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Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Defensive backs displayed their skills on the final day of the event.

We have finally arrived at Day 4 of the 2022 NFL Scouting Combine.

The first three days were fantastic. We were able to see Kenny Pickett, Malik Willis, and other quarterback prospects for the 2022 NFL Draft hit the field Thursday before seeing potential No. 1 overall pick Ikem Ekwonu and the rest of the participating offensive linemen Friday.

On Saturday, Kayvon Thibodeaux, Aidan Hutchinson, and other highly talented edge rushers (as well as defensive linemen and linebackers) looked to impress scouts.

But to close out the event, defensive backs took to the gridiron at Lucas Oil Stadium Sunday. Notre Dame safety Kyle Hamilton, Cincinnati corner Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner, and various other prospects completed the on-field drills to conclude the combine.

What went down on the final day of this annual event?

CB notes


Okay, I’m just going to start out by saying I’m becoming a big Tariq Woolen fan.

The UTSA (that’s the University of Texas at San Antonio, if you weren’t aware) cornerback sports tremendous size at 6-foot-4, 205 pounds. Not to mention, the dude can move. Woolen ran the second-fastest 40-yard dash in the group of cornerbacks at the combine, clocking in at 4.26 seconds.

Woolen could be a third-rounder, but expect his stock to rise. There are a number of cornerback-needy teams in this league, and depth in the defensive backfield is extremely crucial.

Kalon Barnes out of Baylor additionally underwent a fantastic day at the combine, clocking in at 4.23 seconds for the 40-yard dash (the fastest of all the participating cornerbacks).

One of the bigger names in the cornerback class is Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner out of Cincinnati. The Bearcat could be what Jaycee Horn was in last year’s draft, and that’s someone who swiftly skyrockets the draft boards.

People were projecting Horn to be a late first-rounder last year before he was eventually the No. 8 overall pick and first cornerback taken. Gardner, right now, could be off the board in the middle portion of the first round, but mark my words: Sauce will be a top-12 pick, pushing towards the top 10.

Having said that, Gardner ran a 4.41 40-yard dash. He additionally showed tremendous footwork, hip movement, and kept a low center of gravity on the backpedal line drill. He deflected the pass at its highest point during the drill, a valuable skill for NFL defensive backs.

Jack Jones out of Arizona State is another interesting name — the cornerback put his ball skills on display during the gauntlet drill, showing his wide catch radius.

S notes

The top safety in this draft class, Notre Dame’s Kyle Hamilton, participated in the on-field workouts Sunday and ran a 4.59 40-yard dash.

Hamilton additionally portrayed his terrific ball skills during the on-field workouts. He recorded eight interceptions and 16 pass breakups in 31 career games for the Fighting Irish.

Kyle could certainly be a top-five pick in the upcoming draft, possibly to the safety-needy New York Jets at No. 4 overall.

The fastest 40-yard dash time of the safeties was 4.36 seconds, courtesy of Baylor’s JT Woods.

I was impressed with Illinois safety Kerby Joseph, who showed quick hip movement when making his turns during the line drill. Joseph could be a Day 2 pick in the upcoming draft

Oregon’s Verone McKinley showed off his good ball skills during the line drill, leaping to catch the ball at its highest point. Maybe McKinley’s stock rises in the coming weeks? He’s currently projected to be a third-rounder, but stocks are obviously fluid.

And finally, can we just admire how well UL Lafayette’s Percy Butler performed this drill in the below video?

All the way down to snagging the ball at its highest point…

Butler was a physical safety for the Ragin’ Cajuns, totaling 60 combined tackles (6.0 tackles for loss) in 13 games during the 2021 season.

Fits for Giants, Jets

So the Jets should be all in on Kyle Hamilton.

Marcus Maye’s future is uncertain given his expiring contract and 2021 Achilles tear (which caused him to miss the final nine games of the season).

The Jets employed one of the worst secondaries in the league last year and should upgrade the area through the draft — Hamilton would be a perfect choice at No. 4 and I believe he’ll be available due to the need for offensive tackles and edge rushers within the top three picks.

However, Gang Green could additionally target a corner in the first round (they own the No. 4 and 10 overall picks, but don’t feel as if they would use both on defensive backs). Maybe Sauce Gardner at No. 10 after taking an edge rusher at No. 4? Maybe selecting LSU cornerback Derek Stingley Jr. (who didn’t work out at the combine) is the route to take with the fourth overall pick?

Regardless, the Jets need serious assistance in the deep part of the field. They allowed 259.4 passing yards per game last season (30th in the NFL).

The Giants are seemingly set at safety with Logan Ryan and Xavier McKinney, one of the better young safeties in the NFL. However, the cornerback spot could be a position to address in the second or third round.

James Bradberry might be a trade piece this offseason. I’m not saying whoever the Giants may draft could be a replacement for Bradberry (I would expect both Aaron Robinson and Adoree’ Jackson to carry the load from there), but depth here is obviously important.

Maybe the Giants could target Kaiir Elam out of Florida in the second round? Or someone like Tariq Woolen in the third (if he doesn’t creep up to the second)?

This is a deep cornerback class — Big Blue will have options.

Follow Ryan Honey on Twitter: @RyanHoneyESNY

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Ryan Honey is a senior NFL analyst, betting writer, and podcaster for Elite Sports NY. He hosts the Wide Right Podcast, which serves as both a New York Giants podcast and sports betting show.