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5 prospects who stood out on Day 1 of the NFL Combine’s workouts

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By: Ron Kopp

Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images

What did we see as defensive front prospects took the field in Indianapolis on Thursday?

On Thursday, the 2024 NFL Scouting Combine’s first day of on-field workouts got underway. Interior defensive linemen, edge rushers and linebackers that we expect to see in April’s NFL Draft hit the turf at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.

During the afternoon’s drills, five prospects who could improve the Kansas City Chiefs stood out. Let’s take a look at them.

Braden Fiske | Florida State | 6’ 4” 292 lbs. | Redshirt Senior+

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While this defensive tackle is among the oldest prospects of the 2024 class, he did his best to negate that part of his draft profile during his combine workout.

At 6 feet 4 and over 290 pounds, Fiske recorded the top mark (4.78 seconds) of all defensive tackles in the 40-yard dash. He also topped his position in the vertical leap (33.5 inches) and the broad jump (9 feet 9 inches).

This was just another reason for the former Western Michigan player to rise on everyone’s draft boards. While he only played for the Seminoles in 2023, he made his presence felt: he totaled six sacks and 43 total tackles — including nine for loss.

The explosive drill results we saw on Thursday show up in the film: Fiske can fly past an offensive lineman’s shoulder and bend into the pocket. He also has the balance to stay active through run blocking, giving him the look of a three-down player at the next level.

NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah had ranked Fiske 45th in his latest Top 50. During the broadcast, the analyst said that Thursday’s workouts could make Fiske rise in his next list.

Darius Robinson | Missouri | 6’ 5” 285 lbs. | Redshirt Senior

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Not many defensive end prospects fit Kansas City’s profile as well as this versatile Tiger. He entered Thursday’s workouts as one of the most intriguing prospects in his position group — and one of the only ones who has been reported to have met with the Chiefs.

It starts with his build: Robinson measured in at 6 feet 5 and 285 pounds, showing off overwhelming size as an edge defender. It rivals that of another big-time Missouri prospect: former NFL All-Pro Aldon Smith — especially Robinson’s 34.5-inch arm length.

Robinson didn’t destroy the on-field athletic testing — but for his size, the results were still notable. His 35-inch vertical matched (or exceeded) the marks set by two of the top pure edge rushers in this class: Florida State’s Jared Verse and Penn State’s Chop Robinson.

His combination of size and athleticism makes Robinson an intriguing Kansas City prospect. He could fill the same role that Charles Omenihu does: be a massive defensive end who can kick inside on passing downs.

Mekhi Wingo | LSU | 6’ 284 lbs. | Junior

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 16 LSU at Mississippi State
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This interior defensive lineman may be familiar to some Chiefs fans. Wingo originally enrolled at Missouri, playing as a true freshman in 2021 and recording one sack, two tackles for loss and a 40-yard pick-six. He went on to add 7.5 more sacks and 11 more tackles for loss over the next two seasons in Baton Rouge.

Wingo’s playmaking ability came through during Thursday’s athletic testing. At 6 feet and 284 pounds, he recorded a 31.5-inch vertical leap. Then he registered the second-fastest 40-yard dash among defensive tackles — and the fastest 10-second split (1.64 seconds).

These movement skills are coming from a smaller prospect — but Wingo still plays with a dense frame that takes up more space than his weight suggests. And as a very young player, Wingo still has time to add weight to his otherwise explosive profile.

If he can add some strength to the juice he shows off the snap, Wingo could be a very intriguing Day 3 target for Kansas City.

Payton Wilson | NC State | 6’ 4” 233 lbs. | Redshirt Senior

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: OCT 07 Marshall at NC State
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Among a linebacker class that lacks top-end talent, Wilson flashed athleticism at an impressive size.

At nearly 6 feet 4 inches and 233 pounds, Wilson earned an official 40-yard dash time of 4.43 seconds that led all Day 1 workout participants. He also tied for the best 10-yard split time at 1.54 seconds.

Originally a high school recruit in the class of 2018, Wilson is another veteran in this class. Injuries impacted his college career — but when he was on the field, he was a playmaker both in coverage and as a blitzer.

If the Chiefs don’t re-sign linebacker Drue Tranquill, Wilson could provide a similar skillset on Day 2.

Cedric Johnson | Ole Miss | 6’ 3” 260 lbs. | Senior

NCAA Football: Louisiana State at Mississippi
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Johnson is another edge rusher with size and power who showed off impressive athleticism on Thursday. While he isn’t as well known (or as physically intimidating) as Robinson, he also turned heads with his workout results.

After coming in at 6 feet 3 and 260 pounds, Johnson exploded through the drills. He finished first among his group with a vertical leap of 38 inches — and with a 10-foot-2 broad jump, he wasn’t far down that list, either.

He also recorded a 4.63-second 40-yard dash that was highlighted with an impressive 10-yard split of 1.61 seconds. These numbers suggest that Johnson can fly off the ball — and bring a solid punch with him.

His performance will force analysts to take a closer look at his film. If he can blend the explosiveness revealed on Thursday with on-field playing strength, he could be a player with whom Kansas City could bolster the edge of its defensive line.

Originally posted on Arrowhead Pride