A gold watch, the second-slowest 40-yard dash of the week and a guy named Bud.
We're talking about all of that and more in today's breakdown of on-field workouts for defensive linemen and linebackers at the 2015 NFL Combine.
We mentioned it Saturday when discussing quarterback Jameis Winston and we'll emphasize it again Sunday with Washington nose guard Danny Shelton. The 40-yard dash simply doesn't mean much for a large group of players, and that definitely applies to one of the largest the Combine has seen in years. Shelton, who has been linked to the Browns in numerous mock drafts, checked in at 339 pounds Saturday and ran the 40-yard dash in 5.64 seconds, second only to Oklahoma offensive lineman Adam Shead (5.74) for the slowest time clocked by anyone who participated over the past three days. Considering Monday is dedicated exclusively to defensive backs, Shelton's standing likely won't change. It doesn't matter. What mattered most was how smooth Shelton looked for a 339-pound nose guard with tree trunks for legs. It's the reason why he was able to compile 93 tackles (16.5 of which for a loss) during his senior season, and it's why he's considered by most draft analysts as the top 3-4 nose guard and second-best interior lineman behind USC's Leonard Williams, who is projected as a top-three pick. And, for what it's worth, Shelton was second among defensive linemen with 34 repetitions of 225 pounds on the bench press.
Fowler Jr. flashes gold before cashing in
When he met with reporters Friday, Florida's Dante Fowler Jr. ended his first answer to a generic question about his interviews with NFL teams with a strong statement. "My film," he said, "speaks for itself." What he did Sunday simply backed up the flashes he showed throughout a junior season in which he faced constant double teams from SEC offensive lines. Fowler Jr., who weighs 261 pounds, wore a gold watch on his wrist as he posted a 4.60-second 40-yard dash, the second-fastest among any of the Combine's pass rushers who weighed 260 pounds or more. If you believe in draft stock and the ability for a player to trend upward or downward during this portion of the offseason, Fowler Jr. has seen his soar as much as any prospect over the past couple of weeks. CBSSports.com draft analyst Dane Brugler told Cleveland Browns Daily on Friday that Fowler Jr. was his favorite prospect in the entire draft class. NFL teams might start feeling the same way after this week.
What about Bud?
The fastest 40-yard dash time from a player 260 pounds or more? His name's Bud. Kentucky's Alvin "Bud" Dupree had one of the most impressive performances of the day, as he registered a 40-yard dash time of 4.56 seconds and led the way with a whopping 11-foot, 6-inch broad jump, which was 6 inches better than the next best. Dupree frustrated Senior Bowl Executive Director Phil Savage when he pulled out of the game at the last minute, but it hasn't appeared to hurt his projection as a mid- to late-first round draft pick. Dupree played as a 4-3 defensive end with the Wildcats but he could follow the lead of a player such as Cleveland's Barkevious Mingo and land with a team that would use him as a 3-4 outside linebacker. "I think any team can see that I can play both positions," Dupree said.
What about the interior linebackers?
It's a position that didn't draw much attention during the week because none are projected as first-round picks. Simply put, there isn't a C.J. Mosley in this year's class. Still, there's some potential value in the later rounds for a team like the Browns, who are relatively set with regulars at inside linebacker but are always looking to bolster depth. Clemson's Stephone Anthony was easily the fastest among the group with a 4.56 40-yard dash and the second-fastest 20-yard shuttle (4.03). Anthony, whom CBSSports.com projects as a fifth-round pick, also fared well at the Senior Bowl. The top-ranked players at the position are UCLA's Eric Kendricks, Mississippi State's Benardrick McKinney and Miami's Denzel Perryman, all of whom are projected by CBS as second-round picks.
TCU's Paul Dawson didn't run the best 40-yard dash (4.93 seconds) and was dubbed by NFL.com as Sunday's "Biggest Workout Loser." There were similar barbs on Twitter about the projected second-round pick, who was the heart and soul of the Horned Frogs defense. He apparently heard plenty of it and provided a quick response shortly after his workout. His confidence hasn't wavered.
This article is part of the Road to the Draft series, driven by Liberty Ford.
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