The offensive players weren’t the one who were working out for NFL teams this past weekend. The defensive side of the ball also showcased college athletes that could possibly land on your IDP team. Today, we’ll examine some players whose stock was affected by the outcomes.
Solomon Thomas, DL, Stanford: To me, Thomas did what I expected from him. He’s an outstanding athlete on the defensive line so it was no surprise to see him perform well. Perhaps where the biggest surprise came was during the linebacker portion of the drills. As is custom, teams can request certain players to perform drills at another position if they project them there. Thomas was asked and responded well, showing fluidity in his hips and a solid change of direction. The standout from Stanford recorded a 4.69 40-yard dash, had a 35 inch vertical leap and was the top performer in the bench press (30), broad jump (126.0), 3 cone (6.95), and 20-yard shuttle (4.28).
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Haason, Reddick, LB, Temple: The entire NFL has been buzzing about Reddick since the Senior Bowl. He’s shown versatility as he played an outside pass rusher in college but was asked to transition to an off-ball linebacker at the Senior Bowl. He took to it gracefully, then backed up that performance displaying his athleticism during the NFL Combine. Testing as a defensive lineman, Reddick was the top performer in the 40-yard dash (4.52), vertical jump (36.5), and broad jump (133).
TJ Watt, LB, Wisconsin:
Zach Cunningham, LB, Vanderbilt: Before this week the buzz I was seeing about Cunningham was that he was an OK LB but a long way behind Reuben Foster. I think he’s moved up now to a solid second tier of LB options. NFL.com wrote his 40 up as “pedestrian.” 4.67 isn’t blazing but it’s 65th percentile for LBs. NFL.com also said he had “a ho-hum performance in the movement drills.” His broad jump was 92nd percentile (10’5″) and his vertical jump 65th percentile (35”). He did not compete in the 3-cone which was disappointing but I’d say that was a good day’s work that places him in the group right behind Foster. – Tom Kislingbury
Obi Melifonwu, S, UConn: Much like Reddick above, Melifonwu’s buzz started at the Senior Bowl and reached a fever pitch over the weekend. Checking in at 6-foot-4 and 224 pounds, Melifonwu recorded a 4.40 40-yard dash, had a vertical jump of 44 inches and a broad jump of 141 inches, two inches short of UConn teammate Byro Jones’ record-shattering effort a couple of years ago. If he can convert these measurable into NFL coverage skills, he should easily be a Day 2 selection.
Chidobe Awuzie, CB, Colorado: An under-the-radar player for me heading into the combine, Awuzie tore up the Indy turf with a 4.43 40-yard dash, 6.81 3-cone, and a 4.14 20-yard shuttle. He looked effortless in every drill and displayed good hands. He does have only average size at 6-foot-0, and 202 pounds, but his quickness should allow him to hang with NFL receivers.
Adoree’ Jackson, CB, USC: Jackson has speed for days, which was highlighted with his 4.42 40 yard dash. Where Jackson really took a step forward was during the drill work, as his detractors pointed to him getting burned by several NFL-level prospects this season. However, former NFL star Deion Sanders, who was working the combine for NFL Network, noted that Jackson’s skills were raw, but “that’s definitely someone I could work with.”
Takk McKinley, Edge, UCLA: McKinley tested about where I expected him to, but it was in the drills that he was at his most disappointing. He had three consecutive drills where he simply couldn’t follow directions, forcing him to redo them at the end of the grouping. He did have an outstanding 40 time of 4.59 testing as a defensive lineman, but his 24 reps on the bench press and 33-inch vertical were simply pedestrian for a player who relies on explosiveness.
Tim Williams, Edge, Alabama: Williams tested as a defensive lineman, so in theory he should have lit it up. In fact, he was at best mediocre. His on-field drills were average. In terms of testing he recorded a 4.68 40-yard dash, 33.5 inch vertical leap, 124 inch broad jump, 7.36 seconds in the 3-cone, and 4.57 20-yard shuttle.
Reuben Foster, LB, Alabama: The only person on this list who is here despite the fact he didn’t step foot inside Lucas Oil Stadium. Reportedly Foster got in a “heated argument” with a member of the hospital staff where medical checks were being performed. He was subsequently asked to leave the combine.
Derek Barnett, Edge, Tennessee: Eric Coleman and I had slightly differing opinion on Barnett’s day. I thought he was in line with what I expected, EC believed he wasn’t as good. NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah though Barnett did better than he expected, noting the all-time sack leader was testing while sick. He turned in a 4.88 40-yard dash, 31-inch vertical, 117-inch broad jump, 4.44 20-yard shuttle, and was the top performer in the 3-cone at 6.96 seconds.
Jabrill Peppers, LB/S, Michigan: There has never been any question about Peppers’ athleticism and he showed that becoming the first man to work out as both a linebacker and a safety at the NFL Combine. Peppers told the NFL Network that he had requested to do defensive back drills, but since he was listed as a linebacker for Michigan, he had to perform those drills as well. Peppers went out and ran a 4.46 40-yard dash, then proceeded to look smooth in every drill.
- Sunday Six Pack: Week Four - September 29, 2019
- College IDPs to Watch This Season - August 1, 2019
- New-Age Linebackers - June 14, 2019