Defensive linemen and linebackers underwent testing during the fifth day of the NFL Combine on Sunday at Lucas Oil Stadium. Here are five notable performances.
▪ ILB Paul Dawson, Texas Christian: This active and instinctive three-down linebacker opened some eyes with his 40-time, but not in a good way. His best 40 was 4.93 seconds, which ranked 30th among 34 participants. For a player who spent a good amount of time in space, that’s not a great mark. That, plus his reported character concerns, could push him down in the draft.
▪ ILB Ben Heeney, Kansas: Heeney’s team didn’t have much success, but all he did was rack up tackles for the Jayhawks while occasionally flashing impressive quicks to the ball. His 4.59 40-yard dash ranked fifth among all linebackers. That time, plus his tape, should remove the sleeper label from Heeney.
▪ ILB Eric Kendricks, UCLA: Kendricks is one of the most instinctive linebackers in the draft, and his 40-yard dash time of 4.61 only solidified what teams should have seen on tape: A plug-and-play immediate starter in any scheme with plus athleticism.
▪ ILB Benardrick McKinney, Mississippi State: After running an unofficial 4.78 on his first attempt in the 40-yard dash, McKinney came back to run a 4.66 official on his second run. That was important for him, considering he checked in at 6 feet 4 and 246 pounds.
▪ ILB Shaq Thompson, Washington: Thompson surprised draft analysts with a 4.72 unofficial time on his first run, but came back to run a 4.64 official time. That was solid, and his work in the movement drills helped him stand out; he was extremely fluid while outshining other at his position.