Nick Bosa returned from injury at the 2019 NFL Combine to learn that he not only has competition for the No. 1 pick, but also for being the first defensive player off the board.

By Kalyn Kahler
March 03, 2019

INDIANAPOLIS — Nick Bosa is back. The former Ohio State defensive end made his long-awaited return Sunday at the NFL Scouting Combine. Bosa hasn’t performed publicly in any athletic capacity since he suffered a core muscle injury in September, and he was a full participant in Sunday defensive ends workout. 

Bosa looked stiff throughout most of his on-field workout, but his so-so Underwear Olympics performance won’t impact his draft stock. Teams know what kind of player he is on the field. Bosa ran a 4.79 40-yard dash, which isn’t a spectacular number, but his 10-yard split time (1.55) was third among defensive ends this year. That number is a more important measurement for pass rushers, because it measures their initial burst off the line.

The buzz of the combine has been the idea that the Cardinals will take Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray with the first pick of the draft. Bosa had been the presumed No. 1 pick since he announced his intentions to leave Ohio State and prepare for the NFL draft in October. When asked on Saturday, Bosa told reporters that the Cardinals would be making a “big mistake” if they pass on him with the No. 1 pick and he said he’s healthy again, and has been”training at full speed for a couple months."

Alabama defensive tackle Quinnen Williams had an impressive combine workout and just might challenge Bosa for the first defensive player off the board. Williams, a single season starter at Alabama, ran a 4.84 on his second 40-yard dash run, with a blistering 1.69 split. Not many interior defensive linemen run split times faster than Williams. Rams All-Pro Aaron Donald (1.63) and Eagles All-Pro Fletcher Cox (1.66) are recent examples. NFL Network played into the hype on Williams and simulcasted his run with Donald’s 4.68 run. Williams (302 lbs.) is heavier than Donald was when he ran (282 lbs). 

Williams’agent Nicole Lynn tweeted that she advised Williams not to run his second 40 because his first time (4.87) was so good. But Williams decided to try to beat himself anyway.

What else happened today… 

Mississippi State defensive end Montez Sweat, who is 6-5, 260, ran a 4.41 in the 40, setting an NFL scouting combine record for the fastest time for a defensive linemen since 2003, when the combine started to officially track data. Sweat was a player who has been rising since an impressive Senior Bowl week, and this will only help boost him further. According to ESPN Stats & Info, his 40 time is faster than Tarik Cohen (4.42 at 179 lbs) and Odell Beckham Jr. (4.43 at 198 lbs).

FSU’s Brian Burns (4.53) and Michigan’s Rashan Gary (4.58) followed behind Sweat with the best times for defensive ends this year.

We’ve talked a lot about the loaded defensive line class, but this linebacker class is stacked with really impressive athletes. Michigan’s Devin Bush, LSU’s Devin White and Texas’ Gary Johnson now own the third, fourth and fifth-best 40 times by linebackers in the history of the combine (2003). There’s good depth at this position, and teams with a linebacker need will be able to find a solid player in later rounds.

Tomorrow

The Indiana Convention Center has already been transformed into the Work Truck Show 2019, signaling that the end of the combine must be near. On the final day of the scouting combine, defensive backs will participate in their on-field workouts.

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