clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

2019 NFL Combine workouts open thread: Defensive linemen, linebacker prospects to watch on Day 3

New, comments

If you buy something from an SB Nation link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

SiriusXM At Super Bowl LIII Photo by Cindy Ord/Getty Images for SiriusXM

We continue our look into the NFL Combine with Day 3 on-field workouts and agility tests for the defensive lineman and linebacker units. The past two days we have covered the offensive lineman, running backs, special teamers, quarterbacks, wide receivers, and tight ends. Today, we start things off with a look at all the positions for Day 3.

Today’s two position groups, defensive linemen and linebackers, are arguably the two biggest needs for the Raiders as it stands now. The Raiders are short on edge rushers, could probably use another defensive tackle, and definitely could use a future star at middle linebacker to boot.

2019 NFL Combine

Location: Indianapolis, IN | Lucas Oil Stadium

Time: 6:00 AM PT

Channel: NFL Network

Live Stream:

Day 3: Defensive Linemen and Linebackers

Defensive Linemen

How the measurable drills translate for defensive lineman:

When looking at the defensive lineman perform their drills today, keep in mind of some minimum measurable targets defensive lineman should be expected to target as a minimum result. For the most part, prospects exceeding these minimal targets tend to find success in the NFL.

Defensive Tackles

40-yard dash - Minimum Target: 5.15

10-yard split - Minimum Target: 1.80

Vertical jump - Minimum Target: 30”

Broad jump - Minimum Target: 8’9”

3 cone drill - Minimum Target: 7.75

20-yard shuttle - Minimum Target: 4.55

Bench press - Minimum Target: 26

Flying-20 - Minimum Target: 2.13

Defensive Ends

40-yard dash - Minimum Target: 4.85

10-yard split - Minimum Target: 1.70

Vertical jump - Minimum Target: 33”

Broad jump - Minimum Target: 9’9”

3 cone drill - Minimum Target: 7.35

20-yard shuttle - Minimum Target: 4.30

Bench press - Minimum Target: 24

Flying-20 - Minimum Target: 2.13

As for the drills themselves in relation to predicting future success, there is not an exact science on which drill equates to NFL success; however, specific drills for each position tend to garnish more importance than other drills. For the defensive tackles and defensive end positions, measurable drills aiding future success are: broad jump, 10-yard split, and the flying-20. For the smaller defensive ends (edge rushers/Leo), measurable drills aiding future success are: 40-yard dash, 10-yard split, 3 cone, flying-20, and the broad jump. (*The flying-20 is the measured last 20 yards of a 40-yard dash measuring separation speed.)

Defensive Linemen to Watch

Nick Bosa, Ohio Steak

Height: 6’4”

Weight: 266

Arms: 33”

Hands: 10 3/4”

Bench Reps: 29

Projected Round: 1

Ohio State’s top defender figured to have a shot at attending the 2018 Heisman Trophy ceremony the way his junior season began. He started the first three games, making 14 tackles, six for loss, four sacks, and a forced fumble. However, an injured core muscle suffered in Week 3 forced him to spend the rest of the fall rehabbing and preparing for the draft. The Heisman hype was real due to his play in 2017, where he was named the Big Ten Defensive Lineman of the Year and first-team all-conference selection (34 tackles, 15 for loss, eight sacks), despite starting only 4 of 14 games played. The Fort Lauderdale, Fla., native contributed heavily his freshman year, as one would expect from one of the top five recruits in the country, playing in all 13 games and making 29 stops and five sacks. Bosa is the brother of Joey, the 2016 No. 3 overall pick for the San Diego Chargers, and son of John, the 1986 first-round pick of the Miami Dolphins.

Josh Allen, Kentucky

Height: 6’5”

Weight: 262

Arms: 33 1/2”

Hands: 8 3/4”

Bench Reps: 28

Projected Round: 1

Allen is a New Jersey native but played three years of high school football in Alabama before moving back to Jersey for his senior year (43.5 tackles for loss, 22.5 sacks). Kentucky convinced him to come back to the South for college. He played in 12 games as a reserve in 2015 (four tackles, 1.5 for loss) before turning up his game as a sophomore. started nine of 13 games in 2016, accumulated 62 tackles, 8.5 for loss, and a team-high seven sacks. He also led the SEC with four forced fumbles. Allen started all 13 games as a junior, topping the Wildcats with 9.5 tackles for loss and seven sacks while being credited with 65 tackles, three pass breakups, and two forced fumbles. High expectations were set for Allen in 2018 and he exceeded them, winning the Bednarik Award and the Nagurski Trophy for being one of the top defenders in college football. The First-team Associated Press All-American and first-team All-SEC pick led the Wildcats with 88 tackles in 13 games, tied for sixth nationally with 21.5 tackles for loss and ranked second in the FBS in both sacks (17) and forced fumbles (five).

