We figured we were in for a treat as an impressive class of defensive linemen and linebackers headed into Day 5 of the 2013 NFL Scouting Combine, but little did we know how much of a treat it would be.
Several prospects in the front-seven stunned on Monday in Indianapolis, drawing praise from around the nation and soaring up draft boards in the process.
Whether teams were looking at 3-4 outside linebackers or 4-3 defensive ends, there was a little bit for everyone on Day 5.
Here are the front-seven prospects who stood out the most to me.
*Note: All marks courtesy of NFL.com
Zaviar Gooden, OLB, Missouri
To say Missouri outside linebacker Zaviar Gooden blew up at the combine on Monday would be an understatement.
Among linebackers, Gooden ranked first in the 40-yard dash (4.47 seconds), fourth on the bench press (27), sixth in the vertical jump (34.0 inches), second in the broad jump (131 inches), first in the three-cone drill (6.71 seconds), first in the 20-yard shuttle and first in the 60-yard shuttle (11.28 seconds).
That's a fantastic display of athleticism and explosiveness for the 6'1", 234-pounder.
Dion Jordan, DE/OLB, Oregon
Dion Jordan was the talk of the combine on Monday when he ran the 40-yard dash in 4.60 seconds at 6'6", 248 pounds. He also posted a broad jump of 122 inches.
Gregg Rosenthal of NFL.com wrote:
Oregon's Dion Jordan was an absolute freak to see in person. He looks like he could cover Kevin Durant and Aaron Hernandez. A man as big as Jordan should not move like he moves.
Jordan's display had NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock comparing him to San Francisco 49ers outside linebacker Aldon Smith, per Pro Football Talk.
It's not a stretch at this point to see Jordan catapult into the top 10 on draft day.
Margus Hunt, DE, SMU
Talk about moving fast for his size.
Despite measuring in at 6'8", 272 pounds, Margus Hunt ran the 40-yard dash on Monday in 4.60 seconds. He's two inches taller and nearly 25 pounds heavier than Jordan, mind you.
Hunt has "athletic freak of nature" written all over him. Beyond his 40-yard dash time, the SMU product also recorded 38 reps at 225 pounds on the bench press (tied for first among all defensive linemen and linebackers).
On the other hand, Hunt didn't participate in the three-cone drill, 20-yard shuttle or 60-yard shuttle. That's worth noting because analysts have concerns about his change-of-direction ability and flexibility.
Sharrif Floyd, DT, Florida
Running the 40-yard dash in 4.92 seconds may not seem that impressive until you realize Sharrif Floyd is listed at 297 pounds.
That's an eye-opening time for a defensive tackle, especially one that already was rising up draft boards. Combined with Floyd's versatility and motor, it's no wonder some believe the Florida product will end up being selected in the top 10 of the draft this year.
Remember how fast Kansas City Chiefs defensive tackle Dontari Poe soared up draft boards after his combine performance in 2012? Exactly.
Barkevious Mingo, OLB, LSU
As long as Barkevious Mingo is used as an outside linebacker in the NFL, he's going to be just fine.
The 6'4", 241-pounder doesn't have the size to hold the edge at defensive end, but his athleticism was on full display on Monday. Mingo ranked fourth in the 40-yard dash (4.58 seconds), fifth in the vertical jump (37.0 inches) and third in the broad jump (128.0 inches) among all linebackers and defensive linemen.
Mingo's potential is off the charts as an outside pass-rusher. He will be hard to stop when he gets going in space.
Cornelius Washington, OLB, Georgia
Cornelius Washington didn't post the kind of numbers that jump out at you at Georgia, but his performance on Monday surely had scouts and draft analysts drooling.
Among all linebackers and defensive linemen, Washington ranked second in the 40-yard dash (4.55 seconds), fourth in the bench press (36 reps), second in the vertical jump (39.0 inches) and fifth in the broad jump (128.0 inches).
Washington still needs to show he has a second pass-rushing move—as well as adequate flexibility and agility at the position—but the 6'4", 265-pounder surely soared up draft boards on Monday.
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