Defensive Linemen, Linebackers Take Combine’s Center Stage Monday

Posted by Mike Wobschall on February 25, 2013 – 9:05 am

The Vikings Entertainment Network crew is packing up this morning and heading to the airport for a noon flight back to Minneapolis. But the Combine rolls on in Indianapolis. Only two days remain of Combine action, and Monday’s action includes on-field work for the defensive linemen and linebackers.

Here’s a quick breakdown of Monday’s schedule…

DL and LBs: On-Field Workout (timing, stations, skill drills), Departure from Indianapolis

DBs: Meetings, Psychological Testing, Bench Press, Team Interviews

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3 Defensive Players To Watch At The Combine

Posted by Mike Wobschall on February 25, 2013 – 7:21 am

This entry was originally published on February 21 but is being re-posted because DL and LBs will be conducting their on-field workouts on Monday and defensive backs will do so on Tuesday.

You’d be hard-pressed to find an individual who dedicates more time and effort to studying an incoming draft class than NFL Network’s Mike Mayock. That’s why when he identifies players to watch entering the 2013 Scouting Combine, it makes sense to keep an eye on them.

When asked to identify three players he’d focus on during Combine drills, Mayock said he’d be focused on the pass rushers who are capable of converting to outside linebacker at the pro level. In so doing, Mayock singled out LSU DE Barkevious Mingo, Texas A&M DE Damontre Moore and Oregon DE Dion Jordan. But is a college DE looking to convert to outside LB the type of player who would fit the Vikings scheme? You can certainly argue the answer is no.

So while we’d be wise to keep an eye on Mingo, Moore and Jordan, we’ll provide you with three other defenders to watch, as well. That’s not to say any of these three are better fits for the Vikings defense or not, it’s more to give you a better variety. Here we go…

DE Sam Montgomery (LSU)
Mingo is the LSU defender generating the most buzz, but I’m more interested in Montgomery’s prospects. He measures in at 6-4, 245 pounds, and that has some questioning whether or not he can go against NFL offensive linemen on a regular basis. But that’s why I’m looking forward to seeing him at the Combine. I want to see his frame and gauge whether or not and to what extent he can grow into his frame by adding bulk and strength while not compromising his explosiveness. Just from watching him play at LSU, I see him as being capable of playing both defensive end positions for the Vikings but perhaps being a better fit as a base (left) DE if he can indeed add some bulk. Even more, though, Montgomery strikes me as the kind of defensive lineman the Vikings may be able to use in nickel/obvious passing situations by sliding him inside to rush the passer. This is a tactic the NY Giants have used with so much success the past 5 seasons, and it’s something the Vikings have done as well with Brian Robison early in his career and more recently with Everson Griffen.

S Eric Reid (LSU)
It might feel like you’re on the LSU Tigers website rather than the Vikings with all of their players we’re mentioning in this blog entry, but the mentions are well deserved for these guys. Reid is an aggressive, downhill-playing safety who plays with attitude and instincts. He measures in at 6-2, 208 pounds, which is solid-not-great size for the position. If you’ve watched him play, you’ve seen that he plays with a nasty streak – fast and vicious. But I don’t want to see that from him at the Combine. I want to see how he moves in space. I know he’s a great defender when he’s playing downhill, battling in the trash and blasting a pass receiver. So I want to see him high-point the football in a position-specific drill. I want to see him break on a pass during a drill. I want to see his 3-cone and 40-yard dash time. I want to see if he looks fluid and not awkward in space. As a safety in the NFL and in the Vikings defense, you’re going to be in space.

LB Manti Te’o (Notre Dame)
As of right now, Te’o is the talk of the Combine. We’re going to continue to hear about his off-field issue and we’re going to constantly hear about how he’s going to enter an uncomfortable interview process here in Indianapolis. Obviously that’s a big deal, but I’m moving past that now. I’m more interested in watching him participate in on-field drills. Can he run (well)? If he runs poorly, that in conjunction with the off-field concerns is going to adversely impact his draft stock. In fact, some teams may put more weight on the poor running performance (if it happens) than the off-field issues. Furthermore, poor running times in conjunction with the off-field issues could drop Te’o from a Top 10 kind of guy (where I believe he is now) to a Top 20 type of guy, which means that all of a sudden Te’o could become a Vikings-relevant prospect. Currently, I don’t view Te’o as a Vikings-relevant talker because he’s supposed to go well before #23 overall. But if he runs poorly, we might have something
to talk about when it comes to Te’o.

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