NFL Draft Center


Written By: Mark Scott

The Defensive Linemen and Linebackers went to work on Monday and displayed their freakish athletic ability in drills across the board. Scouts were left drooling by the likes of Dontari Poe, Nick Perry, Melvin Ingram and a number of others, while some other highly rated prospects like Michael Brockers, Devon Still and Vontaze Burfict did not impress with their performances.

  • Workout Results – Defensive Line
    • 40 Yard Dash – 1.Bruce Irvin, WVU, 4.50 / 2.Shea McClellin, BSSt, 4.63 / 3.Nick Perry, USC, 4.64 / 4.Whitney Mercilus, Ill, 4.68 / 5.Andre Branch, Clem, 4.70 / 6.Quinton Coples, UNC, 4.78 / 7.Fletcher Cox, MSSt, 4.79 / 7.Melvin Ingram, Scar, 4.79
    • Vertical Jump – 1.Nick Perry, USC, 38.5” / 2.J.R. Sweezy, NCSt, 36” / 3.Derrick Shelby, Uta, 35.5” / 4.Cam Johnson, Virg, 35” / 4.Chandler Jones, Syr, 35” / 4.Scott Solomon, Rice, 35”/ 7.Melvin Ingram, Scar, 34.5” / 7.Markus Kuhn, NCSt 34.5” / 7.Kendall Reyes, Conn, 34.5” / 7.Olivier Vernon, Mia, 34.5”
    •   Broad Jump – 1.Scott Solomon, Rice, 10’4” / 2.Bruce Irvin, WVU, 10’3” / 4.Olivier Vernon, Mia, 10’2” / 5.Andre Branch, Clem, 10’0” / 5.Chandler Jones, Syr, 10’0” / 5.Jonathon Massaquoi, Try, 10’0”
    • 3 Cone Drill – 1.Bruce Irvin, WVU, 6.70s / 2.Melvin Ingram, Scar, 6.83s / 3.Jake Bequette, Ark, 6.90 / 3.Vinny Curry, Mrsh, 6.90s / 5.Justin Francis, Rut, 7.05s / 6.Fletcher Cox, MSSt, 7.07s / 6.Chandler Jones, Syr, 7.07s / 6.Shea McClellin, BSSt, 7.07s
    • 20 Yard Shuttle – 1.Bruce Irvin, WVU, 4.03s / 2.Jake Bequette, Ark, 4.07s / 3.Melvin Ingram, Scar, 4.18s / 4.Jamie Blatnick, OKSt, 4.20s / 5.Vaughn Meatoga, Haw, 4.21s / 6.Andre Branch, Clem, 4.25s / 6.Jack Crawford, PSU, 4.25s / 6.Mike Martin, Mich, 4.25s / 6.Scott Solomon, Rice, 4.25s
    • *Bruce Irvin – New Combine Record – 20 Yard Shuttle
  • The Defensive Linemen group put in impressive workouts for the most part though there were some big names that disappointed. Dontari Poe blew away scouts with an unbelievable workout. The gigantic Nose Tackle out of Memphis displayed unreal speed and athleticism while running a 4.98 in the 40 with a 10-yard split of 1.68 seconds, a Combine leading 44 reps in the Bench Press and excelled during the football drills. His stock is skyrocketing after his performance and risen him into early first round discussions. He may have helped himself more than any other prospect at the Combine. After starring at the Senior Bowl, Melvin Ingram has continued his ascent up draft boards to being considered the top pass-rusher available in the draft with another awesome performance at the Combine. He finished among the top in the majority of the drills. He showed fantastic athleticism, great footwork and excellent movement in the football drills, while looking particularly good performing linebacker drills. He looks like the ideal 3-4 outside linebacker, though has the versatility to play defensive end, defensive tackle and even inside linebacker in various different schemes. Quinton Coples lived up to the hype putting together a terrific workout and showed that he is a special athlete to scouts confirming his top of the first round rating. He ran a 4.78 in the 40 and performed well during football drills. Nick Perry and Fletcher Cox put in two of the more impressive workouts of all the defensive linemen. Both put up very good numbers in all drills and looked incredibly fast and agile for men of their size at 271lbs and 298lbs respectively. Like Coples, Perry looks to be a 4-3 defensive end only, though a very good one at that. Cox looks to be one of the more versatile linemen in the draft that can play different positions along the line in multiple schemes and looks like he can still add another 20lbs or so to his frame, while still maintaining his elite athleticism.  