By Ryan Mayer
Linebackers, like the rest of their defensive counterparts, have gotten more and more athletic as the years have gone by. This year’s crop gets to put on a show today in front of the scouts and GM’s in Indy. These are the records that currently stand in each drill for the guys to shoot for.
40-yard dash- Jon Alston LB Stanford 2006- Alston’s combine performance was pretty impressive running a 4.4 in the 40, with a 40-inch vertical, 11′ foot broad jump and a 6.90 in the 3-cone drill. The Rams then took him with their 3rd round pick (77th overall). He played just one season with them before moving on to spend three seasons with the Raiders. He retired in 2011.
Bench Press- Ronnell Lewis LB Oklahoma 2012- Lewis entered the draft early following a junior year in which he recorded 13.0 tackles for loss and 5.5 sacks. His 36 reps on the bench still stands as a position record and combined with his 4.68 40, 7.09 3-cone drill and 4.4 second 20 yard shuttle to get him drafted in the 4th round (125th overall) by the Detroit Lions. He only spent one year with the team before moving on to the CFL (Argonauts) and AFL (Shock, KISS) and will play in the IFL (Spokane Empire) this season.
Vertical Jump- Roger McIntosh LB Miami 2006- Better known as “Rocky”, McIntosh’s 42.5-inch vertical remains a combine record for the position. The Redskins liked him enough to take him in the 2nd round of the draft (35th overall). He played six years in DC before spending time with the Rams and Lions and retiring following the 2013 season. His career saw him make 530 tackles (370 solo), 9 sacks and 8 forced fumbles.
Broad Jump- Jamie Collins LB Southern Miss 2013- Collins had one of the most impressive combine showings in recent memory with his 11’7″ broad jump (position record), 4.64 40, 41.5-inch vertical, 7.10 time in the 3-cone drill and 11.55 second 60 yard shuttle. Collins lasted into the 2nd round (53nd overall) where the Patriots happily snapped him up. In three years with Belichik’s crew he’s seen his role grow more and more recording 9.5 sacks, 9 forced fumbles, 4 fumble recoveries and 283 tackles (175 solo).
3-cone drill- Cody Grimm LB Virginia Tech 2010- Grimm was an undersized linebacker coming out of Virginia Tech, but a productive one at that with 204 tackles, 26.5 for loss, and 11.5 sacks in his three year career. His 6.58 time in this drill and 4.64 40 time helped get him drafted in the 7th round (210th overall) by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He spent three years in Tampa mostly as a free safety playing in 23 games and starting 12.
20 yard shuttle- AJ Hawk LB Ohio State 2006- Hawk was a prolific college player and expected to be a standout pro. His 3.96 time is a position group record here. The Green Bay Packers made him the 5th overall pick in 2006 and he would spend 9 years with the packers never missing a game. He moved on to the Cincinnati Bengals this past season and for his 10 year career he’s racked up 950 tackles (644 solo), 20 sacks, 4 forced fumbles, 5 fumble recoveries and 9 interceptions.
60 yard shuttle- Ben Heeney ILB Kansas 2015- Heeney was a three year starter for the Jayhawks and a productive one at that. He recorded 326 tackles (216 solo), 36 tackles for loss, 3.5 sacks and 4 picks. He showed off his speed and agility at the combine with an 11.06 time in this drill, a 4.59 40, a 6.68 3-cone drill, and a 4.00 20 yard shuttle. His performance along with the college tape led to the Raiders drafting him in the 5th round (140th overall) last year. He saw time in 15 games last season in Oakland picking up 33 tackles (27 solo) and 2.5 sacks.
Ryan Mayer is an Associate Producer for CBS Local Sports. Ryan lives in NY but comes from Philly and life as a Philly sports fan has made him cynical. Anywhere sports are being discussed, that’s where you’ll find him.