What a week for NFL fans. The NFL Scouting Combine was back in full force after being absent in last year’s draft process due to COVID-19, and it didn’t disappoint. Every position group had their standouts.
The defensive linemen and linebackers hit the field on Saturday and there were more than a few players that should have caught the Eagles’ eye. The entire Eagles defensive line will need work this offseason, so both interior and edge players will be in play for the team when they’re on the clock. The same can be said for the linebacker position, although only two LBs will be worthy of a top-20 pick (Devin Lloyd and Nakobe Dean). Nevertheless, a handful of day two/three prospects at the position shined during the combine.
Here are nine defensive linemen and linebackers to keep an eye on as we approach the NFL Draft.
Interior Defensive linemen
Jordan Davis, Georgia
If there’s one player that ‘won’ the combine this year, it was Georgia’s Jordan Davis. Some have heralded his performance as the best they’ve ever seen at the combine and I won’t argue with that. At 348 pounds, Davis posted a 4.78 40-yard-dash time, the best time by anyone in combine history who’s come in over 330 pounds. The previous record holder posted a 4.92.
Along with his astounding 40 time, Davis recorded a 10-foot-3 broad jump and a 32-inch vertical. During the field drills, he looked ultra smooth for a lineman of his size and showcased the explosiveness that makes him such an alluring prospect.
The Jordan Davis buzz is only going to get louder as the draft inches closer. He doesn’t fit into the Eagles defensive scheme perfectly and probably won’t be able to take on a three-down role from day one, but if Howie choses to go with the best player available with Davis on the board, he’d still be a great asset to have along the Eagles aging defensive line.
Devonte Wyatt, Georgia
If it weren’t for Davis completely stealing the show, the other interior lineman from Georgia, Devonte Wyatt, would be getting a lot more love. He performed nearly as well as Davis in every athletic drill, posting a 4.77 40, 29-inch vertical, and 9-foot-3 broad.
As far as scheme fit goes, Wyatt would fit in much more naturally in Jonathan Gannon’s system than Davis. He’s comfortable playing the three-tech and plugging up holes, along with getting after the passer in passing situations, whereas Davis is more of a pure nose tackle. Wyatt brings a ton of explosion to the position and when he wins, it’s typically because of his quick get off. He’ll need to refine some of his pass rushing moves by diversifying his pallett, but all the physical tools are there and he brings enough of a pass rushing acumen to be an impact player from day one.
Logan Hall, Houston
Logan Hall has the body of a tweener, but his tape says he’s a pure three-tech in the NFL. He has a lot of what Milton Williams brought to the table last year — great pass rushing ability from the interior with the ability to lineup over the tackle when need be.
Hall can really be a force as a pass rushing tackle from day one, but he’ll need a defined role to have an impact early on. And while he routinely pushed guards around at the collegiate level, he’ll need to learn how to break off bull rushes and create separation at the next level.
If the Eagles don’t address the interior of their line on day one, Hall is someone would be a good find in the second or third round.
Travon Walker, Georgia
Georgia really took over the combine this week. Each one of their defensive lineman had impressive outings, including Travon Walker, who posted a 4.51 40. Standing at 6-foot-5, 272 pounds, with 35.5-inch arms, Walker looks like your prototypical defensive end.
Walker spent the majority of his time outside the tackle in Georgia’s defense (366 snaps at that alignment in 2021), but really spent time all along the Bulldogs’ defensive front. He lined up in the B gap on 105 of his snaps and over the tackle on 97 of his reps. Walker even lined up off-ball on 17 of his snaps this past season.
There’s no doubt Walker will be a stout end that can play the majority of snaps from day one. He’s great against the run and brings a lot of explosiveness at the end position. His pass rushing ability will need some work, though. Walker relies heavily on his bull-rush and high swiping moves in passing situations and they’re not always effective. Nevertheless, he’s a buttoned up prospect who would fill a need for the Eagles.
David Ojabo, Michigan
As Eagles fans, were well aware of what David Ojabo brings to the table. He’s been a popular name in our mock drafts all year and that won’t change. Of all the edge players entering this year’s draft, Ojabo has the highest upside on the pass rushing front and it’s not particularly close.
He’s a pure speed rusher who already has a deep list of pass rushing moves he can unleash at a high level. His 4.55-second 40 time speaks to how fast this guy really is. It was a shame Ojabo didn’t participate in the three-cone drill, but if you’re really curious about how quick this Michigan product is, just watch this:
There’s a strong chance he’s gone before the Eagles are even on the clock. But if he’s there, I’d be shocked if Howie passed up on him.
Nik Bonitto, Oklahoma
Oklahoma’s Nik Bonitto is the day two/three version of Ojabo. Bonitto was a prolific pass rusher at Oklahoma, posting 19.5 total sacks in his three years as a starter.
The main concern surrounding Bonitto was his size, but he checked that box at the combine, weighing in at 248 pounds. Despite his added weight, Bonitto still showcased all the explosiveness during the drills that we see on tape. He posted a 4.54 40, a 35.5-inch vertical, a 10-foot broad jump, and an exceptional 7.07-second three-cone drill.
Bonitto will need some time to develop into a three-down player at the next level, but he’ll have a role as a situational pass rusher from day one and could very well be available when the Eagles are on the clock in the second-round.
We already know both Devin Lloyd and Nakobe Dean are possibilities for the Eagles in the first-round, so they won’t be included on this list.
Chad Muma, Wyoming
Standing at 6-foot-3, 239 pounds, Wyoming’s Chad Muma is one of the most explosive linebackers in this year’s class. He ran a 4.63 40 and that sideline-to-sideline speed shows up on tape. He has plus instincts and plus athleticism, something every three-down linebacker needs in the NFL.
He projects as a true MIKE or SAM backer at the next level and he would fit into Gannon’s scheme seamlessly. Muma racks up tackles and is around the ball on nearly every snap. He finished his collegiate career with a missed tackle rate of just 8 percent.
As a day two/three guy, Muma could be a steal for the Eagles who desperately need a starting caliber guy to place alongside T.J. Edwards. Muma is more than capable of starting from the rip.
Leo Chenal, Wisconsin
Of all the linebackers who participated during the combine, Wisconsin’s Leo Chenal had arguably the best workout. Coming in at 6-foot-3, 250 pounds, Chenal still ran an outstanding 4.53 40. He may very well be the best downhill backer in this year’s class.
Chenal is so explosive for the position and wants nothing more than to rip players’ heads off on every play. He doesn’t shy away from taking on offensive lineman, and he’s even shown a tendency to light lineman up if they dare cross his path. His 94.1 run-defense grade from Pro Football Focus is nearly identical to Micah Parsons’ from a year prior (94.8).
There will probably be a run on backers in the second/third round and I wouldn’t be surprised at all if Chenal ends up being the first backer to go in there.
Troy Anderson, Montana State
Troy Anderson is a converted running back and only has one full season as a backer, so he’s very raw at the position. But he showcased a lot of potential in that lone year, recording an astounding 67 run stops in 2021. He also posted the fasted 40 of any off-ball linebacker, recording a 4.41 time.
Anderson is a full fledged project at the linebacker position, but it’s hard not to fall in love with the physical tools. He wouldn’t be able to start right off the bat for the Eagles, which obviously isn’t ideal. In a few years, he certainly has starting potential. As a day three prospect, the Eagles could be willing to take on this kind of player.
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