2019 NFL Scouting Combine | Linebackers Turn Heads


Day three of the NFL Scouting Combine started with the defensive tackles and then transitioned to edge rushers. Regardless of what the Arizona Cardinals have decided with the first overall pick, Quinnen Williams looked like a certified stud. He proved that he deserves to be in the conversation for the top pick of the Draft.

Montez Sweat stole the show and had an athletic profile that’s comparable to Jadeveon Clowney. While they’re different players on the field, Sweat won the day for the edge rushers.

During the intermission, we got prepared for the linebackers of the 2019 NFL Draft. The two biggest names of the group are Devin Bush from Michigan and Devin White from LSU. In today’s league, you have to be fast, and there are a lot of responsibilities for linebackers, from stopping the run and operating in space. Most of these guys are playing against “11” personnel or “12” personnel. With that, they’re stuck playing against a tight end, slot receiver, or running back out of the backfield.

The Standoutsย 

Devin Bush, Michigan – 5’11” and 234 pounds – To start the day for the linebackers, Devin Bush immediately stood out. His first time in the 40-yard dash was 4.43 seconds. Before he even ran in any of the drills, he posted a 40.5″ vertical. There’s no question that Bush has solidified his draft stock in the first round by checking in bigger than rumored and looking fluid in the drills. Add in the 10’4″ broad jump and 21 reps in the bench press and he looks the part of an NFL linebacker from an athletic standpoint and on film.

Devin White, LSU – 6’0″ and 237 pounds – The consensus top linebacker on draft boards, Devin White got emotional after his first run in the 40-yard dash. He posted a time of 4.42 seconds and was seen on the phone crying to whoever he was talking to (maybe parents or someone in his family). That’s fine, give me a player that has plenty of emotion. On tape, the athleticism immediately stands out with White. He needs to get better at processing and leaves his feet far too often when tackling. He’s closer to my top-20 than my top-10, but he’s still an incredibly gifted player with plenty of explosiveness and overall tools to work with.

Gary Johnson, Texas – 5’11 7/8 and 226 pounds – Undersized by the standards of a prototypical linebacker, but the game has changed. You have to be fast and Johnson is just that. In high school, he ran the 100-meter dash in 10.59 seconds. He’s been on my radar since the beginning of the season, and he’s officially on everyone’s radar after posting a 40-time of 4.43 seconds. Off the field, he’s got an interesting story. He spent most of his life in foster homes but now has two children of his own. If you want to watch more of Johnson, take a look at his games this season against West Virginia and USC. There’s no doubt that whoever drafts Johnson, he’s going to give them everything he has. He gives an athletic profile that should match well against most skilled position players. His stock looks to be going up, and he could see himself drafted one round earlier than originally predicted.

Playing Out of Positionย 

Josh Allen, Kentucky – 6’4 7/8 and 262 pounds – Despite putting together a great senior season and showing phenomenal improvement from his junior year, Allen looked a bit out of place in linebacker drills. With his size and length, he’s a great fit to rush the passer off the edge. Not every rep was bad, though. There were times that he opened up his hips and looked fluid; it just wasn’t as consistent as the players listed above. Allen did post a 40-yard dash time of 4.64 seconds and had 28 reps on the bench. Teams have been raving about how he can instantly impact a defense off the edge. There’s no reason to believe that he won’t be a top-5 pick in the 2019 NFL Draft.

Christian Miller, Alabama – 6’3″ and 248 pounds – Let’s not ask Miller to drop into coverage often, okay? He’s an edge rusher and didn’t have the best day in the open field. His feet looked slow at times, and his hips weren’t opening up as fast other players. With 11 tackles for loss and 8 sacks, don’t be surprised if Miller spends more time rushing the passer than having hook/curl responsibilities. He wins with arm length at 35 1/8 inches and good explosiveness (broad jump: 9’10”, vertical: 38.5″).

Time to Check the Tape

Blake Cashman, Minnesota – 6’1″ and 237 pounds – It’s time to check the tape. Blake Cashman really stood out and was floating around the field like a butterfly. He posted a 40-time of 4.51 seconds and had a 37.5″ vertical jump. With how good he looked on the field, he’s going to have to get an in-depth tape study done, and soon. He could be a great find for a team on late day two of the draft and most certainly day three.

Ty Summers, TCU – 6’1″ and 241 pounds – When watching his teammates L.J. Collier and Ben Bangou, I rarely noticed Ty Summers. Now at the Combine, I have taken notice and so have plenty of others. With his size, he tested really well and could see some improvements on his draft stock. He ran the 40-yard dash in 4.52 seconds but came up holding his hamstring after his second run of 4.58 seconds. Before running the 40, he put up 27 reps in the bench press.


The Gym Rat

Drue Tranquill, Notre Dame – 6’2″ and 234 pounds – For what it’s worth, this shouldn’t come as a surprise. It’s been rumored that he basically lives in the gym, and it showed today. In the bench press, he put up 31 repetitions and even ran better than expected. The converted safety ran the 40-yard dash in 4.57 seconds (second run). He also posted a 37.5″ vertical before running through drills. On the field, Tranquill has to show that he can stay healthy with an injury history of an ankle sprain and torn ACL.

Other Notes

  • Mack Wilson, Alabama – 6’1″ and 240 pounds – Despite not running the 40-yard dash, Wilson did jump at the combine. He had a 37″ vertical and posted 9’9″ in the broad jump.
  • Justin Hollins, Oregon – 6’5 1/4 and 248 pounds – The MVP of the Shrine Game looked really fluid today. His 40-yard dash was official at 4.50 seconds. There’s no doubt that he’s going to fill a need off the edge for whoever drafts him.
  • Ben Burr-Kirven, Washington – 6’0″ and 230 pounds – On tape, BBK instantly stands out with his aggressive play style. He’s undersized but has so much fight in him. He tested well with a 40-yard dash time of 4.56 seconds and put his coverage skills to the test in the open field drills. There’s no doubt that some team will love his play style, and they should view him as an instant special teams player.
  • Tre Lamar of Clemson and Terrill Hanks of New Mexico State both injured themselves today. Tre Lamar injured his right shoulder/right pec during the bench press. Meanwhile, Hanks ran the 40-yard dash in 4.98 seconds and wasn’t seen for the rest of the day.
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