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Pewter Report offers up its analysis of the 2008 NFL Scouting Combine workouts of the defensive linemen and linebackers on Monday. Who are some of the players that impressed? Find out by reading the analysis found below.
DEFENSIVE LINEMEN COMBINE ANALYSIS by Jim Flynn
DT Sedrick Ellis, USC – Ellis might be the top defensive lineman taken in the 2008 NFL Draft. The 6-foot, 309-pound Ellis ran a disappointing 5.22 40-yard dash time, but showed good explosiveness in drills in Indianapolis on Monday. A three-year starter, Ellis registered 144 tackles and 17.5 sacks in 48 games (36 starts). One of the things Ellis did well in Indy on Monday was put his impressive upper-body strength on display by benching 225 pounds a whopping 34 times. Tampa Bay, which selects 20th overall in the first round, won't be in position to draft this top 10 player.
DT Glenn Dorsey, LSU – Dorsey did not participate at the NFL Combine on Monday due to a death in his family, which prompted him to leave Indianapolis. Dorsey (6-1, 297) has a big frame and has good burst and explosion off the ball. Although he hasn't proven to be the most durable player, Dorsey recorded 179 tackles and 13 sacks while playing in 51 games (30 starts) for LSU. Some believe his stock might be dropping a bit, and his early departure from the NFL Combine, although understandable, probably isn't going to help his stock any. Still, Dorsey isn't likely to fall far enough in the first round for the Bucs to take him.
DT Kentwan Balmer, North Carolina – Balmer (6-5, 298) began his collegiate career at defensive end, but finished it at under tackle. While didn't run a great 40-yard dash time (5.25), Balmer did, however, fare well in some of the other drills at the NFL Combine. Balmer nothced 93 tackles and seven sacks in 42 games (23 starts). His versatility will pique Tampa Bay's interest in this year's draft, but many scouts were expecting a better showing from him on Monday.
DT Trevor Laws, Notre Dame – One of the players that has really helped his stock from participating at the Senior Bowl and at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis is Laws. The 6-foot, 304-pound Laws ran a respectable 40-yard dash time of 5.01, but that time probably doesn't do his quick first step off of the ball justice. He also showed impressive upper body strength by benching 225 pounds a total of 35 times. In addition to those workouts, Laws clearly is a polished player and might have displayed the best redirect skills behind only Virginia defensive end Chris Long. Laws doesn't have great height, but he's extremely active in the trenches and is considered a versatile player that can play inside or outside in a 4-3 scheme. Laws notched 224 tackles and 10 sacks at Notre Dame, including over 100 tackles as a senior. He also blocked six kicks for the Fighting Irish. If the Buccaneers want Laws they might have to invest their second-round draft pick in him after the performances he's put on at the Senior Bowl and NFL Combine.
DT Patrick Sims, Auburn – Sims (6-2, 310) is athletic for his size, but has a bad body. He's quick off the snap and changes direction fairly well for a player of his size. Sims ran a 5.06 in the 40-yard dash on Monday. One of the knocks on Sims is he was only a one-year starter at Auburn, so consistency is an issue. Sims performed better than some expected in drills on Monday.
DT Marcus Harrison, Arkansas – A four-year starter at Arkansas, Harrison is a versatile player that the Bucs could eye in this draft. Harrison (6-2 1/2, 317) isn't the fastest defensive lineman, especially after tearing his ACL nearly one year ago. But to the surprise of many, Harrison worked his way back from that knee injury in time to be listed as the opening day starter for Arkansas. He played in 12 games (10 starts) at under tackle and registered a career-high 50 tackles and 1.5 sacks. However, Harrison also has some off-the-field issues, including a drug arrest last year, which could be cause for concern. Harrison is a strong player, evidenced by his 26 reps of 225 pounds. He played in 47 games (34 starts) and notched 160 tackles and four sacks and could be a player the Bucs consider drafting this year.
DT Dre Moore, Maryland – Moore really helped himself out with a good outing in Indy on Monday. He ran a 4.88 40-yard dash time and benched 225 pounds a total of 31 times, making him one of the strongest players at his position. Moore (6-4, 305) has a nice combination of size and speed. He notched 63 tackles and six sacks as a senior, but has struggled with consistency and some scouts question his instincts. Tampa Bay has seen enough from Moore to consider drafting him in April, but where the Bucs would consider taking him still is undecided.
