2014 NFL Combine Recap: DL and LB

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Feb 23, 2014; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Oregon State Scott Crichton speaks to the media during the 2014 NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadum. Mandatory Credit: Pat Lovell-USA TODAY Sports

Finally we get to the defensive players! With the Bears’ defense being downright awful last season, most people think that this will be a defense-heavy draft for Chicago and I’m inclined to agree.  On the 3rd day of field drills the defensive linemen and linebackers did not disappoint.  There were head turning performances from all three groups today and the Bears shouldn’t have too much trouble finding talent all the way through the draft.  All the times are official today:

Groups 7 & 8: Defensive Line

Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina: Without a doubt the most notable player in this year’s draft, Clowney did not disappoint.  He rocked a 4.53 in the 40 yard dash with a 1.56 10 yard split, but did not participate in any of the field drills.  I was not surprised by Clowney’s 40 time, as the combine is practically tailor-made for players of his elite physical ability.

Scott Crichton, DE, Oregon State: Crichton had a solid day through and through with a decent 4.78 in the 40 and a better 1.62 10 yard split.  His field work was also good, though I don’t think anyone will be projecting him to outside linebacker any time soon.  all in all I think his stock is the same as it was yesterday.

Aaron Donald, DT, Pittsburgh: Undoubtedly one of the winners on the day, Donald really put on a show.  At 285 lbs., Donald blazed a ridiculous 4.68 in the 40 with a 10 yard split of 1.59.  Geno Atkins comparisons will abound very shortly.

Kony Ealy, DE, Missouri: Ealy had one of the few partially disappointing performances on the day.  He managed only a 4.92 in the 40 and a 1.72 10 yard split.  Having watched a decent amount of tape on him, I expected Ealy to post a way better time than that.  That might just mean he’s not a track guy though, and I don’t expect it to affect his draft status drastically.  The tape doesn’t lie.

Ra’Shede Hageman, DT, Minnesota: I was really impressed with Ra’shede Hageman today.  He moves really well for such a big man.  After running a 4.97 40 with a 1.81 10 yard split and looking exceptionally fluid in the drills, I’m pretty sure he made himself some money today.  In fact, I think he may work his way into the discussion for the Bears at number 14.

Jackson Jeffcoat, DE, Texas: Jeffcoat was another star of the day, as was expected by most draftniks.  He’s a little small for a defensive end (6’3″ 247) and his best fit will probably be as a 3-4 outside linebacker, but that doesn’t diminish his impressive performance.  He posted a 4.63 in the 40 with a 1.60 10 yard split and looked really fluid in the drills.

Timmy Jernigan, DT, Florida State: Another big name that delivered.  Jernigan ran a 5.06 40 with a 1.72 10 yard split and looked exceptionally agile in the field drills.  I really like his foot speed.

Anthony Johnson, DT, LSU: Johnson did not have a spectacular day.  It’s not like he was bad, but he didn’t really stand out either.  He posted a 5.24 40 with a 10 yard split of 1.78 and looked a bit slow to me in the drills.

Kareem Martin, DE, North Carolina: Had a really good day all around.  I had heard he was tight, so I was surprised to see him move so well.  Martin had a 4.72 40 time and a 1.53 ten yard split.

Louis Nix, DT, Notre Dame: Nix didn’t have eye-popping numbers, but 330 pounders seldom do.  I was still extremely impressed with how well he moved for such a large man.  He only managed 5.42 in the 40, but had a respectable 1.85 10 yard split.  Nix is another player I wouldn’t mind seeing wear orange and navy next season.

Michael Sam, DE, Missouri: Did not run as well as I thought he would.  I didn’t initially think too much of Sam, but as I was watching tape of Kony Ealy my eyes kept on finding their way to number 52.  He only managed a 4.91 in the 40 with a 1.72 10 yard split, but I still think he’s a good football player.

George Uko, DT, USC:  One last eye opener,  Uko had a really good day.  He’s a little undersized at 285, but I think he has the frame to add some weight.  He posted a 4.99 in the 40 with a 1.75 split and looked really good in the field drills.

Other Notes- Howard Jones, DE, Shepherd: 4.60 40 time, 1.58 split.  Caraun Reid, DT, Princeton: 4.91 40 time, 1.69 split.  Marcus Smith, DE, Louisville: 4.68 40 time, 1.57 split.  Aaron Lynch and Dee Ford did not participate.