In a story over the weekend we looked at the defensive linemen who probably get drafted in the first three rounds. The defensive linemen have worked out – not all of them participated – and here’s how some of those players fared.
Keep in my mind workouts generally don’t make or break players, but they can affect a player’s grade, if nothing else by getting teams to go back and look at the game tape to see if the test results, good or bad, showed up in his play.
The 3-4 type defensive lineman who had the best combine probably was SMU’s Margus Hunt. The Estonia émigré, who measured at 6-feet-8 1/8 and 277 pounds, ran an outside-linebacker like 40-yard dash (4.60 seconds), tied for this year’s combine best with 38 bench-press reps, had a 34 ˝-inch vertical, which is excellent if he ends up playing the interior line, and an equally strong 10-1 broad jump. That performance might move him from a third- to fourth-round type grade to a late second-rounder.
BYU’s Ziggy Ansah probably did enough to ensure being drafted in the upper half of the first round, which means the Packers won’t have a chance at him at No. 26 overall. Ansah, who could be a 3-4 end or outside linebacker, ran the 40 in 4.63 seconds, had a 34 ˝-inch vertical, a 9-10 broad jump and did 21 bench reps. Though Hunt tested slightly better overall, Ansah plays like the superior athlete and shows better balance and explosiveness on the field.
Michigan State’s William Gholston, a second-to-third round player, was a modest disappointment. His size was good for a 3-4 end (6-6, 281 pounds), but his 40 time of 4.96 seconds and vertical of 28 ˝ inches were only OK for a player in the 280-pound range. His 23 bench reps, also was only OK.
In contrast to Gholston, similarly sized Datone Jones (6-4, 283) of UCLA ran 4.80 seconds, had a 31 ˝-inch vertical and did 29 bench reps. Jones probably is a late first-round or early second-rounder.
Among the nose-tackle types, Ohio State’s Jonathan Hankins (6-3, 320) had a 26-inch vertical, which for a player of his weight is OK. His 40 was only 5.31 seconds, but 40 times for players of that size don’t matter as much. He didn’t bench.
For comparison, North Carolina’s Sylvester Williams (6-3, 313), who is slightly lighter than Hankins, had a 27-inch vertical and a 5.03 40.
Georgia’s huge John Jenkins (6-4, 346) did only the bench at the combine and did 30 reps.
Hankins probably will be a first-round pick, Williams a 1-2, Jenkings a possible late first but more likely second-rounder.
Missouri Southern’s Brandon Williams showed why he’s an interesting Division II prospect who could go in the second round. He’s short (6-1 7/8) but at a stout 335 pounds had a good vertical (29 ˝ inches), and his 38 bench reps tied Hunt for most at the combine. His 40 time of 5.37 seconds doesn’t matter much for his position.