Redskins.com's Andrew Walker and Stephen Czarda bring you 10 takeaways from the third day of the NFL Scouting Combine on Friday in Indianapolis.
1. Four defensive lineman confirm they’ve met with the Redskins.
Check out the sights from Day 3 of Redskins.com's coverage of the 2016 NFL Scouting Combine from Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis Friday, Feb. 26, 2016.
With media sessions starting up for defensive linemen today, Ole Miss’ Robert Nkemdiche, Alabama’s A’Shawn Robinson and Jarran Reed and Eastern Kentucky’s Noah Spence all confirmed they’ve met with the Redskins.
Nkemdiche and Spence both have had off-field issues during the college careers. Nkemdiche’s issue happened in December when he was charged with marijuana possession while Spence failed two drug tests during his tenure with Ohio State.
“I have changed,” Nkemdiche said. “I’ve lasered my focus to what’s important and kept away from things that can take football away from me and jeopardize my career because I love the game so much. I never want it to be taken away from me, and I know if I’m in situations like that it can be taken away from me. I’ve just cleaned up a little bit.”
Spence, meanwhile, answered every question about his past issues which he said were the result of living too much in the party scene.
“I just stayed on top of [my issues],” Spence said of moving on. “Been drug tested frequently. And just like, put my focus more on football, school and stuff like that.
Robinson, meanwhile, has long been considered a first-round pick in this year’s draft, and has been floated around the Redskins more frequently in recent mock drafts.
In a deep defensive line class, Robinson believes he stands out based mostly on his athleticism.
"I have strength and power so I feel like those two combined with the size I have is really great,” Robinson said. “I think that sets me apart from everybody else.”
Reed started his college career at East Mississippi Community College, before transferring over to Alabama.
During his senior season, Reed was an All-SEC second-team selection with 53 tackles (4.5 for loss) along with two passes defensed, a fumble recovery and a sack.
2. Running back Keith Marshall showed off the jets in the 40-yard dash, finishing with a blazing time of 4.31 seconds.
The Georgia product was impressive all around, as he put up 25 reps on the bench press and then went out and turned in a Friday-best performance in the 40.
It’s terrific news for Marshall, who battled multiple knee injuries throughout his college career and often was second fiddle to guys like Todd Gurley. In three seasons with the bulldogs, Marshall ran for 1,379 yards and 12 touchdowns.
Earlier this week, Marshall told reporters that he was subjected to an “intense” medical procedure with team doctors who wanted to ensure he could withstand the rigors of an NFL career.
"All the teams, I didn't have any re-checks or anything like that,” he said. “The doctors said (my knee) looks as good as it can, so I'm excited about that. I knew that coming in, but I'm excited I got cleared and all that and I'm ready to go."
Marshall perhaps put his money where his mouth is with his performance on Friday.
3. Kenny Clark was taught to be very violent with his hands.
One of the many defensive linemen to enter the NFL Draft early, Clark had his most productive season in 2015 as he was selected to the All-Pac-12 first team with career highs in tackles (73), tackles for loss (10.5), sacks (5.5) and passes defensed (five).
He may not be the biggest player or the fastest, but Clark believes his hand work is second to none.
“That’s one of the biggest parts of my game I like to emphasize,” Clark said. “I like to hit people as violently as possible. I always aim for the ‘V’ of the neck. That’s my spot every time. That’s the key to winning one-on-one battles in college. Our coaches preach the importance of hands and technique.”
Clark said he feels he’s most comfortable coming out of the three-technique, but has the ability to play from other positions as well.
“I can be disruptive and get into the backfield from that spot,” Clark said. “Other teams want me to be a nose guard or shade into the 1. I feel comfortable doing all that.”
**4. Derrick Henry is
big and fast.*
Henry is built more like a linebacker: about 6-3 and 247 pounds. In fact, he’s about the exact same size as Denver Broncos pass rushing star Von Miller.
But Henry, an Alabama product, can tote the rock, too, as evidenced by his Heisman Trophy award. In 3 seasons, he ran for 3,591 yards with 52 touchdowns and caught 17 passes for 285 yards and another three touchdowns. In 2015, he was an absolute stud, carrying the ball 395 times for 2,219 yards (5.6 yards per carry) and 28 touchdowns.
Henry is scary big, but he showed on Friday that he has some decent breakaway speed, clocking a 4.54 in the 40-yard dash. He also put up 22 reps in the bench press and had a 37-inch vertical.
Henry said his prime weight is about 241 or 242. He has a little wear on the tires, though, and some experts have pegged him out of the first round of the 2016 NFL Draft – something Henry isn’t worried about.
“It’s how the game has evolved and you’ve got to take it for what it’s worth,” he said. “You’ve got to make the teams want to draft you. So that’s all upon you and how you perform.”
5. Andrew Billings thinks he has a shot at breaking the NFL Combine bench press record.
During the 2011 NFL Combine, current Washington Redskins defensive end Stephen Paea shattered the bench press record (225 pounds) when he recorded 49 repetitions.
No one has come too close in recent years, but Billings believes he can beat it.
The 20-year-old has been practicing with 230 pounds and recently pushed out 34 repetitions.