As one of the smaller pass rushers, Bruce Irvin needed to be fast and he was in running a 4.5 in the 40. He is still undersized, but could sell himself as a Von Miller type as a pass-rushing 4-3 OLB. Other notable performances were had by Kendall Reyes, Whitney Mercilus, Shea McClellin and Ronnell Lewis. Andre Branch also changed some minds with a solid workout after he came in smaller than expected at the weigh-ins. Michael Brockers who came to the Combine as one of the top rated linemen was a big disappointment as he didn’t finish among the leaders in any of the drills including an eyebrow raising 19 reps in the bench that was the worst of the entire group. The redshirt sophomore probably could have used another year in school, though he will still is worthy of a first round pick, maybe just not as high as some thought he would go before the Combine. After proclaiming to everyone that he was hands down the best DT in the draft during the media sessions, Devon Still did not quite live up to that claim with just an average workout and will have to hope his impressive game tape from this past season is good enough to keep him in first round discussions. Another highly rated defensive tackle, Brandon Thompson also disappointed with an average workout and struggles in the bag drills and probably fits more as a second rounder than a first. Pass-rushers Vinny Curry and Chandler Jones also struggled to impress scouts.
  • Workout Results – Linebackers
    • 40 Yard Dash – 1.Mychal Kendricks, Cal, 4.47 / 2.Zach Brown, UNC, 4.50 / 3.Luke Kuechly, BC, 4.58 / 4.Demario Davis, AKSt, 4.61 / 5.Nigel Bradham, FSU, 4.64 / 5.Najee Goode, WVU,4.64 / 7.Lavonte David, Neb, 4.65
    • Vertical Jump – 1.Mychal Kendricks, Cal, 39.5” / 2.Demario Davis, AKSt, 38.5” / 3.Luke Kuechly, BC, 38” / 4.Miles Burris, SDSt, 37.5” / 5.Nigel Bradham, FSU, 37” / 5.James-Michael Johnson, Nev, 37” / 5.Tahir Whitehead, Temp, 37”
    • Broad Jump – 1.Mychal Kendricks, Cal, 10’7” / 2.Demario Davis, AKSt, 10’4” / 2.James-Michael Johnson, Nev, 10’4” / 2.Tahir Whitehead, Temp, 10’4” / 5.Luke Kuechly, BC, 10’3” / 6.Travis Lewis, Okla, 10’2”
    • 3 Cone Drill – 1.Nathan Stupar, PSU, 6.84s / 2.Tank Carder, TCU, 6.89s / 3.Chris Galippo, USC, 6.90s / 4.Luke Kuechly, BC, 6.92s / Audie Cole, NCSt, 6.96s / 6.Darius Fleming, ND, 7.03s
    •  20 Yard Shuttle – 1.Brandon Marshall, Nev, 4.09s / 2.Chris Galippo, USC, 4.10s / 3.Luke Kuechly, BC, 4.12s / 4.Tank Carder, TCU, 4.18s / 5.Mychal Kendricks, Cal, 4.19s / 6.Lavonte David, Neb, 4.22s
    • 60 Yard TD Shuttle – 1.Luke Kuechly, BC, 11.43s / 1.Tyler Nielsen, Iow, 11.43s / 3.Tank Carder, TCU, 11.53s / 4.Nathan Stupar, PSU, 11.64s / 5.Demario Davis, AKSt, 11.65s / 6.Chris Galippo, USC, 11.78s
  • Luke Kuechly came to the Combine as the top rated linebacker and did nothing to dispel that as he had a fantastic workout that only raised his already very high stock. He exceeded expectations in all drills with a 4.58 in the 40, 27 reps on the bench press, a 10’3” broad jump and a 38” vertical. Some thought he was just a great football player, but he showed everyone that he is also an elite athlete as well. He showed more speed, agility, strength and power than anyone thought. Zach Brown didn’t disappoint either showing off incredible athleticism including running a 4.50 in the 40, though some had hyped him up into the 4.3s heading in and he showed also very well in the football drills. California’s Mychal Kendricks was the top performer of the group and improved his stock more than any other linebacker. Undersized