The defensive players finally got their chase to perform for their future employers today in Indianapolis. The linemen were up first, and based on today's results there could be some shuffling of draft boards across the league.
Vernon Gholston, Ohio State: Gholston started his combine right weighing in at 266 pounds and then completing 37 reps on the bench, which equaled the mark of offensive tackle Jake Long. He was fast on the floor of the RCA Dome this morning, clocking 40 times in the low-4.6 area. He was fluid and showed great speed during the position workout. Gholston made millions for himself today.
Quentin Groves, Auburn: Groves scorched the track this morning, timing both his 40 times at 4.50 seconds. He measured 6-foot-3 on Saturday and completed 30 reps on the bench. Scouts were disappointed he chose to not partake in the position drills.
Marcus Howard, Georgia: Howard's draft stock has been on the rise since September. He was the fastest of any player today with some stop watches reading as low as 4.4 seconds after his first 40. Howard injured his leg during the first timing and chose not to continue. He measured just 6-0 1/2 and 237 pounds, which makes a move to linebacker likely.
Cliff Avril, Purdue: Avril was also fleet across 40 yards, timing in at 4.6 seconds. He measured an impressive 6-3 and 253 pounds. His 27 reps on the bench was also a solid mark. Avril looked very quick and impressive when he was asked to run linebacker drills late in the morning.
Shawn Crable, Michigan: The Wolverine linebacker was classified as a defensive linemen at the combine and made scouts feel he can play both positions. Crable ran impressively, timing in the mid-4.6's on both his runs. He looked strong on the bench, completing 29 reps.
Joseph "Red" Bryant, Texas A&M: Bryant surprised scouts today with his speed and athleticism. He tipped the scales at 318 pounds on Saturday, then posted two 40 times near the five second mark today. Bryant also looked good in position drills, showing great punch when asked to hit the blocking dummies.
Sedrick Ellis, USC: Ellis continues to be the apple in the eye for a number of teams at the top of the draft. He tipped the scales at 309 pounds, same as the Senior Bowl, then completed 34 reps on the bench. His 40 times ranged in the mid-5.2 area, yet he stood out during the drills. Ellis was intense during the entire session, showing great explosion and giving top effort in each drill.
Pat Sims, Auburn: Sims looked athletic today, posting two 40 times at just over 5.10. He was quick-footed and smoothly moved around the field during the practice session.
Calais Campbell, Miami: Campbell's struggles continue, as he capped a mediocre junior season with a poor combine. He measured just over 6-7 1/2 and 290 pounds, yet completed a measly 16 reps on the bench -- worst of any defensive linemen who participated. Campbell then ran his 40s near the 5.1 mark and looked winded at the end of the practice session.
Kentwan Balmer, North Carolina: Balmer was slow, running times near 5.3 seconds, and looked sluggish during the drills. He was late reacting to the instructions given to him by coaches and struggled changing direction in certain drills.
Titus Brown, Mississippi State: Scouts are not sure if the 246-pound Brown has the size to remain at defensive line. His 40 times may prevent a move to linebacker, as he barely cracked the five-second barrier.
Jeremy Geathers, UNLV: Geathers surprised a lot of people by entering this year's draft and that decision looks even more questionable today. He's best known as a speed rusher, yet at 256 pounds Geathers struggled to run faster than 4.9 seconds.
Tommy Blake, the troubled lineman from TCU, did not participate in any of the workouts ... Almost two dozen defensive linemen were asked to participate in a battery of linebacker drills at the end of the session, displaying the need for versatile players who can be used in the exotic blitz schemes of today's NFL ... Only two defensive linemen, Sedrick Ellis of USC and Ahtyba Rubin from Iowa State, were classified as nose tackles by the combine.