The NFL Scouting Combine kicked off officially on Friday when players took the field for their workouts in front of all 32 NFL teams along with showcasing their abilities across the United States live on NFL Network. On Sunday and Monday it is the defense’s time to shine. PewterReport.com takes a look at some of the players for Bucs fans to keep their eyes on.
FIVE DEFENSIVE PLAYERS TO WATCH NORFOLK STATE DE/OLB LYNDEN TRAIL
Trail was one of the standout players at the Reese’s Senior Bowl because of his strong practice performances and his stature. At 6-foot-6, 262 pounds, Trail has prototypical size for a 4-3 defensive end. The former Florida Gator transfer has tremendous athleticism to go along with his big frame. Trail should test extremely well in the position and agility drills, but he may make the most noise in the 40-yard dash, as he’s expected to run in the mid 4.6 range. Trail is an intriguing prospect that the Buccaneers could consider in the third or fourth round of the draft, but he could also be a big riser with a good combine that could vault him into the second round.
MIAMI (OH) CB QUINTEN ROLLINS
Rollins is a four-year basketball player with incredible athletic traits to go along with top-notch ball skills. The Miami product has tremendous short-area quickness and should be one of the top athletic testers among the cornerbacks at the Combine. Scouts have their works cut out for them, as 2014 was his first year playing football. The senior was incredibly productive during his first and only season of football, totaling 16 pass breakups in just 12 games along with 7 interceptions and four tackles for loss.
FLORIDA STATE CB RONALD DARBY
Darby is one of the most athletic cornerbacks in the 2015 draft class and he has a big chance to move up draft boards if he performs well at the NFL Scouting Combine. The Florida State product is a former high school track athlete with tremendous speed, so he should test extremely well in the 40-yard dash. Darby also has fluid hips that allow him to turn and run with ease, which will be tested during the cornerback position drills. Darby is in the mix as a potential third or fourth-round pick at the moment, and he could be an intriguing option for the Buccaneers if he were to fall to the third day of the draft.
UCLA LB ERIC KENDRICKS
UCLA’s Eric Kendricks, one of the most productive linebackers in college football, has the athleticism and fluidity to excel at the Scouting Combine this week. Like his brother, Philadelphia Eagles linebacker Mychal Kendricks, Erick Kendricks is an instinctive linebacker that is has a nose for the football. The big question for Kendricks will be his size, as he is listed 6-foot, 230 pounds. If he weighs in less than his listed weight, it could be an issue for teams, like the Buccaneers, who are in the market for an inside linebacker. It’s an important week for the potential first round-pick.
TCU LB PAUL DAWSON
TCU’s Paul Dawson is as instinctive of a linebacker as you will find and has some Lavonte David-like qualities. His movements skills during position drills should impress onlookers at Lucas Oil Stadium. But Dawson’s most important activity this weekend will be his interviews with teams regarding his commitment to football and character. The TCU product may have Pro Bowl potential, but right now Dawson looks like a day two draft selection because of those issues. The Buccaneers are in the market for a starting linebacker and they could be interested in the former Horned Frog.
VIRGINIA DE/OLB ELI HAROLD Harold, along with Virginia teammate Max Valles, formed an impressive pass-rushing duo for a talented Cavaliers defense in 2014. Both are prospects that should test extremely well at the Combine, because of their excellent athleticism. The question that team’s will have about Harold and Valles is whether they can play with their hand in the dirt and their ability to drop into coverage. Harold is expected to test extremely well when he takes the field for his workout.