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2024 NFL Scouting Combine: Wrapping up the defensive line, edge, and linebacker workouts

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By: Chris Pflum

Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images

Who showed out on the first day at Indy?

The first day of on-field workouts at the 2024 NFL Scouting Combine is officially in the books.

The front seven players opened the week of workouts, starting with the defensive tackles, followed by the edge defenders, and then finally the off-ball linebackers. The New York Giants might not be drafting any of these players in the first round, but we could well see one (or more) of them become Giants on the second or third days of the draft.

Big men movin’

We have to talk about the elephant on the field in T’Vondre Sweat. He’s impossible to miss and almost as tough to ignore.

Sweat weighed in at a (still-massive) 366 pounds despite concerns that he could be tipping the scales closer to 400 pounds after he declined to weigh in at the Senior Bowl. Sweat is a remarkable athlete at that size, and while his numbers weren’t great in the grand scheme of things, they’re impressive when taken in context.

Sweat only ran the 40 once, but once was enough with a 1.8-second 10-yard split and 5.27-second 40. He was also impressive in the field drills, showing surprising grace for a human avalanche.

Sweat’s teammate, Byron Murphy II, however stole the show among the defensive tackles. He has a compact, powerful physique but was a remarkably smooth mover on the field — as well as violent once the bags came out.

Taken as a whole, Murphy and Sweat were probably the most impressive duo among the defensive tackles. It’s unfortunate that Jer’Zahn Newton of Illinois is recovering from a Jones fracture. He could have rivaled Murphy for most impressive performance.

Ruke Orhorhoro of Clemson, Kris Jenkins of Michigan, Brade Fiske of Florida State, and Maason Smith of LSU were all very impressive as well.

Smith proved to have the most “prototypical” build among this year’s defensive tackles at 6-foot-5, 306, with 35-inch arms. He also might have had the heaviest hands of any of the DT on the field Thursday.

Braden Fiske was the most athletic player out there Thursday and and Orhorhoro wasn’t far behind. The two had out there with great 40 times as well as jumps, and were very smooth in the drills designed to show off movement skills.

Quarterback hunters

This year’s draft class looks to be incredibly deep at three of the four “cornerstone” positions (offensive tackle, cornerback, and wide receiver). The edge defender, group, however, doesn’t appear to be quite as deep at first blush.

Laiatu Latu, Jared Verse, and Dallas Turner are projected to be the first three edge defenders off the board, though it’s possible none of them crack the top 10. One of the biggest questions, however, is in regards to Penn State’s Chop Robinson.

Robinson is known to be an athletic freak, but the production never matched his athletic potential — but he’s got some truly impressive potential.

Robinson timed a 4.48 with an incredible 1.54 10-yard split, showing off a great get-off as well as the speed to run down most ball carriers at the NFL level. He could be a real threat off the edge with some coaching as a professional.

Not only was Robinson fast and explosive, he was also controlled in his movements in the field drill.

It’s also notable that the Alabama edge defenders, Dallas Turner and Chris Braswell, were asked to work out with the linebackers. Even though they were performing with the off-ball linebackers, they still put up excellent workouts. Turner’s 4.46-second 40-yard dash was the second fastest of the day and all but paced the off-ball linebackers despite him being an EDGE at heart.

The Combine is also a chance for under-the-radar prospects to step up and force scouts back to the tape. Colorado State’s Mohamed Kamara has been on the periphery of the national awareness and generated some buzz at the Shrine Bowl. He build on that at the Combine with a great 40 time (1.58/4.58) as well as some very good work in the field drills.

Myles Cole (Texas Tech) is also forcing scouts back to his tape. He had one of the best 40 times with a strong 10-yard split, which is impressive enough. But his movement skills at a high-cut 6-foot-6, 278 pounds were certainly eyebrow raising.

El Beez

It’s a weird feeling to be watching the linebackers work out and the Giants not be in desperate need of a linebacker, but that’s where we are. The duo of Bobby Okereke and Micah McFadden quenched the Giants’ annual need for linebackers, but that doesn’t mean we can’t watch them at the combine.

We were expecting NC State linebacker Payton Wilson to put on a show, and he delivered. Wilson has dealt with injuries dating back to high school (two ACLs and a shoulder injury), but that didn’t slow him down at the Combine. He had the fastest 40 of the day (4.43 seconds), and showed some great movement skills on the field drills. Wilson is tall, long, and very twitchy on the hoof.

Edgerrin Cooper is generally believed to be right there with Wilson as the best off-ball linebackers in the draft, and he didn’t do anything to hurt that perception. He had the fastest 40 time until Payton Willson ran his, and as with Wilson, Cooper made the field drills look easy.

Trevin Wallace (Kentucky) came into the Combine as a downhill thumper, but he might have opened some eyes. His 4.51 second 40 yard dash tied Coopers, and he also had the second-best vertical with a 37.5-inch leap. Wallace also moved very well in the field drills, showing that he could play in space as well as drive downhill.

Finally we come to Florida State’s Kalen DeLoach, who could be an interesting player to follow on draft day and through the preseason. He looks like a safety at 5-foot 11 12 inches and 210 pounds, but was listed with the linebackers. He had a respectable 9-foot-11 broad jump to go with 4.47 second 40 yard dash. He’ll probably have to earn his keep as a special teams player, but he could wind up being an interesting piece for a defense

Originally posted on Big Blue View