Monday, April 15, 2024
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2024 NFL Combine takeaways, grades for top EDGE, DL and LB prospects, plus other winners and losers

The first day of on-field drills at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis saw defensive linemen, edge rushers and linebackers take the stage in Indianapolis. A handful of prospects elevated their stock with strong performances while others sent scouts back to the tape. 

Here are some of the winners and losers from Thursday’s on-field drills in Indianapolis, starting with a look at the measurements of the prospects in CBS Sports’ top 25 consensus rankings.

40-yard dash Bench press Vertical jump Broad jump 10-yard split

Dallas Turner (Alabama)

4.46 seconds

40.5 inches

10-foot-7

1.54 seconds

Laiatu Latu (Alabama)

4.64

32

9-foot-8

1.62

Byron Murphy II (Texas)

4.87

33

9-foot-3

1.69

Jared Verse (Florida State)

4.58

35

10-foot-7

1.60

Chop Robinson (Penn State)

4.48

34.5

10-foot-8

1.54

Bralen Trice (Washington) 4.72 1.65

Grading the top-rated EDGE/DL/LB

EDGE Dallas Turner, Alabama: A

Turner measured sub 6-foot-3-inches and 247 pounds on Thursday, but his lack of ideal height was neutralized by his 34 3/8″ arm length. His athletic testing was off the charts with a 4.46-second 40-yard dash, as well as a 1.54 second 10-yard split. He leaped out of the stadium with a 40.5-inch vertical jump and a 10-foot-7-inch broad jump. 

EDGE Laiatu Latu, UCLA: B+

Latu is a technically sound prospect, and his athletic testing should answer any remaining questions teams had for him. His grade is a little lower relative to the other sensational figures tabulated by the likes of Turner, Robinson and Verse, but no one should be discrediting Latu’s performance. He is a personable prospect who showed his spirit by supporting the other participants even when his workout had finished.

DT Byron Murphy II, Texas: A-

Murphy is a little undersized, but his frame silences some of those concerns. He has a thicker lower body build, which suggests he should have no problem holding up in the run game. Murphy showed good burst and likely solidified himself as the top interior defender eligible for the draft.

EDGE Jared Verse, Florida State: A 

Verse physically looked the part alongside his shorter peers. He finished the season on a dominant note and was able to parlay that into an impressive performance in Indianapolis. He ran a 4.58-second 40-yard dash with a 1.6-second 10-yard split. His jumps (35-inch vertical and 10-foot-7-inch broad) also checked boxes. The arrow is pointing up for the Seminole pass-rusher. 

EDGE Chop Robinson, Penn State: A-

At 6-foot-3 and 254 pounds, the hype surrounding Robinson’s anticipated performance lived up to expectations. Yes, he ran fast, but the 1.54-second 10-yard split and 10-foot-8-inch broad jump also showcased how quick he can get off the ball. 

EDGE Bralen Trice, Washington: B-

Trice dropped some weight from the season, and the thought was that he was hoping to run faster as a result. He finished towards the bottom of the 40-yard dash times, so that was disappointing, especially stacked up against these other top-tier outings by his peers. The tape shows a professional who has a variety of moves in his bag. 

Other winners

DT Braden Fiske, Florida State

Fiske ranked first among defensive in the 40-yard dash (4.78 seconds), 10-yard split (1.68 seconds) and broad jump (9-feet-9-inches). He also was third in the vertical jump with 33.5 inches. He had already earned a lot of love from the coaching and scouting communities for agreeing to play for one team after practicing with the other in the week leading up to the Senior Bowl. His athletic showing proved that he is more than a try hard on the football field.

DT Ruke Orhorhoro, Clemson

If not for Fiske, everyone would have been bragging over Orhorhoro’s numbers. He finished second in the broad jump (9-feet-8-inches) and had the second fastest 10-yard split among defensive linemen. His 40-yard dash (4.89 seconds) and vertical jump (32 inches) each ranked fourth. 

LB Payton Wilson, NC State

It is a joy watching a fully healthy Wilson. Over the course of his collegiate career, he suffered two torn ACLs and a significant shoulder injury. The medical examinations will be important, but he has put two consecutive years of healthy film together and 2023 was his best yet. The ACC Defensive Player of the Year added his stellar testing to an already decorated on-field resume. His 4.43-second 40-yard dash was the fastest of the day. 

LB Edgerrin Cooper, Texas A&M

Cooper’s 34-inch Go, Go Gadget arms allow him to get his hands on opposing blockers and dictate action at the point of attack but also put him in a position finish plays in space. Fans saw that closing speed in action Thursday night as he ran a 4.51-second 40-yard dash with a 1.54-second 10-yard split.

LB Trevin Wallace, Kentucky

Wallace is a relatively young prospect who finished towards the top of all athletic testing metrics. He ran a 4.51-second 40-yard dash with a 1.62-second 10-yard split. His impressive showing continued with a 37.5-inch vertical jump and a 10-foot-7-inch broad jump. His fluidity transitioned to the field as well.

Other losers

Patrick Mahomes

As the on-field drills were about to commence, the Super Bowl champion quarterback tweeted at NFL Network pleading for them not to use his 40-yard dash in a simulcast with often much heavier prospects. The television network did not oblige:

The breach of trust elicited the following reaction from Mahomes: 

It just goes to show that not even a three-time Super Bowl champion is safe on social media. The interaction marks Mahomes’ first loss of the 2024 calendar year.

DT Johnny Newton, Illinois

Newton did not take part in drills Thursday. The reason for his absence is not why he made this list but rather because of how well his peers fared. The track at Lucas Oil Stadium seems to have been fast, and Newton likely would have tested well, too. If the output of Fiske and/or others enabled them to leapfrog Newton in the pecking order, then that could mean the loss of hundreds of thousands of dollars and a guaranteed fifth-year option. 

EDGE Austin Booker, Kansas

Booker is a relatively young player, but his film shows a player with intriguing potential. He not only weighed lighter (240 pounds) than his film suggested, but his 4.80-second 40-yard dash ranked towards the bottom of the edge rusher group. Booker has garnered a lot of support in draft media lately, but that momentum was stunted Thursday.

The 2024 NFL Draft will take place from April 25-27 in Detroit. More draft coverage can be found at CBSSports.com, including the weekly updated draft ordermock drafts and a regularly available look at the eligible prospects

For live reaction from the festivities, check out Thursday’s live blog

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