INDIANAPOLIS – There are a handful of defensive tackles in this class who will garner first-round consideration. A number of players will hear their names called on Day 2 with the potential to be impact players inside. Watching the big men go through drills is one of the highlights of the Combine every year, and this group will not disappoint. Use this preview as a cheat sheet for today's action (4 PM on NFL Network) to understand which drills are most important throughout the workout at Lucas Oil Stadium. For a full explanation of each category, jump down to the bottom of the piece.
Top of the heap: Derrick Brown, Auburn
Brown is viewed by many to be one of the top defensive tackles to come out in recent memory because of his strength, power and level of competitive toughness. He was a game wrecker in the SEC as a senior, leading one of the top front sevens in the country, and figures to be an early contributor in the NFL.
Workout warrior: Neville Gallimore, Oklahoma
As Bruce Feldman highlighted in The Athletic last summer, Gallimore is one of the most impressive athletic freaks in college football. At 6'2 and over 300 pounds, expect him to post eye-popping numbers across the board. The Canadian defensive lineman, who earned All-America status this fall, has high upside as an interior disruptor.
Off the radar: Rashard Lawrence, LSU
You would think that a three-year starter on the undefeated National Champs wouldn't be flying under the radar, but I'd say that's the case for Lawrence, who has been a mainstay on the Tigers' defensive line as a two-gap defensive end in their 3-4 scheme. Don't discount his athleticism though, because when he was asked to just get upfield I thought Lawrence showed some juice to penetrate and make plays. He could surprise people this week.
Stopwatch shocker: Jordan Elliott, Missouri
Elliott has begun to get some buzz in media circles, and rightfully so. The junior, who began his career at Texas, has all the tools of a top-flight interior pass rusher. An explosive, twitchy, powerful athlete, expect him to test well and look good in position drills as well. This is a player likely on the rise when it comes to Mock Drafts.
Will kill the drills: Marlon Davidson, Auburn
If you're looking for players who separate themselves among the interior linemen due to quickness and urgency through the bags, then it will be hard to miss Davidson. The senior played defensive end in Auburn's three-man front and has put on weight to become an interior player in the NFL. He should stand out in all areas this week in Indianapolis, from interviews to testing to on-field work.
Trust the tape: Leki Fotu, Utah
Fotu has some freakazoid plays on film thanks to his explosiveness for such a big man, but at the end of the day I don't believe he'll be setting the stopwatch on fire across the board in athletic testing. Still, this is a large, powerful man who wins with sheer mass, strength and power. Don't forget that when the raw test numbers come in at the end of the night.
Most productive college player: James Lynch, Baylor
No interior defensive lineman in this class has been as productive over his career than Lynch, who racked up 20 sacks and 33 tackles for loss over the last three years playing for Matt Rhule in Waco, Texas. Lynch makes his money in the trenches with quickness and savvy hand usage, which will allow him to look good on the turf at Lucas Oil Stadium this week as well. He's a position versatile player who will find a home quickly in the NFL.
One-year wonder: Nick Coe, Auburn
Coe has just one year of real starting experience under his belt, and it came as a sophomore in 2018 after being relegated to the first man off the bench this past year as a junior. A position-versatile player who will work out with the linebackers despite being in the 270-pound range, Coe is a fascinating player to study and will be put under the microscope in Indianapolis.
Best pro comparison: Ross Blacklock, TCU
Just a redshirt sophomore, Blacklock played for an underachieving TCU program this year and isn't quite on the national radar right now as one of the top defensive linemen in this draft, but make no mistake, this is a big kid with impressive short-area quicks, balance, and change of direction ability. Watching him as a freshman in 2017, he actually reminded me of a former first-round pick from Auburn in Nick Fairley, who was a very disruptive player for a handful of years in the NFL.
Best story: Raequan Williams, Michigan State
A senior who grew up in a tough part of Chicago and has seen close friends and family members lost to gun violence, Williams has battled through a ton of adversity in his life to get where he is today. A player who coaches believe will go on to become the mayor of the Windy City one day, Williams has a well-rounded skill set built for today's NFL.
Philly connection: Robert Windsor, Penn State
There's no question that a lot of people in the Philadelphia area have a rooting interest in Penn State, and the Nittany Lions are sending one of the more underrated defensive tackles to Indianapolis in Windsor. A stout run defender with a workmanlike approach to the game, Windsor wins with strength, effort and technique at the point of attack and figures to be a key cog in a rotation at the next level.