DE Chris Long, Virginia – Long was easily the most talented defensive lineman out on the football field in the RCA Dome on Monday. He posted some impressive numbers, including a 4.71 40-yard dash time, a 10-feet, four-inch broad jump and a 4.21 20-yard shuttle time, which was the best of any defensive lineman today. Long (6-3, 272) is an extremely fluid athlete and has great redirect ability. He excelled in bag drills today. Long has a nose for the football, evidenced by the 18 tackles, 70 quarterbacks pressures and 21 sacks in 43 games (37 starts). The Bucs won't the opportunity to draft Long as he's projected to be the first defensive player taken in April.
DE Vernon Gholston, Ohio State – Gholston (6-3, 266) solidified his spot in the top 10 of the 2008 NFL Draft with his impressive outing on Monday. Gholston ran a 4.64 40-yard dash time and had a 35 and a half-inch vertical leap. In addition, Gholston posted a 10-feet, four-inch broad jump, which was another best in the group, and a 4.40 20-yard shuttle time and displayed tremendous upper body strength, benching 225 pounds a total of 37 times, which led all defensive linemen. He is a great athlete and has a quick first step. Gholston notched 87 tackles and 22.5 sacks in 34 games (25 starts). Tampa Bay would love to have Gholston drop in the first round, but he likely will be a top 10 pick after his performance at the NFL Combine.
DE Chris Ellis, Virginia Tech – Ellis (6-4, 263) is regarded as a relentless pass rush, and his reputation as a speed rusher was solidified Monday when he posted a 4.65 time in the 40-yard dash. Ellis notched 165 tackles, 82 quarterback pressures and 22 sacks in 52 games (35 starts) at Virginia Tech. Although he is a bit undersized, Ellis is a player that is on Tampa Bay's radar due to his speed and knack for getting after the quarterback.
DE Derrick Harvey, Florida – A natural pass rusher, Harvey displayed his upper body strength on Monday by benching 225 pounds a total of 31 times. Harvey (6-4 1/2, 271) also posted a 4.36 time in the 20-yard shuttle, which was the best at his position. He notched 20.5 sacks in only 18 starts at Florida. Harvey has added about 20 pounds to his frame this offseason, but still could be viewed as a linebacker by some teams at the next level. However, he definitely opened some eyes at the NFL Combine.
DE Carlton Powell, Virginia Tech – Powell (6-2, 292) notched 104 tackles, 30 quarterback pressures and 5.5 sacks in 31 games at Virginia Tech. While he has good size, that isn't the type of sack production the Bucs are necessarily looking for from a defensive end, but Powell is a player that can play both defensive end and under tackle, which could pique Tampa Bay's interest. Powell doesn't have great upper body strength (benched 225 pounds 23 times) or speed (ran a 5.04 in the 40-yard dash), which is why teams, including the Bucs, probably wouldn't consider taking Powell until the second day of the draft.
DE Quentin Groves, Auburn – Groves (6-foot-3, 259) has a knack for getting after the quarterback, evidenced by his 26 career sacks and 38 quarterback pressures in 23 starts for the Tigers. While he's considered undersized, Groves has good upper body strength (benched 225 pounds a total of 30 times) and speed (ran a 4.52 in the 40-yard dash). He also posted a 4.42 time in the 20-yard shuttle at the NFL Combine. Groves might be better suited in a 3-4 type of scheme where he can play rush end and linebacker, but if Groves could add some more size he could be a player that piques Tampa Bay's interest on the second day of the draft due to his pass-rushing ability.
