Baylor CB runs 2nd-fastest 40 ever at combine

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INDIANAPOLIS — In a week when speed has been a big part of the story at the NFL’s scouting combine, the defensive backs put an exclamation point on the affair Sunday.

Baylor cornerback Kalon Barnes and Texas-San Antonio cornerback Tariq Woolen ran two of the fastest 40-yard dash times in the combine’s history, as Barnes’ official 4.23 clocking was the fastest ever for a defensive back and now considered the second-fastest time to wide receiver John Ross’ 4.22 in 2017.

Barnes, who played in 41 career games for the Bears, was the second player to run on the day and caused a stir among the fans in the stands as he crossed the finish in both of his attempts.

Woolen ran an official 4.26 and, like Barnes, ran his best 40 on his second attempt. Woolen’s run, at least to some personnel executives, will be even a little more celebrated given he not has only tied for the fourth fastest 40-yard dash in the event’s history but he did it as one of the biggest cornerbacks in any draft at 6-foot-4⅛ inches tall and 205 pounds.

Woolen, a wide receiver until he played the last game of the 2019 season at cornerback, also has a defensive lineman-esque arm span of 79 inches.

He was asked Saturday what he might run given he was expected to be one of the fastest players in attendance, and he said: “It’ll be good, good, but y’all will just have to see. But I feel like it’s going to be good.”

Asked how he could be so fast when tall players have not always run that well among the defensive backs at the combine before, Woolen said, “I kept growing and I kept getting faster.”

It all capped a sizzling week on the combine turf as eight wide receivers were timed under 4.4 seconds in the 40, 12 offensive linemen were clocked under 5.0 seconds and Barnes and Woolen capped it all.

There was some private grumbling among scouts about some of the veracity of all of the eyebrow-raising times. But teams will do what teams have always done at the combine — compare the official times to their own on site as well as the GPS data they accumulated during the season and at postseason all-star games like the Senior Bowl.

Safeties and special teams players also worked out Sunday, the fourth and final day of on-field work at the combine, including the consensus top safety on the board, Notre Dame’s Kyle Hamilton.

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