Five Players to Watch During Sunday’s Workout and Eight Observations from Saturday

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Tony Pauline

Draft Analyst Writer
The defense finally gets its chance in the spotlight Sunday as the linemen and linebackers work out for scouts. Here are five players from the defensive front seven to keep an eye on as well as eight observations from Saturday’s workout.
 
1) Solomon Thomas/DL/Stanford: I was with Solomon Thomas on Wednesday evening and he looks like a man amongst boys. Thomas, who looks as ready for the Mr. Universe contest as he does for the NFL, already participated in the bench press and completed 30 reps. I would expect him to turn in some fast shuttle times Sunday and tear up position drills.
 
2) T.J. Watt/LB/Wisconsin: Watt proved himself as a linebacker who terrorized quarterbacks in college and did well against the run. Pass coverage could be his Achilles heel. As a result, it will be necessary for Watt to look sharp in coverage drills Sunday and turn in solid times for the short and long shuttle as well as the three-cone.
 
3) Tarell Basham/DE-OLB/Ohio: Basham tipped the scales at 269 pounds during combine weigh-ins, 10 more than he weighed during the Senior Bowl. His 40 time, 10-yard split and shuttle times will be interesting and should help decide whether teams will line Basham up out of a three-point stance or over tackle.
 
4) Jeremiah Ledbetter/DL/Arkansas: Ledbetter totaled 29 reps on the bench Saturday, slightly lower than the mid-30s he was expecting, but as posted earlier today there are issues with the bench press. He’s expecting fast times in the 40 as well as the shuttles, and I would expect Ledbetter to be one of the better linemen during drills.
 
5) Tanner Vallejo/LB/Boise State: Vallejo is one of the hidden gems at the linebacker spot. He’s a solid run stuffer who also holds his own in coverage. He could be one of the faster linebackers in the 40 and I would expect solid shuttle times.
 
Eight Observations from Day 2
 
1) Deshaun Watson had a terrific day while Mitch Trubisky and Davis Webb looked sharp at times, but overall it was not a good day for the signal callers. As one veteran of several combines said to me, “I’ve never seen so many passes hit the ground.”
 
2) It’s really too bad Jerod Evans did not return to Virginia Tech for another season. Had he done so and improved his game, he could’ve been a first-round pick in 2018. He offers superior arm strength and made some amazing throws Saturday. On other occasions, he looked pedestrian at best.
 
3) DeShone Kizer needs a lot of technical work, and I mean a lot. His footwork and foot placement are terrible at times. He hurt himself here Saturday.
 
4) I graded Isaiah Ford as a late fourth-round pick and may have overrated him. There is nothing special about his game, and the inability to run faster than 4.64s at 194 pounds is going to kill his draft stock.
 
5) As reported Friday, expect major red flags to start popping up on Dede Westbrook for his lack of participation here and at the Senior Bowl.
 
6) I reported Friday that several teams had Evan Engram and David Njoku neck-and-neck on their tight end boards. I’ve since learned Engram has passed Njoku on a few of those boards.
 
7) Adam Shaheen is going to be selected earlier in the draft than many expect. He caught the ball very well Saturday, and his ability to time under 4.8s in the 40 at 278 pounds was impressive.
 
8) What impressed me most about Gerald Everett was his route-running on Saturday. He was quick and crisp into routes in addition to running well and doing a good job catching the ball.