The NFL Scouting Combine is here. NFL Network will be covering the combine workouts, which begin at 2 p.m. (Arrowhead Time) on Thursday with defensive linemen and linebackers. Here is more information is how to watch through the weekend.
I covered five defensive tackle prospects for Kansas City Chiefs fans to watch here. Here, we cover five more.
6. Kobie Turner | Wake Forest Demon Deacons | 6’3” | 291 lbs.
Even if he is a little undersized at sub-300 pounds, you wouldn’t be able to tell by turning Turner’s tape on. Mainly lining up in the B-Gap while at Wake Forest, Turner moved around a little bit more this past season.
In his three years of college football, Turner averaged a Pro Football Focus grade of over 90.0. While Turner has the athletic profile to get after the quarterback, his biggest strength is in the run game, where his agility and explosiveness shine. Here is the bummer: he was snubbed by the Scouting Combine and not invited, so we will just have to wait until his pro day to see how he tests.
7. Jonah Tavai | San Diego State Aztecs | 6’0” | 290 lbs.
Just like Calijah Kancey, Jonah Tavai is an undersized defensive lineman who gets after the quarterback. The only difference is that Kancey was invited to the combine, and Tavai was not. This could actually end up playing in Tavai’s favor. Now, he gets the privilege of being measured at his own pro day. Tavai is one of the most enjoyable players to watch on tape.
He plays football like a Tasmanian Devil who just slammed a case of monster energy drink and beat up the cocaine bear. He brings maximum effort on every single snap, which often pays off in the form of a sack or a tackle for a loss. Over the last two seasons, Tavai has had 22 sacks and 86 quarterback hurries. Simply put, the man is a monster.
8. Byron Young | Alabama Crimson Tide | 6’3” | 292 lbs.
Not to be mistaken for the EDGE rusher from Tennessee with the same name, Byron Young is a guy who possesses enough juice in the passing game that he is not a liability. If there is one thing that you can know for certain about defensive linemen who come out of Alabama, it’s that they are going to be full-grown men with exceptional functional strength.
Like Kobie Turner, Byron Young has been a plug-and-play rotational player from day one.
9. Zacch Pickens | South Carolina Gamecocks | 6’4” | 305 lbs.
Pickens is awesome in the run game and excelled during the one on one drills at the Senior Bowl. He needs to continue to develop and play more consistently at the next level, but when he decides that he is going to disengage from his blocker, the movement is violent, and there is nothing the offensive lineman can do about it.
The sky is the limit for a guy like Pickens; he has to show the ability to stay motivated and continue to work at his craft.
10. Mazi Smith | Michigan Wolverines | 6’3” | 337 lbs.
The only reason Mazi Smith is on this list is that he headlines Bruce Feldman’s freaks list this season. At 6’3” tall and weighing 337 lbs., Smith possesses the rare size speed and power that is unmatched in this class. The problem is it doesn’t translate to the football field. Far too often, Smith is driven off the ball by the lineman across from him.
At his size and weight, he should be able to anchor better than he does. Smith will be the ultimate combine warrior this week and possibly work his way back up into the first round, but I would be wary of spending anything higher than a fourth-round pick on a roll of the dice like Smith.