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Combine DL prospects: Who’s up, who’s down

No surprise, McCoy and Suh shine in Indianapolis. National Football Post

Print This March 02, 2010, 02:00 PM EST

A look at some of the defensive line standouts and sliders from day three of the NFL Scouting Combine:

Gerald McCoy, DT, Oklahoma

When you watch McCoy go through position drills, it’s like you’re watching a 230-pound linebacker the way he cleanly changes directions and bursts out of his breaks. Plus, he does a great job remaining balanced and keeping his base down and seems to make everything look smooth and easy. Pair that with his impressive get-off burst and it’s obvious McCoy is at another level from an athletic standpoint compared to most other defensive tackles in the class.

Jerry Hughes, DE, TCU

Pass-rushing specialist Hughes not only showcased impressive straight-line speed with his 4.69 40 time, he was also one of the few defensive linemen who maintained his balance and didn’t need to gear down around the edge. So much is made of pure initial get-off burst for the defensive end position. However, it’s more about a prospect’s ability to retain his speed when trying to flatten out around the corner, and that’s exactly what Hughes was able to exhibit Monday.

Clifton Geathers, DL, South Carolina

One big defensive lineman who really showed well for himself Monday was South Carolina’s Geathers, a 6-7, 299-pound prospect with 37 ¾ inch arms who looked surprisingly fluid during position drills. He showcased natural flexibility in his lower half and good body control and was far more impressive during position drills than Florida’s Carlos Dunlap. Geathers was only a junior when he elected to come out and surprised some with his decision. But there’s some impressive tape of him out there, and he has the measurables/versatility to play and be effective in just about any kind of scheme.

Adrian Tracy, DE, William & Mary

Tracy showcased good explosion and straight-line speed during his workouts, but it was his fluidity when changing directions that really jumped out at me. Tracy wasn’t even a guy I was interested in seeing at the start of the day, but he caught my attention in just about every drill with his clean footwork and body control. He could start to make his move up draft boards in the coming weeks.

Jared Odrick, DT, Penn State

Not only did Odrick post a sub-5.0-second 40 time (depending on whom you talked to), but he was powerful during position drills and did a great job maintaining his balance, keeping his base down and generating impressive pop with his short, compact punch. He’s a guy who isn’t getting a ton of love toward the top end of the first round, but it wouldn’t surprise me to see him end up being one of the top three defensive tackles off the board in April.

Ndamukong Suh, DT, Nebraska

We can’t write about standouts without mentioning Nebraska’s Suh, who was absolutely brilliant throughout his workout, making everything look so easy. He ran his 40 in the 5.0 range and benched 225 pounds 32 times, but it was his power, footwork and body control during position drills that really jumped out to me. He really makes everything he does look effortless and without a doubt is the nation’s top overall prospect.

Combine sliders

Carlos Dunlap, DL, Florida

For a guy who measured in at 6-6, 277 pounds, Dunlap looked lean and thin through his lower half and seemed to struggle maintaining his balance during position drills. He didn’t display much natural flexibility, was unable to keep his base down, and because of that was slow when asked to redirect. He’s a guy who has a lot of upside but weighed in less than advertised and wasn’t real fluid. Pair that with his character corners, and I’m not sure I’d feel comfortable taking him in round one.

Sergio Kindle, DE/OLB, Texas

I know Kindle is an athletic kid who runs well and generates good burst out of his breaks, but, as I talked about with Jerry Hughes, burst is one thing, controlled burst is another. When you watch Kindle, his feet are all over the place, he struggles to maintain his balance, and he’s a guy who needs to gear down when trying to flatten out around the edge. He’s an impressive straight-line athlete who will be able to cause some problems as an outright speed rusher at the next level, but he didn’t display the type of body control to convince me he’s more than a one-trick pony.

Willie Young, DE, North Carolina State

Talk about a leggy prospect, Young struggled any time he was asked to change directions and was unable to keep his base down and cleanly redirect throughout position drills. Plus, he ran in the 4.9 range and isn’t a real physical presence vs. the run. He’s very long and has the ability to eventually fight his way off blocks because of his length, but I just don’t seem him as a guy who will ever be an effective pass rusher at the next level.

Lindsey Witten, DE, Connecticut

Much like Young, Witten is another tall, long-legged prospect who really struggles to keep his legs under him and bend at the knees. He always gets overextend on his punch, isn’t real powerful and displays a lot of wasted motion in his upper body. He’s a good-looking athlete, but he doesn’t exhibit the power, body control or quick-twitch ability to consistently win in any area of the game.

Vince Oghobaase, DL, Duke

Even at 6-5, 303 pounds, Oghobaase looked really sloppy in his upper half and didn’t look like nearly the athlete I saw on tape during the early parts of the season. He ran his 40 in the 5.5 range, struggled to change directions throughout position drills and seemed like a guy who might have added some weight for this event but didn’t handle it well.

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