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NFL Combine Players to Watch: Defense Edition

Obviously no combine overview would be complete without taking a walk on the defensive side. From D-line to DB, Royce is here to run it down for y’all, so you know which defensive bois to focus on!

Interior Defensive Line:

1. Javon Kinlaw: This dude is insane off the line! When you add his strength to that speed, you have a lineman who no one wants to block. 

2. Raekwon Davis: He was a sure day 1 pick last year, but chose to go back to Alabama, and I think that hurt him. Will this combine help him get back into the first round? 

3. Ross Blacklock: If it wasn’t for his Achilles injury in 2018, I think there would be a lot more hype surrounding him. He had a great 2017 and 2019 campaign, and after an injury like that, you never comeback the same. 

Edge:

1. Chase Young: This is an obvious one. He is the best player in the draft and I’m excited to watch his combine performance.

2. K’Lavon Chaisson: He has climbed up Draft boards late in the season and during his playoff run. I don’t think he has a chance to get drafted before Young, but it’s possible he climbs into the top 10 with a great performance. 

3. Curtis Weaver: He was the Mountain West Defensive Player of the Year and he earned it! He has an outstanding football IQ and is a versatile player. I think he can be an early day 2 pick.

Linebackers:

1. Isaiah Simmons: Yes, I am putting him here rather than a safety because he is a linebacker. He is a phenomenal athlete that can also cover. I hope the Panthers take him at 7…

2. Patrick Queen: His biggest downside is that he did not see the field a lot, but he made up for it when he got on the field. He has incredible range and can go sideline to sideline with ease. 

3. Kenneth Murray: He improved his draft stock when he got to Oklahoma. I have seen some player comparisons to Rashaan Evans and I agree. If he can preform like Evans did at the combine, he will show he is worth a first round pick. 

Cornerbacks:

1. Jeff Okudah: He’s the best CB in the draft by a long shot. He is a man coverage corner who needs a little bit of work with zone coverage. I see him as the next Jalen Ramsey. 

2. Kristian Fulton: The National Championship game really hurt his stock. He did not play his best game, but he is still a day 1 pick. I think the combine will show that everyone has a bad game and that it was nothing to worry about.

3. Trevon Diggs: I have him much higher on my board than a lot of experts and, no, it’s not because his brother is Stefon. I watched a lot of his games and I think he has an extremely high ceiling. 

Safeties: 

1. Grant Delpit: This is a half biased pick because he is my favorite player in this draft. He is the best safety, but his downside is his tackling. He missed a lot of tackles this season, but he is a playmaker and I’m excited to see what he can do!

2. Xavier McKinney: I don’t like that he is higher on draft boards than Delpit, but I can understand why. He has great open field tackling ability and a great football IQ. He is a ballhawk and that’s what teams are looking for, a well-rounded safety.

3. Antoine Winfield Jr.: He is able to play the deep half of the field and also man up against tight ends. With how the game has changed and tight ends being targeted more, he has a chance to move up on draft boards after the combine. 

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