NFL Combine Results 2015: Highlights, Twitter Reaction and Sunday Recap – Bleacher Report

While Saturday’s NFL Scouting Combine events featured wide receivers, running backs and quarterbacks, Sunday belonged to the defense. Linemen and linebackers were out to prove they could hold up athletically against the more glamorous offensive positions, and they didn’t disappoint.  

Leading the show was Vic Beasley.

The former Clemson star finished with a 40-yard dash time of 4.53 seconds, which was best among all front-seven players. With that kind of speed, he should have little trouble chasing down the fastest quarterbacks in the NFL: 

Beasley didn’t just show off his wheels, though. He also measured extremely well and showed off his strength, tying 321-pounder Deon Simon for most bench press reps (35) on the day. Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller put it simply: 

According to Mike Mayock, via the NFL Network Twitter feed, the Clemson stud created quite a buzz among NFL personnel: 

If Beasley was the “winner” of the day, then Bud Dupree was a very close second. Weighing in at 269 pounds, the Kentucky specimen ran a 4.56 40 (third-fastest), hit 42 inches on his vertical (second) and had a broad jump of 138.0 inches (first).

As 3sigmaathlete.com’s Zach Whitman noted, Dupree hit rarefied air with his performance: 

Dupree isn’t a finished product, but his freakish athleticism makes him an undeniably alluring prospect. NationalFootballPost.com’s Dion Caputi discussed his upside: 

Dante Fowler, a strong candidate to crack the top 10 on April 30, tied with Virginia’s Eli Harold and Baylor’s Bryce Hager for sixth among linebackers Sunday with a 40 time of 4.60 seconds. For what it’s worth, Beasley weighed in at 246 pounds (and Harold 247), while Fowler was 261 plus whatever his giant gold watch weighed:

CBS Sports’ Pete Prisco is quite high on Fowler, and it wouldn’t be a surprise if more joined him after this performance:

Missouri’s Shane Ray and Nebraska’s Randy Gregory are generally regarded as the two players competing with Fowler to be the top pass-rusher selected (although Beasley made a very strong case to be in that group Sunday). Ray sat out Sunday with an injury, but Gregory participated, finishing with a solid 4.64 40-time. 

Here’s a look: 

Perhaps more impressive, however, was his work in the on-field drills. NFL writer Joe Goodberry provided a quick glance at the Nebraska star’s ridiculous change-of-direction skills: 

With silly athleticism and agility, Gregory’s upside as a pass-rusher is obvious. But because of his lean frame—he measured at 6’5″ and 235 pounds—many worry he may be overmatched in the run game. As he told NFL.com, though, he had a pretty good excuse: 

Initially, yesterday, I was kind of pissed off about (weighing in at 235). I was about 240, 243 a week and a half ago. Then I got sick, had to go to the hospital. I had to get X-rays of my stomach because I had a stomach virus. I was throwing up everywhere. 

I was trying to build my weight back up, but it was really the worst time it could have happened.

Plenty of other defensive ends and outside linebackers—notably, UCLA’s Owamagbe Odighizuwa, LSU’s Danielle Hunter and Tennessee-Chattanooga’s Davis Tull—enjoyed impressive days, providing more proof that the position is arguably the deepest in this year’s draft. 

But let’s not forget about the big boys. 

Defensive tackles and 300-plus-pound players aren’t typically known for their athletic gifts, but the NFL is changing. More and more, we’re seeing massive specimens who can move. 

USC’s Leonard Williams is a prime example: 

The former Trojan finished with an official 40 time of 4.97. It obviously wasn’t one of the day’s best times, but remember, this is a 6’5″, 302-pound monster who also possesses serious strength. As Fox Sports’ Bruce Feldman noted, it’s important to take into account the big man’s entire body of work:

Tampa Bay’s need for a quarterback means that Jameis Winston or Marcus Mariota will likely be called first on draft night, but Williams only strengthened his position as a likely top-three pick. 

Things didn’t go nearly as well for the off-ball linebackers. On a whole, the position isn’t generally as athletic as the pass-rushing LBs, but potential first-rounders Shaq Thompson and Paul Dawson drew plenty of criticism.

CBS Sports’ Rob Rang and Mayock gave their thoughts: 

However, reaction wasn’t all negative toward Thompson. NFL.com’s Bryan Fischer later noted that his official 40 time was much more generous than his unofficial one, while Caputi pointed out his fluidity during the on-field drills: 

The combine is an interesting beast. Sometimes it can be a good indication of what to expect from a player, but plenty of future stars have had poor combines, and plenty of futures busts have put on shows. Accordingly, it’s risky to put too much stock into what happens.

At the same time, however, these performances undoubtedly alter prospects’ draft stocks. That means it’s still important to keep tabs on the event. 

No matter how you feel about the combine, it’s a good way to get a look at some of the world’s premier athletes. On Monday, defensive backs will get their chance to shine.  

 

Note: Workout numbers courtesy of NFL.com’s combine tracker unless otherwise noted.

NFL Combine Results 2015: Highlights, Twitter Reaction and Sunday Recap – Bleacher Report

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