Former NFL player and scout Bucky Brooks is spotlighting the prospects who make a mark -- for better or worse -- at the 2016 NFL Scouting Combine. On Sunday, the linebackers and defensive linemen took the field. Here are Brooks' impressions from Indianapolis:
Kamalei Correa, OLB, Boise State: After flying under the radar during the regular season, Correa is squarely in the conversation as a first-round pick following his strong showing on Sunday. He clocked a 4.69-second 40 and showed exceptional athleticism in drills. Correa effortlessly changed direction in space drills while also showing excellent balance and body control going through the bags. In the "bend and burst" drill, in particular, he exhibited the ability to turn the corner without losing speed on the way to the quarterback. He also showed solid movement and hands in coverage drills, which could make him a nice fit for a 3-4 team looking for a hybrid playmaker on the edges.
Andrew Billings, DT, Baylor: It is hard to find a dancing bear on the interior with the combination of size, strength, power, and quickness that Billings exhibited on Sunday. The 6-foot-1, 311-pound tackle clocked an outstanding 40 time (5.05) and showed tremendous balance, body control, and movement skills in drills. Billings looks far more athletic than a traditional run-stopper. Given his underrated pass-rush skills, the Baylor standout is an intriguing prospect as a "zero" technique in a 3-4 or 4-3 scheme.
Robert Nkemdiche, DT, Ole Miss: For all of the negative attention surrounding the Ole Miss star, there is no disputing his remarkable combination of size, strength, and athleticism. Nkemdiche flashed impressive balance, body control, and agility in drills, yet it was his explosive numbers in the athletic evaluation (4.87-second 40, 35-inch vertical jump, 9-foot-8 broad jump, and 28 bench reps) that will open up eyes. He is an explosive athlete with unique physical tools, which makes him a worthy consideration as a top pick despite his baggage.
Emmanuel Ogbah, DE, Oklahoma State: The Big 12 co-Defensive Player of the Year had one of the most impressive performances on the turf. Ogbah ran a 4.63-second 40 and showed exceptional explosiveness for an edge rusher in a handful of athletic testing drills (35.5-inch vertical jump and 10-1 broad jump). Although he confirmed his limitations as a straight-line rusher by laboring in change-of-direction and agility drills, Ogbah's combination of speed, strength, and power could help his collegiate sack production (23.5 sacks over past two seasons) translate in NFL accolades as a situational rusher.
Darron Lee, LB, Ohio State: The changing nature of the NFL has led more coaches to plug hybrids (safety/linebacker) into their lineups on the second level. Lee certainly will intrigue evaluators with his explosive speed (4.47 40) and power (35 1/2-inch vertical and 11-foot broad jump). Most importantly, Lee flashed outstanding agility and movement skills, executing turns and transitions in pass-coverage drills. The former high school cornerback looks natural playing in space, and his athleticism should make him an ideal fit as a nickel linebacker on passing downs. Considering the recent success teams have enjoyed with athletic hybrids at WLB (see Arizona and Deone Bucannon), Lee made a lot of money with his strong performance in Indianapolis.
Noah Spence, DE, Eastern Kentucky: Spence was expected to post monster numbers in athletic drills, but he disappointed observers with his average speed and quickness. He only clocked a 4.80 40 time and didn't flash the explosiveness or acceleration commonly associated with elite pass rushers. Although the 40 doesn't directly correlate to pass-rushing success, the fact that he failed to post a fast time for a 250-pound player will lead scouts to re-evaluate the tape to see if he truly possesses the first-step quickness and burst that many witnessed during his initial evaluation.
Leonard Floyd, OLB, Georgia: Widely considered as one of the top pass rushers in the draft, Floyd was expected to exhibit impressive athleticism and agility in drills. Yet, he failed to complete the workout after suffering an injury during his lone 40 run (4.60). Granted, he posted impressive measurements in the vertical jump (39.5 inches) and broad jump (10-7), but Floyd's inability to work out prevented scouts from assessing his skills as a pass rusher. With minimal production as a sack artist despite elite athletic traits, Floyd needed to flash in drills to help scouts validate his potential as a Day 1 pick. After failing to complete the workout, the jury is still out on whether he is worthy of consideration as a potential first-rounder. He will get a second chance at his pro day on March 16.