Combine Miscellany: Nolan Smith Dazzles, Will Anderson Jr.'s Silky Footwork, Bryan Bresee, More

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Combine Miscellany: Nolan Smith Dazzles, Will Anderson Jr.’s Silky Footwork, Bryan Bresee, More


The first day of the NFL Scouting Combine is in the books! The most elite defensive line and linebacker prospects in the upcoming NFL Draft partook in the 40-yard dash, vertical and broad jumps, and various movement drills at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis today.

  • We got our first exciting moment of the event pretty early on. Pitt defensive tackle Calijah Kancey was clocked at 4.67 (officially) on his second attempt at the 40-yard dash. Kancey edged former Pitt alumn Aaron Donald out with his blazing time on Thursday.
  • Not only did Calijah Kancey’s time best Donald’s, but it’s also the fastest time for a defensive tackle at the event since 2003, per Next Gen Stats
  • The parallels between the two players are unavoidable. Both attended Pitt. Both are undersized defensive tackles. Both produced higher-than-typical sack totals for interior rushers. And both are athletic marvels for their position. To be clear, Kancey is not the elite prospect that Aaron Donald was in 2014, but the parallels exist. Kancey also excelled in the positional drills. His 4.67 official 40-yard dash time was the best among interior defensive linemen. His 10-yard split of 1.64 was also the best among interior defensive linemen.
  • Daniel Jeremiah rated Calijah Kancey as his No. 30 overall prospect entering the combine. However, his combine performance may have him on the move up some first-round draft boards.
  • Kancey’s performance was pretty cool, but no one stole the show on Thursday like George EDGE Nolan Smith.
  • Smith was initially clocked at 4.44 (unofficially) on his second attempt at the 40-yard dash. Which was faster than the 40 times of both wide receivers Stefon Diggs and DeAndre Hopkins! Diggs ran a 4.46 in 2015, and Hopkins ran a 4.57 in 2013.
  • Then came word on his official 40 time … 4.39! Smith’s 4.39 was faster than Giants running back Saquon Barkley and 49ers running back Christian McCaffrey.
  • Smith’s 40 time was the best among all defensive linemen and linebackers that participated on Thursday. In addition, his 10-yard split (1.52) and vertical jump (41.50) were the best of the day among all participants.
  • Smith was ranked 20th on NFL Networks big board and 19th on The Athletic’s Dane Brugler. There’s no doubt that Smith’s draft stock went up today. But just how much will be the question. Brugler has Smith behind Lukas Van Ness (18), Myles Murphy (13), Tyree Williams (8), and Will Anderson Jr. (2), in his latest big top-100.
  • Many mock drafts had Smith going in the late teens-early twenties, but I think he just shuffled that up a bit today. Smith’s Georgia teammates love it!
  • Northwestern defensive end Adetomiwa Adebawore also had a nice day at the combine. Adebawore ran a 4.54 (unofficial) on his first attempt on Thursday:
  • Adebawore then bettered his score with a 4.49 on his second attempt. Adebawore’s 4.49 was the fifth-best time of the day among all participants. He also recorded a 1.61 10-yard split, 37.50 vertical (fifth-best), and 10’5″ broad jump. Not too shabby for a 280-pound lineman.
  • Speaking of linemen getting it done, Florida DL Gervon Dexter ran the 40-yard dash in five seconds flat. Dexter weighed in at 310 POUNDS!
  • Also impressive on Thursday was Clemson lineman Bryan Bresee. Bresee ran an impressive 4.93 40 for a six-foot-five, 298-pounder. Bresee also performed well and showed good footwork in the movement drills.
  • Last but certainly not least …Will Anderson Jr. Anderson ran a 4.60 (officially) 40 on his first attempt and passed on his second attempt. His 4.69 40 was 29th among participants and outside of the top-15 among linebackers.
  • Anderson’s 1.61 10-yard split was solid. Anderson participated in the movement drills but did not participate in the vertical or broad jump drills. Still, Anderson is a player whose draft stock is so high that his performance today likely won’t mean much.
  • Anderson showed off some silky-smooth foot work on the bags:
  • That’s it for today. However, there are another five hours of action tomorrow. The defensive backs, kickers, and special teamers are in action on Friday from 2:00 to 7:00 pm (ct).

Author: Patrick K. Flowers

Patrick is the Lead NFL Writer at Bleacher Nation. You can follow him on Twitter @PatrickKFlowers.