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NFL Combine Notebook: Who was the cream of the crop?

The 2022 NFL Scouting Combine has now concluded, and the week of interviews and workouts gave not only NFL teams, but football fans a look at who they feel will be the best prospects coming out of college this year.

With over 300 players in attendance in Indianapolis, here are a few of the brightest young stars that shined for all to see last week who could even potentially be drafted by the Silver and Black.

Jordan Davis

Georgia's defensive tackle is 6-foot-6, 341 pounds – and ran a faster 40 than eight other skill position players.

If anyone had questions about Davis coming off a National Championship, he did his best to answer a few of them in Indianapolis. The biggest concern about Davis is whether he can be a three-down player in the NFL, having played 40 percent of defensive snaps for Georgia last season.

Throughout interviews and his workouts, he tested off the charts. The Charlotte, NC, native recorded the highest broad jump (10'3"), the second highest vertical jump (32.00") and the second fastest 40-yard dash (4.78) of any defensive tackle at the Combine.

If Davis falls to the Raiders at No. 22, he would be a sure-fire contributor from day one. The 2021 Chuck Bednarik award recipient accumulated 90 total tackles, 11.5 tackles for loss and seven sacks in his four seasons as a Bulldog.

Chris Olave and Garrett Wilson

You can get with this or you can get with that. But they're both equally where it's at.

The two Ohio State receivers put on a showcase, which was no surprise considering what they've done together as Buckeyes. Olave and Wilson combined for nearly 60 total touchdowns and over 4,900 receiving yards together in college.

In my humblest opinion, these two were the top overall receivers I saw during the Combine. Both displayed great hands, great footwork, ability to track down the deep ball, and above all, speed. Wilson clocked in a 4.38 40-yard dash time, with Olave a point of a second behind him at 4.39.

Both receivers also said they met with the Raiders this week for interviews. If the Raiders choose not to lure in another top receiver in free agency, the ball could be in their court to draft one of these two receivers if they're available.

Ikem Ekwonu

I would've been convinced Ekwonu was the best offensive lineman in the draft even if he didn't show up to the Combine. But after seeing him in the flesh last week, I'm now almost certain.

It's never wiser to overhype a player from just workouts, but when the workout matches up to what is already put on film, it makes you excited. The 6-foot-4, 310-pounder ran a 4.93 40 and looked extremely fluid in his movement and footwork during his drills.

The NC State lineman was on a mission in Indianapolis to prove not only he should be the first offensive lineman taken in this year's draft, but quite possibly the first player taken in the entire draft.

"I think I would be the third player in [NC] State history to go No. 1 overall. ... I wouldn't be shocked if I went No. 1 overall," Ekwonu told the media. "I feel like that's something I've put the work in for it. I feel like when that time comes, I wouldn't be shocked by it."

It would put Ekwonu in a class of Wolfpack No. 1 picks with defensive end Mario Williams in 2006 and quarterback Roman Gabriel – the first pick of the 1962 AFL Draft by the Oakland Raiders.

Kayvon Thibodeaux

The most dominant edge rusher in college football is a conversation still up for debate. However, the most unique combination of size, speed and strength gives the Oregon star the edge in my mind.

Going into the 2021 college season, Kayvon Thibodeaux was penciled in to be the No. 1 pick in the upcoming draft. But after the season Heisman finalist Aiden Hutchinson had at Michigan, an argument has been created between the two edge rushers.

Despite not partaking in the position workouts, Thibodeux's 27 reps on bench press were the most of any defensive end, and ran a 4.58 40-yard dash at 254 pounds. Additionally, his confidence in himself and his abilities was very visible through his interactions with the media.

"I think the biggest thing I kind of want to articulate to the teams is that I'm really a student of the game, or I really love this game," said Thibodeaux. "It's done a lot for me. Football has taught me a lot. It's helped me grow a lot through my life. It'll be there 'til the day I die. ... No matter what else I do off the field, football is my main focus. Winning a Super Bowl, getting a yellow jacket, being Defensive Rookie of the Year is on my list of goals."

Thibodeaux will more than likely be long gone by the time the Raiders are ready to pick at 22, but I won't be surprised if he has the most productive rookie season of any player in the 2022 draft class.

View photos of draft prospects at the 2022 NFL Combine whom top analysts are predicting the Raiders may pick at No. 22.

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