The defenders finally took the field at Lucas Oil Stadium as the third day of the combine got underway. There were several outstanding performances from both the defensive linemen and linebackers today, as well as prospects who can line up at both positions. Here's your rundown from Monday at the combine.
The Top Ten
Melvin Ingram/DE/South Carolina: Ingram continues to impress NFL teams and his combine workout will push him further North on draft boards. Ingram was near flawless in position drills after running 4.7 seconds in the forty. He displayed great lateral movement skills and looked incredibly athletic during linebacker drills.
Luke Kuechly/LB/Boston College: Kuechly answered questions about his athleticism in dynamic fashion. He ran both of his forty's in the mid 4.5-second range, posted a vertical jump of 38 inches and a broad jump of 10 feet and 3 inches. Kuechly did not have a smooth change of direction and some will question his pursuit skills, but in all it was a great performance by the Boston College junior.
Najae Goode/LB/West Virginia: Goode was another prospect who surpassed expectations on Tuesday. He clocked under 4.7 seconds in the forty then looked fluid during all the drills. Considered a free agent prospect entering the season, Goode has moved into the middle rounds of the draft.
Nick Perry/DE/USC: Perry turned in a workout for the ages. He was fast, posting forty times in the low 4.6-second range at 271 pounds. He completed 35 repetitions on the bench press and touched 38.5 inches in the vertical jump. He later looked incredibly athletic in all the position drills.
Dontari Poe/DT/Memphis: Poe was impressive from start to finish. He posted 44 reps on the bench and later moved his 346-pound frame to a forty time under 5 seconds, which included an impressive 1.71-second 10-yard split.
Whitney Mercilus/DE/Illinois: Mercilus was fast, timing his forty's between 4.65-to-4.68 seconds. He looked very athletic in drills displaying a lot of quickness and the ability to swiftly move in any direction of the field. He offers the ability to line up at defensive end or stand up over tackle as a rush linebacker.
Andre Branch/DE/Clemson: Branch ran forty times which averaged 4.7 seconds to start off the day then practiced to that speed during drills. He got depth on pass drops and showed the ability to run fast laterally as well as in a straight line.
James-Michael Johnson/LB/Nevada: Johnson turned in a complete workout and was effective in everything he was asked to do. He started with forty times that clocked in the mid 4.6-second range while his marks of 37 inches in the vertical jump and 10 feet, 4 inches in the broad jump were also impressive. He left the impression he's a complete linebacker for the next level who can defend the run or pass.
Fletcher Cox/DT/Mississippi State: Cox turned in a terrific workout as many thought. He tipped the scales at 298 pounds then ran a forty time which had some stopwatches reading 4.78 seconds. During position drills, Cox looked very athletic displaying balance, movement skills and an easy change-of-direction.
Mike Martin/DT/Michigan: The former Wolverine looked good in every aspect of his combine workout. Martin completed 36 reps on the bench press then posted surprisingly quick forty times which ranged in the low-to-mid 4.8-second area. He has established himself as a top 75 selection in April's draft.
Four Who Disappointed
Vontaze Burfict/LB/Arizona State: The downward spiral continues for Burfict. He did not break five seconds in the forty, posted some of the worst vertical and broad jumps from the linebacker group and did not participate in position drills.
Devon Still/DT/Penn State: Still struggled throughout his entire workout. His forty time of 5.05 seconds paled when compared to many of the top defensive tackles at the combine.
Vinny Curry/DE/Marshall: Curry, one of the best pass rushers in the nation the past two years, struggled to run faster than five seconds in the forty. Very disappointing for a player I've touted the past two months.
Brandon Lindsay/LB/Pittsburgh: Lindsay is another watching the bottom fall out from his draft grade. His forty time of 4.90 seconds was slow and Lindsay may be a player with no position in the NFL.