2011 NFL Combine: Defense Day 1

Sam Acho NFL Combine

Sam Acho impressed with his speed and agility on Monday.

NEPD Staff Writer: Doug Kyed

The third day of the NFL combine put the defensive line and linebackers out on display. The 2011 defensive line class came out strong, impressing with athleticism, strength and size. It’s a good year for teams with needs along the line, regardless of whether they’re lining up in the 3-4 or 4-3.

At the top of most defensive end draft boards you’ll find some combination of DaQuan Bowers (DE, Clemson), Robert Quinn (DE, North Carolina), JJ Watt (DE, Wisconsin), Adrian Clayborn (DE, Iowa), Aldon Smith (DE, Missouri) and Cameron Jordan (DE, California).

With Bowers not competing in drills in Indianapolis, Quinn might have helped himself the most. He had an impressive 4.70 40 with a 1.63 10 yard split and looked best during defensive line drills. Watt had the best measureables in the workouts, finishing in the top three among linemen in the vertical jump, broad jump, 3 cone drill and 20 yard shuttle, but looked stiff at times on the field.

Jordan might have had the weakest combine of the top players, but his impressive Senior Bowl performance more than made up for that.

Sam Acho, DE, Texas
Acho continues to impress during drills. He had a 4.68 40 with a 1.60 split and looked like a fluid athlete out on the field. He had a good knee bend during line drills and might have looked even better standing up in linebacker drills.

Ryan Kerrigan, DE, Purdue
There was some word that Kerrigan’s draft stock was falling after the Senior Bowl, but boy did he impress at the combine. He carried his 6’4” 267lb frame extremely well and beat everyone’s expectations with a 4.71 40 with a 1.65 split. Kerrigan showed that he could absolutely play linebacker in a 3-4 looking very fluid in linebacker drills.

Dontay Moch, DE, Nevada
I was obsessed with Moch coming into the combine. Everyone had heard rumors that he’d run sub 4.2 40s, so expectations were high. Moch proved to be the best athlete on the field today including linebackers. He completed a 4.44 40 with a 1.61 split and showed great change of direction skills. He’ll need to stand up to play in the NFL, but he’ll be well worth a second day pick.

The DT’s were just as impressive on Monday in Indy. The top three players on the field were Nick Fairley (DT, Auburn), Marcell Dareus (DT, Alabama) and Marvin Austin (DT, North Carolina).

Fairley continued to impress and if there weren’t character concerns with him, would absolutely be the consensus no. 1. Dareus had nice change of direction, but didn’t show great balance and could still improve his footwork.

Austin might have improved his stock most among DTs. His 4.90 40 and 1.63 split were very impressive at over 300 pounds and he showed great fluidity. He moved like an end during drills showing great footwork and explosive strength.

Kenrick Ellis, DT, Hampton
The FCS prospect had a very impressive build for his 346lb frame. He ran a 5.28 40 with a 1.97 split before he came up lame during his second 40.

Muhammed Wilkerson, DT, Temple
Wilkerson looked almost as good as Fairley, Dareus and Austin on the turf at Lucas Oil Stadium. He ran a sub-5 40 at 315lbs and played very fast for his size. He displayed nice footwork, but will need to work on staying low.

The linebackers weren’t quite as impressive as their defensive counterparts on Monday, but there were still some very impressive athletes especially further down draft boards.

Von Miller, OLB, Texas A&M
Miller put on a good show on Monday with a 4.53 40 time and displaying a nice change of direction and good hands for his position. He was by far the best linebacker during pass rushing drills, but stumbled at times and didn’t always show great footwork. I doubt it will hurt his stock, as he showed all that he needed to at the Senior Bowl.

Justin Houston, OLB, Georgia
Houston moves very well for his size, proven by his 4.68 40 time while weighing in at 270 flat. He showed a nice change of direction for his size and looked good coming off the edge. Houston will probably either have to put his hand on the ground or lose weight to play standing up.

Adrian Moten, OLB, Maryland
While he might be undersized at just 228lbs, he improved his stock on Monday with a 4.62 40. Moten was very fluid in coverage while showing off some soft hands. He also looked very natural during pass rushing drills, perhaps only bested by Von Miller.

Brian Rolle, OLB, Ohio State
Rolle was another guy that improved his stock in Indy. He ran a 4.56 40 and looked very fast on the turf during drills. Rolle showed off very quick good footwork and a nice change of direction, stopping on a dime. He’s undersized at just 5’9” 229lbs, but he’ll catch on somewhere on special teams with his high motor.

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22 Responses to “2011 NFL Combine: Defense Day 1”

  1. CC says:

    p.s.- Nice post on the 1st at 8:02 pm JEFF, that’s what I’m talking about!!!!

