Day 3 of Combine Drives up Defensive Prices

With the defensive linemen and linebackers headlining the third day of the 2019 NFL Combine, there were a number of masterful showings in the individual drills. Various athletes showed out in the 40-yard dash, the bench press, the vertical and long jumps, and other various tests of how their college performance will translate into the NFL game.

In what is a glitzy and more glamorous group job interview watched by the what is the CEO/HR specialist from 32 major companies, prospects had this weekend to prove their worth to all 32 general managers in attendance. While offensive prospects dominated the drills in the first two days, the defense was the talk of the town on the final day.

The Good

For the defensive lineman, the big-time prospects already expected to be selected early were the frequently-named prospects in the highlight tapes. From Quinnen Williams to Nick Bosa to Montez Sweat (who broke the all-time 40-yard dash time for a DL, faster than OBJ) to Christian Wilkins to Rashan Gary to Brian Burns to Dexter Lawrence, the top-tier of prospects were able to show just why they were so highly regarded coming out of school.

With the linebackers, Devin White was best in show, as he put together a masterful showing on Sunday. His fellow ‘backers, Devin Bush and Josh Allen, joined him in ranking high in positional performance after the drills.

The Bad

However, there were some disappointments too, and not just due to their on-field performances yesterday. The biggest name to have struggled is projected first-round selection Jachai Polite out of Florida, as his interviews with various front-office members of numerous NFL teams left a bad taste in their mouth. Various and unnamed sources said that he did not professionally handle the interviews and that his reported hamstring injury that held him out of some games last season really was not an injury, apparently.

Character questions always hang over prospects, even when the slightest things arise. However, if confirmed by multiple sources, then Polite may see his stock fall quite a bit, also losing out on a lot of guaranteed money too.

What it means for Green Bay

For Green Bay, staying status quo for what has been projected to them may be difficult. The run on defense will dominate the early selections in the first round, and even though the Packers hold the 12th-overall pick, there will be a vast amount of defensive players, specifically linemen, who will have already been selected, limiting their pool of help-today players to select.

With Burns running up the draft board after his combine performance, he may not fall to 12th, a spot that he was originally supposed to fall past due to not having the necessary size of a dominant edge rusher. Burns tested high in most areas (even without going through all drills), sitting top-15 all-time in RAS scores with a 9.91 combined total, stemming from a 4.53 40 time and a vertical of 36 inches.

Looking at how the first round will shake out, the likes of Allen, Williams, Bosa, White and Sweat will most likely be gone already, unless they decide to move up the board. If a prospect like Burns, Bush or Gary were to fall to them at 12, that would be a solid first pick.

The defensive linemen group has many more high-tier options than linebacker does, which is perfect for a team that has a bigger hole on the line. The highest-ranking linemen, however, are interior more than edge, so with Bosa, Allen, Sweat and Burns most likely ranking 1-4 in terms of edge rushers, there is an outside chance that all four could be gone before 12th comes on the clock.

To make sure they get their player, Brian Gutekunst may need to make this the second consecutive draft were he moves from his original draft slot, except this time he would move up first instead of down, then up. Trading into the top-10 will take a decent amount of capital, but a team like the Oakland Raiders (4), Buffalo Bills (9) and the Denver Broncos (10) could all be realistic landing spots if Green Bay were to move up.

To move up to 9th or 10th would naturally need less of a return than up to 4th would, and it could look something like trading the 12th, Green Bay’s 4th and 6th rounders, and then swapping 5th rounders this year.

While only moving up 2-3 spots, that is the difference between getting who you want and getting stuck with what the board gave you.

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Mike Johrendt has been an avid fan of the Packers ever since he can remember. He is now a writer at PackersTalk and you can follow him on Twitter at @MJohrendt23

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