DL, The Deepest Position In The Draft

With possibly a record number of defensive linemen hearing their names called during the first round this April, scouts anxiously awaited to see the front four players take the field on Sunday morning at the combine. <br><br> Most of the linemen had good sessions, which made scouts smile, and there were more winners then losers by the time the session ended.

After lifting better then expected on the bench press Tyler Brayton displayed outstanding footwork and lateral movement skills during the drill segment, moving around the field with speed.

Nick Burley was another fast throughout the day and did an excellent job late in the session when he was one of several undersized pass rushers put through a battery of linebacker drills. Burley displayed good range and the ability to backpedal, turn and transition in pass coverage.

Brandon Green of Rice also showed quick feet and speed, though he did not stand out during the linebacker segment.

We disagree with everyone who said Michael Haynes had a "terrible workout." First, he injured his leg during the initial 40-yard dash and did not complete the second running. Even with that Haynes gritted the day out and participated in all the drills, which to our minds showed toughness on his behalf.

Alonzo Jackson drilled well after a terrible workout, then the FSU pass rusher did not fare well during linebacker drills.

Much the same can be said for Clint Mitchell; terrible during the athletic tests (40, broad jump) but made up for it a bit during the drills. In the end the Florida junior slipped with his performance at the combine.

Shurron Pierson of South Florida was outstanding. After a sensational timing in the forty and result in the broad jump, Pierson transferred all those athletic skills on the football field. Though a bit slow to react Pierson was quick, explosive and flashed onto the scene in every direction. He was easily the best of those who worked out at linebacker.

Both Nick Eason and Dan Klecko displayed explosion, the ability to quickly alter their angle of attack and each worked hard. Klecko especially; looking like the little kid of the bunch, his relentless style made him stand above the rest.

Jerome McDougle practiced as fast as he ran and had an all around explosive day.

Ditto for Bryant McNeal of Clemson, though he was truly outstanding during the linebacker segment. McNeal displayed great footwork, the ability to quickly plant then break on the ball as well as good hands and adjustment. He also played much faster than he timed and opened many eye's Sunday morning.

Antwan Peek was very similar to McNeal, though a little faster in every aspect. Peek could pedal backwards, turn and quickly break on the throw as a linebacker, displaying great range. Peek may have moved himself into the top 75 with his performance during the alternative position drills.

Calvin Pace made a nice return after an injury kept him on the sidelines at the Senior Bowl, showing lateral movement skills and hand jolt against the tackling dummies.

Clifton Washburn also showed good lateral movement skills and the ability to bend his knees, though the Citadel star did not practice with much balance.

Oklahoma's Jimmy Wilkerson looked smooth and fluid on the field but his forty time was disappointing. Andrew Williams of Miami-Florida was similar though much faster compared to Wilkerson. The former Hurricane end was explosive and showed the ability to quickly alter his angle of attack, flatten and lose no speed changing direction.

Kevin Williams was listed amongst the defensive ends and had an excellent workout. Showing terrific lateral movement skills and footwork, Williams lack of speed makes us think he'll be pushed inside from the get go.

Georgia junior Johnathan Sullivan also moved well for a big man, displaying power, quickness and the ability to cover a good amount of ground.

Both Eric Manning and Lauvale Sape also looked explosive and athletic.

Now for the not so good news.

Aaron Hunt seemed sluggish and even tentative on the field after testing poorly. We expected more from Chris Kelsay and were disappointed by the former Husker, especially during the linebacker drills. Raymond House of Arkansas looks tentative even when he is not wearing a football helmet, while Rien Long showed no explosion, quickness and tripped over his own feet part of the day.

Dwayne White was nothing special running slower then expected, lacking quickness to his game then struggling during linebacker drills. Ian Scott worked hard but has not abilities to make plays in anything other than a straight line and did not show much explosion.

Finally we think people are getting to happy about James Lee. Totaling 38 tackles the past two seasons with no sacks, it seemed many were enamored with a big dude running around the field more than anything else. Lee's got great size and power but also lumbers around and shows no explosion.

More: Earlier Report - Workout Numbers

Tony Pauline
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