Redskins.com's Stephen Czarda and Jake Kring-Schreifels bring you five takeaways from the defensive linemen who talked with the media and performed drills at the 2017 NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis.
1. Myles Garrett may have locked up his status as the No. 1-overall pick in this year’s NFL Draft.
Even since Garrett decided to forgo a final season at Texas A&M, he has widely been regarded as the top pick in this year’s NFL Draft.
That was based on his upside, with a pro comparison of current 15-year veteran Julius Peppers. Then during Sunday’s on-field drills for defensive linemen, the 6-foot-4, 272 pounder ran the 40-yard dash in 4.64 seconds, bench pressed 225 pounder 33 times, vertical jumped 41 inches and broad jumped 10-feet, eight-inches.
All four of those numbers, including a defensive linemen-best vertical jump, were within the top five top performances for players at the position group.
“It shows I’m top dog, at least from the beginning,” Garrett said of potentially being picked first. “Once I’m in the NFL I can’t just, you know, hang my hat on that. I have to keep on rising.”
In three seasons at Texas A&M, Garrett recorded 141 tackles along with 31 sacks, seven fumbles forced, five passes defensed and an interception.
While his college numbers were clearly dominant, he feels he desires to be more consistent once he gets into the NFL.
“Some games were – I feel like there were some plays I should’ve made or things I should’ve done better,” Garrett said. “Hindsight is 20/20 but just looking at that and maybe thinking through some situations differently and make some plays.”
2. *Jonathan Allen grew up a Redskins fan at Stone Bridge High School, playing under a coach that prepared him for Alabama. *Deemed one of the best defensive line prospects in the NFL Draft, Alabama’s Jonathan Allen didn’t grow up far from Redskins Park, attending Stone Bridge High School in Ashburn, Va.
Check out photos of Alabama defensive lineman Jonathan Allen.
Understandably, he told the media Saturday at the NFL Combine that he grew up rooting for the Redskins and learned a lot from his playing days down the road, where he was named Virginia’s Gatorade Player of the Year as a senior in 2012.
“It was fun and challenging,” Allen said of his high school experience. “Coach [Mickey] Thompson really pushed us. I mean, we would wake up at 6 a.m. to go lift before school. That’s something that none of us have never done before, so it really helped prepare me for what I was going to experience at the next level.”
Allen took advantage at Alabama, where he won the Chuck Bednarik and Bronco Nagurski Award as the nation’s top defender last season. He collected 69 tackles, 16 for a loss, and led the team 10.5 sacks.
Recently, concerns over an arthritis diagnosis in his shoulders have made some teams hesitant to make him a potential top-five pick, but Allen quelled rumors that would impact his play.
“It’s not really a problem now, but it might be a problem 15, 20 years down the road so I’m not worried about that right now,” he said. “I’m worried about playing good for whichever team I go to.”
Allen said this is the best he’s felt in four years and hopes teams know that he’ll bring a consistent effort to all aspects of the game, which includes a detailed work ethic throughout the entire week.
“Probably the biggest thing that I took away from my four years was probably my best games have also been my best weeks of practice,” Allen said. “When I’m talking to the teams, practice is where you develop the skills to have success in the games.”
3. *Solomon Thomas doesn’t care about a “tweener” label; he knows he can play anywhere. *The biggest knock on Stanford defensive end Solomon Thomas, who decided to enter the NFL Draft after his junior season, is based on his size (6-foot-3, 273 pounds), which is leading many teams to view him as a “tweener,” a trait mostly used in the pejorative when it comes to playing on the defensive line.
Check out these photos of Stanford defensive end, Solomon Thomas.
Still, projected by some to be drafted by the Redskins, who interviewed Thomas last week, the defensive end doesn’t think that label hurts his stock.
“I don’t take that as a bad thing,” Thomas said. “I take it as any team can draft me. I’m not labeled to a 4-3; I’m not labeled to a 3-4 team. I can play any system team and I can play any position on the D-line.”
