NFL Prospect Post-Combine Rankings: Defense

The defensive rankings had a few more changes than the offensive, but still not many.  The most notable changes are at cornerback.

Joe Haden of Florida hurt himself in the combine with a 40-yard dash time of 4.57 seconds.  However, I ultimately went back to his game footage and still think highly of me.  A 40-yard dash time at the Combine does not determine a player’s future, and while this was unfortunate for him, his day as a whole was not bad enough to hurt him too badly.

With all of that being said, Joe Haden did drop to #2 on the cornerback rankings because of Rutgers’ Devin McCourty.  McCourty ran a 4.34 second 40-yard dash and posted a respectable 16 reps on the bench press.

The other defensive winners of the NFL Combine include former TCU linebacker Daryl Washington, former South Carolina linebacker Eric Norwood and Florida State’s Dakoda Walker.  Washington and Norwood impressed in position drills, making them seem smooth and effortless.  Walker showed his unmatched athletic ability with a 4.50 second 40-yard dash, a 40 inch vertical jump and a broad jump of over eleven feet.

Note, the asterisk (*) denotes and defensive end or outside linebacker that would fit best as a rush linebacker in a 3-4.

Defensive End

  1. Derrick Morgan, Georgia Tech
  2. Jason Pierre-Paul, South Florida
  3. Carlos Dunlap, Florida
  4. Brandon Graham*, Michigan
  5. Everson Griffen, USC

Defensive Tackle

  1. Ndamukong Suh, Nebraska
  2. Gerald McCoy, Oklahoma
  3. Brian Price, UCLA
  4. Dan Williams, Tennessee
  5. Jared Odrick, Penn State

Inside Linebacker

  1. Rolando McClain, Alabama
  2. Daryl Washington, TCU
  3. Brandon Spikes, Florida
  4. Jamar Chaney, Mississippi State
  5. Micah Johnson, Kentucky

Outside Linebacker

  1. Sergio Kindle*, Texas
  2. Jerry Hughes*, TCU
  3. Novorro Bowman, Penn State
  4. Eric Norwood, South Carolina
  5. Dakoda Walker, Florida State


  1. Devin McCourty, Rutgers
  2. Joe Haden, Florida
  3. Kyle Wilson, Boise State
  4. Kareem Jackson, Alabama
  5. Brandon Ghee, Wake Forest


  1. Eric Berry, Tennessee
  2. Earl Thomas, Texas
  3. Taylor Mays, USC
  4. Nate Allen, South Florida
  5. Myron Rolle, Florida State

Eric Norwood was originally not in my top five at outside linebacker, but his performance in the Combine proved he can thrive in both 3-4 and 4-3 defensive schemes.

Taylor Mays, while having a “freakish” Combine, still has trouble in coverage, as shown in the Senior Bowl.  Fellow safety Myron Rolle however showed that he is still prepared for the NFL after his trip to Oxford.

Even though some players fizzled out while others shined through, no ranking is final until each player has his pro day.  And no matter the showings this week or in pro days, we are sure to see an interesting NFL Draft.


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