INDIANAPOLIS — The big men have owned the weekend so far at the 2020 NFL Scouting Combine with the front seven passing off the baton to the cornerbacks for Sunday's on-field workout.
The general consensus is the EDGE group owns the star power among this year's athletes along the defensive line. But if you were to assess whether or not the EDGE group owned the showcase this year on the field, you'd be disappointed.
The interior group? They brought the heat!
Here are the big winners of the interior defensive line group this year.
Justin Madubuike, Texas A&M
Justin Madubuike was my personal preferred flavor at the position, and behind the likes of Javon Kinlaw and Derrick Brown, he did not disappoint. Madubuike flashes quickness, penetration skills and a high level of explosiveness on his college film.
Saturday in Indianapolis? He flashed ample quickness and explosiveness as well. Checking in at 293 pounds, Madubuike did initially raise some eyebrows.
But it was quickly apparent during on-field workouts as to why Madubuike came to town so lean. He clocked an impressive 4.83-second 40-yard dash and a 7.37-second 3-cone drill; both numbers were among the top five posted in his positional class yesterday.
The cherry on top for Madubuike was not compromising his testing strength. He put up 31 reps on the bench with 33.5-inch arms. It was no small feat and a clear indication that Madubuike checks the boxes necessary to be a top-50 selection in April's draft. This served as a strong statement for the Texas A&M defender.
Ross Blacklock, TCU
Ross Blacklock is a more popular choice and candidate to serve as this year’s IDL3, and if you felt that way prior to this weekend, odds are you'll have seen nothing that would change your mind. Blacklock, like Madubuike, checked in this week a little leaner than expected at 290 pounds. But a 1.70-second 10-yard split in his 40-yard runs will certainly overcome any secondary questions about his size. Blacklock, too, posted good length and looked natural in the field drills.
Some people covet Blacklock as a potential top-30 pick, and the NFL's interest seems to indicate he'll be in high demand. Blacklock has taken more than 20 team interviews this week, but none had a more unique experience than the Las Vegas Raiders.
The Raiders broke the news to Blacklock in Indianapolis that he apparently had 37 (yes, you read that right) parking violations to his name on TCU's campus. If that doesn't leave a lasting impression, nothing will. Fortunately for Blacklock, so will his short-area explosiveness.
Khalil Davis, Nebraska
Listen, we know that the 40-yard dash time is hardly the be-all and end-all regarding NFL athletic testing. We also know that if it mattered least for any positions, it would be interior offensive and defensive linemen.
But Khalil Davis posted the fastest time by a 300-plus pound defensive lineman in the past 20 years after running a 4.75-second 40-yard dash.
That is incredible. So was his 1.68-second 10-yard split.
Davis' track and field background clearly paid some dividends with his effectiveness getting out of the blocks, and he's made a strong case for consideration as a 3-technique with these explosive numbers. It's difficult to see him thrive stacking blocks because of his lack of length, but Davis clearly has the pop out of his stance to attack gaps.