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Who to watch during DL, LB workouts at the 2020 NFL Combine

The 2020 NFL Combine is underway and on-field workouts get started on Thursday. We break down the running backs, offensive linemen, and special teams players to watch.

General view of interior of Lucas Oil Stadium for the NFL Combine.

The 2020 NFL Combine is upon us, and over 300 football prospects are hoping to boost their stock for the upcoming 2020 NFL Draft. Players will hold Pro Days in March and April, but the Combine brings all 32 teams together to pour over medical records and performances by the various prospects.

Players arrive in positional groups, and defensive linemen and linebackers arrived on Tuesday. They’ve gone through medical exams, measurements, and are in the process of the team interview scheduling.

Now, they move on to the on-field workouts. This includes running the 40-yard dash, going through the 3-cone drills and shuttle run, doing the vertical leap and broad jump, and going through various position-specific drills.

NFL Combine TV schedule

NFL Network will be airing live coverage from the workouts starting Thursday. The NFL has moved the workouts into prime time, hoping to generate a little more buzz to their television network. They will air from 4-11 p.m. and will be available via live online stream.

Who to watch

Defensive Linemen

Derrick Brown: After Chase Young, Brown comes in as the consensus No. 2 defensive lineman and the best on the interior. At 6’5”, 326 pounds, Brown imposes his will on the offensive line and is an elite run stopper. In his last three years at Auburn, Brown accumulated 31.5 tackles for loss, 11.5 sacks and five forced fumbles. On the field he looks strong enough to take on the NFL without much of a learning curve and quickly upgrade any defensive line.

Yetur Gross-Matos: Gross-Matos has faced more tragedy in his life than anyone should have to bear, as his father died while saving him from drowning when he was two and then ten-years later he lost his older brother to a lightning strike. He seems to have taken that unspeakable pain and learned from it. His work ethic is unbeatable according to his coaches and he plays 100 percent all of the time. Gross-Matos is an EDGE player with great length and quickness but still has room to improve his base strength in the NFL as his body transforms with age and strength coaching. There’s little doubt that he has room for growth while already being one of the best defensive ends in the country.

Ross Blacklock: After missing all of 2018 with an Achilles tear, Blacklock returned with a excellent season including 40 total tackles and 3.5 sacks. At 6’4 and 305 lbs., his ability to attack the passer is his strength but he can also maintain either one or two gaps in the pivot. An All-Big XII performer, his father Jimmy was a member of the Harlem Globetrotters. He’ll look to work on his technique and ability to get free in run fit for whatever NFL team takes him with his high ceiling.

Linebackers

Isaiah Simmons: Simmons played as a safety to start his college career but moved to linebacker, winning the Butkus Award his junior year. He has ability all over the field, which is coveted by defensive coordinators wanting to hide coverages. He covers the field with ease, snuffing out running backs on the edge and disrupting passing lanes. When asked what position he plays at the combine, Simmons said “defense.” His versatility may confuse some who want to get the most out of his ability at one position, but NFL defenses have to be flexible and versatile to keep up with the Lamar Jacksons and Patrick Mahomes of the world and Simmons is the right man for the job.

Kenneth Murray: A three-year starter for Oklahoma, Murray is an inside linebacker with elite speed for 6’2, 234 lbs. His 21 reps on the bench press already show his strength, and he receives high marks for his ability to recognize plays and excellent instincts. He had a massive 155 tackles as a sophomore, but just 95 his junior year as teams began to game plan to stay away from him. Though he’s for sure more dangerous as a run defender, he’s also shown he can cover in space as needed especially in zone.

Zack Baun: After five years at Wisconsin, the redshirt senior exploded his final year with 52 tackles, including 19.5 for loss. At 6’2, 240 lbs., he shows elite athleticism but might be a bit undersized. He’s a bit more of a coverage linebacker, but can also get free and close on the passer with excellent speed. He also is lauded for smarts and ability to read keys and be in the right position to make the tackle. The knock is likely his size, but otherwise he could be the total package at the next level.

