Five EDGE Risers From the 2018 NFL Combine

[dt_divider style=”thick” /]The 2018 NFL Combine has concluded for the EDGE group and there were plenty of prospects that made themselves money in Indianapolis. Evaluators across the industry will be finalizing their grades, with the athletic information they have collected at the combine, while others scurry back to the tape to see if the players play to the explosiveness that they put on display. Now the future of the NFL only has their pro-days and pre-draft visits to make a lasting impression on these football teams. Here are five players that helped their stock in Lucas Oil Stadium:

Harold Landry (Boston College)

Landry had dominating tape in 2016, where he recorded 22 tackles for a loss and 16.5 sacks, but a high ankle sprain hindered his ability to get after the quarterback in 2017. As I stated in my pre-combine article about the EDGE position, pass rushers need healthy ankles to bend and flex the edge, which is how Landry wins, so that is a gigantic reason for the dip in production. The combine meant a lot for Landry’s stock and he did not disappoint. Landry came in at 6’3”, 252 pounds, with 32 ⅞” arms and 9 ⅜” hands, while running a good time of 4.64 in the 40 yard dash. He showed his lower body explosiveness with a 9’11” broad jump and 36” vertical, while posting an impressive 6.88 in the three cone drill, which really shows his lateral agility, quickness, and change of direction skills. Just for comparison, Joey Bosa had a 6.89 and Vic Beasley had a 6.91. As predicted, Landry looked great in the 20-Yard shuttle, with a 4.19 (tied with Kylie Fitts for the best time) and also earned an 11.35 in the 60-Yard shuttle, which was first in the group. His explosiveness was on full display and he passed the eye test in all of the defensive line position drills, while looking very fluid in the linebacker drills as well. He also put up an impressive 24 reps on the bench. Landry solidified himself as a first round talent with this performance.  

Josh Sweat (Florida State)

We talked about how Sweat could absolutely annihilate the combine and he did just that. Sweat came in a shade under 6’5” while weighing 251 pounds, with 34 ⅝” arms and 10 ¼” hands. That size is impressive enough, but when a man possessing that size can run 40 yards in 4.53 seconds, while jumping out of Lucas Oil Stadium, that is extraterrestrial. He jumped 10’4” on the broad and 39.5” in the vertical. His 1.55 10 yard split was comparable to Antonio Brown and AJ Green’s combine numbers. Sweat really improved his stock in Indianapolis. As long as teams are comfortable enough with his medical evaluations, he could go as high as early Day 2. I must say though, it is apparent that Mr. Sweat (if that is his real name) may be on the wrong planet.   

Sam Hubbard (Ohio State)

Hubbard came in with an impressive build with a 6’5” and 270 pound frame, while also possessing 33 ⅛” arms and 10” hands. Hubbard took the three cone crown (6.84) for his position group and that change of direction is apparent on film. He excels with his ability to change direction on a dime with control and fluidity. This is why he was so successful on stunts and it is just one of the many things Hubbard has in his arsenal. In the last 15 years, only Kony Ealy (6.83) had a faster three cone for someone over 270 pounds. Lower body explosiveness was impressive for Hubbard as well; he jumped a 9’6” in the broad, with a 35” vertical. He displayed excellent control throughout the positional drills, while also displaying the necessary movement skills in space during the LB drills. Hubbard chose not to run at the combine, so we will wait for his pro day (March 22nd) to see his 40 yard dash and 10 yard split. I have been saying it for a while, he is underrated, but that looks like it may be done with now. Hubbard should now be a late day one, early day two selection in April.

Lorenzo Carter (Georgia)

His athletic profile is perfect for the combine and he did not disappoint. Carter came in at 6’6” and 250 pounds, with 34” arms and 10 ⅜ ” hands, which are incredibly large. He ran a blazing “official” 40 of 4.50, while jumping 10’8” in the broad and 36” in the vertical. I selected him to win the 40 yard dash, but Leon Jacobs of Wisconsin ran a 4.48. The upside Carter possesses is very high and he is going to fly up boards after putting his athletic testing on display. One can see his athletic ability in his tape as well; the range, speed, and burst are undeniable. I don’t think it is ridiculous to say that he could slip into the beginning of day one, but he is more than likely destined to be an early day two selection.

Marcus Davenport (UTSA)

Prior to the Senior Bowl, Davenport was being mocked in the top 10 and big draft media was really hyping him up. He looked overmatched in Mobile and showed that he didn’t have moves to defeat above average players. His pad level was too high and if he didn’t win with force, he wasn’t winning at all. These issues were also apparent on tape and that is why I have a mid-second round grade on him, but his athletic makeup is very intriguing. He has very good size at 6’6” and 264 pounds, but his 33 ⅝” arms and 9 ⅛” are kind of small. Along with this prototypical size, he ran a 4.58 in the 40, with a 1.63 10 yard split. These are impressive numbers for a man of his stature. His 10’3” broad jump is the same as Texans Jadeveon Clowney and 33.5” vertical is comparable to what Lions‘ edge rusher Ziggy Ansah did back at the 2013 NFL Combine. There is a ton of upside with Davenport and he helped solidify his position in the first round.

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Nick Falato wrote this article. Follow him on twitter @nickfalato and check out his other work here, including his breakdown of Wake Forest defensive end Duke Ejiofor and a look at USC quarterbacks of the past and how it applies to Sam Darnold.

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