Quinnen Williams, Alabama

Height: 6’3”

Weight: 303

Arms: 33 1/4”

Hands: 9 5/8”

Projected Round: 1

The depth of Alabama’s defensive line never ceases to amaze. Williams was the next breakout star for the Tide up front in 2018, becoming a household name for college football fans and earning finalist honors for the Bronko Nagurski and Bednarik Awards and the Outland Trophy. The Associated Press first-team All-American and first-team All-SEC selection started 15 times as a sophomore, leading the Tide with 18.5 tackles for loss among his 70 total stops (also posting seven sacks and a safety). The four-star recruit and top-200 prospect nationally redshirted in 2016 while learning from stars like Johnathan Allen and Da’Ron Payne. The Birmingham native played in all 14 games as a freshman the following fall (20 tackles, 6.5 for loss, two sacks). Williams’ brother, Quincy Jr., was a first-team All-Ohio Valley Conference linebacker at Murray State this fall (111 tackles, 78 solo, 9.5 for loss, two interceptions). His mother, Marquischa, died of breast cancer when he was 12 years old.

Rashan Gary, Michigan

Height: 6’4”

Weight: 277

Arms: 34 1/8”

Hands: 9 5/8”

Bench Reps: 26

Projected Round: 1

Gary was the top recruit in the Class of 2016, not only using his immense size and outstanding agility to dominate the competition at Paramus Catholic High School in New Jersey as the state’s top Defensive Player in 2014 and 2015, but also excelling in the classroom. He had followed former Wolverines star defender Jabrill Peppers at Catholic, and then again followed the path of the 2017 first-round pick of the Cleveland Browns to Ann Arbor. Gary played all 13 games as a reserve his freshman season, making 27 tackles, five for losses, and a sack. His potential really began to show in 2017, when he earned first-team All-Big Ten honors with 66 stops, 12 for loss, and six sacks in 13 starts. Gary was a first-team pick again as a junior, compiling 44 tackles, seven for loss, and 3.5 sacks in 12 games. He joined teammate Devin Bush and others in skipping Michigan’s bowl game to prepare for the draft.

Clelin Ferrell, Clemson

Height: 6’4”

Weight: 264

Arms: 34 1/8”

Hands: 10 1/2”

Bench Reps: 25

Projected Round: 1

Though Ferrell was an all-state football star at Benedictine College Prep in Virginia, an all-male military school, he suffered through some difficult times. His father passed away when he was a freshman, and he missed his senior football season with a torn ACL. Ferrell was still ranked among the top 10 defensive end recruits in the country. Unfortunately, his bad luck continued once he arrived at Clemson, as a hand injury forced him to redshirt the 2015 season. Ferrell stood out as a freshman the following fall, sharing the team’s defensive rookie of the year award with Dexter Lawrence after posting 50 tackles, 12.5 for loss, and six sacks in 15 starts. He made an impact in the ACC Championship Game (sack) and national semifinal (Fiesta Bowl Defensive MVP with three tackles for loss, sack) for the eventual title-winners. His sophomore season was even more impressive. Ferrell was named first-team All-American by the Associated Press, first-team All-ACC by league coaches and a finalist for the Ted Hendricks Award as the nation’s top defensive end (63 tackles, 18 for loss, 9.5 sacks, two forced fumbles in 14 starts). Clemson coaches named him co-defensive player of the game (two tackles, sack) in the team’s loss to Alabama in the national title game. The Tigers took care of business in 2018, beating Alabama thanks in part to Ferrell’s All-American play. The first-team All-ACC selection and winner of the Ted Hendricks Award racked up 53 stops, 19.5 for loss, 11.5 sacks, four pass breakups, and three forced fumbles in 15 starts.

Ed Oliver, Houston

Height: 6’2”

Weight: 287

Arms: 31 3/4”

Hands: 9 1/4”

Bench Reps: 32

Projected Round: 1

Many people were surprised when Oliver became one of the first five-star recruits to sign with a non-Power Five conference program. The Cougars had signed his brother (Marcus, a two-year starter at right guard) and former high school coach, however, so E.J. (short for Ed Jr.) signed to play near his hometown of Westfield. He was a second-team All-American and top-5 overall recruit who eschewed Alabama to play for UH. He fulfilled his promise quickly, earning first-team All-American and all-conference honors as a true freshman, starting all 13 games and ranking second in the country with 23 tackles for loss, including 3.5 against San Diego State in the Las Vegas Bowl. He also was credited with five sacks among his 66 total tackles, as well as three forced fumbles and nine pass breakups. Oliver won the Outland Trophy and was a finalist for the Nagurski Award as a sophomore, also garnering consensus All-American honors and winning the American Athletic Conference’s Defensive Player of the Year Award with 73 tackles, 16.5 for loss, 5.5 sacks, and three pass breakups despite facing constant double-teams. He struggled with a knee injury throughout his junior season and had a televised blow-out with third-year head coach Major Applewhite (who was fired after the season) over whether he should be wearing a heavy jacket on the sideline meant for suited players while nursing that injury. In the end, he started eight games (54 tackles, team-high 14.5 for loss, three sacks, two pass breakups) and earned second-team All-AAC honors and third-team All-American notice from the Associated Press. Oliver’s father was a running back at Northwestern State in Louisiana with LSU head coach Ed Orgeron and NFL players Gary Reasons and Mark Duper.


