NFL Combine – Defensive Line

March 1, 2011 at 8:23 am Leave a comment

The defensive linemen are the strongest members of the 2011 NFL Draft class.  Mike Mayock said he had given nine DL first round grades.  They worked out yesterday at the NFL Combine and blew my mind.  Each year the players get bigger, but this class might have been the fastest ever.  Starting off with Sam Acho going all the way down to JJ Watts, they ran and performed at the highest of levels.  Even Warren Sapp who should’ve been a top 10 pick despite “character concerns” was astounded that all of these prospects were breaking 5.0s which had been a gold standard among DL.

Top Performers

  • Christain Ballard: expected him to impress in my preview but a 4.70 in the 40 had some asking whether he might go in the first round, probably not.
  • Robert Quinn: The leader of the DE class and Mike Mayock’s favorite pass rusher.  Didn’t perform as well as Mayock expected but very good job and still the top prospect.
  • Marvin Austin: Manhandled the bench, forty, and East v West Shrine game.  Apparently inconsistent on film, but lots to work with.
  • Adrian Clayborn: My man who has been slammed for having a poor senior season, ran well in the 40 [4.81] and cones drills, solid first round pick at DE.
  • Cameroon Jordan: Explosive off-season, captivating scouts at the senior bowl and performing well at the combine [4.71 40] has some asking if he goes Top 10?  Patriots should be interested in Jordan to upgrade their pass rush.
  • Marcel Darrius: Big body, nice build.  50 lbs heavier than Fairley, ran slower but a very impressive 1.6 10yd split (4.92).
  • Nick Fairley: Never realized how big his arms were, like vines.  Showed off his quickness (4.82 40). has him at -150 to be the first pick.  We’ll see what Peterson does today.
  • Sam Acho: Did not know he won the award for top student-athlete.  Ran well enough to play standing up.
  • Aldon Smith: Very impressive edge rusher, he was the one guy that popped for me and into my first round when I make a mock.
  • JJ Watts: Hard not to like the 4.8 40 from the big DE who could be the next Keisel.
  • Ryan Kerrigan: Flipped my wig when they flashed 4.67 unofficial.  This guy is a Football Player….a beast.  1st round grade.
  • Phil Taylor: The big and nimble prospect still looking solid in the late first / second round range.

Linebackers on the other hand do not offer as much as either the DT or DL.  Highlighted by Von Miller who looks like DeMarcus Ware, there simply isn’t much depth behind him but there are several players worth noting.


  • Von Miller: Measures, plays, and runs like DeMarcus Ware.  Likely top 5 pick who will harass QBs for a long time.
  • Martez Wilson: Mayock’s top ILB fly through the 40 with a 4.44
  • Justin Houston: Unbelievable athlete who I was immediately impressed with, needs some polishing.
  • Mason Foster: Mentioned on AF a few times, this guy plays so hard, did well in positional drills.
  • Akeem Ayers: Very disappointed 40 times in the 4.8 range which is certainly going to hurt his stock.
  • Greg Jones: A favorite of mine who scouts don’t think can shed blocks well enough to play inside.

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NFL Combine Results and Top Performers NFL Combine – Defensive Backs

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