No NFL Combine is complete without the incredible performances of the year’s defensive front seven. The defensive linemen and edge rushers who work out are easily some of the freakiest athletes in the world, with impossible speed and agility for their size. In a year where we’ve seen chart-topping performances from several position groups, it’s not surprising that this year’s DL/LB class featured more standout athletes. Here’s who had a great (and not-so-great) day on Sunday.
Montez Sweat, EDGE, Mississippi State
Sweat was easily the winner of the day, capped by a record-breaking 4.41 forty-yard dash. (At 6’6” and 260 lbs!) He also notched a 36” vertical, 10’5” broad jump, 7.00 three-cone drill, and 4.29 short shuttle—indicating top-tier explosion and bend for a player with his size.
Brian Burns, EDGE, Florida State
Burns had a fantastic day of his own, the high points being a 10’9” broad jump and a 4.53 forty-yard dash. His 7.01 three-cone drill and 36” broad jump were also high-tier results. Combined with his weigh-in results, Burns is solidly locked into the first round.
Ed Oliver, DT, Houston
This was not a complete performance, with Oliver only opting to participate in the bench press, the broad jump, and the vertical leap at the Combine. But each result came close to Aaron Donald territory. He had a 36-inch vertical (90th percentile for DTs), a 120” broad jump (87th percentile), and benched 32 reps (87th percentile).
Quinnen Williams, DT, Alabama
Williams just needed to check a few boxes to lock down a top-five ranking, and the 303-lb defensive tackle took care of that when he ran a speedy 4.83 forty-yard dash. His broad jump and vertical leap were both average results, but that was enough to reinforce his standing.
Isaiah Buggs, DT, Alabama
Buggs had one of the least athletic days of any defensive lineman at the Combine, with only two results outside the 10th percentile among defensive tackles (a 5.15 forty-yard dash and 20 bench press reps). His best hope is that, like a Davon Godchaux, Buggs won’t need top athleticism for his NFL role.
Jachai Polite, EDGE, Florida
Polite’s stock is dropping as fast as a rock following an awful Combine week. He gave candid answers to reporters and reportedly turned off several teams in interviews. Then he ran a mediocre 4.84 forty-yard dash and had a disappointing 32” vertical leap before claiming he suffered a hamstring injury and bowing out of the remaining drills.
Devin Bush, LB, Michigan
What a day for Bush, who ran a 4.43 forty-yard dash, had a 40.5” vertical, 10’4” broad jump, and a 6.93 three-cone drill. He also put up 21 reps on the bench press—a great number for someone measuring 5’11” and 234 lbs.
Blake Cashman, LB, Minnesota
Cashman wasn’t a well-known name before the Combine, but his performance will send scouts back to the tape room. The 6’1”, 237 lb linebacker had a 4.50 forty-yard dash, a 37.5” vertical, a 10’4” broad jump, a 6.95 three-cone drill, and a 4.12 short shuttle.
Joe Giles-Harris, LB, Duke
While plenty of players excelled at their workouts on Sunday, Giles-Harris wasn’t one of them. His 4.75 forty-yard dash was his best result on the day. He only had a 29.5” vertical leap (worst in the group, and 6.5 inches shorter than the 289 lb Ed Oliver), and his 9’3” broad jump was tied for the worst result in the group.