LINEBACKERS COMBINE SCOOP by Scott Reynolds
Two of the top linebackers in the 2008 NFL Draft, USC’s Keith Rivers and Penn State’s Dan Connor, did not work out at the NFL Scouting Combine. For Rivers, it was a matter of choosing to work out at USC, while Connor left Indianapolis because he was stricken with the flu. … Georgia Tech linebacker Gary Guyton turned in the fastest time in the 40-yard dash by running 4.47. He was the only linebacker to break the 4.5 barrier, but his 15 reps of 225 pounds was among the weakest among the linebackers in Indy. Scouts were expecting more from a linebacker that checked in at 6-foot-1 ½ and weighed 245 pounds. … Kentucky’s undersized outside linebacker Wesley Woodyard reminds me of Derrick Brooks when he was at Florida State. He’s a big hitter, he’s instinctive and he’s fast, turning in a 4.51 in the 40-yard dash. Tampa Bay is very interested in Woodyard and has interviewed him at the Senior Bowl and also at the Combine. Woodyard checked in at 6-foot, 227 pounds, but did not do the bench press in Indy. His stock has gone from a second-day pick to possibly a middle-round pick with a great Combine. … Vanderbilt’s Jonathan Goff ran a 4.63 in the 40-yard dash. Vanderbilt consistently puts quality linebackers in the NFL who are both athletic and intelligent. Goff is the next one in line. He excelled in pass coverage, agility and movement drills and upped his stock with a great showing of his athleticism. His 28 reps of 225 pounds was one of the best outings of any linebacker on the bench press. … Purdue’s Stanford Keglar opened some eyes with a 4.54 time in the 40-yard dash and had a flawless position workout in front of NFL scouts. He also benched 29 reps of 225 pounds, which led all linebackers in Indy. While some of the draft’s bigger names struggled with their workouts or their times in the 40-yard dash, Keglar was solid all the way through. He may have boosted his draft stock from the fifth-round to the fourth or even third round. … Tennessee’s Jarod Mayo boosted his draft stock with an eye-opening 4.54 in the 40-yard dash. Mayo checked in at 6-foot-1, 242 pounds. … Florida State’s Geno Hayes ran a respectable 4.64 in the 40-yard dash after weighing in at 6-foot, 226 pounds. Hayes benched 22 reps of 225 pounds. … Miami’s Tavares Gooden was one of the faster linebackers in Indy, running a 4.65 in the 40-yard dash at the Combine. Gooden fell doing drills and appeared to injury his leg. It could have been a reoccurrance of the injury he suffered last month at the Senior Bowl. He weighed in at 6-foot-1, 232 pounds and benched 22 reps of 225 pounds. … Virginia Tech’s Xavier Adibi ran a slower than expected 4.69 while checking in at 6-1 ¾, 232 pounds. Adibi was thought to be one of the fastest linebackers in this year’s draft. … Another player that ran a little slower than expected was Georgia Tech’s Phillip Wheeler, whose best time in the 40-yard dash was 4.75. The Bucs met with Wheeler at the Senior Bowl and he was on Tampa Bay’s radar screen. It is unknown as to how this 40-time will affect his stock at One Buc Place as Tampa Bay has always preferred fast linebackers who run in no slower than 4.65. Wheeler didn’t perform as well as expected in pass coverage drills, either. … Colorado’s Jordon Dizon, whom the Bucs were scouting at the Senior Bowl, lost his grip on being a high-round pick. His back-to-back times in the 4.75 range in the 40-yard dash will cause his stock to slip. Dizon has bulked up about 15 pounds this offseason and weighed in at 5-foot-11, 229 pounds. But given the fact that he is undersized, he needed to run a good time in the 40. … UNLV’s Beau Bell weighed in at 6-foot-1, 244 pounds and did 25 reps of 225 pounds on the bench press, but was unable to run due to a leg injury he suffered at the Senior Bowl. Bell is expected to be one of the top middle linebackers selected in the 2008 NFL Draft. … One of the most disappointing 40-yard dash times was turned in by Iowa State’s Alvin Bowen. Bowen, who was scouted hard by Tampa Bay at the East-West Shrine Game, ran a 4.87 and a 4.94 in Indy, which dropped his stock to the late rounds – if he is draftable at all now. … LSU’s Ali Highsmith was one of the biggest “name” linebackers in Indy, but he really hurt his draft stock with a slow 40-time. Highsmith looked faster on film than his brutal 5.03 time in the 40-yard dash and he was sluggish in the coverage and agility drills, too. He is now considered to be a late-round draft prospect or an undrafted free agent with that pedestrian 40-time.
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