    LUCK, & wearing literally anybody and everybody out was the only reason for making it as far as they did last season. I’m tierd of plug-in’s, sub par back up’s, cituational’s and “VALUE”.

    Hell, I even was talking to a friend early in the year about actually this would be the year to consider “bogging out” this season just to guarentee all our pick’s would be twice as worth what they are now, and with knowing the CBA crap was coming all along since the beggining of the year only added to that thought.

    *How would we look now if every one of our pick’s were literally TWICE as high and twice the worth what they are now???

    It’s about time for the next: Brucshi’s, Johnson’s, Law’s, etc.
    Along with the wall of protection that used to be, that couldn’t be gone through.

    *People like Wilhite, Mckenzie, Deadrick, Butler, Crable, Wheatley and Tate aren’t even close!

    I hate to actually say it, but this “was” the year they should have bogged out a little on purpose, knowing it was a re-building type of year, and really made all these pick’s “double in worth”!!

  2. CC says:

    Q1 – What does the fact that the only (2) BB 3rd round pick’s have ever seen any regular starting time in the NFL and they are/were Nick Kazur & Ellis Hobb’s tell you?

    Q2 – What does the fact that “combined” even, like about every 3rd round BB has made together/collectively only account for playing in like maybe 25 games total here and there at the max tell you??

    JUST SAYIN’…..

  3. TD says:

    I would say let’s rewind the tape and see how we got to all the picks in the last 2 years; it was from trading down, down, down and still getting quality players in low first and second round. McCourty, Gronk, Chung, Brace, Vollmer, Butler, Spikes, Cunningham and even Mayo were the result of targeting and moving down to get these guys and obtaining more picks in the present and future.

    Unless we are no longer having an NFL draft, IMO, BB will continue to move down, select quality players, miss on some, hit on a bunch and obtain more assets for the future to continue to build.

    Why would we forfeit these hard to get assets to move up and put all our eggs in one basket for : Quinn who is a 4-3 end, Julio Jones, Fairley, etc and cross our fingers they work out.

    • John says:

      The Patriots go 14-2 with half the snaps taken by first or second year players……and all we have are “WalMart Players”.

      It’s that type of “analysis” and “thinking” that produce really dumb ideas like packaging two 1st rounders to move up seven spots.

  4. Bruschi54 says:

    Ryan Kerrigan is a great fit for Pats at #17, he was already proven in pads on Saturday afternoons, now he should have won over the Under Armour crowd. He may very well end up being better NFL player than Quinn. Pouncey at #28 and Taylor or Wilkerson at #33 and we are ready to go. All 3 could be available at these spots and would be huge upgrades in areas of need. BB is sitting in great spot that will keep getting better if this group of QB’s keeps getting solid reviews, and moving up draft boards.

  5. mike says:

    Did anyone else see 2 DL in the first round? I’m a bit puzzled , are they assuming Warren is done?
    I’m hoping Jordan would drop. Now thats an impact player that will contribute on day 1.

    PS : might want to change the reason for Miller pick. He blew up the combine. Teams and scouts were blown away. Plus he gained weight to 247. When DeMarcus Ware came out he was 251. Miller’s combine numbers compares favorably to Ware.
    Im just saying. Obviously patriots have no chance to reach him.

  6. CC says:

    Drafting for next year and/or draftning down for “value” is just stupid.

    We already have enough Wal-Mart style players.
    We have Value, but no playmaker’s inbetween.
    The (1) non-tradable compensatory 6th round and the (3) compensatory non-tradeable 7th round’s will be use for extra value player’s and project’s/back-up’s, but “IMPACT NOW” is the ONLY way 2go.

    BB has a historical bust rate in the 3rd-so get rid of them.

    Trade “ALL” lower pick’s & package them WITH THE HIGHER ROUND’S AND move up….Period !!

    • Jeff says:

      Darius Butler – Value pick….Ron Brace – Value Pick… Brandon Tate – Value..Tyrone Mckenzie – Value… T Wheatly – Not value just a terrible pick…Shawn Crable – anther terrible pick…..time to stop taking depth players and pick some real NFL starter talent!!!

  7. ian says:

    The Pats will not trade picks for more picks this year. They just do not have the roster space to add 10 or 12 draft picks. So trading their first 2 picks for multiple second rounders makes no sense. What they will do is draft around 8 players. They will trade picks into the first and second round next year, they will package picks to move up and they will trade down for value. Never was high on the combine but Aldon Smith just really looked smooth out there.

    • Bill says:

      I agree. The Pat’s need to concentrate on a few players who can have an immediate impact on the team.

      Instead of trading for multiple picks, the Pat’s should package picks to target specific players.

      Given JJ Watt’s combine numbers, the Pat’s will have to package a couple of picks to move into the top ten to draft JJ Watt. The Pat’s can package #17 and next years #1 to move into the top ten to draft JJ Watt.

