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2023 NFL Scouting Combine Preview: Defense

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The 2023 NFL Scouting Combine gets underway formally on Tuesday, February 28th. However, the athletic testing and field drills get underway on Thursday, March 2nd. The event will once again take place at Lucas oil Field in Indianapolis. Television coverage can be found on the NFL Network.

2023 NFL Scouting Combine Schedule

Thursday, 3/2/23: Edge Rushers, Defensive Line, and Linebackers

Friday, 3/3/23: Cornerbacks and Safeties

Saturday, 3/4/23: Quarterbacks, Wide Receivers, and Tight Ends

Sunday, 3/5/23: Running Backs, Offensive Tackles, and Interior Offensive Line

Shane P Hallam has you covered on the offensive player side of things.

2023 NFL Scouting Combine Preview: Defense

EDGE RUSHERS

Will Anderson Jr., Alabama

Drew Sanders, Arkansas

Andre Carter II, Army

Colby Wooden, Auburn

Derick Hall, Auburn

Eku Leota, Auburn

Thomas Incoom, Central Michigan

KJ Henry, Clemson

Myles Murphy, Clemson

Jose Ramirez, Eastern Michigan

Caleb Murphy, Ferris State

Brenton Cox, Jr., Florida

Nolan Smith, Georgia

Robert Beal Jr., Georgia

Keion White, Georgia Tech

Lukas Van Ness, Iowa

MJ Anderson, Iowa State

Will McDonald, Iowa State

Lonnie Phelps, Kansas

Felix Anudike-Uzomah, Kansas State

Andre Jones, Louisiana

YaYa Diaby, Louisville

Ali Gaye, LSU

BJ Ojulari, LSU

Isaiah McGuire, Missouri

Ochaun Mathis, Nebraska

Adetomiwa Adebawore, Northwestern

Isaiah Foskey, Notre Dame

Zach Harrison, Ohio State

DJ Johnson, Oregon

Habakkuk Baldonado, Pittsburgh

Ikenna Enechukwu, Rice

Viliami Fehoko, San Jose State

Dylan Horton, TCU

Tyree Wilson, Texas Tech

I have separated edge rushers, defensive line, and linebackers because that is the way we have them on our site. However, a lot of these guys will be mixed between the defensive line and linebacker group.

Several prospects need the Combine to elevate themselves. Some like Isaiah Foskey and Andre Carter need bouncebacks after a subpar Senior Bowl. Lukas Van Ness, Felix Anudike-Uzomah, and Drew Sanders are all potential first-round selections that can improve their standings. 

As always, we anxiously await who will actually work out or not. Is Tyree Wilson healthy enough to test? Will we see Will Anderson on the track? How about Nolan Smith? These questions will have to wait until Thursday to have answered.

Fastest 40 Prediction:

BJ Ojulari, LSU (4.48)

DEFENSIVE LINE

Byron Young, Alabama

DJ Dale, Alabama

Nesta Jade Silvera, Arizona State

Siaki Ika, Baylor

Bryan Bresee, Clemson

Jerrod Clark, Coastal Carolina

Gervon Dexter, Florida

Jalen Carter, Georgia

Jaquelin Roy, LSU

Mazi Smith, Michigan

Mike Morris, Michigan

Tavius Robinson, Mississippi

Cameron Young, Mississippi State

Jalen Redmond, Oklahoma

Tyler Lacy, Oklahoma State

PJ Mustipher, Penn State

Calijah Kancey, Pittsburgh

Zacch Pickens, South Carolina

Tuli Tuipulotu, Southern Cal

Keondre Coburn, Texas

Moro Ojomo, Texas

Dante Stills, West Virginia

Keeanu Benton, Wisconsin

Several underclassmen headline this position group and a handful of All-Star game skippers. Will we get to see Clemson’s Bryan Bresee on the field? I am anxious to see how athletic Calijah Kancey is. Mazi Smith of Michigan was tops on the Bruce Feldman Freaks list in the preseason. Will he test like it? Jalen Carter has a lot to live up to after the show Jordan Davis and Devonte Wyatt put on at last year’s Combine. How quick is Gervon Dexter? How strong is Siaki Ika? I can’t wait to find out!

