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2012 NFL Combine Review: Defensive Line

Steve Shoup

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Here are some guys who had a good day at the NFL Combine:

Melvin Ingram:

Ingram is going to be a key addition to some team's defense this season.

Ingram I thought had one of the best days. He was fast, quick, strong and showed a ton of fluidity and versatility in all the drills. He did everything that was asked of him and he looks to be a major impact player at the next level. He’s not the biggest guy, and he doesn’t have the longest arms, but he is just a natural football player.

Dontari Poe:

Poe came in and just blew up the Combine. He ran a sub-5.0 40 time, had 44 reps in the bench press and just looked great in every drill. He looked to be just a plugger coming into this draft, as he had pedestrian numbers in college, but now he looks to have big time upside. Poe could be a top 20 pick after this performance.

Andre Branch:

Branch ran a great 40 time, and showcased excellent burst and quickness in all the drills. He might be more of a 3-4 backer, but he definitely looks capable of getting after the quarterback.

Fletcher Cox:

Cox ran a sub 4.80 40, and put up 30 reps in the bench press (which is even more impressive given his long arms). He looked really good in the positional drills, and really reaffirmed himself as a 1st round prospect.

Jaye Howard:

Howard was coming off an impressive Senior Bowl, and he continued to shine here. He really dominated the positional drills, while showing nice speed and strength. He’s still probably no better than a mid-rounder, but he’s got some nice promise and should be a good pick-up.

Kendall Reyes:

Reyes is another guy trending up draft boards. He looks very natural in the positional drills and should start to gain some first round consideration. He put up good vertical and bench numbers as well as a sub 5.0 40.

Nick Perry:

I wasn’t sure what to make of Nick Perry before the Combine, given some inconsistent performances, but he really shined today. He was fast, in both the 40 and the drills, and showcases a very impressive frame. He’s probably a top 20 pick at this point.

Whitney Mercilus:

Mercilus is questioned by some as a one year wonder, but he tested very well at the Combine, and should be in the first round mix. I really liked the quickness I saw from Mercilus as I didn’t think he’d test that well.

Guys who I want to see more of:

Michael Brockers:

Brockers was a mixed bag, with a nice 10 yard split, but a bad 40 time. While you don’t ever want a DT running 40 yards, it does show perhaps a lack of endurance. Can Brockers face a quicker offense, or hold up in the two minute drill, where he might have to rush for a couple of plays in a minutes time. He also didn’t show great strength or explosion in other drills. I wouldn’t say it was a bad Combine, but it wasn’t great either.

Brandon Thompson:

Thompson actually looked solid in the positional drills and lifting, but he didn’t run the 40. Given how well so many other big DT’s were running, the lack of Thompson stood out. He needs to run a good 40 at his pro day to answer those questions.

Devon Still:

Still looked good in the positional drills, but compared to some of the other DT’s he didn’t look as quick. Also his bench reps being under 30, especially since he only has average arm length. I don’t think it was a major knock, but he needs to have a strong pro day as well.



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