      Next, the Pat’s will need to package a couple of picks(#28 and a second rounder) to move above Indy to draft OL Castonzo. Castonzo is critical to the Pat’s draft this year. He can be the starting RT, even in a year in which the season begins in October.

      • Ian says:

        No way i give up next years first for anything. If you want to get into the top 10 then 17 and 33 would do the trick. However dont under estimate the depth of this draft from 15 through 40. Those picks are worth something and pick number 33 will have more value that 28 i believe. My reasoning behind this is 33 starts the second round and teams will have all night and day to throw trades at the Pats trying to move up to their slot to get the guy they didnt think would fall. They WILL get great value with this pick in a trade. I would put an enormous amount of money on them trading this pick either into a first for next year or move down 10 picks and pick up and extra 3rd next year.

  8. John says:

    I was always talking about getting Mark Ingram if he dropped to the 24-28th pick range. I changed my mind after his disappointing 40 yard dash time. Is it possible that he’ll still be available in the early second round or am I dreaming? Could M. LeShoure be the first running back taken? If both are available with the 33rd pick, who do you take out of the 2 running backs?

    • Doug Kyed says:

      I would definitely take Ingram first. I believe his 10 yard split was best among RBs. I also don’t think Ingram will make it out of the first round.

      My problem with taking an RB even as early as the second round is that I believe that A. Green-Ellis is a good player who can carry the load for the Patriots. and B. You can find much better value in the later rounds. Purely looking at the 2010 Draft (small sample I know) the best rookie RBs were Blount and Ivory, two undrafted guys, while Matthews, Best and Spiller struggled mightily. That’s not to say that that’s usual or that the rest of their careers will pan out that way, but there is a certain degree of risk in taking an RB high.

  9. Doug Kyed says:

    This is such a perfect year for the Patriots to need help at outside rush and DE. New England can absolutely come away with two/three impact players in our first three picks. I also wouldn’t dismiss the possibility of the Patriots taking a NT like Phil Taylor early and kicking Wilfork over to DE permanently like Baltimore did with Ngata.

    Obviously my dream would be to wind up with Fairley and Bowers, but I think we all know that’s not going to happen. With the spots that the Pats have if they could wind up with some combination of Kerrigan, Houston, Austin, Taylor, Wilkerson, Watt, Pouncey, Watkins, etc. it would be huge.

    Unless Jones miraculously fell, I won’t be happy taking a RB/WR with the first three picks.

    Amukamara would be another interesting pick, but with the 40 times he just ran, it’s doubtful he falls to 17.

    • Ryan says:

      Julio Jones has an injury requiring surgery, supposedly what I heard. Therefore, he could easily fall to 17. Then do you take him and wait a year for him to get back in shape and ready to play? Or do you pass him up and move on?

      • Doug Kyed says:

        The foot surgery will only require an 8 week rehab period, so I’m not sure if it will hurt his stock that much. If he were to fall to New England it would be a great value and I would love to snag him.

        A lot of the WR talk depends greatly on how Belichick views Price and Tate. If Price could come in next season and have an impact sophomore season like Chung did this season, WR isn’t as great of a concern. I wouldn’t put stock in it, but I do think either Price, Tate or Hernandez could step into a much bigger role in 2011.

      • Jeff says:

        I think most seem to think that OLB is the reason the pass rush is weak…Its that but a combo of losing Seymour. I love the idea of taking Phil Taylor and a OLB early…would love to see them move up to get Quinn then take Taylor or Wilkerson.

  10. Jeff says:

    I dont want value I want an IMPACT DE/DT and an IMPACT OLB!!

    • Jordan says:

      Completely agree. The pats have enough depth and young developmental players. What we need is impact players that can start and make a difference individually.

      You are more likely to get those in first round. Every pats fan wants a pass-rusher.

  11. TD says:

    Looks like we can get good value DE’s, OLB’s and OL’s after the 2nd round, so unless someone very high on Pat’s board falls, watch BB trade the 2 first rounders for 3-4 second rounders as now it looks like we will need a couple of OL’s after they cut Kaczur, possibly Neal and Mankins sits like last year.

    • Ryan says:

      Two first rounders for 3-4 second rounders? Honestly, I dont think he would do it for four 2nd rounders. It is going to have to be much sweeter than that. I think he will forsure get a first rounder for the 33 for next year. As for 17 that alone is worth 2-3 second rounders. Once again I haven’t seen the pick value chart. But I don’t think he will give away both first rounders.

      • TD says:

        I have not checked the value chart for all positions in the draft, but we are no longer working with GM’s from the era that gave Jimmy Johnson a boatload of top picks for Herschel Walker. A low first round pick is probably worth a second and a third/fourth tops unless a GM is thinking irrationally.

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