I watched the defensive linemen and linebackers work out at the combine (via NFL Network). Here are my notes:
- The two studs of this day were Aaron Curry (LB, Wake Forest) and Brian Orakpo (DE, Texas). Orakpo came up with a hamstring tweak late in his workout and couldn't finish, but he looked great in the drills and of course he looked great in school. Same for Curry. Both should be Top 10 picks.Orakpo's upper body is awesome and he's got great speed to go with it. The comparisons to DeMarcus Ware are already rolling in. I'm wondering how small his feet are, though ...
- I liked what I saw from Kyle Moore (DL, USC) and will investigate him further. Smooth 40 run, which is a blend of explosiveness and burst to go with speed.
- Michael Johnson (DL, Georgia Tech) also looked fluid and solid, but it was expected that he would have a monster combine (4.66 in the 40). Many folks are questioning his heart. I could see this guy landing in New England and becoming an animal. He's really gifted physically, but that's just part of the puzzle.
- Aaron Maybin (PSU) has had a good combine too, but seems like a tweener ... he's trying to put on weight (15 pounds in 3 months or so). He might just wind up being a pass-rush specialist and third-down player.
- B.J. Raji (Boston College) is a big piece of meat. Didn't run the 40 well but did display good burst off the snap and quickness and quick, quick feet, which is more important for a big man.
- The other big man I really liked was Terrelle Taylor (Michigan). He's big and very strong. Perfect space eater, maybe a nose tackle. Not sure on that.
- All of the USC players did well ... which makes me wonder if they were well-prepped for this event. I mentioned Kyle Moore ... Brian Cushing, Clay Matthews and the other linebacker, Kaluka Maiava, did fine. Rey Maualuga hurt his right leg on his first 40-yard dash and couldn't finish his workout, but he should still be a first-round pick.
Meanwhile, I'm trying to figure out when Aaron Curry would go off the draft board. The Chiefs would be nuts to pass on him at No. 3 as he could be a sack machine and a run stuffer for them, lining up all over the field. Scott Pioli won't pass on his versatile talents ... but I think the Rams might also take a long look at him as their defense has struggled and Steve Spagnuolo could really pull off some crazy schemes with Curry and DE Chris Long in his arsenal.
Bottom line: Curry will be playing ball in Missouri in 2009.