2018 NFL Scouting Combine: Day Three Notes

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DAY THREE of the 2018 NFL Scouting Combine is in the books, and with it came a great deal of information on the 2018 NFL Draft’s up-front defenders. From the defensive linemen to the linebackers, we learned a lot about future NFL front-seven players. Throughout the day, we catalogued our thoughts on some of the prospects, and we have written them down here. Below, check out our notes on March 4, the third day of the 2018 Scouting Combine.

If you’d like, you can check out our notes from Day One (RBs and OL) and Day Two (QBs, WRs, and TEs), too.

Defensive tackles

Going into the day, Draft Twitter was losing its mind over Vita Vea. The mammoth nose tackle from Washington ran a 5.11 40-yard dash – a nice time for a man his size – and hit 41 reps on the bench press (second at the Combine). Against the backdrop of Vea’s lackadaisical performance in the Fiesta Bowl and his inconsistency on tape, however, I continue to not be sold on the former Husky. That said, his measurables are impressive and he deserves a second look.

Few things were more painful to watch than Virginia Tech nose tackle Tim Settle’s workout. Settle is a guy we are high on, but we are going to go back and look at the tape after today’s performance. Setting aside his poor 40-yard dash time of 5.37, he looked unathletic and without balance in positional drills. Settle struggled to keep his feet under him, falling down during the drills and failing to demonstrate the athletic ability that would scare interior offensive linemen. Settle’s a better player when the pads are on.

A question I had throughout the day: what position is Southern California’s Rasheem Green? At 6-foot-5, 275 pounds, he can play both defensive tackle and EDGE. Today, he impressed scouts with a 4.73 second 40-yard dash time, which was tops among traditional DTs. Green also posted decent times in the 3-cone and 20-yard shuttle, showcasing good agility. He is certainly one of the draft’s most athletic defensive tackles, but there is no perfect fit for him on the defensive line. His workout today was fun to watch – what will be less fun is figuring out where he could play.

A sleeper in this draft class is DT Harrison Phillips from Stanford. He will probably be a mid-round player who generates little fanfare when he is drafted, but the guy can plug holes and stuff the run. He put up 42 reps on the bench press, beating Vea by one and establishing himself as the overall Combine leader (barring something crazy happening in the DB group). A 6-foot-4, 307 pound mauler from Omaha, Nebraska, Phillips is going to fit right into a defensive line rotation at the next level. Phillips was the leading tackler at Stanford last year…as a DT.

Shooting up our draft board is Florida DT Taven Bryan. I would be surprised if he got out of the first round after a very solid workout in Indianapolis. Bryan broke 5.0 in the 40-yard dash, running 4.98 seconds, and he posted a remarkably good 35-inch vertical jump. His 119-inch broad jump was tops among DTs. Bryan is the kind of player who will start from Day One wherever he goes, and he showcased the requisite athleticism needed to be picked high as a DT.

Speaking of athletic DTs, Alabama’s Da’Ron Payne continued his renaissance with a 4.95 second 40-yard dash and solid work in the positional drills. I say renaissance because Payne’s 2017 tape is incredibly inconsistent, until he turned it on during the playoffs and won the Sugar Bowl’s Defensive MVP award. At 6-foot-2, 311 pounds, he is our top-rated defensive tackle, but he will need to have a high motor at the next level to live up to the hype.


Since we debuted our Big Board in early January, North Carolina State EDGE Bradley Chubb has been our top-ranked player. With his impressive workout today, he remains atop the board. Chubb’s 4.65 40 yard dash placed him ahead of Joey Bosa by two-tenths of a second, and behind Myles Garrett by .01 seconds. He is a better player than both of them were coming out.

Additionally, he was third in his position group with a 36-inch vertical jump, fourth with a 121-inch broad jump, and he also placed highly in the 20-yard shuttle. Chubb’s fluid pass rushing style, coupled with his willingness to make an impact in the run game, make him an elite prospect.

Any discussion about the EDGE players necessitates a special shoutout to the two workout warriors: UTSA’s Marcus Davenport and Tulane’s Ade Aruna. While many expected a big day from Davenport, Aruna came out of seemingly nowhere to dominate the Combine. On Davenport first, the big defender checked in at 6-foot-6, cutting a lean frame at 264 pounds.

He ran the second-best 40-yard dash of the defensive line group at 4.58, showcasing elite closing speed, and he was second overall in the broad jump as well. Davenport is not our favorite EDGE player, but I was admittedly surprised by how ahead of the curve he was athletically. It seems less and less likely he makes it out of the first round.

On Aruna, the Tulane pass rusher is the kind of limber EDGE rusher who can stick on an NFL roster. He has nice bend to him, and impressive explosiveness. Though he was dead last among defensive linemen with 18 reps on the bench press, Aruna’s speed and agility drills went very well.

