Combine Risers/Sliders: DL & LBs
Rey Maualuga and James Laurinaitis have struggled in the 40 and LB drills
Texans DE Brian Orakpo may the big combine winner among the D-linemen
Missouri DL Ziggy Hood posted 34 reps of 225 and ran two sub-4.9 40s
A fast group of defensive linemen were center stage at the NFL combine on Monday and were followed by a faster group of linebacker prospects. Scouts had to be pleased as a number of potential top-flight pass rushers and defensive linemen really brought their A-games to Indianapolis. Here's the breakdown.
Brian Orakpo/DE/Texas: Orakpo lit the stadium on fire and leaves Indianapolis as one of the combine's big winners. He weighed 263 pounds, completed 31 reps on the bench press and touched the tape at 37 inches in the vertical jump. He then looked athletic during position drills after running his 40 in times as fast as 4.59 seconds. Orakpo was applauded by coaches on several occasions, and there's no doubting the Longhorn star made a lot of money for himself.
Aaron Curry/OLB/Wake Forest: Curry made a statement and cemented himself as one of the draft's top three players and possibly the No. 1 overall selection. He was fast on the field, clocking 40 times of 4.53 and 4.50. Later on, he looked sensational in all the drills scouts ran him through.
Connor Barwin/DE-OLB/Cincinnati: The Bearcats multi-purpose player started the morning off well, running his 40s in the low-to-mid 4.6-second range. Barwin then looked terrific in defensive line drills, displaying athleticism, quickness and a nice burst of speed. He ended the day doing much the same, as Barwin was run through a battery of linebacker drills and showed proficiency making plays in reverse.
Everette Brown/DE-OLB/Florida State: Brown also started fast Monday morning by running his 40s in the mid-4.6 area. He looked outstanding in drills as both a defensive lineman and linebacker. Brown weighed in at 256 pounds over the weekend and completed a solid 26 reps on the bench.
Jarron Gilbert/DL/San Jose State: Gilbert measured 6-feet-5, 288 pounds then ran his 40s in swift times of 4.8-seconds. He looked very athletic in drills and displayed the skills necessary to be used as a defensive tackle or two-gap end. Gilbert also completed 28 reps on the bench press. It's not a mind-boggling total but rather impressive when one considers Gilbert's arms measure just a fraction under 37 inches.
Ziggy Hood/DT/Missouri: Hood has been zipping up draft boards since the Senior Bowl and on Monday, he made his case to be a top 40 choice. Hood tipped the scales at 300 pounds, completed 34 reps on the bench and ran posted sub-4.9 times in the 40. He displayed a lot of quickness and movement skills in the practice session and showed terrific hand punch during bag drills.
Lawrence Sidbury Jr/DE/Richmond: Sidbury had what can only be described as a Bryan Thomas-type of workout, as the Richmond product duplicated much of what Thomas (now of the Jets) did at the 2002 combine. Richmond tipped the scales at 266-pounds then ran his forty's in times as fast as 4.55 seconds. He also completed 28 reps on the bench press.
BJ Raji/DT/Boston College: Raji's all-around workout was solid. He completed 33 reps on the bench press, then ran relatively well in the 40 (5.13) after tipping the scales at 337 pounds. He moved exceptionally well for such a big man in drills and looked very athletic.
Roy Miller/DT/Texas: Miller has displayed a terrific combination of strength and athleticism since arriving at the combine. He completed 36 reps on the bench and ran admirably in the 40, moving his 310-pound frame across the field in times which averaged around 5.10 seconds. Miller showed better quickness and speed during the drill portion of the day and has elevated himself on the list of available defensive tackles in April's draft.
Clay Matthews/LB/USC: Matthews ran well Monday and was the fastest of the four Trojan linebackers at the combine. He posted times of 4.59 then 4.60 in the forty. Matthews later turned in a solid session in position drills.
James Laurinaitis/ILB/Ohio State: Little Animal looked like anything but an animal on Monday at the combine. He was slow in the 40, timing in the mid 4.7-second area, then looked sluggish in drills. His bench press result of 22 reps was also on the bottom tier of the linebacker list.
Rey Maualuga/LB/USC: Maualuga's downward spiral seemingly continues. He completed his initial attempt in the 40 in over 4.8 seconds then slumped to the ground with a hamstring injury after crossing the finish line. There's a lot of concern in Indianapolis regarding Maualuga's well-being and some of the decisions he's made in the past few months. He was once considered a top 10pick but is falling to the end portion of round one.
Larry English/DE-OLB/Northern Illinois: English could not capitalize on a solid Senior Bowl week. He was effective in during the practice session at both defensive line and linebacker. The issue is his forty time as English could not get under 4.8 seconds on either attempt. Scouts may now think twice about using English at linebacker in the NFL. It wasn't a terrible workout for English but it likely dismissed any chance of the Northern Illinois star ending up in the draft's initial twenty selections.
Paul Kruger/DE-OLB/Utah: Kruger's marks were below expectations as he completed just 24 reps on the bench and ran the 40 in the mid-4.8s. His practice session was solid, but Kruger's poor workout numbers will drop him from the draft's initial 45 choices.
Maurice Evans/DE-OLB/Penn State: Evans' decision to enter the draft was questioned from the start and his choice looks worse today. Evans ran his 40s in 4.97 and 5.09 seconds. He later looked sluggish in drills. Evans weighed in at 274 pounds and only completed 17 reps on the bench.
Notes: Speed and computer numbers or football skills? That's the question scouts must answer when deciding where a number of prospects they saw on Monday will end up in the draft. For example; a number of prospects ran poor 40 times including Michigan's Tim Jamison (5.03), Penn State's Aaron Maybin (4.75) and Brandon Walker of Texas Tech (4.94). Yet all three displayed terrific quickness, footwork and football skills during position drills. Does timed speed win out or do scouts go by what they saw the players accomplish once the football was brought onto the field?
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