By Chance Bond
There were alot of brightspots from the D-Line at the combine.
Andre Branch, DE/OLB, Clemson
Andre Branch had a quality Combine and excelled in the drills. His arm length (34) was good, while his 10-yard split in the 40 (1.56) really opened some eyes. Branch showed teams that he has great explosion which could help his chances of taken at the end of the first round this April.
Michael Brockers, DE/DT, LSU
Michael Brockers shocked everyone by weighing in at 6-5, 322 pounds. He showed good burst in the 40 when he ran a 1.77 10-yard split, which is pretty good for someone his size. His bench press (19 reps) wasn’t very good, but it’s not a big deal considering his impressive arm length (35 inches). Brockers has tremendous upside.
Fletcher Cox, DE/DT, Mississippi State
Warren Sapp called Fletcher Cox “his guy.” Cox was highly impressive at the Combine, running a 4.79 40 with a 1.63 10-yard split despite measuring in at 6-4, 298. Cox also benched 30 reps despite having 34 1/2-inch arms. To top it off, he was terrific in the field drills. He could be chosen in the first half this April.
Jaye Howard, DT, Florida
Jaye Howard looked terrific in the Combine field drills. His 4.75 40 at 6-3, 301 pounds also really helps his cause.
Melvin Ingram, DE/OLB, South Carolina
Melvin Ingram dominated the Combine. No defensive end looked more impressive in the drills. Almost everything checked out including his 40 time of 4.66 but his arm length is an issue (31 1/2). Still, he has so much explosion that he’ll be chosen in the top 10
Bruce Irvin, DE/OLB, West Virginia
Bruce Irvin has a lot of bad tape, but predictably stood out at the Combine. He ran a 4.43 with a 1.63 10-yard split. He also notched a 33.5-inch vertical and looked fluid in the linebacker drills. He’ll be a mid-round pick as a future situational pass-rusher in a 3-4 scheme.
Mike Martin, DT, Michigan
Mike Martin had a strong Senior Bowl and he continued to impress NFL decision-makers at the Combine. He ran a good 40 (4.84; 1.69 split) despite being 6-1, 306. Martin was solid in the field drills and posted a quality vertical of 33.5 inches. He also notched 36 reps on the bench, but that was a bit offset by his short arms (32 1/4 inches).
Whitney Mercilus, DE/OLB, Illinois
Whitney Mercilus showed off his athleticism in Indianapolis. He ran a 4.63 with a 1.56 10-yard split and also notched a 32-inch vertical. He really impressed in the drills, solidifying his top-25 status.
Nick Perry, DE/OLB, USC
Everyone expected Nick Perry to blow up at the Combine and he did not disappoint. He weighed in heavier than expected at 6-3, 271, but still managed to run a 4.50 40 with a 1.56 10-yard split. His 35 bench press reps (with 33-inch arms) and 38.5-inch vertical were also highly impressive. Perry strengthened his case to be chosen in the top 20.
Dontari Poe, NT, Memphis
Dontari Poe was the biggest winner out of every player at the Combine. Large men like him (346 pounds) aren’t supposed to move around like linebackers. What he did Monday was extremely rare, much like what we saw out of Jason Pierre-Paul a couple of years ago.
Poe ran a 4.87 40 with a 1.68 10-yard split at 346 pounds! He was just as impressive in the drills and he has plenty of power to boot. He posted 44 reps on the bench Sunday. Poe will not get out of the top 15 this April.
Kendall Reyes, DE/DT, Connecticut
Reyes was yet another guy who showcased his athleticism, running a 4.79 at 6-4, 299. He also posted a 34.5-inch vertical and 36 bench reps (33 1/4-inch arms). Reyes was great in the field drills, prompting the NFL Network analysts to speculate that he could be chosen in the first round.
Brandon Thompson, DT, Clemson
Brandon Thompson didn’t run the 40, yet he was able to work out in the drills. Players often get penalized for not participating when healthy, so he’ll be marked down for not competing.
Oliver Vernon, DE, Miami
Oliver Vernon opened some eyes with impressive drill work. Vernon’s 40 time (4.68) and vertical (34.5) were solid, so he really helped himself in Indianapolis.
To apperciate the brightspots we give you the……
Jared Crick, DE/DT, Nebraska
Jared Crick’s 4.94 40 isn’t a big deal because he had a 1.69 10-yard split, which is fine. What brings his stock down are his short arms (32 inches). He also didn’t look very smooth in the drills. He may have dropped into third-round consideration.
Vinny Curry, DE/OLB, Marshall
Vinny Curry is another defensive lineman with short arms (32 3/4 inches). He also didn’t really stand out in the drills, and his mediocre 40 (4.85) didn’t help either. Curry had a shot to go in the first round prior to the Combine. That’s not the case anymore. and I’m not pleased. I had the Texans taking Curry in the 1st…..bummbed about this one.
Dom Hamilton, NT, Missouri
Dom Hamilton quit on a couple of the field drills. He’ll have trouble getting drafted after that ugly display. What a …..
Jerel Worthy, DT, Michigan State
With so many rising defensive linemen, some players had to fall. One such prospect was Jerel Worthy, who was pretty sloppy in the drills. His vertical (28.5) didn’t really impress, though it’s worth noting that he had a quality 10-yard split (1.64) in the 40.