Thomas was one of the nation’s best defensive players in 2016, as he was twice named conference Defensive Player of the Week en route to All-Pac-12 first-team and AP All-American third-team selections. He mostly rushed the passer on the interior, but Thomas is confident his athleticism will allow him to adapt at any technique.
“I can rush anywhere. I can play anywhere,” Thomas said. “I play every down. I’m great stopping the run, great rushing the quarterback. I’m very versatile. I have toughness. I try to get after every [offensive] lineman and put the fear of God in them and make a play. I’m just trying to get to the quarterback every play and be destructful and wreak havoc.”
Thomas made a big impact in the team’s bowl game against North Carolina, in which he recorded seven tackles, two for a loss, and a sack.
“It meant a lot to me to finish on a high note,” Thomas said. “We got to study a lot for that game. We had a month to prepare. We really had time to study their tendencies, what they were doing. It built up and we were ready to play and we played all out.”
*4. With strong finish to season, Taco Charlton knows he has a high ceiling in the NFL. *Michigan defensive end Taco Charlton is well aware that pass rushing is the best thing about his game, but what could he improve upon the most?
“Improving the most is probably becoming an even better pass rusher. I want to be unstoppable,” Charlton said to the media in Indianapolis. “So, I'm somebody who won't stop until I feel I'm one of the best out there and I'll probably continue to play even after that.”
The confidence is obviously brimming. Charlton, who has been linked to the Redskins in mock drafts, had a strong senior season in 2016, starting 11 games and recording a team-high 9.5 sacks. He was named a first-team All-Big Ten selection following the year.
While scouts believe Charlton has displayed inconsistencies in his career, he has massive amounts of potential that can be honed by NFL coaches. The last four games of his season were an indication, when Charlton recorded 5.5 sacks including 2.5 in a loss to Ohio State.
“It probably helped tremendously just to show more of my talent, what I can do on the football field,” Charlton said. “That's probably the best I felt the whole season was those last two games. I was still kind of nicked up with an ankle injury all year. So, I really wasn't healthy until probably a month ago. So, it felt good to be, I was probably, what, 80 percent? So, getting close as possible to 100 percent the last couple of games was a very good feeling, and I kind of showed what I can do when I'm slightly healthy.
“I'm just touching the tip of the iceberg with how good of a player I'll be,” he added. “And I'm only going to get better with the more football I play, so like I said, I love the recognition I'm getting but I'm not satisfied. I won't be satisified until people start saying, 'He's one of the best guys out there.'”
5. Chris Wormley confident in abilities to play both inside and outside on the defensive line.
Some of the feedback Wormley received from NFL teams while at the Combine includes thoughts on where he may be plugged in for the team that drafts him.
“I’ve heard a lot of different things – 4-3 defenses can see me as an end or a 3-tech tackle, and 3-4 defenses see me as a left end,” Wormley said. “So there’s a lot of versatility I think within myself, and that’s what a lot of teams see as well.”
While Wormley didn’t speak to the Redskins formally while in Indianapolis, at least as of Saturday afternoon, he was able to meet coaches and staff while at January’s Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala.
“The Senior Bowl was a good experience as well. Kind of prepped me a little for this, what this experience was going to be like,” Wormley said. “I got to practice with a lot of great people. It was a good experience.”
In four seasons for Michigan, Wormley -6-foot-6, 302 pounds -- appeared in 51 games, collecting 123 tackles along with 18 sacks, two passes defensed, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery. He was twice selected the Richard Katcher Award winner, given annually to Michigan’s top defensive lineman.
He was a popular name for the Redskins at No. 17 in early mock drafts. If selected by Washington, Wormley believes he is a player defensive coordinator Greg Manusky can plug into a few different spots.
“I can play a lot of different positions,” Wormley said. “I’d like to think of myself as an intelligent guy, so being able to learn the playbook and learn multiple positions within that playbook I think benefits myself.”