Buccaneers fans were glued to the NFL Scouting Combine when the defensive linemen took the field at Lucas Oil Field in Indianapolis on Sunday. Two of the top 10 prospects – Ohio State defensive end Joey Bosa and Eastern Kentucky defensive end Noah Spence were slightly disappointing – while Oklahoma State defensive end Emmanuel Ogbah and Clemson defensive end Shaq Lawson stood out athletically and could become top 10 prospects as a result.
• Ogbah measured 6-4, 273 pounds and had incredibly long arms, which measured 35.5-inch arms. He blazed in the 40-yard dash with a 4.62 time, including a 1.59 in the 10-yard split. Ogbah was impressive in virtually every area at the Combine with a 35.5-inch vertical jump, a 10-1 broad jump and 20 reps in the bench press. While he does have some hot and cold plays on tape, Ogbah had back-to-back years of double-digit sacks, including two of Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston in 2014. Ogbah really helped himself at the Combine as a top 20 selection.
• Lawson looked a little pudgy, which has some scouts concerned about his commitment to the weight room, but he put on a show in Indianapolis. The nation’s leader in tackles for loss weighed in at 6-foot-2 and a half, 269 pounds and ran a 4.70 in the 40-yard dash with a 1.64 split. While he didn’t bench, Lawson had a 33inch vertical and a 10-foot broad jump. Lawson also performed well in linebacker drills and solidified his status as a top 20 pick.
• Spence measured 6-foot-2, 251 pounds and had an impressive 10-1 broad jump and 35-inch vertical leap. His 25 reps with 33-inch arms were also impressive, but his 40-yard dash time of 4.8, which he ran twice, was disappointing. NFL scouts had compared him to Khalil Mack and Von Miller, but those players ran in the 4.6 and 4.5-range, respectively. Spence did have a fast 1.62 10-yard split, which helps, and he proved to be explosive in other drills. The big test for Spence at the Combine wasn’t the 40-yard dash, but interviews with NFL teams over his past use of ecstasy, which got him kicked out of Ohio State. Eastern Kentucky’s pro day is next week, so Spence will get another crack at the 40-yard dash very soon.
Ohio State DE Joey Bosa – Photo by: Getty Images
• The 6-foot-5, 269-pound Bosa ran a disappointing 4.86 in the 40-yard dash, but had a respectable 1.69 10-yard split. He did bench 24 reps of 225 pounds and had an impressive 10-foot broad jump and was second overall in the three-cone drill with a great 6.89 time. Bosa didn’t look particularly fluid in the defensive end drills and didn’t lock up the top defensive lineman billing, which could go to Oregon’s DeForest Buckner, who ran a 5.05 in the 40 as a 6-7, 291-pound 3-4 defensive end. Buckner, who needs more knee bend, but was impressive in drills, had the largest hands ever measured at the Combine at 11 ¾ inches and had a 9-8 broad jump.
• While Ogbah and Lawson really improved their status as first-rounders, Oklahoma defensive end Charles Tapper may have been gotten the biggest benefit from the Combine. Tapper was the fastest defensive lineman in Indy, running a 4.59 in the 40-yard dash with an impressive 1.59 10-yard split at 6-foot-2, 271 pounds. Tapper had a great 34-inch vertical and a 9-11 in the broad jump. Tapper also showed well in the weight room with 23 reps on the bench press with 34-inch arms. Tapper now seems like a lock in the second round.
• Another defensive end that helped his stock rise was Maryland’s Yannick Ngakoue, who weighed in at 6-foot-2, 252 pounds. Ngakoue ran a 4.75 in the 40-yard dash with a 1.65 10-yard split. He had an impressive 34.5-inch vertical jump and 9-10 broad jump, while benching 26 reps of 225 pounds with 32-inch arms.
• The stock of Boise State defensive end Kamalei Correa is on the rise after the 6-foot-2, 243-pounder ran a 4.69 in the 40-yard dash with a 1.63 split. Correa had the shortest arms of any of the linemen at just under 32 inches, but did bench 21 reps of 225 pounds. He also had a 33-inch vertical and a 9-0 in the broad jump, which should make him a second- or third-rounder.
• Penn State’s giant defensive end Carl Nassib measured 6-foot-6 and a half and weighed 277 pounds. While his 4.84 time in the 40-yard dash wasn’t terribly impressive, his 1.62 10-yard split was. Nassib benched 225 pounds 21 times with 34-inch arms and had a 28.5-vertical leap and a 9-6 broad jump to solidify his draft status between the second and third rounds.
• Baylor DE Shawn Oakman was the tallest lineman, measuring 6-foot-7 and a half and weighing 287 pounds. He benched 23 reps, which is impressive considering he has arms that are nearly 36 inches long. Oakman showed some explosiveness with a 32-inch vertical and a 10-3 broad jump, but his 4.96 time in the 40-yard dash was terrible and his 1.74 10-yard split wasn’t impressive. Oakman seems destined to be a mid-round draft pick at best unless he significantly improves his 40-time at Baylor’s pro day.
• Several defensive tackles that put on a show in Indy, starting with South Carolina State’s Javon Hargrave, who weighed in at 6-foot-1, 309 pounds. Hargrave ran a 4.93, which was one of the fastest times for a defensive tackle, with 1.7 split. He also had a 34.5-inch vertical with a 9-1 broad jump. Hargrave also benched 225 pounds 29 times with 32-inch arms. Hargrave could have boosted his stock into the third round on Sunday.
• Florida’s Jonathan Bullard was undersized at 6-foot-3, 285 pounds, but ran a 4.93 in the 40-yard dash with an impressive 1.66 in the 10-yard split. Bullard posted a 32-inch vertical and a 9-8 broad jump. He had 23 reps of 225 pounds with arms that were just under 34 inches. Bullard has a chance to be drafted in the late first or early second round.
