There were quite a few defensive linemen and linebackers that saw their stock see a boost during their Combine session on Monday.
Florida DT Sharrif Floyd and Oregon DE Dion Jordan absolutely killed it. DE Ziggy Ansah of BYU and DE Margus Hunt of SMU also had massive days, while DE Corey Lemonier of Auburn turned in a solid day. Floyd has looked like a Top 5 prospect lately, especially with Star Lotulelei’s heart condition. At 6’3″ 297 lbs, Floyd ran a 4.92 forty, and looked very quick in drills. He had the quick twitch that coaches look for and was very quick off the ball. He showed good balance and played very low, his stock is definitely on the rise.
Dion Jordan came in and did exactly what he needed to do at the Combine. There had been many questions about his weight, as it was rumored he played around 220 lbs all year. He showed up to the Combine and weighed in at 248 lbs while standing 6’6″. Then he ran a 4.6 flat 40-yard-dash and had a 32.5″ vertical leap. He showed good explosion and lower body strength. He had good balance and his long strides allowed him to cover ground very quickly. He didn’t bench, so he will have to prove at his Pro Day that he has the upper body strength necessary to play in the NFL.
Ziggy Ansah has been the talk of the NFL pretty much since the Senior Bowl, and the Combine just became another play ground for his rise to stardom. Ansah is a very raw athletic prospect, more raw than Jason Pierre-Paul, but he has a huge ceiling. Ansah ran a 4.63 40, with 21 reps on the bench and a 34.5″ vertical leap. At 6’5″ 271 lbs, his speed was impressive. He needs to work on his upper body strength, but his quickness is very rare. He plays very low and is good with getting leverage too.
Corey Lemonier weighed in at 6’3″ 255 lbs and then ran a very impressive 4.60 40. He put up 27 reps on the bench with a 33″ vertical and showed that he is quick and showed good balance during drills. He does have some stiff hips and has some trouble with his leverage, and will need to show teams that he can be stronger.
Finally, the talk of the Combine has been Margus Hunt. Hunt from SMU came in and weighed in at 6’8″ 277 lbs. He decided that wasn’t impressive enough though, so he put up a 34.5″ vertical leap, 38 reps on the bench and then ran a 4.60 40-yard-dash. Yeah, the guy is a freak. I mean seriously, how is this even possible? He did pretty well on the field, but showed what his tape shows, that he is a raw prospect. Hunt will go in the first two rounds strictly based off of potential, and I don’t blame teams for salivating over him.
Texas A&M Damontre Moore did not have a good combine showing. Moore has good size at 6’4″ 240 lbs, but he ran a 4.95 forty and only put up 12 reps on the bench. Moore showed that his strength and speed are a concern, and I’m not sure it was as much on display as it was at the NFL Combine. He did okay in the drills, but didn’t look as good as he had on film. He looked unathletic and off balance a lot. This will definitely be a time where teams go back and review the game film and see what exactly he looks like on film. He’s not a burner on film, but I thought he was much stronger than 12 reps.
Ohio State DT Jonathan Hankins was another player that didn’t have a great combine. He weighed in at 6’3″ 320 lbs and ran a 5.31 forty. While the forty isn’t a concern for a DT, you would like him to be much quicker than what he showed, and at 320 lbs, he should have put up more than 27 reps on the bench. He didn’t look very fluid going through drills and needs to do some more work prior to the Pro Day.
Georgia LB Cornelius Washington and Florida LB Jonathan Bostic had fantastic days at the Combine and so did fellow SEC LB Zaviar Gooden (Missouri). Washington stole the show and turned in an absolutely workout warrior-like performance. Washington stands 6’4″ 265 lbs, and ran a 4.55 40-yard-dash with 36 reps on the bench and a 39 inch vertical. Needless to say, he sent teams running back to check the Georgia Bulldogs game film after his workouts. He moved pretty well for a big guy, and obviously didn’t have great ball skills and had trouble moving around in the coverage drills but that’s pretty much irrelevant. You can’t teach Washington’s size, speed, and strength combination, and his ability as a pass rusher will be huge at the next level.
Bostic ran a 4.61 40, put up 22 reps on the bench, and had a 32.5 inch vertical leap. Where he excelled was his short yardage quickness, posting a 6.99 three cone drill and a 4.24 20-yard shuttle time. Bostic showed that he will be able to exceed at inside linebacker in the NFL even though he is only 6’1″ 245. He was very fluid in his movements and did a good job of staying low during drills. His speed will more than make up for his lack of elite size.
Missouri LB Zaviar Gooden also had a good day, doing his best to show that he could be the next Aldon Smith (though he won’t be). Gooden ran a blazing 4.47 40-yard-dash, put up 27 reps on the bench and had a 34 inch vertical. He did well in the pass rushing drills and his speed will obviously be of huge use to him, but his size (6’1″ 234 lbs) will make his role limited to a 4-3 outside linebacker in the NFL.
The final guy to note that had a good day was Connecticut linebacker Sio Moore. Moore was very good in drills moving laterally and showed very good balance. Moore ran a 4.65 40-yard-dash, with 29 bench reps, a 38 inch vertical, all at 6’1″ 245 lbs. He had very good footwork and turned a lot of heads during his workout.
On the opposite side, Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o putting up a 4.82 40-yard-dash, which was terrible for his draft stock. He came in at 6’1″, 241 lbs, and then proved to be even more unathletic than it was previously thought by teams. An unathletic, undersized middle linebacker that missed tackles on the biggest stage in College Football is the exact opposite of what teams want. Te’o did an okay job in drills but looked very stiff in his movements the whole time. I’ll be utterly floored if he goes in the 1st round now. Then when he left the Combine he had the audacity to complain that the pressure of the Combine caused the poor time. One player out of 330+ complained about the pressure? Everyone was facing pressure. Is Te’o mentally tough enough to be in the NFL and handle criticism?
Stanford linebacker Chase Thomas also had a very poor day. Thomas was looking like a 2nd day pick prior to the Combine, but he showed up and ran a 4.91 40-yard-dash and only put up 18 reps on the bench. Then he looked extremely unathletic and fell down during almost every single one of the coverage drills. Good thing for Thomas though, is he looks very good on film. Hopefully for him teams will think that is enough for them, because he definitely had a terrible Combine.