How the measurable drills translate for linebackers:

When looking at the linebackers perform their drills today, keep in mind of some minimum measurable targets linebackers should be expected to target as a minimum result. For the most part, prospects exceeding these minimal targets tend to find success in the NFL.

Inside Linebackers

40-yard dash - Minimum Target: 4.80

10-yard split - Minimum Target: 1.70

Vertical jump - Minimum Target: 33”

Broad jump - Minimum Target: 9’6”

3 cone drill - Minimum Target: 7.20

20-yard shuttle - Minimum Target: 4.20

Bench press - Minimum Target: 24

Flying-20 - Minimum Target: 2.02

Outside Linebackers

40-yard dash - Minimum Target: 4.70

10-yard split - Minimum Target: 1.65

Vertical jump - Minimum Target: 36”

Broad jump - Minimum Target: 9’9”

3 cone drill - Minimum Target: 7.10

20-yard shuttle - Minimum Target: 4.10

Bench press - Minimum Target: 23

Flying-20 - Minimum Target: 2.01

As for the drills themselves in relation to predicting future success, there is not an exact science on which drill equates to NFL success; however, specific drills for each position tend to garnish more importance than other drills. For the inside linebacker position, measurable drills aiding future success are: 10-yard split and the vertical jump. For edge rushers/outside linebackers, measurable drills aiding future success are: 40-yard dash, 10-yard split, flying-20, 3 cone, and the broad jump.

Linebacker prospects to watch:

Devin White, LSU

Height: 6’0”

Weight: 237

Arms: 32 1/8”

Hands: 9 3/4”

Bench Reps: 22

Projected Round: 1

White’s prowess on offense (5,031 yards, 81 touchdowns in his career) and defense (192 tackles) during his time at North Webster (Louisiana) High School earned him four-star ratings and a spot on the Baton Rouge Advocate’s Super Dozen recruit list for 2016. He earned playing time as a true freshman, suiting up for all 12 games and posting 30 tackles, three for loss. The SEC All-Freshman squad selection’s only sack of the year came against Louisville’s Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback, Lamar Jackson. White became the star everyone thought he would in 2017, leading the SEC with 133 tackles and topping the Tigers with 14 tackles for loss (4.5 sacks) in 13 starts to earn a permanent team captaincy and MVP award as well as first-team all-conference and second-team USA Today All-American honors. He met high expectations again as a junior, garnering first-team All-SEC pick and Associated Press All-American accolades and winning the Butkus Award as the top linebacker in the country after starting 12 of 13 games played (he missed the first half of LSU’s 2018 loss to Alabama due to a questionable targeting call made during the team’s win over Mississippi State). White led the Tigers with 123 stops, 12 of which went for losses including three sacks, six pass breakups, and three forced fumbles.

Devin Bush, Michigan

Height: 5’11”

Weight: 234

Arms: 32”

Hands: 9 5/8”

Bench Reps: 21

Projected Round: 1-2

Bush is the son of the former Florida State and NFL defensive back with the same name. His father also got a chance to coach his son as a defensive analyst under Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh. Bush was a four-star recruit and two-time All-Florida pick in his own right before signing with Harbaugh. He contributed as a reserve linebacker and on special teams as a freshman (12 tackles) and then stepped into the starting lineup in 2017. He compiled 102 tackles, 9.5 for loss, five sacks, and an interception as a sophomore, earning first-team All-Big Ten honors while also being named a finalist for the Butkus Award as the nation’s top linebacker. The team captain followed up that season by being named the Big Ten’s Defensive Player of the Year in 2018 and an Associated Press second-team All-American. He led the Wolverines with 80 stops, 9.5 for loss, five sacks, and six pass breakups in 12 games. Bush did not play in the team’s bowl game so he could prepare for the draft.

Mack Wilson, Alabama

Height: 6’1”

Weight: 240

Arms: 32 3/8”

Hands: 9 1/4”

Projected Round: 1-2

Several SEC schools recruited Wilson hard after he excelled at Montgomery’s Carver High School. The five-star recruit was an All-American as a junior and senior, as well as a first-team all-state pick both seasons. Alabama coaches won the recruiting battle, and Wilson made an immediate impact, playing in all 15 games as a true freshman on special teams, defense (six tackles), and as a H-back on offense. He played in 12 games as a sophomore, starting twice and missing two games due to a foot injury. In addition to leading the Tide with four interceptions, Wilson posted 40 tackles, 2.5 for loss, and two pass breakups. He excelled in the national championship game, recording 12 tackles, two for loss, against Georgia. Wilson was voted second-team All-SEC by league coaches in 2018, compiling 71 tackles, five for loss, two interceptions, and five pass breakups during the season.