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NFL Combine: Defensive Line/EDGE Rushers who Shined

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With the NFL Combine underway, the Saints front office and fans have their eyes stuck on the DL.

NFL: Combine Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

If you didn’t catch our article yesterday covering the interviews here at the Combine, the Saints are focusing pretty heavily on the defensive line. This should come as no surprise as the coaching staff and front office have all said that addressing the spot opposite Cameron Jordan is a “must”.

Derek Barnett was expected to miss the Combine drills with the flu. He came in and weighed six pounds lower than his playing weight (259-265) and was reportedly puking all week long. He came out and put up solid numbers.

I’m not going to list every defensive lineman here and their performance, but those who put up good numbers and impressed. If there are players not listed and you want to know how they performed, simply put their name in the comments.

Derek Barnett, DE, Tennessee

As mentioned, Barnett participated in drills after it was announced the day prior he would miss due to illness. Currently being mocked to the Saints with their 1st pick in many mock drafts, Barnett is seen as a day one slide in starter on the outside.

He possesses a rare combination of pass rushing, run stopping and the ability to drop back into the flats in coverage as a linemen that you just don’t see in many rookies coming into the NFL. He got pressure on opposing QBs at double the national average last year.

Height: 6030
Weight: 259
Arms: 32 1/8
Hand: 10
Bench: DNP
40yd: 4.88
10yd: 1.70
Vertical: 31”
Broad Jump: 9’9”
3 Cone: 6.96
20yd Shuttle:

Haason Reddick, DL/LB, Temple

Reddick is a walk on who started off as a cornerback before bulking up and becoming a linebacker and then defensive end. He is the answer to the newer mold of offensive skill players who are larger and faster.

Haason impressed with his linear speed and his ability in drills. He produced a better 40 time than players like Mike Evans, Le’Veon Bell and Antonio Brown. Playing several positions is not always seen as a good thing, however. It’s difficult to nail him down as a day one starter, and his snap count will depend on how individual teams grade him.

Height: 6010
Weight: 237
Arms: 32 3/4
Hand: 10 1/8
Bench: 24 Reps
40yd: 4.52
10yd: 1.60
Vertical: 36.5”
Broad Jump: 11’1”
3 Cone:
20yd Shuttle:

Tanoh Kpassagnon, DE, Villanova

Since February, Kpassagnon has really come onto the national scene. His size, strength and speed raised several eyebrows at the Senior Bowl and his performance so far at the combine has yielded the same results.

He is raw. I haven’t heard any scouts that have him as a day one starter, but his measurables put him in the elite category and most see him as having a very high ceiling.

Height: 6070
Weight: 289
Arms: 35 5/8
Hand: 10 5/8
Bench: 23 Reps
40yd: 4.83
10yd: 1.69
Vertical: 30”
Broad Jump: 10’8”
3 Cone:
20yd Shuttle:

Myles Garrett, DE, Texas A&M

For being the universal first selection in every mock Garrett seem to have plenty of detractors. I myself was one of those, but after this week’s performance I’m sold. Garrett displayed quickness and explosiveness in all drills and wowed with his vertical.

One of the biggest cases made against Garrett is the argument against production. Many analysts have brought up better production for guys like Barnett, but it’s important to note that Barnett played over 300 more snaps than Garrett.

Height: 6044
Weight: 272
Arms: 35 1/4
Hand: 10 1/4
Bench: 33 Reps
40yd: 4.64
10yd: 1.63
Vertical: 41”
Broad Jump: 10’8”
3 Cone:
20yd Shuttle:

Tarell Basham, DE, Ohio

Basham is one defensive ends who met with the Saints at the Combine. It’s predicted he’ll be drafted somewhere in the second round and should the Saints choose to address another need in the first round then guys like Basham and Kpassagnon could be targets.

At Ohio he became the 2016 Mid American Conference Defensive Player of the Year. There is a need for him to get stronger, as we can see with his bench press, but he put up good numbers in college. Long arms, solid frame and with explosive twitch that allows him to use speed to power moves effectively.

Height: 6036
Weight: 269
Arms: 34 1/4
Hand: 10 1/4
Bench: 15
40yd: 4.70
10yd: 1.61
Vertical: 31.5
Broad Jump: 9’11”
3 Cone:
20yd Shuttle:

Jordan Willis, DE, Kansas St.

Jordan owns the much coveted high motor trait and shows elite explosion in getting up field. The biggest flaw in his game is that once he gets up field, if a tackle is there with him, he gets washed out of the play.

At Kansas St. he didn’t show a lot of inside work nor an ability to drop back in coverage. He excelled in getting up the field to rush the passer. In the NFL, he’ll need more work to better round out his game if he plans on becoming a three down starter.

Height: 6036
Weight: 255
Arms: 33 1/2
Hand: 9 7/8
Bench: 24 Reps
40yd: 4.53
10yd: 1.54
Vertical: 39”
Broad Jump: 10’5”
3 Cone: 6.85
20yd Shuttle: 4.28

Derek Rivers, DE/LB, Youngstown

Youngstown standout Derek Rivers is a potential 3rd-4th round pick who put up good numbers in college and became a 3rd team All American. He played both defensive end and linebacker as a junior and really came into his own as a senior when he put up 19.5 tackles for loss and 14 sacks.

There are some issues with his fundamentals, such as his tendency to lose gap awareness on the outside and can struggle at times to disengage from blockers. Like Reddick, it depends on where teams see Rivers playing. He is part of the new wave of “tweeners” in the NFL.

Height: 6035
Weight: 248
Arms: 32 3/4
Hand: 9 3/8
Bench: 30
40yd: 4.61
10yd: 1.61
Vertical: 35”
Broad Jump: 10’3”
3 Cone: 6.94
20yd Shuttle:

Solomon Thomas, DT/DE, Stanford

Some analysts and scouts see Thomas on the inside, and some think he can make the transition to the outside. His tape is impossible to deny. The man gets after the ball carrier, whether it be the quarterback or the runningback.

If the Saints see him as an outside rusher, then if he’s available at 11 they call his name. If they see him as an inside rusher as I do, they’ll pass and go for a more traditional 4-3 such as Barnett.

Height: 6025
Weight: 273
Arms: 33
Hand: 9 3/8
Bench: 30
40yd: 4.70
10yd: 1.66
Vertical: 35”
Broad Jump: 10’6”
3 Cone: 6.95
20yd Shuttle: 4.28

We will fill in more information on these player as it becomes available. If you have a question about a specific player and their performance just place their name in the comments section.