Throughout the week, I will be covering some small previews for the combine for what I think are the five biggest positions of need for the Jacksonville Jaguars: defensive line, edge rusher, linebacker, secondary, and running back.
You can see what I had to say about the defensive linemen here. That is important because all of what I said in the opening paragraph of why the combine is important for Defensive Lineman can apply to Edge Rushers just as well.
The overall theme though is that the Jaguars need athletes all along their front four. The reason they have had one of the worst pass rushes in the NFL year after year is because the players they are throwing out there are poor athletes and poor pass rushers.
The solution is pretty simple. Find better athletes who are better pass rushers. And the combine is the single most important event in determining just how good some of these players are as athletes. So who are some of the pass rushers worth monitoring?
Just from a talent and production standpoint, Spence is the best pure pass-rusher in the entire draft class and he can officially lock this spot up with a good combine. Regardless of how you feel about his off-field issues, there is no denying that he deserves attention.
In regards to a Spence-Jaguars fit that the combine pertains to, I went in depth a little more on twitter.
For comparisons sake for the edge guys this year (Spence) the 2 DEs that Caldwell has drafted (Smith/Fowler) have had..eh combines.— draft hanx (@HankJoness) February 22, 2016
Dante: Everything except his 40, Shuttle and 10-yard split was not good. Didn't get to see how that applies this year, obviously.— draft hanx (@HankJoness) February 22, 2016
Chris Smith: Great in explosion drills, horrendous agility drills. This is all pretty evident in his game. Great first step, useless after— draft hanx (@HankJoness) February 22, 2016
The best scores between the two of them:— draft hanx (@HankJoness) February 22, 2016
10 yd split: 1.56
3 cone: 7.40
RE: Spence, I wonder how close he will come to Smith's explosion numbers. But he should blow both of them out of the water in agility drills— draft hanx (@HankJoness) February 22, 2016
Next to Spence, Bosa has the most to gain and the most to lose from the combine from a stock perspective. If he tests well, he will continue to hear projections to go within the top 5 picks of the draft and there won't be any questions. If he tests poorly, things will start getting murky.
How Bosa performs at the combine is crucial to his fit with the Jaguars. Throw out all the talk about what position he will play, the Jaguars just need better athletes. But if Bosa does not test like a premier athlete, then there should be questions about if he is really the player that could get the Jaguars defense over the pass rushing hump.
Ogbah was a really productive player at Oklahoma State but nearly all of the criticism that rings about him as a prospect centers around questions about his athletic ability.
If Ogabh tests above expectations, his stock could skyrocket. If he tests poorly then he has the chance of becoming an afterthought in the draft class. Ogabh is one of those players where the combine is probably the biggest piece when it comes to forming an opinion on a player.
I am a huge Shilique Calhoun fan due to his college production and the skill set he displayed at Michigan State. But the questions about just how high his ceiling is are warranted.
With a good showing in Indy, Calhoun can put a lot of questions to rest. Like Ogabh, it seems like the overwhelming majority of questions that surround Calhoun are based more on perceived notions of him being a below average athlete than anything else.
The drill I am most curious to see how Calhoun performs in are the agility drills, like the shuttle and the 3 cone. Calhoun at times showed good agility and flexibility on the field but there were also instances where he played too stiff and upright.
Every year there is one small school defensive end that comes out of nowhere to blow up the combine and instantly get on everybody's radar. Appalachian State Defensive End Ronald Blair is the player that has the potential to do the very same.
Blair has impressed people who have looked into his tape but with small school prospects, you always want to make sure that their ceilings are high enough to warrant an investment. If Blair puts on a show in Indy, he is going to do himself a ton of favors and maybe propel his stock by a few rounds.