On Saturday night, the linebackers didn’t quite live up to the extremely high standards set by the running backs, offensive linemen, and receivers during the first two evenings of NFL combine workouts. That’s OK though. The bar was set to an almost unprecedented level.
Georgia’s Nakobe Dean didn’t work out, which paved the way for other linebacker prospects to make a name for themselves inside Lucas Oil Stadium. Let’s get to the winners and losers from the linebacker workouts.
Notable LB workouts
Troy Andersen, Montana State: After his workout, Andersen has a case as the most explosive linebacker prospect in this class. It’s not as if he rose from complete obscurity, there was some pre-combine buzz for him, but you never know how the lower-level prospects are going to test. Andersen made a big statement Saturday night.
Leo Chenal, Wisconsin: At 6-2 and 250 pounds, Chenal running 4.53 was awesome. He looks thick on film and not necessarily that fast. But that number will stick to his draft profile. He’s a thumping downhill type who we now know has some speed in his arsenal. Those jumps were tremendous too, and frankly, a bit shocking. Good for him.
Boye Mafe, Minnesota: Of course Mafe is an edge rusher, not a traditional linebacker, but he did run with the latter group Saturday night. He looks explosive on film and checked that box in Indianapolis with a 4.53 time and 38-inch vertical. It feels like people believe there are going to be 72 picks in Round 1 now, but Mafe is a first-round candidate.
Chad Muma, Wyoming: This isn’t about his 4.63 time, which was average at best at a hefty 239 pounds. Muma’s 40-inch vertical, and 10-9 broad jump along with a 7.06 three-cone drill illustrated his straight-line burst and agility.
Nakobe Dean, Georgia: Dean “won” Saturday night because of what happened — or didn’t happen — around him. Because we didn’t see a variety of amazing workouts from the other perceived to be “top” linebackers in this class, the Georgia star should feel encouraged about his stock as he leaves Indianapolis.
Brian Asamoah, Oklahoma: Not a clear-cut loser, because 4.56 is moving for a linebacker. I just thought Asamoah, at 226 pounds, would run closer to 4.50 or even in the 4.40s. He looks that fast on film.
Devin Lloyd, Utah. NFL Network showed a graphic after Lloyd’s run — which clocked in at 4.65 — that he’s similarly sized and ran close to Darius Leonard and Fred Warner. That’s good. However, 4.65 was one of the slowest times of the group for the well-liked, projected first-round prospect.