He was third among defensive linemen with a 4.60 40-yard dash, he was second in the vertical jump with a 38.5-inch leap that bested Chubb, and he was No. 1 in the broad jump at 128 inches. His numbers will give his draft stock a late surge.

Florida State’s Josh Sweat transcended some lackluster tape with a big day in Indianapolis, with a ridiculous 4.53 second 40 yard dash that placed him first among defensive linemen. He also put up a best-in-class 39.5-inch vertical jump. At Sweat’s size (6-foot-4, 251 pounds), his athleticism will have coaches wondering what they can get out of him. He was a top-ranked recruit out of high school, but had a disappointing career in college – perhaps an NFL defensive coordinator can turn him into a star at the next level.

Rounding out the EDGE class, Ohio State’s Sam Hubbard was pretty good today, too. The highlight of his workout was a 6.84 second time in the 3-cone drill. Boston College’s Harold Landry, who has seen his draft stock cool lately, also had a very nice day that included a 6.88 second time in the 3-cone. Wisconsin’s Leon Jacobs put himself on the map with a ridiculously fast 4.48 40 time – he may be a linebacker, though.


SHAQUEM GRIFFIN IS IN A WORLD OF HIS OWN. There is perhaps no story more inspirational at this Combine than that of Griffin, the Central Florida linebacker with one hand. In college, he dominated the American Athletic Conference as he led his Knights to an undefeated National Championship, but doubters were to be expected as he attempted to make the jump from college to the pros. Today, he silenced those doubters.

Many thought that Griffin’s highlight would have been yesterday’s performance on the bench press, where he put up 20 reps with a prosthetic device on his left hand. He outdid himself today. Griffin ran a 4.38 second 40-yard dash, over a tenth of a second faster than any other linebacker and behind only two wide receivers overall from the rest of the Combine (before the DBs run tomorrow). Pro Football Weekly’s Eric Edholm put it in perspective, tweeting the following:

Griffin had already exceeded expectations at the weigh-in, coming in at 6-foot-1 (taller than the expected 6-feet) and weighing 227 pounds. The 40 time, however, is something else entirely. After he ran, there was chatter about him going in the second round. Griffin is an NFL-caliber player without question, and he is moving up our draft board in a big way after showcasing the rare speed he just did.

We were expecting an impressive 40 from Texas LB Malik Jefferson, and he delivered with a 4.52 second time. Jefferson had more to prove in the bench press, as a knock on him is that he is not as strong as you’d like to see in a LB. He allayed those fears with 27 reps on the bench, second only to Arizona State’s Christian Sam (and tied with Tegray Scales from Indiana). At 6-foot-3, 236 pounds, Jefferson looks like a prototype inside linebacker with the athleticism of an outside linebacker. That is a fearsome combination.

Another great time was Georgia LB Roquan Smith’s 4.51. Smith has drawn comparisons to everyone from Thomas Davis to Deone Bucannon to Deion Jones. At 6-foot-1, 236 pounds, he is not overwhelmingly big, but he gets to the football and hits hard. Smith should be a fine player in the league and is easily worth an early pick in the first round.

On the flip side, one player with crazy size is Tremaine Edmunds from Virginia Tech, and his numbers at the Combine were very impressive. Edmunds ran the 40-yard dash in 4.54 seconds – that’s a full tenth of a second faster than Anthony Barr, to whom he has drawn comparisons. Edmunds doesn’t have the level of instincts you like to see for a linebacker prospect, but his raw ability and young age (he is only 19!) make him an easy pick early on.

An even better size-speed combination may be Georgia’s Lorenzo Carter. At 6-foot-6, 250 pounds, he ran a 4.5 40-yard dash. In addition, his 36-inch vertical and 130-inch broad jump were among the best at the Combine. Carter is anything but polished, and there is a chance he never becomes a starter in the league, but he is quite a sight to see. A team will draft him based on his potential.

Some other linebackers who had good Combines: Boise State’s Leighton Vander Esch, who weighed in a lot heavier than some thought he would (256 pounds on a 6-foot-4 frame), ran a 4.65 40 and hit a 39.5-inch vertical jump. He is going to be a monster ILB. Matthew Thomas from Florida State could not quite match teammate Josh Sweat’s day, but he still stood out with a 4.58 40, 41.5-inch vertical jump, and 131-inch broad jump. Ohio State’s Jerome Baker and Vanderbilt’s Oren Burks also performed well.

Ending on a negative note: After watching the Penn State tape, we knew Iowa LB Josey Jewell was slow, but we did not know just how slow he was. He ran a disappointing 4.82 second time in the 40, leading some to believe that he may not be a viable option to keep on the field for third downs. That will hurt his stock.


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