by Greg Gabriel
February 25, 02014
Monday brought us an opportunity to see players on the defensive side of the ball. Both the defensive linemen and linebackers worked out. The day started off with Auburn defensive end Dee Ford not being able to work out because of a back condition. Things like this happen every year at Indy, and the medical staffs always err on the side of caution. It is, of course, the smart thing to do. Still, there were a number of workouts that caught scouts' eyes, both positively and negatively.
Aaron Donald – Pittsburgh
Donald has had a great off season, starting with a dominant week at the Senior Bowl, and then following up with a great week in Indy. My biggest concern with Donald has been his lack of natural size and arm length. In the NFL, that is always a concern. Donald has done a great job changing my mind.
People want to compare Donald to Geno Atkins, and it’s a good comparison. When Atkins came out, he was a little bigger than Donald. Atkins was 6013 -293 and Donald is 6006 - 285; so, there is about a half inch and eight pound difference. Their arm lengths are similar, and Donald has proven to be a bit more explosive when you compare the different drills. His 4.68 second forty is very impressive, as well as his 7.11 three-cone and 32" vertical.
I figured Donald would be a late first or early second, but now he could go as high as the teens. He is a very good fit for a one gap 4-3 team as a three-technique.
Tim Jernigan – Florida State
Jernigan isn’t as athletic as Donald, but he plays a different position. He is more of a one–technique and can even play some nose. While arm length was a question with Donald going into the Combine, it wasn’t supposed to be with Jernigan. It turns out that his arm length is only 31 5/8”, which will concern many coaches. Jernigan is not fast over 40 yards, but has the 10-yard quickness needed to be effective. He showed good body control and snap in his workout.
Kony Ealy – Missouri
I was a little disappointed with Ealy’s workout. I thought he would be a little faster and more explosive. Ealy ran only 4.92, and his bench at 22 reps was not good. Still, he showed very good change of direction running the three-cone in 6.83. His 32” vertical was also impressive for a big guy.
Ra’Shede Hagemen - Minnesota
Hageman looks like the ideal five-technique. He is 6057 – 310 and runs a 5.02. While he may have a little tightness in his hips, he still moves around very well. His jumps were rare for such a big man (35.5” vertical, 9’6" long jump). He also has impressive strength; he did 32 reps of 225, which equates to about a 450-pound bench press.
Jadeveon Clowney - South Carolina
I don’t think there was a person in the Dome who didn’t think that Clowney would have a lights-out workout. He ran the forty in 4.52, had a 37.5” vertical and long jumped 10’4’’. He also had a very good three-cone, running that drill in 7.27.
The concern with Clowney has never been his athleticism but, rather, his effort level come game day. After a dominant 2012 season, Clowney seldom played hard in 2013. Clubs picking in the top five of the draft have to decide if they can trust that Clowney will be an all-out player once he signs a contract.
Small school warriors
Two small school players had impressive workouts on Monday. Shepherd’s Howard Jones is an undersized defensive end, who will have to convert to linebacker. Jones is 6’2 – 235, runs a 4.6, and has a 40.5” vertical jump. While he is raw, he did not look out of place doing linebacker drills.
Bloomsburg’s Larry Webster is larger at 6’5 – 252, but he runs a 4.58 and also looked as though he can drop into coverage. Webster still needs to develop his strength (17 reps), but he is an interesting work in progress.
Many scouts wanted to see how Anthony Barr from UCLA and Buffalo’s Kahlil Mack would work out. Neither disappointed. Barr is 6047 – 255. He ran a 4.66 and had shuttle times of 4.19 for the 20 shuttle and 6.82 for the three-cone. If there was a concern, it was with his upper body strength. Barr only did 15 reps of 225, which is poor for his position.
Mack came in at 6025-251 and ran a 4.64. His 20 shuttle was 4.18 and his three-cone was 7.18; both are very good times for a linebacker. What really caught the scouts' eyes were his jumps. He had a 40” vertical and a 10’8” long jump. This shows his explosiveness.
I thought Mack struggled some during his pass drops. He seemed as if he was trying to anticipate, and this made him look a little sloppy. Mack’s pro day is next week, and it wouldn’t surprise me if he ran the 40 again. He had a poor start, both times, on Monday.
I was looking forward to seeing Ohio State’s Ryan Shazier. Ohio State listed the junior at 222 during the season. He weighed in at 235, with long arms (32 5/8”). He has the frame to get to 240. Shazier only did a partial workout and did not run the 40. Still, what he did do was very impressive.
Shazier looks explosive on tape and he proved that to be true, with a 42” vertical jump and a 10’10” long jump. His 6.19 three-cone was also very good. I can see Shazier being the perfect Will linebacker for many 4-3 clubs.
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