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For the defense

Adams rises, while Branch stumbles at NFL Combine

Posted: Monday February 26, 2007 7:27PM; Updated: Wednesday February 28, 2007 10:29AM
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Gaines Adams stole the show Monday at the NFL Combine with both his speed and athleticism.
Gaines Adams stole the show Monday at the NFL Combine with both his speed and athleticism.
AP
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By Tony Pauline, TFY Draft Preview

INDIANAPOLIS -- As the NFL Combine enters it's final day, the top prospects from the defensive side of the ball took to the RCA Dome. There was plenty of buzz about some exciting performances while others were not as fortunate.

Risers

Gaines Adams/DE/Clemson: Of all the defensive linemen who took to the field Monday morning, Adams stole the show. Running both 40s in the low 4.7-second range, Adams displayed his unlimited athleticism for scouts. Not only did Adams stand out during the defensive line drills, but he also looked great when running through a battery of linebacker drills. Adams presently ranks as the No. 1 defender in the draft.

Antwan Barnes/OLB/Florida International: Running much faster than expected, Barnes clocked in the high 4.4-area on both running's of the 40. The former defensive end then showed a lot of skill when working through the linebacker drills. With limited depth at the outside linebacker position in April, Barnes may jump into the first day.

Jarvis Moss/DE/Florida: Moss ran well, averaging 4.7-seconds after measuring in at 6-feet-6-inches and 250 pounds. On the field he looked fast and fluid during the defensive line and linebacker drills. Comparisons to Jevon Kearse are starting to be mentioned.

Steve SmithWR/USC: While everyone was abuzz with Calvin Johnson's performance Sunday, when all is said and done, Smith probably helped himself more than any other wide out. Known more as a slow possession receiver, Smith scorched the RCA Dome turf by running a pair of 40s at 4.40-seconds. He then displayed his signature hands of glue in practice. Smith solidified himself as a first day choice and could jump into the initial 75-selections.

Andy Alleman/G/Akron: Alleman ran well in the 40 then showed impressive footwork during pass protection drills. His overall athleticism surprised many and Alleman is now likely to be the third or fourth guard drafted.

Sliders

Alan Branch/DT/Michigan: Branch ran relatively well in the 40, clocking under 5.10-seconds after weighing in at 324 pounds. He looked sluggish and sloppy during the drilling portion of the workout leading many to believe he is in poor shape.

Quentin Moses/DE/Georgia: The downward spiral of Moses continues. After running some poor 40 times (he clocked in the very high 4.8-second range), Moses looked rather ordinary during drills. And unlike Adams, Moses struggled when put through linebacker specific drills. The end result has Moses falling out of Round One.

Desmond Bishop/MLB/California: Bishop did nothing to dispel the belief that he is just a two-down linebacker. After running a pair of slow 40s which averaged almost 4.8-seconds, Bishop looked stiff and struggled to move in anything other than a straight line.

Reggie Ball/WR/Georgia Tech: The former quarterback worked out at receiver during the Combine and the results were poor. Ball showed little foot speed, clocking a 4.8 in the 40. And while his pass catching improved as the session proceeded, he did nothing to remind people of former signal-callers who made the transition to wide out such as Antwan Randle-El.

Justin Hickman/UCLA: Another college player that is likely to make a position switch at the next level and had poor results. A defensive end at UCLA, Hickman measured in at just over 6-feet-1-inch and 254 pounds. He then proceeded to run his forties in the mid 4.85-second range.

Notes: Lamarr Woodley's draft stock is taking a beating and rightfully so. The speculation before the combine was Woodley's recent workouts were so bad he would not even attempt to perform at the Combine. He did nothing other then get measured and medically checked out. Coming on the heels of pulling out of the Senior Bowl after a sore hamstring during the week's first practice, Woodley could drop out of the first two rounds. Don't read too much into Brian Robison's terrific workout Monday. The Texas defensive end ran in the 4.6's and had a vertical jump of 40-inches, which has people going gaga. But these numbers were well expected from Robison who is known as a workout warrior yet average football player.

For the defense

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