7 UP & 7 Down From The NFL Combine: Defense

We’ve identified 7 defensive players who helped themselves and 7 who didn’t at the 2017 NFL Scouting Combine.

7 UP


Myles Garrett, EDGE, Texas A&M

Garrett didn’t so much help himself as much as he solidified his status as the draft’s best prospect. A 4.64 forty, 33 bench reps and a 40-inch vertical, at 6-4, 274 is conformation that Garrett is am athletic marvel and Cleveland will be hard-pressed to pass on him at #1.

Haason Reddick, LB, Temple

Reddick continues his offseason ascendance up draft boards. He blazed a 4.52 forty and jumped 10-4 in the broad. He also looked explosive and fluid in drills. He could be a top-20 pick at this point.

Tyus Bowser, EDGE, Houston

The unheralded Houston product showed off his elite athleticism in Indy, running a 4.65 forty and looking like the former basketball player he is in drills. Bowser also jumped 37.5 on the vertical, 10-7 broad and put up 21 bench reps. He’s getting first round consideration.

Jordan Willis, EDGE, Kansas State

No prospect did more to quiet questions about his athleticism than did Willis. His 4.53 forty and 6.63 cone drill are off the charts. This will force teems to go back and double check his tape, add he didn’t look quite as explosive in games.

Gareon Conley, CB, Ohio State

Conley looked like a sure-fire first round pick in Indy. He displayed some of the best feet of all defensive backs. His lose hips and smooth movements were stellar as well. Looks like the Buckeyes will have three first round DBs come April.

Obi Melifonwu, S, Connecticut

At 6-4, 219, Melifonwu was absolutely impressive. A 4.40 forty and 40-inch vertical stood out big time. His work in drills was flawless and he has essentially locked up a spot in round one.

Jabril Peppers, S, Michigan

Peppers dominated the linebacker workout, as expected. Them came back the next day and stood out among defensive backs. His explosion, attitude and work ethic were second to none asking his peers. Peppers definitely helped himself

7 Down


Caleb Brantley, DL, Florida

Brantley, on film, is one of the more explosive defensive tackles in the draft. However, the combine didn’t show an explosive player, and while he posted slightly above average agility numbers, those aren’t really an area that he’s consistently won with. We’re left with more questions than answers at this point, as Brantley was highly inconsistent in college. That inconsistency showed up in Indy.

Reuben Foster, LB, Alabama

Getting kicked out and sent home from the combine is never a good thing. While it likely won’t damage his draft stock much, teams can’t be happy when a prospect can’t keep his cool with a medical staffer. Not being able to solidify his athletic testing, Foster will have to nail it on his Pro Day. He’ll also have plenty of questions to answer moving forward.

Zach Cunningham, LB, Vanderbilt

On tape, Cunningham is a smooth, fast athlete. Luckily for him, the tape is king. Cunningham ran a 4.67 forty, considerably slower than the other top LBs (Haason Reddick, Raekwon McMillan). Cunningham appeared sluggish and lackadaisical in drills as well. He’ll have to amp up the intensity come Pro Day time.

Tim Williams, EDGE, Alabama

Blowing up the testing numbers would have been ideal for Williams. Especially considering he owned up to past collegiate drug issues while in Indy. A dreadful 4.70 forty, 4.57 shuttle and 7.37 3-cone accomplished just the opposite. Williams also stumbled through drills, even after botching a few. Williams stood out in the wrong way at the combine.

Charles Harris, EDGE, Missouri

Consider this: only 1 pass rusher with workout numbers as bad as Harris’ has made the Pro Bowl in the past 20 years. That would be Michael Bennett, who went undrafted. While some have noted that Harris looked “smooth” during the drills, does it really matter if you’re smoothly moving extremely slow? A 4.84 forty and 1.65 ten-split is horrible for a guy with a “great first step”.

Takkarist McKinley, EDGE, UCLA

Billed as fast and explosive, McKinley lived up to that billing with a 4.59 forty and 1.61 ten-split. However, the questions surrounding Takk McKinley weren’t regarding speed. There are concerns whether he’s agile and flexible enough to translate as an NFL pass rusher. With abysmal 4.62 in he shuttle and 7.48 in the 3-cone. This will do nothing to squash the belief that Takk is stiff and can’t bend the corner in the NFL. Also not helping matters, is the fact that McKinley will have shoulder surgery following the combine.

Lorenzo Jerome, S, St. Francis (PA)

You really want to root for the small school kid trying to make it to the big leagues. Jerome dominated in college and held his own at the Senior Bowl. But his combine was atrocious. A 4.70 forty and a nap-inducing 7.74 cone did little to help his case.


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