Former NFL player and scout Bucky Brooks is spotlighting the prospects who make a mark -- for better or worse -- at the 2017 NFL Scouting Combine. On Sunday, the defensive linemen and linebackers took the field. Here are Brooks' impressions from Indianapolis:
Myles Garrett, DE, Texas A&M: Garrett cemented his status as the No. 1 overall prospect in the 2017 class with a spectacular performance on Sunday. Garrett posted a 4.64-second 40-yard dash, exhibiting raw speed and explosiveness. He followed it up with a strong showing in drills that confirmed his outstanding combination of balance, body control, and explosiveness. Garrett effortlessly changes directions and flashes explosive short-area quickness. Looking at the workout, it reminded me of watching a young Julius Peppers run through drills prior to the 2002 draft. I believe others will view Garrett as a transcendent star with similar pro potential, which isn't bad considering Peppers' Hall of Fame resume as a sack artist.
Charles Harris, DE, Missouri: There's nothing like watching a smooth, fluid athlete move around in space in an effortless manner. Harris breezed through positional drills while displaying exceptional balance, body control, and quickness. Expect his draft stock to surge upward with teams employing 3-4/4-3 hybrid schemes; they'll covet his skills as a potential stand-up defender. Harris was one of the few prospects in DL group drills to show impressive skills as a rusher and in coverage. Considering how multi-faceted athletes are valued on draft day, Harris' dazzling exhibition should boost his draft prospects.
Haason Reddick, LB, Temple: The fastest riser up draft boards around the league continued to bolster his chances of coming off the board on Day 1 with a strong workout in Indianapolis. Reddick crushed the explosive athletic drills (40, vertical jump and broad jump) while displaying exceptional movement skills and versatility. He floated over the bags like a first-place winner in a dog show, and also showed impressive power and pop smashing dummies in pass-rush drills. Most impressive, Reddick continued to display the versatility that could make him an ideal Swiss Army knife on a defense that showcases multi-faceted playmakers on the second level.
Raekwon McMillan, LB, Ohio State: The Buckeyes' tackling machine sufficiently addressed some of the concerns surrounding his athleticism with a solid performance on the turf. He ran a better-than-anticipated 4.61-second 40 and flashed good movement skills in pass-coverage drills. McMillan easily flipped his hips in multi-directional zone-drop drills, exhibiting solid balance and body control. In addition, he showed good balance and body control floating over the bags in lateral drills. With teams looking for solid options on the interior, McMillan's performance should make him a strong top-40 possibility.
Reuben Foster, LB, Alabama: Foster was expected to come out of the combine as a lock to hear his name called among the top 20 picks, but questions about his character following a surprising dismissal could send his stock tumbling. While some teams will attempt to sweep the incident under the rug due to Foster's spectacular play on tape, there are likely to be concerns raised about his professionalism, emotional control, and trustworthiness away from supervision. Considering the value teams place on character and professionalism, Foster's issues will need to be addressed before a team can buy into his potential as a blue-chip prospect.
Zach Cunningham, LB, Vanderbilt: The highly productive linebacker was viewed as one of the best sideline-to-sideline defenders in the draft prior to the workout, but a pedestrian 40 time (4.67) and a ho-hum performance in the movement drills. Cunningham not only failed to show the explosiveness that many scouts expected but he didn't look smooth or fluid in space. With the Vanderbilt star also having a tough time snagging passes, he might take a bit of a plunge on draft day after this combine performance.
The best athletes on the field get a chance to showcase their skills in front of the scouts on Monday. The defensive back class is loaded with blue-chip talent and scouts are salivating over the potential from the group. At safety, LSU's Jamal Adams, Michigan's Jabrill Peppers and Washington's Budda Baker will command attention as scouts attempt to pinpoint roles for each of them as second-level playmakers. They will not only be judged by their 40 times, but also by their performance in backpedal and turn/transition drills.
At cornerback, Ohio State's Marshon Lattimore, Alabama's Marlon Humphrey, Washington's Sidney Jones, LSU's Tre'Davious White and the Florida duo of Teez Tabor and Quincy Wilson will intrigue evaluators looking for lockdown options on the outside. Scouts will also take a long, hard look at USC's Adoree Jackson to see where he fits among the group as an ultra-athletic playmaker with return skills and pick-six ability.