2015 NFL Combine: Defensive Ends

    For those invited and participating in the 2015 NFL Combine, what matters? What’s the most important thing to watch out for? They’re all talented and they

    February 20, 2015

    For those invited and participating in the 2015 NFL Combine, what matters? What’s the most important thing to watch out for? They’re all talented and they all have elite skills, but there are keys that every scout and GM will be looking at. Here’s what each prospect has to prove … 

    1. Dante Fowler, Florida 6-3, 260
    Can he turn into a refined pass rusher? What’s his role? Most scouts won’t care – they’re just going to want him on the front seven to turn loose – but he isn’t a tweener. Is he going to be more than a guy who can get into the backfield? Can he be nasty against the run? He’ll rock the drills as Step One, but he’ll have to prove to the scouts that he’s ready to roll out of the gate. 

    2. Shane Ray, Missouri 6-3, 245
    Can the scouts get past his lack of bulk? He needs more good weight to become a true defensive end, and he’ll need to show as much strength as possible – even if the bench really doesn’t quite matter for his style – to get past the one concern. Will he get erased by the more powerful linemen? He won’t be able to show that in Indy. 

    3. Randy Gregory, Nebraska 6-6, 240
    Why didn’t he blow up last year? He was very, very good, but considering he’s seen as a franchise-changing pass rusher, and he’s not quite a finished product, he didn’t come up with franchise-changing production. Is he just a great athlete and prospect, or is he a great athlete and prospect who can turn into devastating force? 

    4. Vic Beasley, Clemson 6-3, 235
    What is he? Is doesn’t really matter, but is he an outside linebacker or can he work as a defensive end? He might be a one-trick, pass rush only guy, and while that might be good enough to turn into a superstar, somehow he has to show he can be physical enough to hold up if doesn’t put on more good weight. 

    5. Eli Harold, Virginia 6-4, 250
    He’ll have to somehow show the potential to be more than just as a specialist. He might turn into a fierce pass rusher, and his athleticism and upside alone should make him a top-20 pick. However, if he’s going to be THAT guy who’s going to be someone’s franchise disruptive force, he has to look like it athletically. 

    6. Danielle Hunter, LSU 6-6, 240
    Can he blow up the workouts enough to crack the upper-echelon of the 2015 defensive ends? He has all the speed, size and quickness, but is he a next-level, first-round caliber football player and not a project and workout warrior? There’s one big problem – he didn’t really do too much last year as a pass rusher. A player of his skills should’ve been a better producer. 

    7. Trey Flowers, Arkansas 6-3, 270
    Is he athletic enough to be a true end? He’s built more for a 3-4, but if he can show some quickness and burst in the short drills, all of a sudden, his prospects will quickly change. He has to prove to the scouts that he’s a pass rusher. 

    8. Owamagbe Odighizuwa, UCLA 6-3, 270
    What is he? Does he have enough quickness and athleticism to be an NFL pass rusher? Not really. Does he have the bulk and the toughness to be a tackle or a 3-4 end? Not really. He has skills, and there’s enough there to be an NFL starter, but he has to do more than just look the part of a professional football player. 

    9. Mario Edwards, Florida State 6-3, 294
    Coming up with a quick-twitch and some athleticism in the drills will go a long, long way to figuring out a spot for him. He’s a 3-4 end at the next level, but he’s not quite enough of a pass rusher to be a three-down defender. He has to create reasons to be drafted as something more than just a big part of a rotation. 

    10. Arik Armstead, Oregon 6-8, 290
    He has to appear to be more than a prospect who seems like he should be a top-five overall pick. Is he worth the risk? How NFL-ready is he to become a force as a 3-4 end? He was a better part of a puzzle than he was as an individual talent, now he has to be the reason a defense is great. 

    11. Za’Darius Smith, Kentucky 6-6, 263
    The athleticism and speed have to be there to go along with the fight. Known as the try-hard motor end, he has to look fast enough to become an NFL pass rusher. He’ll be a starter, but he might not be more than a key part of a rotation unless he can show off some tools. 

    12. Markus Golden, Missouri 6-3, 260
    How much was it being a part of the Missouri defensive line, and how much was it being on the other side of Shane Ray, and how much of it was him being just that good? He turned in a terrific 2014 season, but there’s nothing truly special about his game – he has to be next-level athletic in Indy. 

    13. Preston Smith, Mississippi State 6-6, 270
    It’s all about the agility and quickness drills. The size is there, and he’s a good, tough defender, but does he have any explosion? He might be more of an end who’s a nice piece more than a dangerous disruptive force, and that has to change with a big-time workout. 

