NFL Scouting Combine Review: Defensive Linemen

This entire combine has to go down as one of the more athletic groups that we have had compete in these workouts. We had records set all over the place, led by John Ross’ 40 yard dash.

The defensive line was also one of the more impressive groups from those workouts. The group had 12 participants run 4.70 or faster. Admittedly, a few of those faster participants should have probably been a part of the linebacker group based on size and how they project to the next level. Because of that, I’m going to leave Haason Reddick off of the winners list even though he may have helped himself more than any other prospect.

Outside of the timed drills, I was really impressed at the athleticism I saw in the bag drills. Almost everyone seemed fairly athletic, especially the higher profile prospects. While timed drills can be a factor I think change of direction, short area quickness, and overall fluidity are much more important for those playing in the box the majority of the time.

Winners:

Myles Garrett, Defensive End, Texas A&M

Garrett is a freak which shouldn’t be surprising if you’ve seen some of the plays he makes. He did well in every test and drill. He doesn’t have the greatest hands but he doesn’t need to be used in unique ways. Don’t over think it like the early years with Clowney. Line him up and let him go.

Charles Harris, Edge, Missouri

Harris was someone who was fighting to solidify himself in the early round and if you believe the workouts impact that, I believe he should have certainly helped himself. While his 40 yard dash wasn’t at all impressive for his height/weight, he knocked the bag and cone drills out of the park. He looked smooth and quick in every drill and looked like the most natural pass catcher of the group during drop drills. I was super impressed with the way he moved and will definitely be going back to the film to see if he really is that athletic or just had some outstanding preparation. Harris did have a surprisingly poor three cone drill despite showing well in the drills.

Carl Lawson, Edge, Auburn

Lawson is an explosive rusher that proved his speed and quickness. His 40 time was impressive, as was most of his testing. The only drill he struggled with was the three cone drill which is included in a handful of other surprising struggles with this drill from the class. Lawson seemed tight in his lower half on film but does have appeal. He also couldn’t catch a cold in the drills that involved catching.

Losers:

Tim Williams, Edge, Alabama

Williams is probably the most explosive prospect with the best first step and is the best bender in the entire class of edge rushers. There are big time questions about whether he can play versus the run and be more than a situational player. There are also questions that have been brought up about some off field things that had the potential to hurt his draft stock. While knowing all that, it seemed that Williams was going to one of the rushers that ended up having a great combine. That wasn’t the case. Williams still ran a 4.68, but that was average at best for what he was being projected to run. Not only that, but pretty much every test was average to below average, including a concerning 4.57 short shuttle and 7.36 three cone drill. As far as the workouts go, he wasn’t nearly as fluid as anticipated and those too were lackluster.

Jaleel Johnson, Iowa, Defensive Tackle

Johnson was gaining some steam in recent weeks because of his motor, lateral quickness for his size and for having some impressive playing strength. He shows fairly well on film, and combined with his size and quickness Johnson is an intriguing prospect. However, Johnson did nothing to help himself this past weekend and in fact, might have hurt himself. Now at 6’3” 315, no one expected a blazing 40, but running almost 5.4 is borderline embarrassing. Combine that with 19 bench reps and one of the worst three cone drills of the group, it wasn’t a very good showing overall.

Jarron Jones, Notre Dame, Defensive Tackle

Jones has been pegged as a model of inconsistency. You will hear most say that if he played like he did against Miami this season he would be a first round pick all day. But the issue was that he never maintained that type of play from game to game, and many times not even on a play to play for that matter. Jones didn’t participate in most of the tests, but his 40 was just fine and his bench was just okay. His vertical was surprisingly bad for someone that looks explosive and was a former high school basketball player. The most concerning thing was how stiff he appeared in bag drills and cones drills. It was not good. His pro day workout will be very important in order to get baseline numbers for the tests he missed and as an opportunity to improve in drills.

Win some, lose some:

Jonathan Allen, Alabama, Defensive End

Jonathan Allen had a poor three cone drill, but aside from that he checked off most of the boxes. He also was one of the standouts in the bag and cone drills and appeared to continue on his path to being a top 5 pick. However, but the medical review surfacing that Allen has arthritis in his shoulders that is being described and “medium” in severity may bring his landing spot into question. We still need to wait a couple more days before all of the tests come out before we can start to hear the leaks come out about how bad they are. In the short term, this sounds like it may cost Allen some money based on his draft position. However, there is some silver lining. He now could have a chip on his shoulder to prove the player he is, and depending how far he falls Allen could have an opportunity to play for a team that will be competing next year instead of a team that is rebuilding.




Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


*