar college days, he did not have the best test results at the combine.
Williams recorded a 4.65 40-yard dash. NFL teams would have liked to see him in the 4.4-4.5 range, but a tick slower on the 40 shouldn’t deter teams from drafting one of the most complete backs in this year’s draft class. Williams only completed two other combine tests, recording a 32″ vertical jump and a 116″ broad jump.
The beautiful part about the running back position is that you don’t have to be a first- or second-round pick to see playing time. An underrated part of William’s game is his blocking ability, so I could see him in a punt protector role in the NFL. With the right NFL fit, Williams could the perfect change-of-pace back. He is hard to tackle, can make defenders miss in space, and despite his underwhelming 40 time, he has shown the ability to break off long runs throughout his career.
Kyren Williams will most likely be a Day 2 or early Day 3 pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, but he could benefit from another opportunity to put his best foot forward at Notre Dame’s pro day. A former captain for the Irish, Williams is a great locker room presence. I expect to see him in a complementary role next season, and similar to Austin Jr., he would be a great value pick in the later rounds of the draft.
Position: Defensive End
Weight: 270 lbs
Measurements: 32 5/8″ Arms, 9 5/8″ Hands
Similar to Williams, Tagovailoa-Amosa only participated in three tests at the 2022 NFL Combine — 40-yard dash, vertical jump, and broad jump. The Hawaii native finished with a 4.81 40-yard dash time, which is certainly respectable for a defensive end. He also recorded a 29″ vertical jump and a 115″ broad jump.
Tagovailoa-Amosa should come off the board on Day 3 of the draft. As we’ve seen with past Notre Dame defensive linemen, he will most likely earn his way onto a roster. He has a high motor, the ability to wreak havoc in the backfield, and a history of creating turnovers and making big plays at crucial junctures of the game.
I anticipate Myron Tagovailoa-Amosa will be a preseason standout or practice squad hero who will make the best of his opportunity when he gets it. There is a home for him in the NFL, but he may have to work a little harder to get there than others.
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