• Louisville’s Sheldon Rankins, 6-1, 299, has drawn comparisons to Aaron Donald, but wasn’t quite as fast with a respectable 5.03 in the 40-yard dash and a 1.74 10-yard split. He did have an eye-opening 34.5-inch vertical and a great 9-10 broad jump. Rankins proved to be plenty strong with 28 reps with 33-inch arms. He seems like a lock to be a first-round draft pick due to his quickness.
• Baylor defensive tackle Andrew Billings, who is in consideration to be the first defensive tackle off the board in the first round, measured 6-foot, 311 pounds and ran a faster-than-expected 5.05 in the 40-yard dash with a 1.77 10-yard split. He also had a 27.5-inch vertical leap and benched 31 reps with 33-inch arms.
• Ole Miss defensive tackle Robert Nkemdiche interviewed poorly at Indy according to NFL Network with several teams taking him off their draft boards due to character questions. Yet the 6-foot-3, 294-pound Nkemdiche proved to be athletic, running a 4.87 twice with a 1.68 10-yard split. Nkemdiche benched 28 reps and had a 35-inch vertical with a 9-8 broad jump. He’s a physical specimen, but his lack of production on the field and off-field character concerns will likely keep him out of the first round.
Clemson DE Shaq Lawson – Photo by: Getty Images
Because there is so much interest in the defensive linemen in this year’s draft from Bucs fans, here are the top five scores in the main categories from the NFL Scouting Combine. Ogbah scored the best, followed by Lawson, Spence, Bosa, Oakman and Mccallister, who all were among the top 5 in at least two categories.
TOP 5 DL 40-YARD DASH 1. DE Charles Tapper – 4.59 2. DE Emmanuel Ogbah – 4.62 3. DE Kamalei Correa – 4.69 4. DE Shaq Lawson – 4.70 5. DE Dadi Nicholas – 4.74
TOP 5 DL 10-YARD SPLIT T1. DE Charles Tapper – 1.59 T1. DE Emmanuel Ogbah – 1.59 3. DE Carl Nassib – 1.62 4. DE Kamalei Correa – 1.63 5. DE Shaq Lawson – 1.64
TOP 5 DL 3-CONE DRILL 1. DE James Cowser – 6.80 2. DE Joey Bosa – 6.89 3. DE Shilique Calhoun – 6.97 4. DE Alex Mccallister – 7.01 5. DE Bronson Kaufusi – 7.03
TOP 5 DL ARM LENGTH 1. DE Alex Mccallister – 36
DE Shawn Oakman – 35 3/4 3. DE Emmanuel Ogbah – 35 1/2 4. DT Vernon Butler – 35 T5. DE Dadi Nicholas – 34 3/4 T5. DE Darius Latham – 34 3/4
TOP 5 DL VERTICAL JUMP 1. DE Dadi Nicholas – 41 T2. DE Emmanuel Ogbah – 35.5 T2. DE Jason Fanaika – 35.5 T4. DE Noah Spence – 35 T4. DT Robert Nkemdiche – 35 T4. DE Matt Judon – 35
TOP 5 BENCH PRESS 1. DT Chris Mayes – 33 T2. DT Ronald Blair – 32 T2. DT Matt Ioannidis – 32 4. DT Andrew Billings – 31 5. DE Matt Judon – 30
TOP 5 BROAD JUMP 1. DE Alex Mccalister – 10-8 2. DE Shawn Oakman – 10-3 T3. DE Emmanuel Ogbah – 10-1 T3. DE Noah Spence – 10-1 T5. DE Joey Bosa – 10-0 T5. DE Shaq Lawson – 10-0 T5. DE Romeo Okwara – 10-0
• The Buccaneers likely won’t draft a linebacker, especially in the first three rounds. The top two linebackers – Notre Dame’s Jaylon Smith and UCLA’s Myles Jack – are recovering from knee injuries and did not participate. The early word from Indy regarding Smith, who would be a top 5 pick if healthy, was not good. Rumors suggest Smith, who had a severe knee injury in his bowl game, suffered nerve damage and might miss all of 2016 and perhaps beyond. Jack hasn’t been cleared to work out yet after suffering an ACL injury during the year, but projects to be a top 5 pick.
• Ohio State’s Darron Lee, 6-1, 232, ran the fastest time – a 4.47 with a 1.55 split. His teammate, 6-foot-4, 254-pound Joshua Perry, was equally impressive in running a 4.68 with a 1.59 split. Lee led all linebackers with an 11-1 broad jump.
• Washington’s Travis Feeney was impressive in running a 4.5 with a 1.59 split at 6-foot-4, 230 pounds. He also had a 10-10 broad jump, which was the second-best among linebackers, and a 40-inch vertical, which was the best mark for his position group.
• Vanderbilt’s Stephen Weatherly, who was 6-foot-4, 267 pounds, and East Carolina’s Montese Overton each ran a 4.61 with a 1.59 split, while LSU’s Deion Jones ran a 4.59 with a 1.6 split.
• Georgia outside linebacker Leonard Floyd solidified his first-round standing with a 4.6 in the 40-yard dash once and then skipped the next run, but had a 39.5-inch vertical jump with a 10-7 broad jump.
Scott Reynolds is in his 25th year of covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as the vice president, publisher and senior Bucs beat writer for PewterReport.com. Author of the popular SR's Fab 5 column on Fridays, Reynolds oversees web development and forges marketing partnerships for PewterReport.com in addition to his editorial duties. A graduate of Kansas State University in 1995, Reynolds spent six years giving back to the community as the defensive line coach for his sons' Pop Warner team, the South Pasco Predators. Reynolds can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org