NFL Combine: Linebacker Highlights and Surprises

Day 3 of the NFL combine commenced today and as the NFL progresses in to a more and more pass heavy league, the biggest thing for defenses is the get pressure on the quarterback. Today at the NFL Combine, the people who can get to the QB and who can stop the run were all be on display as the Linebackers and Defensive Lineman both hit the field for their drills. Some of the big names coming into the day were Jadeveon Clowney of South Carolina, Khalil Mack of Buffalo, and Anthony Barr of UCLA, but they are not the only big time studs there. Louis Nix of Notre Dame, Timmy Jernigan of Florida State, CJ Mosley and Dee Ford of Auburn, and Kony Ealy and Michael Sam of Missouri were also out there.

Defensive Line Highlights:

Jadeveon Clowney was as good as advertised. He had the fastest forty time of any lineman with a 4.53, he had the 2nd highest vertical with 37.5 inches, and the 2nd best broad jump with 124 inches. He did everything that anyone could ask of him, but that was never the issue with him. The real issue is will his motor run hard on every play. Dee Ford was medically declared out of the combine, no information has been put out as to why as of yet, so more on this story will definitely come out in the next couple days.

Defensive Line Surprises:

Aaron Donald isn’t really a huge surprise, as he is projected as a 1st round pick, but being near to the top of the list of so many drills opened some eyes. Even though he is 285 lbs, he finished with the 5th best forty time at 4.68, he had the 2nd most Bench Press reps with 35, his broad jump was 11th with 116 inches, and 3 cone drill was 4th at 7.11. He showed unbelievable athleticism for his size and may have gotten himself into a top 10 pick.

Linebacker Highlights:

Khalil Mack and Anthony Barr didn’t stand out, but neither did anything to hurt their stock. Both ran well in their respective forties. Barr disappointed with only 15 reps in the Bench Press. Khalil was 2nd in both vertical and road jump drills. Barr did well in the 3 cone drill. All in all Mack still is looked at as the better player and a possible top 5 pick while Barr is probably going to go in the 7-15 range. CJ Mosley seemed a bit average today, he is still ranked as the #1 MLB, but he may have some company soon.

Linebacker Surprises:

LSU Middle Linebacker, Lamin Barrow had a solid forty time with a 4.64 and 22 reps on the bench. Kevin Pierre-Louis out of Boston College put on a good show out of nowhere, ranking as a top performer in almost every drill. He had the fast forty time of all LBs with 4.51, he was 3rd on the bench with 28 reps, he was 3rd in the vertical jump with 39 inches, 2nd in the broad jump with 128 inches, and 2nd in the 20 yard shuttle with a 4.02. A lot of people are projecting him to move to a Safety position.

In a league where everyone seems to be moving to a 3-4 defense, a lot of players are picked depending on what they show from these drills. College DEs become pro OLBs, college DTs sometimes become pro DEs, and college CBs become safeties. Yes, the NFL combine can make or break your career. Some of these players made it today. Tomorrow we get to the final day of the combine as the Defensive Backs hit the field. As I just mentioned how important it is to get to the QB, you can’t sack him on every play, and the DBs are responsible for no much in the league now. Showing speed and toughness will go a long way towards deciding where these young men will go.

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