The NFL Scouting Combine went as planned on Monday.
South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney and Pittsburgh defensive tackle Aaron Donald shined while Missouri defensive end Michael Sam struggled. Clowney looked like the best player in the draft despite failing to participate in positional drills due to a tight hip flexor.
Find out which linebackers and defensive linemen were the biggest winners and losers from Monday at the combine.
Telvin Smith: The Florida State weakside linebacker is undersized at 6-foot-3, 218 pounds, but every team needs a smaller coverage linebacker. Smith ran a 4.52-second 40-yard dash and shined in positional drills.
Aaron Donald: Donald is undersized for a defensive tackle at 6-foot-1, 285 pounds, but the Pittsburgh defensive tackle’s 4.68-second 40-yard dash was still amazing for his size and position. Donald’s 7.11-second three-cone drill was fourth-best among defensive linemen (with three defensive ends in front of him), and his 32-inch vertical and 9-foot-8 broad jump were respectable among defensive tackles. His 1.59 unofficial 10-yard split matched Clowney’s second attempt in the 10-yard split.
Donald has strength to match his speed. He had 35 reps on the bench press.
Jadeveon Clowney: Clowney decided not to participate in positional drills, but it didn’t matter. The South Carolina defensive end was the star of the show with a 4.53-second official 40-yard dash. His 7.27 three-cone drill was above average and his 37.5-inch vertical leap and 12-foot-4 broad jump were both top three finishes. Clowney certainly proved he has the athleticism to go No. 1 overall.
Kevin Pierre-Louis: The Boston College linebacker is undersized like Smith, but he has a similar future in the NFL as a coverage player. Pierre-Louis topped all players on Monday with a 4.51-second 40-yard dash. He was also top five in the broad jump (10-foot-8), vertical leap (39 inches) and short shuttle (4.02). His 6.92-second three-cone was also extremely impressive.
Michael Sam: Sam didn’t do anything to prove his doubters wrong on Monday. He ran a 4.91-second 40-yard dash, jumped just 25.5 inches in the vertical and 9-foot-6 in the broad jump. He also proved to have stiff hips, even without pads on in defensive line drills. Players have done worse in the combine and still had solid NFL careers, but Sam’s performance was among the worst of the year so far.
Will Sutton: Sutton came into the Arizona State season overweight in 2013 and couldn’t replicate his 2012 season. He dropped weight before the combine but still only managed a 5.35-second 40-yard dash and 7.93-second three-cone. Sutton had a chance to be a first-round pick before the 2013 season and he didn’t do anything at the combine to climb back up draft boards.
Yawin Smallwood: Smallwood was expected to shine in the athletic drills, but he pulled up with an injury in the middle of running a 5.01-second 40-yard dash. Unfortunately, that attempt was not stricken from the record, so he’ll forever be known as a 5-second 40-yard dash guy.