2022 NFL Scouting Combine: Risers and fallers following defensive line and linebacker drills

Indianapolis, IN, USA; Georgia defensive lineman Jordan Davis (DL05) goes through drills during the 2022 NFL Scouting Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

There may not be another position on an NFL field where athletic testing is more important than defensive line, and that’s who got to run Saturday night at the 2022 NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis. If you didn’t test like a high-end athlete there, don’t expect to go high in the 2022 NFL Draft come next April.

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Defensive Tackle


Jordan Davis, Georgia

40-yard dash: 4.78 seconds
Vertical jump: 32 inches
Broad jump: 10-foot-3

Was it the single greatest combine performance ever? Davis is so far an outlier for a 330-plus pounder that it still seems impossible what he did (at 341 pounds!). The previous record for anyone over 330 pounds running the 40-yard dash was 4.92 seconds. Each drill Davis did was in the top three ever for someone in that weight class. He still could stand to shed a little weight if he's to play an every-down role, but even if he’s only a two-down player, he’s still going in the top 15 after this week's performance.

Devonte Wyatt, Georgia

40-yard dash: 4.77 seconds
Vertical jump: 29 inches
Broad jump: 9-foot-3

Wyatt was cooking. You don’t have to watch too many plays of him on tape to realize he was going to blow up the combine. He is the kind of athlete who can be an elite interior pressure generator at the next level. Don’t expect him to make it out of the top 15 picks now.

Travis Jones, Connecticut

40-yard dash: 4.92 seconds
Vertical jump: 28.5 inches
Broad jump: 9-foot-2
3-cone: 7.33 seconds
Shuttle: 4.58 seconds

Add to the numbers above the fact that Jones is 6-foot-4 and 325 pounds with 34.25-inch arms and 10.25-inch hands, and it wouldn’t surprise me to see him sneak into the first round. He was the most dominant nose tackle in attendance at the Senior Bowl, as well. That’s the athletic profile of a true three-down nose tackle that every team is looking for.

Thomas Booker, Stanford

40-yard dash: 4.94 seconds
Broad jump: 9-foot-2
3-cone: 7.33 seconds
Shuttle: 4.41 seconds

Booker deserves some love here because he got hung out to dry by the combine organizers. He tested alongside the edge group, so he looked slow by comparison, but his testing numbers were outstanding for a 301-pound defensive tackle. His change-of-direction drills were especially impressive, considering his 3-cone time was better than even some receivers and tight ends in attendance.


Neil Farrell Jr., LSU

40-yard dash: 5.41 seconds
Vertical jump: 21.5 inches
3-cone: 8.41 seconds

While pure athleticism at nose tackle is low on the totem pole of positions where it matters, those are still some rough numbers from Farrell. That puts him near the bottom of the barrel in nearly every testing metric.

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DeMarvin Leal, Texas A&M

40-yard dash: 5.0 seconds
Vertical jump: 27.5 inches
Broad jump: 8-foot-10
Shuttle: 4.49 seconds

While those numbers wouldn’t be bad by any means if Leal had ideal tackle size, they are rough in the context of him being a tweener. At 283 pounds, Leal is going to have to play on the edge in the NFL or bulk up to play inside. And this is not the kind of athlete you want playing on the edge.

Edge Defender


Travon Walker, Georgia

40-yard dash: 4.51 seconds
Vertical jump: 35.5 inches
Broad jump: 10-foot-3
3-cone: 6.89 seconds
Shuttle: 4.32 seconds

Considering he did all the above at 6-foot-5 and 272 pounds with 35.5-inch arms, this was nothing short of an all-time combine for Walker. That’s the kind of athlete who simply isn’t going to escape the top 10 in this year’s draft. That’s too freaky to pass up on, especially considering what he could develop into. Among 270-plus pound edge rushers who have ever tested pre-draft, Walker had the fastest 40-yard dash ever, the 11th-best broad jump and the fourth-best 3-cone.

Aidan Hutchinson, Michigan

40-yard dash: 4.74 seconds
Vertical jump: 36 inches
Broad jump: 9-foot-9
3-cone: 6.73 seconds
Shuttle: 4.15 seconds

The 40-yard dash gets all the hype, but the 3-cone and explosive tests like the vertical are far more important to the position than long speed. Hutchinson’s performance was one of the best you’ll ever see from an edge rusher. His 6.73-second 3-cone was the second-best ever from a 255-plus pound player, and his 4.15 shuttle was tops among all defensive linemen in attendance.

