Sources Tell Us: Kansas DE will be NFL Scouting Combine riser

Editor's note: Our analysts are constantly talking to NFL and college sources about prospects for the 2018 NFL Draft. This week, analyst Lance Zierlein shares some of what he's hearing from NFL folks about a DE who's expected to make himself some money next week at the NFL Scouting Combine (March 2-5 on NFL Network) and a highly talented but troubled wide receiver.

The scoop: "Don't read too much into that sack total this year. They didn't really cut him loose this year. I still like the talent and he will help himself at the combine." -- NFC director of scouting on Kansas DE Dorance Armstrong

The skinny: It would be easy to play the role of box-score scout and surmise that offensive lines somehow caught up with Armstrong last season, but that's not entirely accurate. Yes, he went from recording 20 tackles for loss (10 sacks) in 2016 to 9.5 TFL (2 sacks) in 2017, but Kansas made defensive changes and asked Armstrong to focus on stopping the run more than the pass to help the team. He did just that. From an alignment standpoint, he was often shading the outside eye of the tackle across from him, which limited the use of his explosive athletic ability as a rusher.

Armstrong could fit as a 4-3 end or 3-4 rush linebacker in the pros, but a team would probably be best served by lining him up wide to take better advantage of his explosive traits as a rusher. He still has work to do in terms of developing a rush plan with winning moves and counters, but he has the traits teams look to develop.

I'm not surprised to see that his executive expects Armstrong to help himself at the NFL Scouting Combine -- I wrote in my scouting report for Armstrong that he has the build and fluid athleticism of a shooting guard.

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The scoop: "Really natural athlete and pretty good player but there are just too many headaches to deal with so I can't see us taking a chance on him. Our owner will say no and I don't even think we would put him on our board to be honest." -- AFC pro personnel director on Florida WR Antonio Callaway

The skinny: I came away extremely impressed by Callaway's athletic ability and overall talent when I studied his tape last summer. So how did he fare in 2017? Well ... not so great. Callaway never played a snap for the Florida Gators last season, as he was suspended after facing charges of credit card fraud. It wasn't his first off-field issue since arriving at Florida. Callaway was cited for marijuana possession in May 2017 -- he reached a plea deal in the case -- and he was accused of sexual assault in December 2015. An independent hearing officer in a Title IX investigation stemming from the accusation found him not responsible of sexually assaulting the accuser.

On the field, Callaway is tremendously explosive and gets open whenever he needs to. Alabama's Minkah Fitzpatrick, my top-ranked DB in the 2018 draft, struggled to handle him at times during the 2016 SEC Championship game. His agent, Mel Bratton, had Callaway move in with him this winter in an effort to help him rehabilitate his image. The talent is obvious, but teams will have to figure out if they trust Callaway. That process will begin in earnest next week at the combine, when clubs will get a chance to interview prospects in 15-minute sessions.

Follow Lance Zierlein on Twitter @LanceZierlein.

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