at 5’11”, 239lbs, many scouts were considering him to be more of a Safety than a linebacker, but he blew everyone away with just an incredible Combine performance that saw him lead the way in the 40, broad jump and vertical jump with scores of a 4.47 40, a 10’7” broad and 39” vertical. He also looked great and showed terrific movement in all of the football drills. His Combine performance to go with Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year game tape should have him flying up draft boards. Dont’a Hightower was impressive throughout the Combine, but he did show some struggles to drop into pass coverage and move in space during the field drill, although he is excellent moving forward and attacking the line of scrimmage and backfield. LaVonte David, Tank Carder and especially Demario Davis also put together great workouts raising their stock among scouts. As for the disappointments, look no further than Vontaze Burfict, who continued his plummet down draft boards after being considered a Top Ten pick heading into the 2011 college football season. His struggles during this past season especially with ridiculous major penalties have been well documented and now with a very poor performance at the Combine to go with blaming the Arizona State coaching staff for his awful season during the media sessions have Burfict looking to just hold on to a spot on Day 2 of the draft. Reports also have him being very unimpressive during private team interviews. As a linebacker Courtney Upshaw disappointed, but as a defensive lineman he looked pretty good. Due to his mammoth size, he struggled to be fluid in the field drills and showed that he won’t be very effective dropping into pass coverage, but he still has the makings of an elite 4-3 defensive end focused on rushing the passer on every down. He really didn’t hurt or help his stock in any way at the Combine, although he did raise some questions among scouts with just 22 reps in the bench press and by not running a 40. Audie Cole struggled in his workouts and looked slow. He might be forced to add some weight and turn himself into more an in-the-box thumper.
  • Bench Press Results – Defensive Backs
    • Safety – 1.Eddie Pleasant, Oreg, 22 reps / 1.Sean Richardson, Vand, 22 reps / 3.Delano Howell, Stan, 21 reps / 4.Duke Ihenacho, SJSt, 20 reps / 4.George Iloka, BSSt, 20 reps / 4.Johnny Thomas, OKSt, 20 reps
    • Cornerback – 1.Omar Bolden, AZSt, 25 reps / 2.Jamell Fleming, Okla, 23 reps / 3.Antonio Fenelus, Wisc, 20 reps / 4.Justin Bethel, Pres, 19 reps / 4.Casey Hayward, Vand, 19 reps / 4.Asa Jackson, CalP, 19 reps / 4.Trumaine Johnson, Mont, 19 reps
  • The St. Louis Rams have let it be known that they have decided to trade the No.2 pick of the draft. According to multiple sources, they have already had trade discussions with Cleveland, Washington and Miami. All three teams own a pick among the top eight selections, while the Browns also own the rights to the No.22 pick, acquired at last year’s draft from Atlanta in the Julio Jones trade that saw Cleveland land multiple picks. Speculation has the Rams looking for a deal similar to the Eli Manning trade at the 2004 Draft, where New York acquired the first overall pick Manning from the Chargers in exchange for two first round picks (No.4 overall, 2004/No.12 overall, 2005), a third round choice and a fifth round pick. The two first round pick turned into Philip Rivers and Shawne Merriman.
  • Add a five-technique Defensive End to San Diego’s needs list as sources have reported that the Chargers will cut DE Luis Castillo, who has been with the team since they drafted him in 2005.
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