February 25, 2008

The linebackers took to the RCA Dome on Monday afternoon to complete their combine journey. There were a number of surprise performances by unheralded prospects at the position while several highly-ranked prospects were not as lucky.

Stanford Keglar, Purdue: Keglar had the best combine performance of any linebacker from top to bottom. He weighed in at 239 pounds then completed 29 reps on the bench, best at the position. He then sped across the floor of the RCA Dome with times of 4.63 and 4.65 seconds in the forty. Keglar also stood out in drills, showing a lot of skill in pass coverage.

Jonathan Goff, Vanderbilt: Goff was one of the bigger surprises of the day, displaying athleticism many thought he was incapable of. His forty times ranged in the high 4.6 area and he really stood out in the practice session. Goff was quick, explosive and covered a lot of area on the field during pass coverage drills, a skill he was not known for in college.

Jerod Mayo, Tennessee: Mayo also the fastest of the top linebackers with times that ranged between 4.59 and 4.60 seconds. He looked terrific in drills and, like Goff, was better than expected in pass coverage. Mayo did not lift on the bench press, which was a disappointment.

Wesley Woodyard Jr., Kentucky: Woodyard was the speediest linebacker in attendance, clocking 4.50 seconds in his forty, with a few watches reading as fast as 4.47 seconds. He was fluid and displayed quick feet during the practice session which is important. Woodyard weighed in at just 227 pounds, which makes him a one-gap linebacker candidate.

Gary Guyton, Georgia Tech: Guyton ran times of 4.56 and 4.58 seconds. He displayed quickness in drills, easily moving about the field and always staying on balance.

Tavares Gooden, Miami-Fla: Gooden completed 22 reps on the bench after weighing 234 pounds. He turned in solid times in the upper 4.6s then looked good during drills before leaving the field with an injury.

Steve Octavien, Nebraska: Octavien was one of the few bright lights for the Cornhuskers last season and continued to shine at the combine. He ran times of 4.7 seconds during both runnings of the forty and stood out in pass coverage. Octavien weighed in at 238 pounds and completed a surprising 26 reps on the bench.

Philip Wheeler, Georgia Tech: Wheeler ran poorly in the forty, timing between the upper 4.7 range to the low 4.8 area. He looked stiff and sluggish in drills and did nothing to dispel the belief he's a one dimensional run stuffing linebacker.

Ali Highsmith, LSU: Highsmith dealt a serious blow to his draft grade during his workout. He weighed just 230 pounds then was unable to run faster then five seconds in the forty. Highsmith performed poorly during drills and his lack of speed was apparent.

Geno Hayes, Florida State: Hayes made a questionable decision leaving Florida State after his junior season and that choice looks even worse after the combine. He measured under 6-foot-1 and weighed just 226 pounds. Hayes was known for his speed with the Seminoles yet ran a pedestrian 4.75 seconds in the forty.

Steve Allen, West Texas A&M: Allen did not perform at the combine the way a small school prospect needs to. He weighed 236 pounds and barely broke 4.9 seconds in the forty. Allen was able to complete just 17 reps on the bench.

Neither Keith Rivers of Southern Cal nor Penn State's Dan Connor chose to partake in any of the combine workouts. Each will work out during their pro days next month.

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