List of players

DL, LB Combine participants

Name Position School Conference
Name Position School Conference
Agim, McTelvin DL Arkansas SEC
Anae, Bradlee DL Utah Pac-12
Blacklock, Ross DL TCU Big 12
Brown, Derrick DL Auburn SEC
Coatney, Josiah DL Mississippi SEC
Coleman, Kendall DL Syracuse ACC
Daniels, Darrion DL Nebraska Big Ten
Davidson, Marlon DL Auburn SEC
Davis, Carlos DL Nebraska Big Ten
Davis, Khalil DL Nebraska Big Ten
Davis, Raekwon DL Alabama SEC
Elliott, Jordan DL Missouri SEC
Epenesa, A.J. DL Iowa Big Ten
Fotu, Leki DL Utah Pac-12
Gallimore, Neville DL Oklahoma Big 12
Garvin, Jonathan DL Miami ACC
Gipson, Trevis DL Tulsa AAC
Greenard, Jonathan DL Florida SEC
Gross-Matos, Yetur DL Penn St. Big Ten
Hamilton, DaVon DL Ohio St. Big Ten
Hamilton, LaDarius DL North Texas Conference USA
Highsmith, Alex DL Charlotte Conference USA
Hill, Trevon DL Miami ACC
Jones, Benito DL Mississippi SEC
Kareem, Khalid DL Notre Dame IA Independents
Kinlaw, Javon DL South Carolina SEC
Lawrence II, Rashard DL LSU SEC
Lynch, James DL Baylor Big 12
Madubuike, Justin DL Texas A&M SEC
Murchison, Larrell DL N.C. State ACC
Okwara, Julian DL Notre Dame IA Independents
Penisini, John DL Utah Pac-12
Rivers, Chauncey DL Mississippi St. SEC
Roach, Malcolm DL Texas Big 12
Robinson, Alton DL Syracuse ACC
Sheppard, Qaadir DL Mississippi SEC
Smith-Williams, James DL N.C. State ACC
Strowbridge, Jason DL North Carolina ACC
Tuszka, Derrek DL North Dakota St. Missouri Valley
Washington, Broderick DL Texas Tech Big 12
Willekes, Kenny DL Michigan St. Big Ten
Williams, Raequan DL Michigan St. Big Ten
Windsor, Rob DL Penn St. Big Ten
Wonnum, D.J. DL South Carolina SEC
Young, Chase DL Ohio St. Big Ten
Zuniga, Jabari DL Florida SEC
Bachie, Joe LB Michigan St. Big Ten
Bailey, Markus LB Purdue Big Ten
Baun, Zack LB Wisconsin Big Ten
Bernard, Francis LB Utah Pac-12
Bituli, Daniel LB Tennessee SEC
Bradley, Shaun LB Temple AAC
Brooks, Jordan LB Texas Tech Big 12
Brown, Cameron LB Penn St. Big Ten
Chaisson, K'Lavon LB LSU SEC
Coe, Nick LB Auburn SEC
Coughlin, Carter LB Minnesota Big Ten
Davis-Gaither, Akeem LB Appalachian St. Sun Belt
Divinity, Michael LB LSU SEC
Dye, Troy LB Oregon Pac-12
Galeai, Tipa LB Utah St. Mountain West
Garrett, Cale LB Missouri SEC
Gay Jr., Willie LB Mississippi St. SEC
Harris, Scoota LB Arkansas SEC
Harrison, Malik LB Ohio St. Big Ten
Hudson, Khaleke LB Michigan Big Ten
Jennings, Anfernee LB Alabama SEC
Johnston, Clay LB Baylor Big 12
Kamara, Azur LB Kansas Big 12
Lewis, Terrell LB Alabama SEC
Mack, Jordan LB Virginia ACC
Martin, Kamal LB Minnesota Big Ten
Murray, Kenneth LB Oklahoma Big 12
Olson, Dante LB Montana Big Sky
Phillips, Jacob LB LSU SEC
Pinckney, Michael LB Miami ACC
Quarterman, Shaquille LB Miami ACC
Queen, Patrick LB LSU SEC
Russell, Chapelle LB Temple AAC
Simmons, Isaiah LB Clemson ACC
Strnad, Justin LB Wake Forest ACC
Taylor, Darrell LB Tennessee SEC
Taylor, Davion LB Colorado Pac-12
Toohill, Casey LB Stanford Pac-12
Uche, Josh LB Michigan Big Ten
Walker, Mykal LB Fresno St. Mountain West
Weaver, Curtis LB Boise St. Mountain West
Weaver, Evan LB California Pac-12
Wilson, Logan LB Wyoming Mountain West
Woodward, David LB Utah St. Mountain West