The 2019 NFL Combine could help sort out the race to be the No. 1 pick in April.
It’s a good year for teams that need help rushing the passer — the 2019 NFL Draft class is absolutely loaded with defensive linemen and linebackers.
On Sunday, it’ll be those positions working out and running through drills at the 2019 NFL Combine. Among those expected to participate are Ohio State defensive end Nick Bosa, Kentucky linebacker Josh Allen, Alabama defensive tackle Quinnen Williams, Michigan defensive lineman Rashan Gary, and LSU linebacker Devin White. That group happens to be the top five players off the board in Dan Kadar’s latest mock draft.
All that means there’s millions of dollars on the line for the players jockeying for position at the top of big boards. A big part of that battle will depend on how those defensive linemen and linebackers perform Sunday in Indianapolis.
Last year, UTSA’s Marcus Davenport put together an NFL Combine performance reminiscent of Jadeveon Clowney, and UCF linebacker Shaquem Griffin stole the show with a freakin’ 4.38-second 40-yard dash.
Follow along with us while we see which defensive linemen and linebacker will be the stars of the 2019 NFL Combine:
Quinnen Williams, Alabama
Williams is one of the defensive linemen in the running to be the No. 1 pick for the Cardinals (that is, unless Kyler Murray hasn’t already started locking that up) and the Alabama defensive tackle looked the part Sunday.
After he ran a 4.87 40-yard dash — at 303 pounds! — an awestruck Daniel Jeremiah of NFL Network said “somebody’s in the mix for the first overall pick.”
How fast is Quinnen Williams? Just listen to this commentary: pic.twitter.com/K5McfxqHv1
— The Checkdown (@thecheckdown) March 3, 2019
That time was amazing enough that his agent told him there was no need to run a second time. Williams did so anyway and got a 4.84.
Full transparency: I told Quinnen not to run the second 40 because how great his first time was. He didn’t listen. Decided to bet on himself and BEAT his first time. My type of guy!
— Nicole Lynn (@AgentNicoleLynn) March 3, 2019
What may be most special about his run is that it started with a ridiculously fast 10-yard split — which is especially important for defensive line who need to explode off the line of scrimmage.
If the 1.69 10-yard split holds for DL Quinnen Williams, it would be a big-time number.
A few notable NFL DL who didn’t get below 1.70: Geno Atkins (1.75), Ndamukong Suh (1.74), Gerald McCoy (1.74), Marcell Dareus (1.73), JJ Watt (1.71), Cam Jordan (1.71)
— Dane Brugler (@dpbrugler) March 3, 2019
Williams was one of the most unblockable players in college football last year, and his tremendous showing in the 40-yard dash showed part of the reason why.
Montez Sweat, Mississippi State
Here’s an easy way to make the winners section: Break an NFL Combine record.
.@HailStateFB DL Montez Sweat just ran a 4.42u!
— NFL (@NFL) March 3, 2019
Yep, that’ll do the trick.