2015 NFL Scouting Combine Recap Day 3: Defensive Linemen and Linebackers

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The last two recap posts are a bit delayed because of my schedule, but hopefully I’ll have day 4 done sooner rather than later.

The linebackers turned out to be an extremely disappointing group when it comes to the drills, while the edge rushers showed just how strong of a class it is going to be. For those that don’t know, an edge rusher is a pass rusher. Usually a lighter defensive end that either plays DE in a 4-3 or stands up in a 3-4 as an OLB, either way, they’re getting after the quarterback.

The defensive line class is extremely deep and there were a lot of players that benefitted from the day. There are going to be a lot of wide receivers and edge rushers going in the first round. Add in the defensive tackles and I expect at least 7 defensive linemen/edge rushers to go in the first round.

2015 NFL Combine DE 2015 NFL Combine DE

Vic Beasley, Edge Rusher, Clemson: Probably the biggest winner of the day. Beasley was thought of as the 4th best edge rusher by most going into the day. I’m sure there are plenty that still have him ranked there, but he has some freakish athleticism and should be higher. He added around 15 lbs since the end of the season and skipped the Senior Bowl, which many thought was a mistake. Then he showed up and ran a 4.53 40-yard dash at 6’3″ 246 lbs and then put up 35 reps on the bench, a 41″ vertical and a 10’10” broad jump and turned a lot of heads. He actually looked pretty fluid going through drills as well, though I still don’t recommend dropping him into coverage.

Frank Clark, DE, Michigan: His biggest flaw is his off-the-field issues and the fact that he doesn’t seem to have much remorse for it. Personally, I think he’s totally undraftable, but that’s just me. He did have a very, very good day at the Combine, which won’t surprise many people who watched Michigan. He’s an athletic guy and posting a 4.79 40 at 6’2″ 271 lbs is pretty good. Where he really impressed though was in the agility drills.

Those are some staggering numbers. If he didn’t have the assault charge I would think he would go in the 4th round, if not higher.

Carl Davis, DT, Iowa: At 6’4″ 320 lbs, I didn’t expect the big man to be able to move that well, but he’s got some serious explosiveness. He only posted a 5.07 40, but his 10-yard split of 1.73 was only .03 slower than Frank Clark’s. That’s some serious burst. Adding in a 33″ vertical and an 8’7″ broad at that size is pretty good too, but he did his best during the drills. He had some good punch and while he’s not a sure-fire stud, he looks like he can be an impact guy.

Dante Fowler, Edge Rusher, Florida: Not quite as much of a freak as Vic Beasley, but Fowler has some serious wheels. He weighed in at 6’2.5″ 261 lbs and ran a 4.60 40-yard dash (with a 1.56 10-yard split). He only posted 19 reps on the bench, a 32.5″ vertical and a 9’4″ broad jump, but that speed at that weight is impressive. He did look a little stiff at times during drills, but he showed that he could drop in coverage and could be coached up to do so. He pretty much locked himself into the top 15 picks of the draft.

Randy Gregory, Edge Rusher, Nebraska: There have been some questions about Gregory and his performance at Nebraska, which the coaches have tried to explain to people that he was taught to do certain things and had different jobs than just rush the passer. But there is absolutely no doubt about his athleticism or his freakiness. At 6’4″ 235 lbs, he posted a 4.64 40-yard dash, 24 reps on the bench, a 36.5″ vertical and a 10’5″ broad jump. He’s a lanky guy and he’s going to need to add some weight, but he was extremely fluid and showed some good punch on the bags.

Eli Harold, Edge Rusher, Virginia: Harold is a guy that I had heard of but didn’t really know how athletic he actually was. Harold posted a 4.60 40-yard dash at 6’3″ 247 lbs and added a 35″ vertical leap and a 10’3″ broad jump. Now he didn’t lift, but his 7.07 second 3-cone drill was tied for the fastest of the day. Another one of the edge rushers that just has tremendous athleticism and burst. I feel like half these write-ups could be the exact same thing. There are a lot of special players at this position.

Danielle Hunter, DE, LSU: The only timing drills Hunter did were the weigh-in, the 40 and the bench and I would say he went 3 for 3. Coming in at 6’5″ 252 lbs and then running a 4.57 40-yard dash with 25 reps on the bench is a pretty good day. His problem isn’t with testing though, it’s his film. I would be shocked if he went higher than the second round, though his athleticism is enticing. That being said, he probably should have gone through some of the on-field drills instead of waiting for his Pro Day.

Shane Ray, Edge Rusher, Missouri: Only putting Ray on here because most people think he’s the best edge rusher in the draft (side question: how does Missouri keep churning these guys out?). He had an injury so he didn’t participate in anything except the weigh-in and the bench (21 reps) and will work out at his Pro Day.

Danny Shelton, NT, Washington: Shelton is going to be a pure 3-4 nose tackle in the NFL and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. At 6’2″ 339 lbs he’s bigger than a Fiat and moves like one too. He put up a 1.88 10-yard split (if this man is running 40 yards you got a problem), 34 reps on the bench, a 30.5″ vertical and a 7’11” broad jump. He’s not freaky athletic, but he’s a good player. He’ll probably go higher than he should, just because a team will reach on a need.

