Which NFL Combine Drills actually determine long-term success?

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Center backs are tough because everything suggests that weight is the most important factor in predicting NFL success…but then there’s Aaron Donald. Donald was small and light for someone in his position. Most people with that kind of frame fight in the NFL, but Donald is the outlier. As much as I’d like to say that weight clearly doesn’t matter given Donald’s success, it would probably be best to view Donald as a freak of nature/a one-off event rather than changing the narrative entirely. In general, weight is the most important factor. The heavy hitters tend to toss offensive linemen around like it’s nothing. They also tend to do very well against the barrel. Vita Vea, Dontari Poe, DJ Reader, Danny Shelton and Linval Joseph are just a few of the names who tipped the scales at over 320 pounds at the combine and dominated the NFL (although Reader’s elite game was short-lived). ).

However, the weight seems such an arbitrary number. There must be something else at play. For the defensive tackle position, the exercise with the greatest positive effect on score is the vertical jump. Poe, Reader, Joseph, Jonathan Allen, Sheldon Richardson, Aaron Donald, Geno Atkins, Robert Nkemdiche, Ndamukong Suh, Sheldon Rankins, and Javon Hargrave all posted verticals of 29 inches or better. Basically, if they’re heavy but still have good explosiveness in their legs, they have a better chance of being great in the NFL.

This year, the Interior D-Lineman who falls most into those categories would be… lo and behold, UGA’s Jordan Davis (341 pounds, 32 inches vertical). Aside from Davis, the next best D-lineman based solely on their combine results would be Michigan’s Chris Hinton (305 pounds, 31.5 inches vertical). It’s not as heavy as I or a lot of NFL teams would like it to be, but you can always gain weight. We see it happen all the time in the NFL. It’s going to be tough, but Hinton’s explosiveness should be enough to make some teams want to fly on Hinton on Day 2 or early in Day 3.

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