Day 3 was a disappointing day for me, but only because NFL Network spent most of the time talking about Jadeveon Clowney. It seemed like once every 20 minutes they were bringing up his name and as soon as he didn’t participate in every drill, you knew it was all over. Everyone spent most of the time questioning Clowney’s “heart” and “love for the game.” Warren Sapp was brutal to listen to, despite a few good one-liners, he was mostly an idiot. At one point, Sapp said there was nothing on Clowney’s tape that said he was draftable outside of his three sacks, which is in a video further down in this post.
Yeah, that’s not draftable. Bottom line is Clowney can play. If teams are going to pass on him, I’d gladly take him on my team if I was a GM. You can’t teach his athleticism and size and he’s going to be just fine in the NFL.
The biggest winner of the day was Aaron Donald. After crushing the Senior Bowl he showed up and annihilated the competition at the Combine. To be able to run a 4.68 40 (1.59 10-yard split) at 285 lbs and then add 35 reps on the bench is impressive. Not to mention he had a 32″ vertical. He may only be 6′ tall, but he is quick, powerful and explosive. He is going to be a great 3-tech and should be a first round pick. I’m not sure anyone has had a better calendar year than Donald.
Ra’Shede Hageman is another player that had a very good day. He weighed in at 6’5″ 310 lbs and ran a 5.02 40 (more importantly a 1.75 10-yard split) and added 32 reps on the bench. He’s a huge imposing figure and is quite an athlete. As was said during the broadcast, he had some games where he didn’t look good and was mostly invisible, but he has a high ceiling if he can play at a consistently high level. He helped himself a lot by showing how athletic he was for such a big man. He may not be a game-changer like Donald, but he will be a productive defensive tackle.
I may end up being in the minority, but I thought Kony Ealy helped himself quite a bit. Ealy weighed in at 6’4″ 273 lbs and posted a 4.92 40 with a 1.66 10-yard split. He only put up 22 reps on the bench, but he has massive 34 1/4″ arms. He looked smooth in drills and showed some good explosiveness off the ball. His athleticism and size might allow him some versatility and he could stand up and play as an outside linebacker in a 3-4.
Florida State’s Timmy Jernigan got a lot of love from Warren Sapp and it was one of the few times I agreed with him. Jernigan will be able to play nose tackle in the NFL and at 6’1″ 298 lbs he’s a space eater. He ran a 5.06 40 with a 1.72 10-yard split and put up 27 reps on the bench. He’s athletic enough given his size and is good moving side-to-side. He should have a big impact at the next level.
One of the small school guys that really impressed me was Howard Jones from Shepherd. I haven’t seen him play a single down but what he did at the Combine intrigued me. At 6’2″ 235 lbs he ran a 4.60 40 with a 1.58 10-yard split. He then had 21 reps on the bench with a 40.5″ vertical and a 10’4″ broad jump. He is an explosive athlete that looked smooth going thru drills and dropping back into coverage. He flipped his hips well and caught the ball pretty well for a guy who played mostly defensive end in college. He’s raw, but he could play DE in a 4-3 or OLB in a 3-4.
Michael Sam was one of the few big names that didn’t have a great day. All of the numbers he posted were average, 4.91 40, 17 reps on the bench, and a 25.5″ vertical. He showed that he has next to no ability to drop back in coverage and will exclusively be a pass rusher. He’ll still get drafted and be productive, but he would have done himself a favor if he wasn’t so tight in the hips and could play a little in coverage. At 6’2″ 261 lbs and after what I saw from the Combine, he is limited to a 4-3 defensive end. A 3-4 team could draft him and put him at outside linebacker to rush the passer, but they would have to make sure he never gets caught in coverage.
The following video is a solid glimpse at Sam’s day and Warren Sapp/NFL Network ripping Clowney (Sapp starts at 2:52).
Louis Nix’s broad jump fail was hysterical. (via SB Nation).
Defensive linemen measurables:
I thought there were quite a few linebackers who had big time days, so I’m just going to go in alphabetical order. Anthony Barr had himself a nice day, weighing in at 6’4″ 255 lbs and running a 4.66 40-yard dash. He only put up 15 reps on the bench, so there is definitely room for improvement in the strength department, but he’s very athletic and explosive. Barr is going to make a team very happy with his pass rushing ability.
Lamin Barrow from LSU had a great day for his stock and looked very smooth going through all of the coverage drills. He came in at 6’1″ 237 lbs and ran a 4.64 40 with 22 reps on the bench, a 35″ vertical and a 10’3″ broad jump. It’s easy to see that he’s very explosive and has the ability to get off the ball quickly.
Khalil Mack solidified himself as a Top 15 pick and arguably the best pass rushing linebacker in the draft. He looked stiff and uncomfortable dropping into coverage in drills but he is athletic, there is no doubt about that. Mack came in at 6’2″ 251 lbs and ran a 4.65 40 with 23 reps on the bench a 40″ vertical and a 10’8″ broad. He may not be a future stud cover linebacker, but he’s going to cause mayhem in a 3-4 defense. He’s a freak athletically, maybe not as much as Clowney, but he’s impressive.
Kevin Pierre-Louis ended up running the fastest 40 time of any of the linebackers, posting a 4.51 at 6′ 234 lbs. He added 28 reps on the bench with a 39″ vertical and a 10’8″ broad jump. He may be a lesser known guy but he’s got the athleticism to play at the next level. He looked good in coverage and caught the ball well too.
Here’s Mike Mayock’s player of the day Telvin Smith. I thought Smith was pretty good but I liked some other guys more. He’s worth showing though and it just shows how awesome Florida State’s team was this year.
The final guy I think worth mentioning was Jordan Tripp. He’s a relatively unknown guy out of Montana but he did every drill well. He was fluid in coverage and didn’t drop a single ball that was thrown his way. He also ran with his eyes up, which is obviously a plus if you’re supposed to be watching the quarterback/receiver/tight end/running back. He’s 6’2″ 234 lbs and ran a 4.67 40 with 22 reps on the bench, 37.5″ vertical and a 10′ broad jump. He’s a good mover in space and like the rest of the linebackers highlighted here, he’s an athlete.
Honorable mention: C.J. Mosley, Ronald Powell, Trent Murphy, Chris Borland
I don’t think any linebackers had a bad day per se, but one who didn’t do himself any favors was Jonathan Brown. He’s 6′ 238 lbs, ran a 5.03 40 and only put up 18 reps on the bench with a 31″ vertical and a 9′ broad jump. If you’re going to be that small as a linebacker in the NFL, you’re going to need to be explosive and athletic and Brown is neither.
Related: 2014 NFL Scouting Combine Recap Day 3: Defensive Backs
Related: 2014 NFL Scouting Combine Recap Day 2: Quarterbacks, Runningbacks and Wide Receivers
Related: 2014 NFL Scouting Combine Recap Day 1: Offensive Linemen, Tight Ends, Special Teamers