The oddity which is the 2011 NFL combine continued on Monday with the defensive linemen and linebackers undergoing their workouts. Why has it been an oddity? Simply put, the performances we're seeing weren't expected. We're not necessarily seeing guys vastly over perform their projections, but those who were seen as the 2nd, 3rd and 4th ranked prospect have closed the gap slightly, and when this is coupled with the guys rated #1 at their position taking steps back what we're seeing is both sides meeting in the middle.
In fact, the only player who seems to be living up to the hype thus far is Texas A&M OLB Von Miller who is still the #1 3-4 rush linebacker in the draft. At 6'3", 246 lbs Miller ran a 4.53 in the forty, had a 37" vertical (better than AJ Green), and a 10'6" broad jump. That combination of speed and athleticism coupled with a solid collection of film will cement Miller as a top 5 pick. Just this year Clay Matthews proved how devastating a good 3-4 OLB can be, and Miller could be better.
Enough of that '3 linemen' nonsense (I kid, I kid) what about the 4-3 guys? We'll talk about them after the jump.
Auburn DT Nick Fairley did not stand out during Monday's drills. He ran the 40 slightly slower than expected at 4.86 and 4.82, broad jumped 9'5" and chose not to participate in the bench press, or vertical jump. When I asked Nick just two weeks ago if he intended to skip any events in Indianapolis he responded "I'll be ready to show them everything I've got", I find it disappointing that he chose to skip events today. Personally, I'm not sure if his performance today coupled with a lighter than expected frame and a slower than expected time screams "#1 overall pick" the way it once did.
Conversely, Alabama DT Marcell Dareus had a very strong day in Indy. Despite being 28 lbs heavier than the aforementioned Fairley he ran the 40 in 4.94 and 4.92 seconds respectively, while beating Fairley on the 10 yard split, considered more important than the full 40 time for linemen. Like Fairley he chose not to participate in the vertical or bench press. One wonders if Stephen Paea's 49 reps yesterday has scared some of the top DT prospects.
Continuing with the defensive players there was a workout warrior today, the 248 lb 4-3 OLB Dontay Moch. Moch put forth an absolutely incendiary 4.44 in the forty yard dash (faster than AJ Green) while having a 42" vertical jump (better than any WR) and a 10'8" broad jump. He still figures to fall to the 4th or 5th round, but it was a sight to behold.
With Da'Quan Bowers sidelined with a knee injury (funny though that Paea lifted and Bowers didn't) it was UNC's Robert Quinn who was poised to take the #1 DE spot... and he didn't. He was 6th among DL in the 40 at 4.70 seconds (slower than expected) and chose not to bench press. Now, according to Scouts Inc's Todd McShay teams are starting to consider Quinn more of a 3-4 OLB than a 4-3 DE, and personally I always thought he was better in this role. As a 3-4 rush linebacker he's elite, as a 4-3 DE he's very good, but not.
- Marvin Austin benched 38 reps, second among DL
- Ryan Kerrigan was 7th in the 40 and 6th in the bench press among DL
- 6'5", 346 lb Keydrick Ellis ran the 40 in 5.05 seconds.
Tomorrow the DBs go, and if they follow suit then LSU's Patrick Peterson will fall, Prince Amukamara will rise and we'll have no clue if anyone is worth a #1 pick.