The NFL Scouting Combine continued on Sunday with the top defensive linemen and linebackers under the scrutiny of all the NFL’s 32 teams.
With 8 selections in the NFL Draft, and numerous holes to fill, general manager Jason Licht, head coach Lovie Smith and the rest of the Buccaneers staff were in attendance to evaluate and watch all of the players that were invited to Indianapolis for the Combine.
Below are some notes and impressions from Sunday’s drills
CLEMSON DE/OLB VIC BEASLEY
Yesterday, Clemson pass-rusher Vic Beasley put up 35 reps on the bench press and weighed in heavier than expected at 246 pounds. On Sunday, the Clemson product blazed the field at Lucas Oil Stadium, running a 4.53 in the 40-yard dash. His time tied for the fastest of all of the defensive lineman in attendance. On tape, Beasley has a extremely quick first step to go along with good hand use and bending ability. However, he’s a little on the small side and fit best with a 3-4 team as an outside linebacker. With that being said, the former Tiger should be a top 16 selection.
FLORIDA DE/OLB DANTE FOWLER JR.
Like Beasley, Fowler gets off the ball extremely fast and is an athletic pass-rusher. The Florida junior posted a 4.60 40-yard dash at 6-foot-3, 261 pounds. That workout number will surely help his draft stock as he pushes for the top 10. The former Gator has an excellent motor and never stops working. He’s still raw as far as overall pass-rushing technique has concerned, but Fowler has all of the tools and desire to be an excellent player.
KENTUCKY DE/OLB BUD DUPREE
Scouts and general managers knew that Bud Dupree was an athletic player going into the Combine this week, but Dupree managed to put together one of the best Combine performances in recent memory. The Kentucky product recorded a 42 inch vertical jump and an 11-foot-6 broad jump. At 6-foot-4, 269 pounds, those numbers are incredible. In addition to that, the Kentucky stud ran a 4.57 in the 40-yard dash. Dupree is a raw prospect that will need time to develop but his athletic ability and size warrants a first-round selection.
UCLA LB ERIC KENDRICKS
With Mason Foster slated for free agency in a few weeks, the Buccaneers are in the market for a new inside linebacker. The Buccaneers second-round pick will be an interesting area to select a linebacker, as some of the top linebackers in draft may still be available. One of those linebackers could be UCLA’s Eric Kendricks. The former Bruin is the younger brother of Eagles linebacker Mychal Kendricks, who is one of the most athletic linebackers in football. Kendricks posted a very strong time of 4.66 in the 40-yard dash and also recorded a vertical leap of 38 inches. The linebacker is strong in pass coverage and possesses excellent instincts. If he makes it to the top of the second round, it could be very hard for the Buccaneers to pass on such a productive linebacker.
CLEMSON LB STEPHONE ANTHONY
Anthony certainly looks the part of an NFL middle linebacker. At 6-foot-3, 243 pounds, the Clemson linebacker is chiseled and muscular and has massive legs. Anthony ran a blazing 4.59 time in the 40-yard dash and recorded a vertical leap of 37 inches. His numbers are interesting because Anthony doesn’t appear to play at that speed on tape. Scouts will have to decide if Anthony’s play speed can match his speed that he posted at the Combine on Sunday. Anthony had a solid Senior Bowl week in Mobile and is fast and athletic. Certainly someone to keep an eye on as the draft approaches.