Day Three of the NFL combine gave us our first look at this year's class of defensive prospects, and…
Monday Combine Recap: Rising and Falling
RISING DE, Vernon Gholston, Ohio State An absolute physical freak who measured in at 6-foot-3, 266 pounds, Gholston solidified his status as a top-ten selection in the draft on Monday. He demonstrated great explosion (4.67 in the 40), strength (benching 225 pounds 37 times) and athleticism (35.5 vertical jump). He also looked smooth in drills and had a high motor all afternoon. He’s truly a superior athlete. DE, Chris Long, Virginia Long showed a lot of energy on Monday and was intense during drills. He ran a good, but not spectacular 4.75 in the 40, but his motor is what impresses scouts. Long displayed great athleticism with a 34-inch vertical and a 10’4” in the broad jump. He didn’t bench on Monday due to a sprained thumb. Long will be in contention as the top selection in the 2008 draft. DT, Sedrick Ellis, USC Ellis has worked himself into the draft’s best defensive tackle. He plays with a non-stop motor and looked strong during drills. Ellis displayed impressive strength by benching 225 pounds 34 times and received a lot of attention from teams at the Combine. Auburn DE Quentin Groves runs the 40-yard dash. AP Photo/Michael Conroy DE, Quentin Groves, Auburn Groves is an athletic defender who produced an elite 40-time of 4.57. He also showed his athleticism by recording a 10’0” broad jump. Groves is another DE who translates to the NFL as an OLB. Injuries stunted Groves’ production this past year, but his workout on Monday increases his value in the draft. DE, Cliff Avril, Purdue Avril is a versatile defender who can play OLB and DE. He performed extremely well at the Combine on Monday and showed elite athleticism. Avril ran a 4.51 in the 40, he had a 32.5-inch vertical, and a 9’9” in the broad jump. Avril moved fluidly on the field and caught the eye of many scouts in attendance. He’s a perfect fit in a 3 – 4 defense. DE, Shawn Crable, Michigan An interesting prospect who was a good college OLB, Crable projects as a DE in a 4-3 defense at the next level. He has a big frame and moved well in drills on Monday. He ran an impressive 4.64 in the 40, which demonstrated his athleticism and will elevate his stock. OLB, Wesley Woodyard, Kentucky Woodyard has been an impressive defender this offseason. He’s shown great qualities as a linebacker and enjoyed a great week in Mobile. He’s the ultimate rover who flies around the ball and makes a lot of plays. He ran a 4.51 in the 40 and showed great mobility in drills. He has to improve his ball skills, but his athleticism was on display during shuttle drills. OLB, Gary Guyton, Georgia Tech After a disappointing performance at the Senior Bowl, Guyton redeemed himself at the Combine by turning in the most athletic numbers of any linebacker. Guyton ran a 4.47 in the 40 and flashed a 36-inch vertical, as well as a 10’6” in the broad jump. Guyton’s workout will help his stock, but he still holds a late third, early fourth round grade. DE, Derrick Harvey, Florida One of the most shocking revelations was Harvey weighing in at 291 pounds. He was listed around 265 pounds during the season. He impressed the scouts by lifting 225 pounds 31 times. Harvey is a tremendous pass rusher who has a chance to be a top-ten pick. OLB, Stanford Keglar, Purdue Keglar, who displayed tremendous athleticism and strength, performed the most surprising workout of the day. He ran a 4.58 in the 40 and put up 29 reps of 225 pounds. Those numbers will help Keglar’s status and will possibly land him in the late fourth round. MLB, Jonathan Goff, Vanderbilt Goff is an instinctive linebacker who positions himself to make plays, and on Monday he positioned himself well to elevate his draft stock. He showed great speed in the 40 for an inside linebacker and timed at a 4.63. He also displayed great strength in the bench press by putting up 28 reps. Goff is a mid-round pick who impressed many scouts with his workout. FALLING Virginia Tech OLB Xavier Adibi doesn't run the 40 as expected. AP Photo /Michael Conroy OLB, Xavier Adibi, Virginia Tech Adibi didn’t do anything bad, but I thought he’d run faster in the 40. He was timed at a 4.69. I thought he’d run at least a 4.52 – 4.58. OLB, Ali Highsmith, LSU Highsmith was another outside linebacker who disappointed in the 40. He timed at a 4.90; that’s not going to cut it at the next level. Luckily for Highsmith, he has better game speed than timed speed, but he will have to overcome his short stature and get off blocks better. DT, Frank Okam, Texas Okam weighed in at a disappointing 347 pounds at the Combine. During his career at Texas, Okam’s playing weight was around 325. Showing up at your biggest job interview 22 pounds overweight won’t score many points in your favor. Okam also looked slow during drills and has to improve his footwork. DT, Letroy Guion, Florida State A surprising early entry in the draft, Guion didn’t help himself at the Combine. The 40-yard dash doesn’t mean much for DTs, but when you run a 5.30 there’s something wrong. Guion also didn’t show much explosion and looked slow and sluggish during drills. A member of the Pro Football Writers of America and the Football Writers Association of America, Chris Steuber has provided his analysis of the NFL and NFL Draft prospects on the web and on the radio since 1999.
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