The defensive players took the field at the NFL Scouting Combine for the first time on Sunday as linebackers and defensive linemen worked out for NFL scouts. Many of the linebackers ran faster than the receivers and there were several outstanding performances.
1. DE Charles Tapper, Oklahoma - Tapper had a workout which made scouts say, “Wow!” He weighed 271 pounds and ran the best 40 time of any defensive lineman, timing 4.59 seconds. His mark was faster than the time recorded by almost a dozen receivers. Tapper translated that speed into position drills as he looked incredibly athletic in everything he did. Fluid moving in every direction, Tapper was quick-footed during the bag drills and showed great balance. Later, he was effortless when participating in linebacker drills. Expect Tapper’s draft grade to improve almost a full round.
2. LB Darron Lee, Ohio State - Lee was another player who turned heads with a tremendous workout. He was the fastest linebacker of the day, timing 4.47 seconds in the 40 while also adding a 35.5-inch vertical jump and 11-1 broad jump to his Combine résumé. Lee was equally as explosive in all his drills displaying great speed moving in every direction.
3. DE/OLB Kamalei Correa, Boise State - Correa could turn into one of the Combine’s big winners after his performance Sunday. His 40 time of 4.70 seconds included a quick 10-yard split of 1.63 seconds and he later practiced to that speed. He looked quick, athletic and agile in both defensive line and linebacker drills. Correa easily changed direction, showed good speed moving laterally and got depth on his pass drops. Spending the majority of his college career at defensive end, Correa’s Combine workout shows he has what it takes to stand up over tackle on Sundays.
5. DE Bronson Kaufusi, BYU - Kaufusi was impressive in all areas of his Combine workout. His 40-yard dash time clocked 4.88 seconds and included a 10-yard split of 1.69 seconds, terrific marks for a lineman who measured almost 6-7 and 285 pounds. Kaufusi participated in both defensive line as well as linebacker drills, looking athletic and fluid in both areas. Considering the shallow pool of talent at defensive end in this year’s draft, Kaufusi likely placed himself in the draft’s second day.
6. DT Kenny Clark, UCLA - Clark looked as athletic as advertised and impressed NFL teams with his versatility. Weighing 311 pounds, Clark broke the 5.0-second mark on a number of watches during his 40, swiftly covering the initial 10 yards in 1.72 seconds. During position drills, he looked not only athletic but powerful as well, displaying a terrific hand punch. Clark secured a spot as a first-round pick.
7. DE/OLB Emmanuel Ogbah, Oklahoma State - Ogbah timed 4.62 seconds in the 40 with a 10-yard split of 1.59 seconds after measuring 6-4 and 273 pounds. His other marks included a vertical jump of 35.5 inches and a broad of 10-1. He looked athletic and fluid, moving well in all directions and showed good balance in pass rush drills.
8. DT Hassan Ridgeway, Texas - The underrated Texas lineman opened a lot of eyes during his workout. He broke 5.0 seconds in the 40 after tipping the scale at 302 pounds then looked good in position drills. Ridgeway moved well in both a straight line as well as laterally and showed great punch and power during bag drills.
9. DE/OLB Yannick Ngakoue, Maryland - The junior from Maryland is a sleeper, but turned in a terrific workout posting a 40-yard time of 4.75 seconds, completing 26 reps on the bench and touching 34.5 inches on the vertical jump.