INDIANAPOLIS -- An impressive group of defensive front-seven players, including the draft's premier prospect, worked out for teams Sunday at the NFL Scouting Combine. Those on hand saw a group of very athletic next-level performers, many of whom improved their draft stock. Here are eight players who helped their stock with Sunday's workout.
DE Myles Garrett: It's almost lazy putting Garrett at the top of this list, but once again he proved why he's the premier player in this draft. He put up 33 repetitions in the bench press, which was all the more impressive when you consider his arms measured over 35 inches. He ran his 40-yard dash in under 4.65 seconds, an exceptional time for a 272-pound lineman. Garrett also touched 41 inches in the vertical jump and reached 10'8" in the broad jump. To top it all off, he participated in both defensive line and linebacker drills and looked every bit the part of an impact defensive player.
DE/OLB Haason Reddick: When the list of names of potential NFL prospects from the senior class was disbursed to teams last May, the name Haason Reddick was not included. Nine months later, Reddick is poised to be selected during the draft's initial 42 picks. Reddick continued the momentum of what was a tremendous senior campaign and a brilliant performance during the Senior Bowl with gaudy numbers at the Combine. He timed 4.52 seconds in the 40, reached an amazing 11'1" in the broad jump, and touched 37 inches in the vertical jump. Reddick looked equally outstanding during position drills and has answered scouts' every question the past six months.
DE Solomon Thomas: Thomas turned in a "wow" performance and likely solidified himself as a top-12 pick. He ran the 40 in under 4.7 seconds, and reached 10'6" in the broad jump and 35 inches in the vertical jump. His bench press mark of 33 reps was also impressive. Thomas looked terrific in drills as expected, quickly moving to every direction of the field and giving 100 percent.
DE/OLB Carl Lawson: Lawson was one of the big winners from Sunday's workout. He punched out 35 reps on the bench, far exceeding the expectations of scouts. He later ran the 40 in 4.67 seconds and practiced to that speed, showing great quickness and explosion as he moved in every direction of the field. Lawson also looked good during linebacker drills. He now has the confidence of teams that he can line up out of a 3-point stance in a four-man front or as a stand-up rusher.
DE/OLB Charles Harris: Harris did not run the fastest 40, clocking in at 4.82 seconds, but he practiced at a different speed and looked exceptional during position drills. He was extremely explosive and fluid, and got through all the drills with great quickness. Harris moved fast in a straight line as well as laterally or in reverse. He erased any doubt as to whether or not he's first-round worthy.
DE/OLB Jordan Willis: Willis was a sack master in college with 27 over the past two seasons, but he proved on Sunday that he's also an athletic freak. He timed 4.52 seconds in the 40-yard dash, and posted a vertical jump of 39 inches and a mark of 10'5" in the broad jump. His bench-press mark of 24 reps was much better than expected. Willis looked athletic during drills and practiced to his timed speed. While strength is still a concern, Willis left no doubt that he's a superior athlete with next-level pass-rushing skills.
LB Zach Cunningham: The former Vanderbilt Commodore posted solid marks of 4.66 seconds in the 40, 35 inches in the vertical jump, and 10'5" in the broad jump. He looked terrific in drills showing straight-line speed and lateral quickness. There was little hesitation as Cunningham changed direction, plus he covered a lot of area on the field. He needs to improve his backpedal, but nonetheless Cunningham further established himself as one of the best run-defending linebackers in this draft.
LB Trey Hendrickson: Hendrickson continues his rise up draft boards. Building on the momentum from his terrific week of practice at the Shrine Game, Hendrickson timed in at 4.65 seconds after tipping the scales at 266 pounds. He practiced to that speed during drills, easily moving around the field. Despite dealing with a hand injury, Hendrickson showed a violent punch during bag drills and also looked terrific running through linebacker drills.
- Tony Pauline
We're taking you through each day of the NFL Combine to showcase some of the standout performances. Take a look at some of the players you should keep an eye on...
Inside The Numbers: Defensive Line
1. If you count Solomon Thomas as an interior defensive lineman, then his numbers were off the charts, as Tony noted above. The 3-cone drill (6.98 seconds) and the broad jump (10'6") results were better than any defensive tackle drafted since 2012. While we're on "tweeners," how about Villanova's Tanoh Kpassagnon! He leaped out of the gym with a 10'4" broad jump. How impressive is that? No drafted interior defensive lineman has posted that mark in the last five years. Deatrich Wise pulled an okie-doke and bested that mark, leaping 10'5" later in the morning at 280 pounds.
2. Larry Ogunjobi was really impressive in the athletic testing. Only 10 defensive tackles out of the 135 drafted since 2012 posted a better broad jump than the 305-pound senior, and his 32-inch vertical leap was above average for the position as well. Factor that in with an above average 40-yard dash (4.98) and 3-cone (7.55) times, and you have a hell of a workout.
3. Elijah Qualls came in with extremely short arms (30 5/8 inches, which are shorter than any defensive tackle drafted in the last five years), but his explosive numbers (31.5-inch vertical, 8'9" broad jump, and 1.74 10-yard split) were all impressive for a 313-pound human being.
4. Qualls' numbers were impressive, but not as eye opening as nose guard D.J. Jones, who broad jumped 9' at 319 pounds. A 28.5-inch vertical jump was fairly impressive as well. That explosiveness shows up on tape for the former junior college transfer, as he has some of the lightest feet of any nose tackle in the class.
- Fran Duffy
Inside The Numbers: Edge Rusher
1. Myles Garrett's numbers were absolutely freakish, especially considering the fact that he came in over 20 pounds heavier than his expected 255. Garrett broad-jumped 10'8" on Sunday with a vertical of 41 inches. For some context, just six of the 128 edge rushers drafted since 2012 posted better broad jump numbers, and they all came in at under 270 pounds (Garrett is 277). Only three of those 128 pass rushers drafted in that time frame bested Garrett's vertical jump. They also all came in under 270 at the Combine. For his size, Garrett is truly phenomenal as an athlete.
2. It's important to take size into account when looking at some of these numbers, as it gives you an idea of just how much explosive power these prospects have to move their own body weight. Here are other names I expect will rate highly on athletic testing formulas such as SPARQ include Daeshon Hall (266 pounds with a 7.03 3-cone time and 10'3" broad jump), Tarell Basham (269 pounds with a 4.35 short shuttle and 9'11" broad jump), as well as Hendrickson, who Tony mentioned above. Four players logged a 4.20 short-shuttle time at the Combine since 2012, and all of them were 250 pounds or fewer. Hendrickson weighed in at 266 pounds.
- Fran Duffy
Inside The Numbers: Linebacker
1. Reddick ran with the defensive line, but when you match his numbers against linebackers (not edge rushers) drafted over the last five years you get a sense of just how impressive his day was. At 237 pounds, Reddick ran a laser-timed 4.52 40-yard dash, a number bested by just two prospects in that span (Darron Lee and Travis Feeney, who both weighed less than Reddick). The Temple Owl also matched Lee's broad jump (11'1"), which is the highest of any linebacker in that span.
2. Ohio State's Raekwon McMillan was the most surprising workout of the linebackers, turning in an official 40-time of 4.61 seconds at 240 pounds. A thumper inside not known for his athletic ability, that's an impressive number that will help his stock.
3. Fun fact - no linebacker drafted since 2012 has longer arms than Vanderbilt's Zach Cunningham, who boasts a reach of 34 3/8 inches.
- Fran Duffy