Leonard Williams, DE/DT, USC: The number one rated defensive player in the draft and for a good reason. At 6’4.5″ 305 lbs, he posted a 4.97 40 (1.72 10-yard split), a 29.5″ vertical and a 8’10” broad jump. He looked very smooth and powerful going through the drills and that 1.72 10-yard split is just insane for a guy his size. That kind of burst off the line of scrimmage is going to be devastating for offensive linemen. I expect him to be an impact player from day 1.

Honorable Mention: Preston Smith, DE, Mississippi State. Owa Odighizuwa, Edge Rusher, UCLA.

As I said at the start, the linebackers didn’t look very good. It really seems like it’s going to be a weaker class than I initially thought. A lot of guys didn’t test very well, and let’s just say if you need a 4-3 linebacker, you better find a way to wait a year.

2015 NFL Combine LB

Kwon Alexander, LB, LSU: At 6′ 227 lbs he had to test well and that’s exactly what he went out and did. Kwon posted a 4.55 40-yard dash with 24 reps on the bench a 36″ vertical and a 10’1″ broad jump. Some very good explosiveness on display which was extremely necessary given his size.

Stephone Anthony, LB, Clemson: Clemson players as a group had a very good Combine. Anthony weighed in at 6’2.5″ 243 lbs and ran a 4.56 40 with 23 reps on the bench, a 37″ vertical and a 10’2″ broad jump. Another linebacker with some great explosiveness, but he also has some size. He looked very fluid going through the drills as well, which is going to help him with this weak crop.

Paul Dawson, LB, TCU: Supposedly Mike Mayock’s top linebacker on the board, but like every TCU player at the NFL Combine, he tested like very poorly. At 6′ 235 lbs, he ran a 4.93 40, put 21 reps on the bench, had a 28″ vertical and a 9’1″ broad jump. Now I know you can’t put a ton of stock in Combine numbers and he still has his Pro Day to make up for all of this, but these are horrific. He looked stiff in coverage drills and really just unathletic. He had a nice response on twitter about it, but his tape doesn’t match his numbers and that is a problem.

When in doubt, defer to the tape.

Bud Dupree, LB, Kentucky: Safe to say that Alvin “Bud” Dupree is the biggest freak of the entire linebacking group. At 6’4″ 269 lbs, he ran a 4.56 40 with a 1.60 10-yard split and then he posted a 42″ vertical and an 11’6″ broad jump. To put it bluntly, these are some insane numbers. Oh and by the way, he did all of that with a tweaked groin. It wasn’t a new injury, but it’s why he didn’t participate in any of the other on-field drills.

Bernardick McKinney, LB, Mississippi State: His film isn’t as great as you would hope or expect, but he put up some very nice numbers at the Combine. At 6’4″ 246 lbs he ran a 4.66 40 and posted a 40.5″ vertical and a 10’1″ broad jump. Now he only posted 16 reps on the bench, but he’s got some long arms. He has some work to do if he’s going to try to cover pass catchers at the next level because he can be stiff in his movements.

Denzel Perryman, LB, The U: An undersized linebacker, but one that I like. He’s only 5’10.6″ 236 lbs and ran a 4.78 40-yard dash, but he showed he’s got some movement in the on-field drills. He also added 27 reps on the bench, a 32″ vertical and a 9’5″ broad jump. Certainly not numbers to write home about at his size, but it could have gone worse.

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Jake Ryan, LB, Michigan: Jake Ryan isn’t a freak athletically, he’s just a good football player. He weighed in at 6’2″ 240 lbs and ran a 4.65 40 (faster than Funchess, good luck figuring that one out). Then he added 20 reps on the bench, a 34″ vertical and a 10′ broad jump; all pretty solid numbers. Watching him in drills, everything you saw in a game came to light. He’s extremely stiff when he tries to drop back and won’t be able to cover a pass catcher at the next level. Ryan is purely a 3-4 OLB. You could play him in a 4-3 at OLB, obviously, but it would have to be situational and have him rush the passer.

Shaq Thompson, LB/S, Washington: One of the most intriguing players in the draft. Some want him to be a running back, but he doesn’t have any interest in that. He’ll probably end up being a situational player and move between linebacker and safety. Shaq is only 6′ 228 lbs, but he ran a 4.64 40 with a 33.5″ vertical and a 9’9″ broad jump. He looked great going through drills and was very natural dropping into coverage. He’s not a twitchy player, but he showed some quickness; especially with his feet going through the bag drills.

Related: 2015 NFL Scouting Combine Recap Day 1: Offensive Linemen and Tight Ends
Related: 2015 NFL Scouting Combine Recap Day 2: Quarterbacks, Running Backs, Wide Receivers
Related: 2015 NFL Scouting Combine Recap Day 4: Defensive Backs

[Spreadsheet courtesy of Mike Loyko]

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One Response to 2015 NFL Scouting Combine Recap Day 3: Defensive Linemen and Linebackers

  1. Pingback: 2015 NFL Scouting Combine Winners And Losers | The Daily Traub

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