The focus at the NFL’s 2019 scouting combine turns to defense today, with the invited linemen and linebackers holding their on-field workouts today. Considering that the New England Patriots will have Trey Flowers, Malcom Brown and Danny Shelton all headed towards free agency, watching this group closely appears to be a must.
Group 7 (DL), Group 8 (DL), Group 9 (LB): On-Field Workout (timing, station, skill drills), Departure
Group 10 (DB), Group 11 (DB): NFLPA Meeting, Psychological Testing, Media, Bench-Press, Interviews
Today is the second day that the combine will be broadcast live from Indianapolis. Starting at 10:00 a.m. ET, NFL Network and the league’s affiliated services will air the on-field workouts:
Television: NFL Network
Radio: Sirius XM, TuneIn
Mobile: NFL Mobile app
NFL Network will also broadcast live on Monday, starting at 9:00 a.m. ET.
40-yard dash: The most publicized event of the entire combine, the 40-yard dash measures a prospect’s acceleration and sustained vertical speed. Furthermore the interval times — the 10-yard split and the 20-yard split — give teams a clearer look on a player’s quickness and initial burst.
Vertical jump: The vertical measures a player’s leaping ability as well as his lower-body strength and explosion out of his position. The drill is especially important for skill position players on both sides of the ball.
Broad jump: Similar to the vertical jump, the horizontal broad jump tests a prospect’s lower-body explosion and strength as well as his balance in and out of his stance.
3-cone drill: The 3-cone drill tests agility and change of direction skills, and is therefore important for almost all position groups. Since 2010, the Patriots added seven defensive backs with a combine 3-cone time of under 6.75 seconds — a drill to watch, without a doubt.
Short shuttle: The short shuttle is a 20-yard running drill divided into portions of 5, 10 and 5 yards. It measures a player’s quickness, agility, burst, flexibility and short-area explosion.
Prospects to watch
DE Zach Allen, Boston College: Local boy Zach Allen brings tremendous length to the table to serve as a defensive edge at the next level. But even though he has plenty of positive traits — from his sound hand usage to his versatility and quick first step to a variety of pass rushing moves — projecting him at the next level is still not that easy given his limited athleticism.
DE Jalen Jelks, Oregon: His quickness and length in combination with a high football IQ helped Jelks become an All-Pac 12 selection in his 2018 senior season. Finishing the year with 57 tackles and 3.5 sacks, the part-time team captain proved himself a disruptive player in the passing game and a stout defender versus the run.
DT Dexter Lawrence, Clemson: One half of Clemson’s terrific defensive tackle duo, Lawrence has the size and two-gap discipline to serve as the heir of Vince Wilfork that Malcom Brown never quite turned out to be. While not the most fierce pass rusher, the fringe first-rounder can be a day-one impact maker in the NFL.
DE Christian Miller, Alabama: A late-bloomer that did not fully show his potential until his 2018 senior campaign, Miller was second on the Crimson Tide in 2018 with 8.0 sacks. While no high-ceiling player like other members of this year’s defensive edge class, he is a pro-ready prospect that is stout against the run, aggressive versus the pass, and experienced on special teams.
DT Jerry Tillery, Notre Dame: Tillery brings plenty of potential to the table but has been a relative underachiever at Notre Dame. Still, his 6’5 frame in combination with solid pass rushing skills and good effort on any given down makes him an intriguing dau two option.
DT Christian Wilkins, Clemson: An option as a 3-technique defensive tackle that offers tremendous size and versatility, Wilkins is projected to become a first-round draft pick in late April — and one the Patriots might have an eye on.