Combine weigh-in takeaways: Jabrill Peppers’s NFL role becomes a little clearer
INDIANAPOLIS — The combine’s on-field workouts began in earnest Friday, with the offensive linemen and running backs hitting the field. The weigh-ins aren’t over yet, though. A little of what stood out from the defensive linemen and linebacker numbers:
Myles Garrett, Edge, Texas A&M (6' 4 1/2″, 272 pounds): But wait, there’s more. Per Yahoo’s Charles Robinson, Garrett also checked in with 35 1/4″ arms and and 82 5/8″ wingspan. This is the odds-on favorite to go No. 1 overall, so the fact that he is a physical freak should come as no surprise. Still, he put official numbers behind what shows up on tape.
Malik McDowell, DL, Michigan State (6' 6 1/4″, 295 pounds): An 83-inch wingspan here, so just above Garrett’s reach. The intriguing note on McDowell, though, is that weight. He was listed at 276 at Michigan State, so 295 marks a bump of nearly 20 pounds. We’ll see what, if anything, that increase does to McDowell’s quickness when the defensive linemen test on Sunday, but the size helps his cause—J.J. Watt is 6' 5″, 295, if you need a point of reference.
One reason McDowell may have added weight, other than to solidify himself as a DT/3–4 DE: durability. He missed several games this past season, so showing that he can pack on pounds could help him sell those absences as a fluke.
Jonathan Allen, DL, Alabama (6' 2 1/2″, 286 pounds): Down five pounds from his listed weight at Alabama—McDowell aside, it’s a theme for players to drop a few before arriving in Indianapolis, since there is so much focus on the 40-yard dash and three-cone drills. Lighter usually means faster.
So, Allen needs to be quick. Even more so on the heels of the NFL Network’s report that both of his shoulders are “moderately arthritic” after they each required surgery during his college career.
Derek Barnett, Edge, Tennessee (6' 3″, 259 pounds): Another example of cutting weight ahead of the combine—Barnett was listed at 265 in college. But it definitely pushes the perception that Barnett could be seen as a hybrid edge, rather than a straight 4–3 guy. Similarly sized prospects last year included Jordan Jenkins (6' 3″, 259), Shaq Lawson (6' 3″, 269) and Noah Spence (6' 2″, 251). Barnett is expected to test well, especially in the three-cone drill.
Jabrill Peppers, LB/S, Michigan (5' 10 7/8″, 213 pounds): Yeah, dude’s a safety. Peppers is working out with the linebackers this week, for whatever reason, and there remains debate over his actual NFL position. But his skill set—both the positives and negatives—combined with those weigh-in numbers keep pushing him away from the linebacker prototype. Michigan actually had him listed at 6' 1″, which always seemed like an exaggeration.
Solomon Thomas, DL, Stanford (6' 2 5/8″, 273 pounds): A good start to the day for Thomas, who also had 33″ arms and a 78 7/8″ wingspan. There’s nothing off the charts in any of those measurements, but there’s also nothing that jumps out as a red flag for being too small. If teams project Thomas as an edge rusher (or a hybrid), the size and length are passable grades.