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NFL combine Day 4 recap: QBs speak, DL and LBs Raiders fans should know about

Some athletic freaks and sound bites from the QBs

NFL: MAR 03 Scouting Combine
CJ Stroud, NFL Combine 2023
Photo by Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

INDIANAPOLIS, Indiana — The media portion of Day 4 of the NFL combine is in the books, and I think I’m redefining the definition of “running on fumes”. But the last couple of days have been important for the Las Vegas Raiders, so I grabbed my third cup of coffee to make sure I give everyone the updates!

The defensive linemen and linebackers were the first ones to hit the field for the workouts and there were a few guys who put up some eye-popping numbers, starting with the defensive tackles.

Probably the biggest surprise to me in that group was South Carolina DT, Zacch Pickens. While watching him on film, I compared him to a slender version of Johnathan Hankins as Pickens could certainly plug up gaps in the middle, but I didn’t feel like was someone who could make a ton of plays and wasn’t a good athlete.

However, he started the workout with an impressive 4.89-second 40-yard dash time that I simply didn’t see coming. He also posted a 9’8 broad jump and 7.45-second three-cone to give the Gamecock an unofficial RAS score of 8.95. That’s comparable to Gerald McCoy’s (9.14) coming out of Oklahoma.

My scouting report for Pickens is linked to his name above, however, he’s definitely someone I need to circle back on and watch to tape to see if I need to make some adjustments. He has been a solid riser ever since his Senior Bowl performance.

Oklahoma’s Jalen Redmond also caught my eye in both the on-field drills that weren’t timed and with his athletic testing. He was one of the smoothest movers in the group and was explosive with elite grades in the vertical (34.5”) and broad (9’8) jumps to go along with a 1.71-second 10-yard split while running the 40. Overall, his RAS score is an unofficial 9.61, comparable to Ed Oliver’s 9.89 coming out of Houston.

Among the defensive ends/edge defenders, I won’t belabor the point about Georgia’s Nolan Smith as his success yesterday has already been well-documented. However, I will take a second to break my hand patting myself on the back as I’m one of the few people who won’t have to adjust Smith’s grade. He has been a Top 15 player on Bleacher Report’s draft board for a while now.

Northwestern’s Adetomiwa Adebawore continues to have one of the most unique profiles in this draft class, in a good way. He’s only 6’1.5 but has nearly 34” arms and looked like he was shot out of a cannon while running the 40, posting a time of 4.49 seconds with a 1.61-second 10-yard split.

Both were elite grades and his jumps — 37.5” vertical and 10’5 broad — gave him an unofficial 9.85 RAS Score. Coincidentally, that’s comparable to Milton Williams’, and Williams was my comparison for Adebawore before heading to Indianapolis.

Jose Ramirez from Eastern Michigan didn’t blow everyone away with his good, not great 10-yard split (1.65 seconds). But he did show some impressive bend in the untimed drills and that showed up in his elite agility scores with a 4.3-second shuttle and 6.95-second three-cone times.

My first exposure to Ramirez was at the East-West Shrine Bowl where I thought he had his moments but struggled to stay consistent throughout the week. However, he’s done exactly what he needed to do during the pre-draft events to make me flip on the tape and see what he’s got.

The Eagle also told me he has a special relationship with Raiders’ defensive end, Maxx Crosby, as Crosby has served as a mentor to Ramirez.

At linebacker, Auburn’s Owen Pappoe stole the show. He lacks size — 6’0 and 225 lbs — but nearly flew out of Lucas Oil Stadium with an official 4.39-second 40-yard dash time. That, combined with a 35.5” vertical and a 10’6 broad jump gave him an unofficial 9.24 RAS score.

Pappoe followed up his on-field performance by cranking out 29 reps on the bench press. While he lacks the ideal size for an NFL linebacker, he clearly has plenty of strength and speed.

Heading into the combine, some people had their doubts about Iowa linebacker Jack Campbell’s athleticism. Personally, I always felt that was overblown and he’s a decent enough athlete to get by in the league. However, I was even underselling his movement skills.

Campbell tested through the roof with a 37.5” vertical, 10’8 broad, 4.25 shuttle, and 6.74 three-cone, all while measuring in just shy of 6’5 and 250 lbs. All of those numbers are in the elite category, giving him an unofficial 9.98 RAS Score which is slightly better than TJ Watt’s (9.91) and Leighton Vander Esch’s (9.96) coming out of college. Vander Esch — a healthy Vander Esch I should say — is my pro comparison for the Hawkeye.

Friday was also when the quarterbacks stepped up to the podium and spoke to the media.

Below are a few highlights from the following QBs: Alabama’s Bryce Young, Ohio State’s CJ Stroud, Florida’s Anthony Richardson, Kentucky’s Will Levis and Fresno State’s Jake Haener. Apologies for the audio quality on some of these. The podiums were packed so some sound bites from the adjacent players are in the background.

Make sure to follow me on Twitter for live updates, @MHolder95.