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2011 NFL Combine: Monday Recap

By: Roshan Bhagat | Updated: 2/28

Defensive Linemen:

JJ Watt, DE, Wisconsin – Wisconsin’s end had one of the better workouts today and remains and interesting prospect. At 6’5 290, he has long 34” arms and seems like the ideal fit at the 5-technique. His 10’ broad jump, 37” vertical, and 34 reps will land him in elite KEI territory. His numbers in the shuttle and cone suggest he also has great change of direction skills. Watt is just a terrific athletic prospect with the collegiate production to match.

Dontay Moch, DE, Nevada – Moch set the 40 yard dash record for defensive linemen with a 4.44 at 248 pounds, which puts him in Dwight Freeney territory. He was expected to light up the combine and unlike most hype stories, he delivered. Moch is an interesting prospect and may be a better fit at outside linebacker even though he ran with the bigger guys today.

Stephen Paea, DT, Oregon State – Paea’s 49 reps is the most of any athlete at the Combine since the turn of the century. If you look at a list of the top marks on the bench, those guys haven’t typically fared that well at the next level for one reason or another. Paea will break that trend. His strength translates to the field where he was a dominant interior player for Oregon State the last two seasons.

Phil Taylor, NT, Baylor – Taylor looks to be in better shape than most nose tackles his size at this time of year. He fared pretty well in the drills and didn’t tire out as quickly as some of his fellow classmates. When you look at the 40 yard dash, you’d think it says very little about defensive tackles, but it’s actually not a bad generalizing mark. A good 40 dash generally indicates conditioning and overall athleticism. Taylor’s got it.

Robert Quinn, DE/OLB, North Carolina – Indy marked the reemergence of those suspended North Carolina players. It was nice to see Quinn back on the field and he looked decent for the most part. His workout numbers were good not great, and the drills exposed more of the same. For a player that fits into a potential conversion to outside linebacker in the 30 front, he looked a bit inexperienced in space. I’m sure he has the athleticism to make that conversion, but it isn’t something that will come to him right away.

Brooks Reed, DE/OLB, Arizona – Reed carried the momentum from the Senior Bowl into and through the Combine. I don’t see the elite upside in him, but what I saw today was a player capable of playing in either front. He’s a very controlled athlete and moves well in space, both of which are important traits to an outside linebacker.

Jeremy Beal, DE, Oklahoma – Coming in, Beal was one of those tweeners without a real position, stuck between end and linebacker. He wasn’t expected to impress in shorts, but his workout numbers were even worse than that. His 5.16 40 yard dash is entirely unimpressive and his explosion numbers equal that. He also looked tight-hipped in the drills. He’ll drop on draft day unless some team has a vision for what they think he can do for their team.


Von Miller, DE/OLB, Texas A&M – Miller solidified himself inside the top 10 with his workout today and may be a possibility as high as #2 to Denver. He ran an “official” 4.53 40 and showed good lower leg explosiveness in the vertical and broad jumps. Though he was far from perfect in drills, tripping once or twice, he showed ample change-of-direction ability. He’ll be a fine pass rusher in any system, but will just need to focus on improving his point play.

Justin Houston, OLB, Georgia – After the workout he put together, I doubt he makes it past New England at 17 and almost definitely not past 26 to Baltimore. Houston isn’t your typical speed rusher, but he has the size to hold up at the point of attack. He doesn’t have the elite hips and was exposed for some tightness in drills today, but it isn’t a great concern of his on the field.

Martez Wilson, OLB, Illinois – Wilson is really one of the wildcards at the linebacker position. Not only did he run a remarkable 4.49 in the 40 yard dash, but he really put up elite workout numbers in each of the events. In the positional drills, he showed every bit of that athleticism moving in space. I’m interested to see in what fit he lands, but he could really play a variety of positions in a variety of schemes, which should only help his value on draft day.

Scott Lutrus, OLB, Connecticut – Though he didn’t stand out in quite an athletic class, he may go under the radar and provide good value in the middle rounds. He doesn’t have that explosive first step, but what he has is nice quickness and agility to read and react. Lutrus did a nice job of changing direction without much stiffness and should have the ability to drop into coverage, which is arguably the moneymaker down for most linebackers.

Colin McCarthy, ILB, Miami (FL) – McCarthy is athletically gifted and showed that on Monday with workout numbers that place him among the best at his position across the board. Translated to the drills, he wasn’t nearly as explosive in and out of cuts, but rather more balanced and in control.

Casey Matthews, ILB, Oregon – After 13 reps in the weight room, Matthews injured his left shoulders which prevented him from working out on Monday. Depending on the severity of the injury, he may be ready to go for Oregon’s Pro Day on March 10.

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