NFL Scouting Combine: Linebackers

The Draftster has your NFL Scouting Combine coverage for each positional group throughout the weekend. Check this page to catch up with anything you may have missed.

Due to unfortunate circumstances the best linebacker in the class didn’t participate in any drills because of being sent home for an altercation with a member of the medical staff. Of course I am speaking about Reuben Foster, if you have missed what happened you must have been sleeping under a rock or had your fingers in your ears.

Anyways, this is a pretty good linebacker class with a few standout prospects at the top of the board such as Foster, Zach Cunningham, Haason Reddick (worked out with the defensive linemen), Raekwon McMillan and Jarrad Davis. I will try not to step on the toes of another writer covering the defensive linemen and also with one exception in Jabrill Peppers I won’t stand on another writer’s toes, mainly due to Peppers stating he is a safety at the next level.

Positives:

Raekwon McMillan, Ohio State – McMillan is a tackling machine but there were some doubts about his overall athleticism. He proved many doubters wrong with a 4.61 40-yard dash time. McMillan also did well in the linebacker drills and didn’t look stiff showing decent hip flexibility and footwork. McMillan projects as a 4-3 SAM at the next level but will probably take a year or so to start.

Tyus Bowser, Houston – Bowser had arguably the best day in the drills for an of the linebackers. Bowser ran a 4.65 40, jumped 37.5 inches in the vertical and finished with a 10′ 7” broad jump. All were top five for linebackers. Bowser is raw and still a project but he has all the tools a team needs to create a dominant pass rusher.

Connor Harris, Lindenwood – The combine is the first time I’ve seen Harris and the first thing that came to mind was that he is a bulldog: short, stocky and packs a punch. He ran a 4.73 40 which wasn’t expected and his agility in linebacker drills was surprising. He definitely showed teams that he can play linebacker in the NFL and will be a special teams star to start with.

Alex Anzalone, Florida – If Anzalone could have stayed healthy in his college career he would be a top 50 pick. However he did show at the combine that he has the tools to play linebacker in the NFL. Running a 4.63 40 and looking like a safety in linebacker drills, he was fluid and showed excellent change of direction skills.

Negatives:

Ryan Anderson, Alabama – Anderson struggled in linebacker drills and didn’t look athletic dropping back and trying to flip his hips. Anderson ran a 4.78 40 which was one of the slowest among linebackers. If a team needs a run stopping SAM in a 3-4 or 4-3 then Anderson is your man, but due to the lack of agility and athleticism he is one dimensional.

Ben Boulware, Clemson – Boulware was never going to test well and in fact ended up near the bottom of all the tests. Boulware also didn’t shine well in the linebacker drills and showed that he is limited due to his hip flexibility and footwork. The thing you can’t test though is Boulware’s passion and determination which will make him a valuable special teamer.

Rueben Foster, Alabama – Spectators didn’t get to see possibly the best linebacker to come out of college in the last five years because of an altercation with a member of the medical staff. Foster could have shown why he was worthy of a top five pick and now runs the risk of dropping down teams’ draft boards after a stupid argument.

Other notes:

T.J. Watt, Wisconsin – Impressive day and may have done enough to sneak into the first round. Looked good all round and couldn’t be faulted.

Anthony Walker Jr, Northwestern – Stiff and rigid player who really struggled. Could do with dropping a few pounds and gaining some agility back.

Duke Riley, LSU – Decent day for Riley ran the fastest 40 of any linebacker not named Peppers but didn’t really show much else after that.

Zach Cunningham, Vanderbilt – Looked like a safety running the drills which was good but it also showed how thin his frame is. There was a concern that he needs to add lower body weight to stack linemen in the NFL and you can definitely see that.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


*