INDIANAPOLIS -- The third day of workouts at the NFL Scouting Combine featured defensive linemen and linebackers. Most observers have cited the front seven as one of the strengths of the draft, and scouts were paying close attention to the standouts of the day. Here are a few guys who caught my eye in workouts:
Manti Te'o, LB, Notre Dame: Most of Te'o's combine work took place behind the scenes in critical interviews, but scouts still wanted to see how the Notre Dame star would stack up athletically. Since his disappointing effort against Alabama in the BCS Championship Game, evaluators have been concerned about Te'o's overall speed and lateral quickness, and those doubts certainly weren't erased by his effort on the turf. Te'o recorded a disappointing 4.82-second 40-yard dash, and he didn't post exceptional measurements in any of the athletic drills. Now, his numbers don't detract from the fact that he is a remarkable football player with outstanding instincts, and he confirmed that he has some of those traits by flowing quickly in positional drills. He also looked natural when dropping in space, and he caught the ball better than the majority of defenders in attendance. With most coaches still curious about his lateral skills and explosiveness, Te'o will need to put on a better performance at his pro day workout to retain his upper-level spot on draft boards across the league.
Ezekiel "Ziggy" Ansah, DE, BYU: Ansah certainly displayed the athleticism and explosiveness that scouts have been raving about since the middle of the college season. Measuring 6-foot-5 and 271 pounds, Ansah blazed the 40-yard dash in 4.63 seconds and posted a 34.5-inch vertical and a 9-10 broad jump. Additionally, Ansah flashed impressive movement skills and the ability to change direction while executing pass-rush moves and zone drops on the turf at Lucas Oil Stadium. Evaluators are completely smitten with Ansah's athleticism, speed and movement skills; the stock of the BYU star has soared through the roof in recent days.
Margus Hunt, DE, SMU: Hunt was expected to post impressive measurements based on his history as a world-class track athlete, but no one expected the star from Estonia to show the kind of exceptional athleticism, strength and power he brought to drills on the turf Monday. Hunt blitzed a 4.60-second 40-yard dash and posted a 34.5-inch vertical and 10-1 broad jump. Most importantly, Hunt displayed exceptional agility, quickness and burst while running through a battery of drills designed to assess his skills as an edge rusher. Hunt's overall athleticism and explosiveness are certainly uncommon for a 6-8, 280-pound interior hybrid defender with limited football experience. Given those factors, it is not surprising that Hunt's workout is evoking comparisons to J.J. Watt as an athlete.
Dion Jordan, DE/OLB, Oregon: Jordan, who is set to undergo surgery after the combine, left a lasting impression on coaches and scouts with his remarkable workout, during which he ran a 4.60-second 40-yard dash and recorded a 32.5-inch vertical and 10-2 broad jump. Additionally, Jordan showed excellent balance, body control and burst while changing directions as a pass rusher in drills. Jordan's natural bend and burst will have some evaluators thinking of him as an elite pass-rushing prospect at the next level. Most importantly, Jordan's exceptional movement skills in space will encourage teams that run a 3-4 to consider him a viable option as an outside linebacker. Versatility and explosiveness are important in hybrid players; Jordan's workout certainly earned him high marks in the eyes of evaluators across the league.
Sharrif Floyd, DT, Florida: The buzz surrounding Floyd's ascension to the top of the charts will simply grow louder after the Florida star's workout on the turf. Floyd showed exceptional agility and movement skills for a 6-3, 303-pound defensive tackle. He flowed smoothly through bags on lateral movement drills, and he certainly surprised evaluators with his ability to re-direct quickly in space. Although interior defenders are expected to play within a short area, the fact that Floyd displayed the agility, balance and body control to make sudden movements in space suggests that he is a rare athlete at the position.
Barkevious Mingo, OLB, LSU: Mingo certainly didn't disappoint scouts with his outstanding workout, blazing the second-fastest 40 time among defensive ends (4.58) while posting exceptional marks in the vertical (37 inches) and broad (10-8) jumps. Although the numbers definitely caught the attention of evaluators, Mingo's exceptional exhibition of speed, quickness and agility during positional drills was what had scouts salivating about his immense potential. Mingo flawlessly executed a series of coverage and reaction drills that showcased his ability to play effectively in space as a potential drop-back defender. The 3-4 defense has proliferated around the NFL; Mingo's stunning display of speed, athleticism and burst has cemented his potential as a hybrid playmaker off the edge.
Damontre Moore, DE, Texas A&M: Moore's pedestrian workout made him one of the biggest disappointments of the combine. He mustered just 12 reps on the bench press, a dismal showing that he followed with a 4.95-second 40-yard dash. For a 6-4, 245-pound defensive end with pass-rushing prowess, those numbers were abysmal in every regard. Most importantly, they suggested that Moore was unprepared for the workout, which is a major red flag for scouts wondering if they can count on him to become an immediate difference-maker at the next level.
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