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2019 NFL Scouting Combine: Linebacker Notes

2019 NFL Scouting Combine

2019 NFL Scouting Combine
Devin Bush put on a show at the 2019 NFL Scouting Combine. What other linebackers did well? #Combine (Michael Conroy/AP)

Defense will take us the rest of the way at the 2019 NFL Scouting Combine. It’s a historic defensive draft. Virtually all of the talent is on the defensive side of the ball. That’s probably good news with the deteriorating defense that’s been going on in the NFL. In this post, we’re looking at just the linebackers. Every defense needs a leader in the middle to rally the rest of the defense.

Take a look who stood out for better or worse for the linebackers at the 2019 NFL Scouting Combine!

Devin & Devin

The best two linebackers by a country mile are Devin White and Devin Bush. The Devin from LSU (White) is better than the Devin from Michigan and I’m going to show you exactly what separates them.

Let’s start with Devin White. The stud from LSU posted the fasted 40 time at 4.42. Nobody has better range sideline to sideline and the 4.42 confirms that notion. Add in 22 reps on the bench, a 39.5 inch vert, 9-10 broad, and you’re cooking with peanut oil. I talked about players that just do everything well and White is the first name you think of when it comes to checking every single box.

White just moves so well in space. There’s never any hesitation in his movements, shows great balance, and his eye level is always up.

Now compare that to what we see with Devin Bush. The Michigan linebacker is fantastic but his movements skills are a tick below White. He’s just not quite as fluid. You can also see his eye level isn’t always up either in the pad drills. It’s not a knock on Bush. He tested off the charts. 4.43 – 40, 21 reps, 40.5 vert and, 10-4 broad. It’s all fantastic. Just watch the videos one after the other. White is just the better player. Bush still belongs in the first round because of the great range he has.

Bad Days

Christian Miller. This guy was so out of control that at one point he did a somersault on the ground but he was tripping and falling the whole time. Miller should have been doing strictly edge rusher drills but I have to point out how awful he was.

While nobody was as bad as Miller, Bobby Okereke, Te’Von Coney, and Deshaun Davis also had rough days. Stanford’s Okereke had terrible eye level. He was staring straight at the ground during the drills. It told me that he didn’t’ trust his feet one bit. The worst part was he was also super high waisted. You can’t have bad eye level and zero knee bend. Can’t happen. Coney did not run and for good reason. His instincts were just awful. He was guessing on a bunch of drills and got caught leaning. Black cloud over him. Davis of Auburn was just stiff overall. Can’t really seem him doing well unless he’s coming downhill to play the run.

Terrill Hanks also took a dip. After a nice Senior Bowl, Hanks ran a 4.99. Then he got the sour pus face and didn’t do any of the drills. Yeah, I’m out.

Josh Allen The Linebacker?

I have no clue why Josh Allen wasn’t in the edge rusher group. Really no clue. He’s going to get drafted so high because of his 17 sacks at Kentucky last year. However, what adds to his value is his coverage skills. Allen can actually do really well in space. For a 262 pound pass rusher, I thought Allen moved really well. I wish he would have been in the other group but I guess we can’t have our ice cream with a cherry on top all of the time.

Other Notes

Gary Johnson is an odd case study. A 4.43 – 40 time is outstanding. Johnson is a really fast player but he’s not perfect. Talk about a total spaz. He is out of control, tight hipped and stumbling but you can tell he flys to the ball. We talk about guys being quicker than fast. Well, Johnson is quite the opposite.

Kendall Joseph is SLOW. He’s in the latter half of the clip. Watch him turn the corner on the cone. Couldn’t have taken any longer. He also declined to run. Bad sign. Cameron Smith was basically the same. Whenever he had to plant, it took him an hour to get going again.

Speaking of quicker than fast, I like Dakota Allen. He was on the Last Chance U show. Allen ran a 4.77 but his 3 cone drill was tops at the position. I think he has great instincts.

What about Ben Burr-Kirven. That guy has some serious hips on him. He can do some damage with those hips. Check him out in the Devin Bush clip above. He has to be a great dancer or something. He also led the NCAA in tackles. He improved his stock.

Former Safeties

Drue Tranquill of Notre Dame and Germaine Pratt of NC State fall into this category. Tranquill was the better of the two. They both had the exact same 4.57 time. Tranquill ripped out 31 reps compared to 24 for N.C. State while Notre Dame is 6 pounds lighter. I thought Tranquill moved like a safety out there. Pratt did not. He almost looks like he couldn’t cover and had to change to linebacker because he lacked athleticism in space.

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