I personally get the chance to coach the offensive and defensive linemen at each combine. After each combine I’ll present my personal evaluation of what we saw “In the trenches”, this will focus on the big boys. The guys who don’t get the press, but they are responsible for a large amount of a team’s success. My second report focuses on the linemen who attended our Jacksonville combine. Our second combine was held on Sunday, April 17th at Jacksonville University.
Offensive Line: Combine testing does give you a basis to go on when judging athletic ability, but sometimes a player doesn’t test well, and opens eye’s during the one- on- one portion of the combine. Case in point, Beaufort (S.C.) offensive lineman Ryan Cave, who measured in at 6-3.5, and 352 pounds. Cave registered a (6.03) 40- yard dash, 5.25 shuttle, 19” vertical, 9.3 3-cone drill, and a 70” standing broad jump.
During the one-on-ones Cave (right) was lights out, he was beaten one time. He showed outstanding power and amazingly quick feet. He had player’s shaking their heads all day long. Cave has yet to receive his first offer.
Scouting Report: Cave has some weight room work to do. He is very explosive, he delivers a tremendous punch and he locks on and either pushes the defender out of the pocket, or into the turf. He has very good lateral quickness, and bend.
Melbourne, (Fla.) lineman Ryan Wischnefski (left), 6-2.5 and 320 pounds, was my “Silent but Violent” prospect at Jacksonville. You never heard a peep from the kid all day, but he was unbeaten during one-on-ones and he tested at or near the top in every category for offensive linemen. He posted a (4.94) shuttle, (27.5”) vertical, (8.16) 3-cone drill, (5.20) 40-yard dash, and an (81”) standing broad jump.
Scouting Report: If you want a 6-5 guy then Wischnefski is not the guy, but if you want a lineman who is a technician and doesn’t lose ground he’s the guy. He opens up extremely quickly in pass pro, and he is very cerebral. He anticipates what a defender is going to do better then most prospects at the high school level can. Wischnefski will be a solid interior lineman at the next level.
The most intriguing prospect I watched all day was Zackery Henderson (right) from Bartram Trail, (Fla.) at 6-7 and 248 pounds, I saw a basketball player, but then when you think potential you see a 6-7, 275-pound offensive tackle in two years. He posted a (4.60) shuttle, (22”) vertical, (8.46) 3-cone drill, (5.22) 40-yard dash, (99”) standing broad jump.
During the one-on-ones Henderson did not fair well, until we made a few adjustments with his feet and his stance, then he was unstoppable. Henderson uses his reach to swat would be defenders away like flies. After a while you could see the potential that Illinois saw and why they offered him.
Scouting Report:Very coachable player, has tremendous desire and he wants to get better. He plays tight end in high school; he needs time to master his craft. He has all the tools Feet, frame, and wing span to be a very good offensive tackle down the road.
Defensive Linemen:Camden County, (Ga.) defensive end Kevin McNeil (left), 6-3 and 236 pounds, impressed me with his explosion off the edge. He was very similar to DeKoda Watson whom we saw at Duke the first weekend of our tour. McNeil was the only player to defeat Ryan Cave during the one-on-one action. McNeil posted a (4.51) shuttle, (33”) vertical, (7.41) 3-cone drill, (4.8) 40-yard dash, and a (104”) standing broad jump.
Scouting Report:With some work in the gym, McNeil could be a star. He is very fast off the edge; he is deceptively strong for his size. McNeil appears to be very athletic, and light on his feet.
Andy Lark (right) of Oviedo, (Fla.) is another prime example of a prospect that doesn’t possess great measureables but you can just tell he’s a solid football player. At 5-11.5 and 302 pounds, Lark is a bulldog who has all the makings of a run-stuffing nose tackle. He posted a (4.90) shuttle, (29.5”) vertical, (8.19) 3-cone drill, (5.21) 40-yard dash, and a (93”) standing broad jump.
Scouting Report: Very strong and powerful prospect, who is amazingly quick off the ball. Plays all over the place in high school, but will likely be a defensive tackle in college. I see Lark doing very well at the next level as long as the scheme fits his style of play, and body type. Very low center of gravity, his combination of quickness, power, and and his ability to stay low make him very difficult to defend.
Next week’s report will cover the offensive and defensive linemen that attend the Scout.com combine in Champaign, Illinois on Saturday, April 23rd.