3 Takeaways: Sunday At The Combine

Posted Mar 4, 2018

1. Defensive Front Impressive - One of the surprises on Sunday came from the guys who mix it up along the line of scrimmage. Defensive tackle B.J. Hill (NCST) put his stamp on this year’s combine workout by running a 4.9 40-yard dash at 311 pounds. Hill built momentum in January at the Senior Bowl and continued to flash in Indianapolis, and should be a day two pick. The more notable names coming into this weekend were also impressive. Alabama’s DaRon Payne and Washington’s Vita Vea ran well and Payne also looked fluid, showing easy lateral movement. Vea had a hamstring issue after his 40-yard dash, and didn’t participate in the field drills. A couple others names that generated some conversation was Nathan Shepherd from Ft Hayes St and Rasheem Green out of USC. Shepherd has an NFL body and didn’t look out of place among more experienced players and Green has the speed and explosiveness needed at the next level.

2. Best Defender In The Draft - You could make the argument that N.C. State defensive end Bradley Chubb is the best defender in this draft class. Chubb put up 24 repetitions in the bench press, ran a 4.66 40-yard dash and had a relentless motor when taking part in the defensive drills. Watching him play live last season, he bends well when rushing the passer and can set the edge verses the running game. Another impressive performance from a less polished defender came from UTSA’s Marcus Davenport. At 6’5, 264 pounds, Davenport ran a sub 4.6-40 and is a physical freak. He’s best football is still in front of him, and could be used as a pass rush specialist in year one.

3. Shaquem Shines - UCF’s Shaquem Griffin was on the outside looking in six weeks ago, still waiting on an official invitation to this year’s combine. After an impressive Senior Bowl week, he finally received his invite, and the rest is history. Speaking of history, Shaquem made some of his own recording the fastest 40-yard dash by a linebacker (4.38) ever recorded at the event. His bench press of 20 reps and overall athleticism should land a spot on a roster this spring. Another linebacker that looked special on Sunday and will be drafted in the first 12 picks is Tremaine Edmunds from Virginia Tech. He’s a unique defender that can run like a slot receiver and track down the ball carrier with ease. Georgia’s Roquan Smith ran an impressive 40 at 4.51, but injuries his calf muscle and didn’t take part in the on-field drills. Others that impressed me at the position were Malik Jefferson (Texas) and Leighton Vander Esch (Boise St). Jefferson is a player that will thrive at outside linebacker in the NFL and Vander Esch could challenge right away because of his speed and length.

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