Big people are in the spot light again at the NFL Combine. Defensive linemen took to the track on Monday to display their wares and alter the discussion with ephemeral workout numbers. Still, there was plenty to come away impressed with from the morning session.
With the St. Louis Rams likely to trade down in the first round, almost any player could be considered, especially with the new administration still sorting out its own draft board.
Some highlights from the defensive linemen show:
Dontari Poe, DT, Memphis - A week ago, Poe had the distinction of being the top nose tackle in the draft. After posting 40 times UNDER five seconds, no small feat for a 346-pound man, Poe is changing the picture for interior line rankings as an explosive player capable of performing well across systems. Russ Lande says he could be a top-12 pick.
Michael Brockers, DT, LSU - Brockers' numbers did nothing to dramatically alter his draft stock, but weeks between his arrival on the draft scene and now have cooled predictions about his future. We talked about Brockers extensively on Turf Show Radio yesterday. Without a doubt he stop the run, but players need pass rushing moves to be drafted high in the first round.
Fletcher Cox, DT, Mississippi State - Cox showed his explosiveness in Combine drills, posting a 4.79 forty and a 1.63 second 10-yard split. A tweener, he did play three-technique in college, and many project him as a five-technique in the NFL. What he is a real good, motivated football player that good coaches will find a way to use, regardless of the scheme.
Quinton Coples, DE, UNC - Coples should still be the first edge rusher off the board. He posted a faster forty time than Cox and the same 10-yard split, which underscore scouting reports that point out his explosiveness.
Andre Branch, DE, Clemson - A 4.62 forty turned some heads, mostly those who see him as an outside linebacker, and with that speed, it's hard not to. Branch could be a nice pass rusher in the second round.
More Combine talk later.