Most to prove: Javon Kinlaw, South Carolina
Kinlaw looks the part of a monstrous defensive tackle and was outstanding as a senior in 2019, but the medical check will be big for the former Gamecock, who required hip surgery to fix a torn labrum after his junior season and has had a couple of other knicks and bumps along the way. This is not helped by the fact that a knee injury will prevent him from working out here in Indianapolis.
Position drill to watch
One of the new drills being introduced this year is the Run and Club Drill, where players will be asked to run through bags in a straight line and string together a series of pass rush moves consecutively while navigating the bags. Defensive linemen have to deal with a lot of traffic on the inside, and often face multiple blockers on their way to the football. A couple of things to watch in this new drill:
1. Can the players take direction? They have a very specific set of instructions for this drill, we'll see how coachable the players are with this being the first year the drill has ever been implemented.
2. Physically, will we see these prospects eat up ground while executing their moves? You want to see the players go through the bags with speed and not have to slow down too much to get through each bag.
|Height||6' 3 1/8"|
|Hand Size||1000 (10")|
|Arm Length||3328 (33 1/4")|
|Wingspan||7968 (79 3/4")|
|Unofficial 40-Time (Stopwatch)||5.00 seconds|
|Official 40-Time (Laser)||5.06 seconds|
|10-Yard Split||1.73 seconds|
|3-Cone Drill||7.57 seconds|
|Short Shuttle||4.61 seconds|
The rest of the pack
McTelvin Agim (Arkansas), Josiah Coatney (Ole Miss), Darrion Daniels (Nebraska), Carlos Davis (Nebraska), Khalil Davis (Nebraska), Raekwon Davis (Alabama), Davon Hamilton (Ohio State), Benito Jones (Ole Miss), Justin Madubuike (Texas A&M), Larrell Murchison (N.C. State), John Penisini (Utah), Broderick Washington (Texas Tech)
Breakdown of the categories
Top of the heap: This is the player who, based on media projections, is at the top of the class and will likely hear his name called first at his position in April.
Workout warrior: This is the player who I expect to see perform best in the athletic testing portion of the workout.
Off the radar: This is the player who will come out of nowhere to post great numbers in the athletic testing portion of the workout.
Stopwatch shocker: This is the player who I expect to perform better in the athletic tests than most in the media predict.
Will kill the drills: This is the player who will look the best in the position-specific drills following the athletic portion of the workout.
Trust the tape: This is the player who I don't expect to test off the charts and is a better football player than he is an athlete. With that in mind, don't drop him down the board with a subpar workout!
Most productive college player: This is the player who produced at the highest level, either in his final year in college or over the course of his entire career.
One-year wonder: This is the player who performed at a high level in college, but only for a limited time on campus.
Best pro comparison: Comparing draft prospects to NFL players is tough, but here's a player with the easiest picture to paint when looking at his NFL future through my eyes.
Best story: All of these players have great stories to tell, but who has taken the most unbelievable journey to get to this point in his career? Here's the one that has caught my eyes (and ears) the most.
Small-school standout: This is the player who comes from a lower level of competition (outside of the Power 5 conferences) but still has a potentially bright future in the NFL.
Philly connection: This is the player with a special tie to the City of Brotherly Love or the Eagles who you should keep a close eye on.
Most to prove: This is the player who has the most to prove away from the field, whether it's during the interview process, medical examinations, or even the weigh-ins.
Mr. Average: We get to read all about the measurements for all these players over the next few weeks, but wouldn't it be nice to have some context? What is considered a "good" time in the 40-yard dash? What about arm length? The broad jump? Here's what the average player drafted at each position has looked like over the last decade (by my records).
The rest of the pack: A list of everyone else who will take part in the events in Indianapolis (in alphabetical order).
Fran Duffy is the producer of the Emmy-nominatedEagles Game Plan show which can be seen every gameday during the season on NBC10 in Philadelphia. He is also the host of two Eagles-related podcasts,_ Eagle Eye in the Sky, which examines the team from an X's and O's angle each and every week as well as the_ ourney to the Draft podcast, which covers college football and the NFL Draft all year round. Fran also authors the Eagle Eye in the Sky column, which runs four times a week during the football season to serve as a recap for the previous game and to preview the upcoming matchup. Prior to joining the Eagles in 2011, Duffy was the head video coordinator for the Temple University football team under former head coach Al Golden. In that role, he spent thousands of hours shooting, logging, and assisting with the breakdown of the All-22 film from the team's games, practices, and opponents.