“That’s within my reach, yes,” Billings responded when asked if he can hit 50 repetitions.
Billings is a prospect many believe has incredible upside based a lot on his age. He also has been playing on the defensive side of the ball for only a few years now after playing offensive line in high school.
“I wanted to do it myself,” Billings said of the position change. “In high school I enjoyed offensive line. I enjoyed being a brother like that. But in college I really wanted to play defensive line and try it out.”
Billings added: “Offensive line was always fun for me, but I just saw more love at defensive line. I really fell in love playing defensive line.”
6. Projected No. 1-overall pick Laremy Tunsil did not run the 40-yard dash.
Tunsil, a 6-5, 305-pound tackle out of Mississippi, is a player many consider to be the top prospect in the 2016 Draft class. The Tennessee Titans, who pick No. 1 overall, would probably love to have his services to protect quarterback Marcus Mariota.
But on Friday, Tunsil, as expected, did not take part in the 40-yard dash. He’s expressed interested in running the 40 at his Pro Day, instead.
Tunsil also did not participate in the bench press station – or any other activity – at Friday’s Combine workouts. He did take part in the offensive linemen positional drills, however.
Now, Tunsil not running the 40 is not the biggest deal. If he’s picked No. 1 overall, he’ll be the fifth top pick in a row that did not do that portion of the Combine. But it puts a lot of pressure on him to do well at his Pro Day. If he were to have a bad showing, could that affect his draft status?
He said earlier this week he expects to run a 4.8 or 4.9. A 4.8 would make him the fastest offensive lineman to run on Friday. So we’ll check back in after his Pro Day on March 28.
7. Victor Ochi wants to carry the torch for Stony Brook.
Chances are you probably don’t have too many reasons to follow Stony Brook football.
They’ve never had a player drafted to the NFL and rarely if ever are even close to talked about in the college football scene.
But after getting an invite to the East-West Shrine Game in January, Ochi put himself and Stony Brook on the map with an impressive performance highlighted by the first sack of the game.
“It would mean a lot,” Ochi said of being drafted. “That’s history. It would be very humbling for me. I want to give something back to the school because that was the one school that took the chance on me coming out of high school and gave me a full scholarship. To be the first player drafted out of there would be an honor.”
ESPN’s Mel Kiper recently said Ochi could be as high as a third-round pick, but that doesn’t change his hunger, especially being from a small school with little previous success.
“I’m self-motivated so whether he was going to say that or not I knew I’m getting my opportunity out here and I’m going to take full advantage of it,” Ochi said.
8. A couple running backs featured better-than-NBA vertical leaps.
What’s out in the water in California?
Cal’s Daniel Lasco and San Jose State’s Tyler Ervin almost jumped out of Lucas Oil Stadium on Friday, logging 41.5- and 39-inch verticals, respectively.
That’s right on line – or better, in many cases – than some of the best dunkers in the NBA today.
The leaping ability could come in handy in the passing game for Lasco and Ervin – or, perhaps, when trying to get over the line at the goal line.
Lasco is looking to bounce back from hip and ankle injuries that limited him to just nine games for the Golden Bears in 2015. He could be a prime candidate for a team looking for help both in their running game and in their special teams – he led his team with 12 special teams tackles as a true freshman.
Ervin, meanwhile, has drawn comparisons to a slot receiver at the pro level. He stands at 5-9 and weighs 192 pounds. He’s mighty shifty, though, and could help out a team as a runner, a receiver or a returner.
9. Joey Bosa believes he’s the best pass rusher and the best defensive lineman in this year’s draft.
Depending on what the Titans decide to do with the No. 1 pick, Bosa could hear his name called first this year.
In three seasons at Ohio State, Bosa, a two-time Big Ten Defensive Lineman of the year, appeared in 41 games, recording 150 tackles (50.5 for loss) along with 26 sacks and five passes defensed.
I’m obviously coming to the team that drafts me to help them win and help them eventually make it to the Super Bowl,” Bosa said in front of perhaps the largest media gather of the week.
While Bosa comes from a 3-4 defensive scheme as a defensive end, he’d had no problem playing other positions, too, if asked.
“I can see myself playing anywhere on the defensive line,” Bosa said. “I’ve been working standing up and working on my linebacker drops, so I definitely feel I’m ready to play in a 3-4 or a 4-3.”
10. Jimmy Landes showed off some nice athleticism in the specialists’ drills.
Landes, the only long snapper invited to the 2016 Combine, wasn’t shy to show off his skills. He ran a 5.0-flat 40-yard dash – a pretty good figure by offensive line standards – hopped 9-feet, 2 inches in the broad jump, ran the 3-cone drill in 7.05 seconds and the 20-yard shuffle in 4.38 seconds.
Landes is a Baylor product, where he was a catcher on the baseball team, too.
A three-year long snapper, he showed off the ability to get down the field and cover, which is, of course, one of the more important jobs as a long snapper. While providing a crisp, accurate snap on punts and field goals is priority No. 1, it’s key for a guy at that position to have the ability to make a few special teams tackles each season, too.
Redskins long snapper Nick Sundberg has been one of the best in the league at this for a while. Perhaps Landes will get his shot in the NFL soon, too.