The 2015 NFL Scouting Combine is well underway with interviews, medicals, and orientations. The defensive front seven players are third to go in the positional on field workouts, which occurs on Sunday. The remaining positions will come in the traditional staggered manner. So in that fashion, I'll be breaking them down in on field workout order.
1. Arik Armstead 6'7 292 Junior Oregon
- Armstead is the most intriguing defensive line prospect in this year's class. He's a freak athlete that played both basketball and football for the Ducks. Possesses a frame that can add weight and not lose a lot of speed and agility. The negative is that he doesn't have a motor that runs constantly. Armstead might have been a monstrous offensive tackle had he chosen that route. Position versatility is a bonus as well. Can also play tackle.
2. Anthony Chickillo 6'3 267 Senior Miami
- Chickillo was a former five star recruit that has failed to live up the to hype on a struggling Hurricanes team. AC is a bigger body defensive end that the 3-4 defense usually looks for. He started as a freshman and hasn't looked back. Possesses a high motor, a strong base, good run defense instincts, and some pass rush moves. Had a good showing in the Shrine Game.
3. Zach Hodges 6'2 250 Senior Harvard
- Hodges had a great week of practice in Mobile. Unfortunately he was injured during the week but gutted it out anyway. That shows a lot of character to me by doing that. He might be better off at outside linebacker given his size limitations at just 250.
4. Nate Orchard 6'3 250 Senior Utah
- Orchard showed in Mobile why he could be argued as the best pass rusher in the Pac-12. He's a pure pass rusher at this point and needs to work on the run game. Consistently blew by blockers with speed rush. Got locked down by bigger blockers when trying to use bull rushes.
5. Lynden Trail 6'7 269 RS Senior Norfolk State
- Trail didn't do much at the Senior Bowl and lost some money. He needs to improve his run defense and convert to DE to have a shot in the league. A freak athlete who's raw but intriguing in a JPP type of way.
1. Malcolm Brown 6'2 319 Junior Texas
- While the Longhorns struggled mightily (especially on offense), the defense was solid. Brown had a breakout season under new HC Charlie Strong. He's a big body tackle in 4-3 but has a body that can play nose in a 3-4.
2. Eddie Goldman 6'4 336 Junior Florida State
- Goldman was the heir apparent to current Baltimore Raven Timmy Jernigan and didn't miss a beat. He was a dominant nose tackle that has good pass rushing ability. He's a big body nose in the mold of a Vince Wilfork/Casey Hampton. Goldman singlehandedly saved FSU from a certain loss to Clemson by opening up the hole on that 4th down play in overtime.
3. Grady Jarrett 6'1 295 Senior Clemson
- Jarrett is a bit undersized for the tackle position but has a consistent motor that doesn't stop. He's in the mold of the Titans' own Jurrell Casey. Jarrett had a great Senior Bowl week.
1. Taiwan Jones 6'3 245 Senior Michigan State
- Jones was the next man up to become the Spartans' defensive general in the middle. He was converted to middle linebacker after playing outside for most of his career. The stout MSU defense didn't miss a beat. A solid form tackler with good instincts. Had a good Shrine Bowl performance.
2. Jordan Hicks 6'2 244 Senior Texas
- Hicks would be gone by the third round just based on his film alone but his medical history is an extensive one. He finally showed the promise and potential of a five star recruit this year. Hicks was the defensive general for the Longhorns and played like it. Possesses very good tackling ability and form. The instincts are off the charts. Agility and speed is above average as well.
3. Stephone Anthony 6'3 243 Senior Clemson
- Anthony is one of the better and underrated inside linebackers. He isn't in Denzel Perryman's class but a good athlete in his own right. A field general type of linebacker that commands the entire defense. Had an outstanding week in Mobile.
4. Paul Dawson 6'0 235 Senior TCU
- The defensive general for the stingy Horned Frogs defense. He might be better suited for outside linebacker due to his size. A monster athlete who was everywhere for TCU.
5. Denzel Perryman 5'11 242 Senior Miami
- Perryman is one of the best inside linebackers in this class. He's a big hitter with a nose for the football. A good athlete that can cover fleet footed slot receivers and is almost impossible to block due to his instincts and strength. He also has the talent to play outside 'backer as well but is better suited inside. Injured during the week in Mobile.
1. Shaq Thompson 6'0 228 Junior Washington
- A freak athlete that played just about everywhere on the Huskies' defense. He even played some as a running back. A ball hawking linebacker who might need to add some weight to stick at OLB. Probably an interesting safety convert project.
2. Lorenzo Mauldin 6'4 259 Senior Louisville
- Mauldin primarily played end at Louisville but has enough athleticism to play outside linebacker as well. His medical will be interesting as he's had little nicks and bumps here and there.
3. Hau'oli Kikaha 6'2 253 RS Senior Washington
- He had a horrible Senior Bowl week and needs a bounce back week in Indy. Showed in Mobile that athleticism isn't his best trait. Might need to bump down to end to have a shot.
4. Tony Oregon (Washington) 6'3 250 RS Senior Oregon
- Washington was a pass rushing force of nature for the Ducks. While not the athlete Dion Jordan was, he's a much more fundamentally sound linebacker in all facets of the game. He dominated the Noles' OL all day in the Rose Bowl semifinal. Also played at end for the Ducks.
- Interested in seeing how Benardrick McKinney (Miss State) does. He's a big boy at 6'5 250 for the ILB position
- Pay attention to the Virginia guys, Eli Harold and Max Valles
- Cedric Reed (Texas DE), Christian Covington (Rice DT), and Trey Flowers (Arkansas DE who did a standing jump onto the top of a 5 foot tall filing cabinet).