Fastest 10 Prediction:

Calijah Kancey, Pittsburgh (1.51)

Most Bench Reps Prediction:

Keondre Coburn, Texas (39)

LINEBACKERS

Henry To’o To’o, Alabama

Nick Hampton, Appalachian State

Owen Pappoe, Auburn

Ivan Pace Jr., Cincinnati

Trenton Simpson, Clemson

Shaka Heyward, Duke

Ventrell Miller, Florida

Isaiah Land, Florida A&M

Charlie Thomas, Georgia Tech

Cam Jones, Indiana

Jack Campbell, Iowa

Yasir Abdullah, Louisville

Micah Baskerville, LSU

Tyrus Wheat, Mississippi State

Isaiah Moore, NC State

Noah Sewell, Oregon

SirVocea Dennis, Pittsburgh

Jalen Graham, Purdue

Dee Winters, TCU

Jeremy Banks, Tennessee

DeMarvion Overshown, Texas

Dorian Williams, Tulane

Anfernee Orji, Vanderbilt

Noah Taylor, Virginia

Daiyan Henley, Washington State

Nick Herbig, Wisconsin

Testing is going to be hugely important for sorting this position out at the top. I believe Trenton Simpson is going to stay LB1. However, can Noah Sewell move laterally? Will Jack Campbell test in accordance with others from the Iowa program? Isaiah Land weighed in at 224 in Mobile. I would like to see him maintain that weight and run a fast 40. Hopefully, Owen Pappoe and Henry To’o To’o have recovered from their injuries enough to be able to test. I know Daiyan Henley and Demarvion Overshown are fast on the field. Will the stopwatch back that up?

Fastest 40 Prediction:

Demarvion Overshown, Texas (4.51)

CORNERBACKS

Eli Ricks, Alabama

Nic Jones, Ball State

Arquon Bush, Cincinnati

Lance Boykin, Coastal Carolina

Kelee Ringo, Georgia

Devon Witherspoon, Illinois

Riley Moss, Iowa

Anthony Johnson Jr., Iowa State

Julius Brents, Kansas State

Carrington Valentine, Kentucky

Myles Brooks, Louisiana Tech

Kei’Trel Clark, Louisville

Mekhi Garner, LSU

Deonte Banks, Maryland

Jakorian Bennett, Maryland

Tyrique Stevenson, Miami (FL)

DJ Turner, Michigan

Terell Smith, Minnesota

Emmanuel Forbes, Mississippi State

Cameron Mitchell, Northwestern

Cam Brown, Ohio State

Christian Gonzalez, Oregon

Rezjohn Wright, Oregon State

Alex Austin, Oregon State

Joey Porter Jr., Penn State

Darrell Luter Jr., South Alabama

Cam Smith, South Carolina

Darius Rush, South Carolina

Mekhi Blackmon, Southern Cal

Kyu Blu Kelly, Stanford

Garrett Williams, Syracuse

Tre’vius Hodges-Tomlinson, TCU

Jaylon Jones, Texas A&M

Clark Phillips III, Utah

Anthony Johnson, Virginia

Chamarri Conner, Virginia Tech

The importance of Combine testing may not as important for any other position as it is for a cornerback. If you run sub 4.5, you aren’t going to be drafted high. Jaylon Jones (Texas A&M) is one I am curious to see his time. Kelee Ringo needs to do some rehab on his draft stock. Clark Phillips III, Cam Smith, Joey Porter Jr., and Christian Gonzalez all have a chance to stake their claims as first-round picks. Who is the fastest corner? I think it is going to be Riley Moss.

Fastest 40 Prediction:

Riley Moss, Iowa (4.29)

SAFETIES

DeMarcco Hellams, Alabama

Jordan Battle, Alabama

JL Skinner, Boise State

Tyreque Jones, Boise State

Daniel Scott, Cal

Rashad Torrence II, Florida

Trey Dean, Florida

Jammie Robinson, Florida State

Chris Smith II, Georgia

Gervarrius Owens, Houston

Jartavius Martin, Illinois

Sydney Brown, Illinois

Kaevon Merriweather, Iowa

Jay Ward, LSU

Jordan Howden, Minnesota

Brandon Joseph, Notre Dame

Ronnie Hickman, Ohio State

Jason Taylor II, Oklahoma State

Ji’Ayir Brown, Penn State

Brandon Hill, Pittsburgh

Cory Trice, Purdue

Antonio Johnson, Texas A&M

Antonio Johnson is the most intriguing name here. I have seen him in round one of mocks so I am curious to see if the testing matches the film. The versatility of Brian Branch will be on display during the field drills. Penn State players have dominated the Combine in recent years. Will Ji’Ayir Brown continue that streak? JL Skinner looks like a million bucks but will the athleticism match?

Fastest 40 Prediction:

Ja’Ayir Brown, Penn State (4.34)

Draft Countdown will have you covered each and every day of the 2023 NFL Scouting Combine.

 

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