Welcome to Day Three in Indianapolis. This is usually my favorite day of the combine with huge men looking more athletic than they should. The defensive linemen as a whole impressed, while the linebackers were not as crisp as they had been in years past. Here are some thoughts on players that stood out today:
DT/DE Arik Armstead, Oregon
He was a big, muscular monster. The defender showed good balance and some quickness, but definitely belongs on the defensive line.
DE/LB Vic Beasley, Clemson
If the combine needed to have a winner for the day, it would be Beasley. This muscular, quick twitched athlete ran an impressive 4.53 forty yard dash. He was explosive with no wasted motion changing directions effortlessly (an impressive three cone drill time of 6.91), while showing off quick, powerful striking hands. Beasley also looked nature dropping back into coverage.
LB Paul Dawson, TCU
Dawson ran a disappointing 4.93 forty and did not show much explosion. He looked very stiff in many drills as well, which is not what I expected.
DE/LB Bud Dupree, Kentucky
The defender had a groin issue after jumping and running so he did not perform the individual drills. He impressed with his jumps (showing off lower body burst) and ran an impressive 4.56 forty.
DT/DE Mario Edwards, Jr. Florida State
Edwards was quite fast and fluid for a man his size. The defensive lineman had a good punch and cat-like balance.
LB/DE Dante Fowler, Jr. Florida
He impressed with his strong showing of athleticism and explosion in the position drills. Fowler ran a quick 4.60 forty yard dash, but had some issues with balance and being tight hipped. The defender used a powerful punch to separate himself.
LB/DE Randy Gregory, Nebraska
Gregory was lean and mean in his drills. He showed explosion, quickness, and fluidity. However, unless he can significantly add muscle to his frame, the defender will need to play outside linebacker.
LB Eric Kendricks, UCLA
The linebacker moves quickly laterally, shows high effort with decent speed (4.61 forty) and explosion. He tracks the ball well in the air and uses a powerful punch to separate from blockers.
LB Benardrick McKinney, Mississippi State
McKinney ran a little slower than expected at 4.66 and looked tightly hipped. He had some issues dropping back into coverage and finding the ball. This day hurt his draft stock.
DE Owanagbe Odighizuwa, UCLA
The muscular defensive end showed explosion and quickness while running a 4.62 forty yard dash (had an amazing ten yard split). The athletic Odighizuwa has loose hips that help him change directions with ease.
LB Denzel Perryman, Miami
His 4.78 forty was slower than what I expected. Perryman has quick feet and moves well laterally with loose hips. The linebacker drops quickly back into coverage while showing natural fluidity. He also packed quite a punch and rip in drills.
LB Jake Ryan, Michigan
Ryan ran a decent 4.65 forty time with his muscular, but stiff frame. He looked good in the pass coverage drills and seemed to improve as the day went on.
DT Danny Shelton, Washington
This former wrestler was huge all over with a powerful punch. He has great balance, quick feet, and amazing agility. Shelton will be quite disruptive at the next level.
DE Preston Smith, Mississippi State
This defender has a big trunk while running well (a respectable 4.74 forty). He has loose hips that allow him to change directions quickly and could drop back into pass coverage on occasion.
LB/S Shaq Thompson, Washington
Thompson was a little more lankier than I expected. His forty time of 4.64 was a bit slow for someone considered to be a potential NFL running back at one time. He has a good, natural back pedal, loose hips, and changes directions effortlessly. The defender had the best hands on Day Three and exploded down the field with the ball. The question is: where will he play?
DE/LB Lynden Trail, Norfolk State
He is a bit on the raw side along with small lower legs. Trail has quick feet and is very athletic. Trail ran a bit too tall, but can drop into pass coverage when asked with ease.
DT/DE Leonard Williams, USC
This powerful defender has huge legs along with a strong punch to keep blockers off his body. Williams possesses a great combination of explosion, fluidity, and balance. His forty (4.97) might disappoint some people, but long speed is not his game, quickness (which he has plenty of) is.