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It's a deep pool of talented defensive players in this year's NFL Draft, and several of them made a major splash at this year's NFL Combine in Indianapolis.
Here, we present the players on the defensive side of the football who registered the Most Valuable Performances at the Combine. (Check out yesterday's article to find out which offensive players are on the rise.)
DL: Margus Hunt
Defensive line “tweeners” such as Barkevious Mingo and Dion Jordan stole the show at the Combine, but Hunt was the one true defensive line prospect whose freakish numbers have scouts buzzing about his potential. The former world junior track champion measured 6’8” and 277 pounds, ran the 40-Yard Dash in 4.6 seconds and pounded out 38 reps on the 225-Bench Test.
Honorable Mention: Barkevious Mingo and Dion Jordan
LB: Sio Moore
Moore’s stock was already rising following a strong showing at the Senior Bowl. At the Combine, he continued to build his résumé, finishing among the top three LBs in the 225-Bench Test (29 reps), Vertical Jump (38”), Broad Jump (10’7”) and 40-Yard Dash (4.65 seconds).
Honorable Mention: Jamie Collins (set new NFL Combine record with 11’7” Broad Jump)
CB: Desmond Trufant
Cornerback is a position of need for several NFL teams this off-season. Dee Milliner is locked in as the Number 1 CB in the draft, but Trufant made his case at the Combine to be the next corner off the board. He tested better than the top-rated CBs in this year's class with a blazing 4.38 40-yard Dash and a 3.85 20-Yard Shuttle.
Honorable Mention: Tyrann Mathieu (performed especially well during on-field CB drills)
S: Shamarko Thomas
He’s the guy who stumbled head over heels at the finish line of the 40-Yard Dash. But look beyond the blooper and Thomas put up some exceptional numbers. His 40 time of 4.42 seconds was fastest among all safeties. He also finished at the top of his position group in the 225-Bench Test with 28 reps, tied for first with a 40.5 Vertical Jump and recorded an 11’1” Broad Jump.
Honorable Mention: Kenny Vaccaro (led all safeties with a 4.06-second 20-Yard Shuttle)