    14. Lynden Trail, Norfolk State 6-7, 260
    His stock is all based on potential, so he has to destroy the drills to overcome the lack of polish. The size is there and he’s athletic enough to have been tried out at tight end during Senior Bowl week, but he’s a projection. A bad weekend in Indy will kill any buzz as a top 100 pick. 

    15. Henry Anderson, Stanford 6-6, 287
    The scouts will probably dog him in the underwear portion of the program. He doesn’t really look like an NFL defensive end even with his size and bulk, and he’s not going to wow anyone with his athleticism. He’ll have to show off one amazing physical trait. 

    16. Nate Orchard, Utah 6-4, 255
    He’s a one-trick prospect, and so he has to show off that he can potentially dominate doing that one trick. Forget about what he might be able to do against the run – he’s a pass rusher in any scheme he’ll be thrown into, so he has to look fluid and he has to be fast, fast, fast. 

    17. Cedric Reed, Texas 6-5, 270
    To go cliché, he has to do more than look like Tarzan. He’s an NFL player, and he’s going to find a home in the league, but can he blow someone’s doors off with the explosion and speed to go along with the appearance? He needs a workout that gets scouts talking. 

    18. Anthony Chickillo, Miami 6-4, 282
    What is he? He can do just enough to be a versatile part of a rotation, but he has to come up with the explosion in a few drills to potentially become a disruptive end, and he has to show off the raw strength to hold up on the inside. He’s just not a pure pass rusher, so something has to stand out. 

    19. Martin Ifedi, Memphis 6-3, 275
    Can he move? There’s nothing tricky about what he does, and while he’s a producer, it’s not fancy. With his bulk he can work well in just about any sort of scheme, but it would be nice if he could come up with a few good times in the quickness drills. 

    20. Corey Crawford, Clemson 6-5, 275
    Will he play up to his size? He looks like he belongs on an NFL defensive line, but he’s not a dangerous pass rusher, he’s not tough enough against the run, and he’s not an elite athlete. In the interview process, he has to show that he’s ready to take his tools to another level. 

    21. Zack Wagenmann, Montana 6-3, 255
    The straight measurements will matter. While he has tremendous pass rushing stats at the lower level, is he going to check in smallish and be purely an outside linebacker or could he work as a hybrid, third-down specialist? He has to show he’s worth talking a flier on in the mid-rounds. 

    22. Zach Hodges, Harvard 6-3, 235
    He needs to blow the numbers off the charts. The interview process will be great, and he can move well and will be athletic, but to overcome the lack of next-level competition he needs to be quicker than everyone else. He needs work, and now he has to be worth molding. 

    23. Ryan Delaire, Towson 6-4, 250
    If it’s possible to show the strength and toughness to be a defensive lineman, he has to do it. He’s athletic, and he’s going to be quick and move well, but he has to look like the type of prospect who could add 15 pounds and still zip. 

    24. Frank Clark, Michigan 6-2, 277
    The interview process has to be flawless. He has the skills and the drive to be a part of an NFL defensive end rotation, but in the new world of the league, his off-the-field issues are going to be more than just a red flag on several draft boards. 

    25. B.J. Dubose, Louisville 6-5, 263
    What’s his NFL physical trait? He’s not a true next-level defensive end against the run, and he’s not really a pass rusher who could work outside in a 4-3. He has nice backup potential, but is there anything about him that stands out? 

    26. Tavaris Barnes, Clemson 6-3, 275
    Is he ready to be a real, live, NFL starter? He has a great combination of size and strength, but why wasn’t he ever quite able to be more than a part of a rotation. He’s a project, but the tools have to be so good that he’s worth the wait. 

    27. Kyle Emanuel, North Dakota State 6-3, 246
    The production was outstanding, and he’s a favorite in the scouting world, but now he has to overcome his lack of bulk and show he can be an end. He’s not really an outside linebacker – but he’ll be tried out there – and he doesn’t have the size, but if he shows off some tremendous quickness, his stock will shoot up.

    28. Ryan Russell, Purdue 6-5, 273
    He has the right size and everyone was waiting for him to explode into something special, but the light never turned on. He was never a good enough pass rusher to put up the production, and now he has to show the fire to go along with the tools. The interview will mean everything. 

    29. Davis Tull, Tennessee-Chattanooga 6-3, 240
    What’s his position? Is he an outside linebacker? Is he an end? He’s a true tweener who needs to find a home, and while there’s no questioning his character or motor, none of it will matter if he doesn’t come up with a great workout with excellent quickness. 

    30. Shaq Riddick, West Virginia 6-6, 242 (Not Invited)
    How does his body look? Can he get to 260 and still be athletic? Can he load up with more good weight and muscle? He’s a pass rusher, and he could be a steal, but during workouts the scouts will have to project what he’s going to become.

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