Nik Bonitto, Oklahoma

40-yard dash: 4.54 seconds
Vertical jump: 35.5 inches
Broad jump: 10-foot
3-cone: 7.07 seconds
Shuttle: 4.23 seconds

Bonitto came in with question marks about his weight but ticked that box by showing up at 248 pounds. He then proceeded to test like an explosive athlete despite definitely coming in bigger than he looked on tape. He put up the kind of explosive numbers needed to thrive as a speed rusher in the NFL.

Amaré Barno, Virginia Tech

40-yard dash: 4.36 seconds
Vertical jump: 37 inches
Broad jump: 10-foot-11
Shuttle: 4.45 seconds

Barno was initially thought of as an athletic project, and he tested exactly the way you’d want a project to test. Those are unheard of numbers — the 246-pound Barno broke the combine 40-yard dash record for a defensive lineman. With 34-inch arms and that kind of explosion, he shouldn’t need much refinement in the way of technique to be a bull-rushing threat off the edge.

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Boye Mafe, Minnesota

40-yard dash: 4.53 seconds
Vertical jump: 38 inches
Broad jump: 10-foot-5

Lost in a bunch of elite performances was the show Mafe put on. The difference between him and the two guys above him on this list: he’s a rocked up 261 pounds. That’s a big boy moving. After earning the highest pass-rushing grade of anyone at the Senior Bowl, Mafe is having one heck of a pre-draft process.


Myjai Sanders, Cincinnati

40-yard dash: 4.67 seconds
Vertical jump: 33 inches
Broad jump: 10-foot
Shuttle: 4.37 seconds

Truthfully, there weren’t a lot of fallers in an edge group that lived up to the hype in Indianapolis. Sanders, however, certainly qualifies as one. He lost the week before he even participated in a drill when he weighed in at only 228 pounds. At 6-foot-5, he could be a wide receiver at that size. Billed as an explosive athlete, he tested out as anything but.



Troy Andersen, Montana State

40-yard dash: 4.42 seconds
Vertical jump: 36 inches
Broad jump: 10-foot-8

The former quarterback and running back now has another title: freak. He ran the fastest 40-yard dash of any linebacker in attendance (4.42 seconds). The thing is, he isn't an undersized, modern safety-turned-linebacker. No, Andersen is 6-foot-3 and 243 pounds and still cooked his 40-yard dash like that. That should lock him into being a top-100 pick.

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Chad Muma, Wyoming

40-yard dash: 4.63 seconds
Bench press: 27 repetitions
Vertical jump: 40 inches
Broad jump: 10-foot-9
3-cone: 7.06 seconds
Shuttle: 4.28 seconds

Muma clearly proved he’s one heck of an explosive dude at 239 pounds. Those are nothing short of elite explosive figures that you want from a three-down linebacker. Muma isn’t lasting past the second round anymore.

Leo Chenal, Wisconsin

40-yard dash: 4.53 seconds
Vertical jump: 40.5 inches
Broad jump: 10-foot-8

For my money, this was the single freakiest performance among an insanely athletic linebacker group. The reason being, Chenal did all that at a jumbo 250 pounds. He proved his downhill thumping ability won’t look any different against the strength in the NFL. The scary thing is, he didn’t even do what will arguably be his best drill: the bench press. Chenal has videos of him repping 225 pounds 40 times and is reportedly in contention to beat the linebacker record of 41.

Darrian Beavers, Cincinnati

Vertical jump: 36.5 inches
Broad jump: 10-foot-5
3-cone: 6.91 seconds

Trying to pare the “risers” down for linebackers was damn-near impossible. Alabama’s Christian Harris, Georgia’s Channing Tindall, LSU’s Damone Clark and Penn State’s Brandon Smith knocked it out of the park as well. Beavers, however, was thought of as more of a two-down SAM type of linebacker coming out of Cincinnati. In the drills he did in Indianapolis, however, Beavers tested firmly like a three-down player. In fact, his 6.91-second 3-cone was the best of any linebacker in attendance. At 6-foot-4 and 237 pounds with 32 ⅜-inch arms, he can be a tight end eraser in the NFL. 


Nakobe Dean, Georgia

Faller isn’t quite the right term here. And especially so since Dean didn’t even work out. But his weigh-in didn’t exactly do him any favors on NFL teams' draft boards. In a linebacker class where everyone looks seemingly built in a lab, Dean measured in at 5-foot-11 and 229 pounds. That’s simply going to pigeonhole him into certain roles/schemes at the next level. The good news is, Dean’s wingspan is nearly identical to Nick Bolton’s, and Bolton seemed to work out just fine as a rookie.

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