The combine continued today but switched over to the defensive side of the ball. The nation’s top defensive lineman and linebackers strutted their stuff and worked out in front of a packed house.
The lineman performed extremely well, surpassing most of the top marks posted last year. The linebackers, however, were a different story, posting some of the worst overall marks for a linebacking group in years.
But as always, we have a list of our top and worst performances of the day.
Chris Long- (Defensive End, Virginia) We knew Long was a great football player in pads, but he really performed well in shorts today. Long posted a very solid forty time (4.75) and showed off excellent explosion in the vertical and long jump while recording the best three cone drill time of ANY player so far at the combine.
Vernon Gholston (Defensive End, Ohio State) Gholston was the standout of the group from an athletic standpoint. He posted the most reps in the bench with 37, blistered the forty with a time of 4.67 and was the top jumper in both the vertical and long jumps today.
Marcus Howard (Outside Linebacker, Georgia) Howard demonstrated quick twitch skills out of his stance. He is a natural, fluid athlete with good pass rushing abilities. He posted the top forty time and looks like a perfect fit as an attacking 3-4 outside linebacker.
Dre Moore (Defensive Tackle, Maryland) A big, somewhat soft-looking tackle but a natural athlete who carries his weight well and shows first step quickness, Moore is a natural bender who fires out of his stance. And at 6-foot-4 and 311 lbs., he posted a very impressive 4.88 forty time.
Curtis Gatewood (Outside Linebacker, Vanderbilt) Gatewood showed a lot of balance and body control today, dropping into coverage during position drills. He made the switch from DE to LB in ’07 and now is a perfect hybrid for a 3-4 outside linebacker.
Cliff Avril (Outside Linebacker, Purdue) A quick-twitch guy who posted an impressive 4.55 forty time, Avril is another ideal fit for an OLB in the 3-4. He had quick feet and good foot coordination in position drills today.
Lawrence Jackson (Defensive End, USC) Jackson was very agile and quick during position drills today. He is a 4-3 base DE, but he looks much more comfortable in space and possessed looser hips than a lot of guys who were making the transition to a 3-4 OLB.
Bryan Kehl (Linebacker, BYU) Keil has flown under the radar but was very quick and explosive today in linebacker drills. He was very light and fluid on his feet, and he keeps good balance while changing directions.
Wesley Woodyard (Linebacker, Kentucky) The star of the linebackers today, Woodyard is a quick-twitch explosive linebacker who really gets started quickly. He plays low and click, and he closes very quickly. He has decent lateral mobility but needs to move more quietly.
David Vobora (Linebacker, Idaho State) Vobora is a long strider but showed loose hips today and gets a deep, quick drop in zone. He has good straight-line speed and can click and close quickly on the ball.
Others Who Impressed: Pat Simms (Defensive Tackle, Auburn), Trevor Laws (Defensive Tackle, Notre Dame), Bruce Davis (Defensive End, UCLA), Gary Guyton (Linebacker, Georgia Tech), Steve Octavien (Linebacker Nebraska), Geno Hayes (Linebacker, Florida State), Jerod Mayo (Linebacker, Tennessee)
The Bottom Half
Frank Okam (Defensive Tackle, Texas) One word: FAT. Okam came in at 345 lbs and looked it. He was slow and didn’t show the burst. He needs to lose 25 plus pounds. It’s an absolute shame; Okam has so much talent and athleticism, but he lacks disciple and motor.
Kendall Langford (Defensive End, Hampton) Langford isn’t a natural bender and really showed stiff hips in position drills. He is raw and lacks overall athleticism to make up for his bad technique.
Kenny Iwebema (Defensive End, Iowa) Iwebema was really stiff in the hips and isn’t a natural bender. He struggled dipping and getting out of breaks today, didn’t showcase much burst out of his first step and lacked straight line speed in the forty.
Bryan Maddison (Defensive End, Iowa) Maddison carries a lot of dead weight and fat in his upper body; he isn’t put together well. He lacks much burst or change of direction skills, and he doesn’t have the power or lower body strength to play inside.
Calais Campbell (Defensive End, Miami) Campbell has a massive frame with long arms, but he posted a 5.06 forty time today. He has decent bend in his stance, but he’s not much of a quick-twitch guy and proved today he can only play DE in a 4-3.
Jeremy Geathers (Outside Linebacker, UNLV) Geathers was not as athletic or explosive as scouts thought. He didn’t show the burst to play OLB in the 3-4 and didn’t move well laterally. He looked top heavy and has a lot of fat in his upper body.
Ali Highsmith (Outside Linebacker, LSU) Highsmith posted a terrible forty time of 5.04. For someone as quick on tape as he is, that’s really a head scratcher. He did better in position drills, but at times he played too fast and out of control. He isn’t a natural bender and at times loses balance.
Jordon Dizon (Middle Linebacker, Colorado) A much better football player than athlete, Dizon struggled a bit in position drills today. He got too high at times and lacked foot quickness. He also had trouble changing directions and keeping his balance and body control at tip speeds.
Mike Humpal (Inside Linebacker, Iowa) Scouts new he wasn’t a great athlete, but Humpal is really heavy legged and struggled changing directions today. He is not a natural benders and has trouble sinking and exploding out of breaks.
Curtis Johnson (Outside Linebacker, Clark-Atlanta) Thin and frail looking, Johnson played high and lacked punch in position drills. A waist bender who had a tendency to overextend, he loses a lot of power and balance as a result.
Others Who Struggled: Angelo Craig (Linebacker, Cincinnati), Derrick Harvey (Defensive End, Florida), Ben Motfitt (Linebacker, South Florida)
Wes Bunting has been mentored by some of the brightest minds in NFL scouting, names such as GMJR President and former Cleveland Browns scout Russ Lande, former Coordinator of the Year Marc Trestman, 31-year NFL and college football scout Joe Butler and Sports Xchange President and longtime NFL scout Frank Cooney.