NFL Combine Defensive Winners and Losers

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With the combine officially wrapping up this weekend, we inch ever so closer to the NFL Draft. Days three and four were full of impressive performances and unfortunate duds by the defensive side of the ball. Lets take a look back at combine winners and losers, defense edition.
Wondering how the offense performed at the combine? We have you covered with our previous article: NFL Combine Offensive Winners and Losers

Winners

Isaiah Simmons

Isaiah Simmons had arguably one of the best combines in this entire draft class. The linebacker out of Clemson  recorded a blazing 4.39 40-yard dash. Keep in mind he weighs almost 240 pounds! Simmons was easily a top 15 player going into the combine, but after his performance on Saturday, he’s a lock for the top 10.

C.J. Henderson

Corner back out of Florida, C.J. Henderson was already being considered as a top defensive back in this draft. After a 4.39 40 time, smooth on field drills, and 20 reps on the bench, Henderson is making the case as the number one corner. He has gotten criticism for poor tackling, but his coverage ability is as crisp as you can get for a college prospect.

Kyle Dugger

A small school safety out of Lenoir Rhyne, Kyle Dugger turned in an impressive workout on Sunday. After a solid senior bowl performance, Dugger recorded a 42 inch vertical, an 11’2 inch broad jump and 4.50 40 time. I was not shocked to see Dugger shine, as he’s a raw, but good athlete. I worry about some of his coverage skills, but his physical traits can’t be denied.

Losers

Derrick Brown

In one of the more disappointing workouts, Derrick Brown may have narrowed the gap between himself and Javon Kinlaw. But Brown wasn’t just bad, he was awful. An 8.22 3-cone drill combined with mediocre reps on the bench has me scratching my head. The film certainly doesn’t match up with these measurements, but maybe defensive tackles simply don’t translate to combine like workouts.

A.J. Epenesa

Another lineman who struggled this weekend, A.J. Epenesa saw his stock drop significantly. Once a sure fire first rounder, the defensive end will need a good pro-day to pick himself back up. While not known for his speed rush, a 1.81 10-yard split is slow for a defensive lineman. At 6’5″, 275, I expected more athleticism from Epenesa, but if he falls into the second round, some team might just end up with a steal.

Cameron Dantzler

Wingspan, arm length, height and speed are key for any defensive back. When you lack average numbers in most of these categories, heads will begin to turn. Cameron Dantzler came into the combine as a hot prospect, but after a slow 40 time and below average arm length, Dantzler is looking much less impressive. Of course, these measurements aren’t a death sentence, but they are a decent method of predicting success in the NFL.

 

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