With Day 4 of the NFL’s Scouting Combine almost in the books, defensive linemen, edge rushers and linebackers have completed their medical testing, on-the-field drills and media availability; while there are still meetings with teams happening throughout the weekend and a lot of combine evaluations should be taken with a grain of salt, some conclusions can be drawn even from the small corner of the puzzle that is starting to be put together to determine where these prospects will be drafted come April. So what can be gleaned from the defensive linemen’s performances in Indianapolis? Let’s take a look at a few players who may have moved the needle for themselves, some in the right direction with positive performances, and a couple who may have hurt their draft position as they came up short.
The NFL separated edge rushers and interior defensive linemen, so that’s what we’ll do as well. Below are the edge rushers from today.
Movin’ On Up
A 4.59 40 on the second run for UTSA EDGE Marcus Davenport pic.twitter.com/sxZm9B3Rnh
— Tom Downey (@WhatGoingDowney) March 4, 2018
Marcus Davenport, UTSA
The player that most analysts have closest to bonified top-five stud Bradley Chubb in the 2018 Draft continued his climb up draft boards with a 4.58 40, 124-inch broad jump and a 7.2 three-cone performance. He actually bested Chubb in every drill except the bench and vertical jump; Davenport is firmly in the mix as a first-round pick, but fans hoping he would fall to the Panthers at 24 may be disappointed after Davenport performed like this at the COmbine.
Harold Landry, Boston College
Landry’s numbers are extremely close to Chubb’s, who is the bellcow who all edge rushers are being compared to in 2018; one-hundredth of a second faster in the 40, the exact same bench press and vertical jump as Chubb, and quicker in both the three-cone and shuttle drill. While Landry is lighter than Chubb, which will account for some of the faster scores, it’s hard to argue with the exact same bench press and similar jump numbers. The three-cone score will have scouts salivating; a 6.88 is the same time as JJ Watt and quicker than Joey Bosa.
Josh Sweat, Florida State
The 6’4″, 251-pound lineman put up perhaps the most surprising line of the day with the best vertical and second-best broad jump for edge rushers, and a borderline ridiculous 4.53 40-yard dash; he also looked athletic and moved well in drills, which may spike him from a third-day pick into the conversation at the end of the second.
Linebacker Shaquem Griffin, University of Central Florida
— Tom Downey (@WhatGoingDowney) March 4, 2018
Easily the greatest story of the Combine, the one-handed linebacker from Central Florida not only put up 20 bench press reps using a prosthetic on his left hand, he ran the second-fastest 40 of anyone at the Combine and the fastest since 2003 for a linebacker. Is there any fan in the league that doesn’t want their team to draft Griffin?
Linebacker Oren Bruks, Vanderbilt
At 6’3″, 233 pounds, Bruks ran a 4.59 40, faster than presumed first-rounder Leighton Vender Esch, and was top-three in three-cone, vertical and short shuttle; he also finished first in the broad jump among linebackers. Seen as a mid-round pick, he may have lifted himself to Day 2 consideration.
Picked A Bad Day To Have A Bad Day
Chad Thomas with a disappointing 4.93 40 pic.twitter.com/P2Ldf8cRKR
— Cameron DaSilva (@camdasilva) March 4, 2018
Chad Thomas, Miami
Thomas entered the Combine expected to be a developmental, athletic prospect with a Day 2 grade, but he disappointed with the slowest 40 time among edge rushers; his 29″ vertical was the second-worst, and his 116″ was the sixth-worst. With those being the only three drills the Hurricane competed in, he may have dropped himself to a Day 3 grade.
Arden Key, LSU
The player scouts were most curious about heading into the Combine continued to make for a blurry draft picture, considering that he was expected to be a physical freak and failed to run the 40, was fourth-worst among edge rushers in the vertical jump and below-average in the broad. Throw in the fact that he weighed in at 238 after starting last season at almost 280, add in his off-the-field issues, and a mediocre three-cone and Key will be all over draft boards come April; someone is going to either get a superstar in the making or a tremendous bust.
Darius Jackson, Jacksonville State
Seen as being a potential Day 3 pick, Jackson may have wiped himself off draft boards altogether when he measured in at 6’3″, 242 pounds and ran a pedestrian 4.87 40-yard dash, finishing in the bottom-three among edge rushers in the three-cone and both jump drills. Showing neither quickness nor particular explosion in the drills which some consider the most important among edge rushers is disappointing for a prospect that could have guaranteed himself at least a training camp spot with an NFL team.
Chris Worley, Ohio State
Worley only did three drills and placed last among linebackers in all three. That’s not good. Especially when he was a borderline draftable player, he’ll be vying amongst the UDFAs for a training camp invite.
Nick DeLuca, North Dakota State
DeLuca had the second-worst 40 time and the worst broad and vertical jump; thought to be mid-round pick, he may have slid himself to late on Day 3.