The good, bad, and ugly from DL/LB workouts
Monday brought us workouts from the defensive lineman and linebackers. The defensive lineman didn’t disappoint in keeping up with the freakish 40 times at the 2013 Scouting Combine.
The story of the day on The Network was predictably the 40 time of Manti Te’o. Te’o ran an official 4.82. That won’t answer any questions about Te’o as a straight line athlete but the day wasn’t a total loss. Te’o performed well on the field, at times looking like one of the smoother linebackers on a field chock full of athletes.
NFL Network’s Kimberly Jones reported that Te’o was making great impressions with teams during interviews. One coach went as far as calling Te’o a “rock star” during the interview process.
While speculation will continue to persist about Te’o’s athleticism, or lack thereof, the Combine as an overall experience was a positive one for someone needing some momentum in the draft process. The reality is that Te’o has been a late first round talent and will remain just that.
There was plenty of non-Te’o news out of the day. The defensive linemen kicked off the day with some blazing 40 times. The group that I looked forward to watching the most out of this class was the DL and they didn’t disappoint.
Ezekiel Ansah kicked off the morning by going 4.63 at 271 pounds. Ansah has overwhelmed and probably exceeded expectations in Indianapolis. He showed a great personality at the podium and then went out and performed well in all events. At this point, it would be shocking if Ansah wasn’t a top 15 player and I don’t think he makes it out of the top 10.
The freak show really got underway with SMU’s Margus Hunt. After posting 38 reps under the bench yesterday, the 6-foot-8, 277 pound Hunt reeled off a 4.60 40. Hunt struggles on tape with leverage issues but is probably a lock to be drafted in the top 75 based on raw potential.
The ends that are likely to transition to linebackers at the next level showed off in the agility and speed workouts. My personal favorite, Dion Jordan ran 4.6 and looked good in the drills. I mocked Jordan to Jacksonville at No. 2 in my latest mock draft and I don’t think that’s far fetched. Jordan will be on the shelf for the next three months due to labrum surgery but that won’t affect his draft stock. He proved today that he’s an elite movement athlete that is probably the most apt comparison to Aldon Smith in this draft.
Barkevious Mingo performed as expected, clocking the second fastest 40 in the DL group at 4.58, the fastest 10 yard split in the group at 1.55, and a vertical of 37″. Mingo is a little less of a certainty on the field in my book but will intrigue teams early by his overall athleticism.
Corey Lemonier of Auburn was expected to show well in Indianapolis and he didn’t disappoint. At over 6-foot-3 and 255 pounds he ran 4.60 in the 40 with a 1.57 10 yard split. Lemonier was disappointing on tape this season, much like the rest of his Auburn team, and will have to prove that he really wants to be a good one. He has first-round ability but questionable want-to could have him dropping into the 2nd to 3rd round range.
The Datone Jones hype train continued in Indianapolis. After a week of dominance in Mobile, Jones posted solid numbers at the Combine and should make his way into the latter stages of round one. At 283 pounds, Jones posted a 4.80 and repped 225 29 times. The great thing is that you can see all of that on tape with Jones. He has great size, better than expected burst and long speed, and plenty of strength. Jones could excel as a base end in a four man front and could play the five-technique in a three man front.
Trevardo Williams of Connecticut was someone that few probably knew of before today. Williams posted the top 40 time in the group at 4.57 and the top vertical at 38″. Williams showed off his strength on Sunday by posting 30 reps on the bench at 241 pounds. He will play linebacker at the next level and showed that he can be a factor off the edge.
Bjoern Werner didn’t have the type of day that screams top five pick. I can’t say I’m surprised because he doesn’t have the explosive qualities of some of the other DE’s in the class. Werner ran a pedestrian 4.83 in the 40 and a disappointing 1.66 10-yard split. I pegged Werner as a 4.7-4.75 guy but thought he would be a high 1.5, low 1.6 10. I came away disappointed but it furthered my belief that Werner isn’t a top five guy and should come off the board from 10-15.
Another disappointment in the DE class was Damontre Moore. At the same time it confirmed my fears on tape with Moore in that he lacked burst and long speed. Moore ran 4.95 in the 40 with a 1.69 10. Not good for a guy that many considered a top ten pick. Moore did show better in the explosion drills. He jumped 10’2″ in the broad jump and posted a 35.5″ vertical. It’s proof that Moore is a great closer and explosive athlete but lacks the burst and long speed to be a dominant Von Miller type.
The defensive tackle group was solid as well. I really thought Sheldon Richardson was going to go 4.75-4.80 in the 40 and blow the roof off Indianapolis. That didn’t happen. He went 5.02 in the 40 which flies in the face of his chase speed. I can’t explain that one other than I think he improves on that at his pro day. He posted a nice vertical at 32″ and looked smooth in movement drills.
Sharrif Floyd was as expected. Floyd went sub 5.0 at 4.92 and showed loose hips and flexibility in the drills. Star Lotulelei’s heart condition may benefit Floyd more than anyone as he appears to be a top four pick at this point.
Johnathan Hankins showed off his sloppy body but looked anything but sloppy on the field. He ran well (5.31) at 320 pounds and showed off great agility in the drills. Hankins gave new meaning to the term ‘muffin top’ but he not in a beauty contest. If Hankins can convince teams that his conditioning is better than this season, he could jump back into the top twenty talk.
I haven’t seen a down of Samford’s Nick Williams but I will be watching soon. He was easily the most athletic DT in this class today. At 309 pounds he ran 4.94 in the 40 and posted an impressive 1.63 10-yard split. He then took to the vertical and climbed 33″. Those numbers are ridiculous for a man that size. I will be hunting down some tape on Williams this week and seeing if these things show up on tape.
Jamie Collins Southern Miss team was 0-12 this season but he’s 1-0 in the pre-draft process. He killed the Combine. The OLB ran 4.64 in the 40, posted an 11’7″ broad jump, and posted a 41.5″ vertical leap. For some perspective Marquise Goodwin, an Olympic long jumper leaped 11′ on Saturday in the broad. And he was 1″ away from breaking the vertical record of 42.5″. Oh by the way, he’s 6034 and 250 pounds. Collins gets a little lost in the shuffle playing on a bad team and playing three different positions in his collegiate career. After today, he won’t come as a surprise to anyone if he’s taken in the 2nd round of April’s draft.
As good as Jamie Collins was today, Georgia’s Cornelius Washington wasn’t far behind. At 6-foot-4 and 265 pounds he ran 4.55 in the 40 with a 1.60 10. Washington knocked out 36 reps and posted a 39″ vertical leap. Washington, like Collins, got lost in the shuffle at Georgia on a star studded defense. He’s a prime candidate to be drafted ahead of what his production level was in college. At that size with that speed and agility it will be hard keeping him out of the first 60 picks.
I didn’t expect great times in the 40 from Kevin Minter and Manti Te’o, so I wasn’t disappointed with their 4.8+ times. On tape Minter is a tackling machine and will remain my top ILB in the draft. Te’o isn’t far behind Minter in my book as he’s just a step behind Minter in the tackling department.
One disappointment for me was Georgia’s Alec Ogletree. Ogletree’s game is his athleticism and I have no doubts that he plays faster than he timed on Monday. That said, a 4.70 40 won’t help after being arrested for a DUI two weeks ago. Ogletree really needed outstanding times to outweigh some of the off-the-field issues that he brings to the table.
Iowa State’s A.J. Klein was having a solid day but went down with a reported knee injury. It was first reported that it was a ‘serious knee injury’ but Klein refuted the report and said he would complete the shuttles and vertical at his pro day on March 26.