Friday, April 19, 2024

Scouting Combine D-Linemen Who Passed The Ryan Poles Thresholds


The scouting combine is a useful tool for helping fans predict what the Chicago Bears might do in the upcoming NFL draft. However, it has become doubly important in regards to GM Ryan Poles. It has become apparent over the past two years that he is a stickler for physical traits when it comes to prospects. They must be a certain size, length, and level of athlete to be considered viable for their team. That is particularly true on the defensive line, which took center stage on Thursday to kick off the event.

After getting the full measurements and watching the drills, multiple names crossed the necessary thresholds to get themselves in consideration by the Bears. Here are six that stood out the most.

Ryan Poles has specific parameters. These names met them.

Jared Verse (EDGE, Florida State)

  • 6’4
  • 254 lbs
  • 33.5-inch arms
  • 40-yard dash: 4.58
  • Vertical jump: 35 inches
  • Broad jump: 10 ft 7 inches

While his arm length isn’t quite at the preferred range, it is above the red line at 33 inches. He coupled that with a terrific 40 times and one of the better vertical jumps at the event. His explosiveness can’t be argued. All of that is backed up on tape, where he collected 18 sacks over his two starting seasons.

Dallas Turner (EDGE, Alabama)

  • 6’3
  • 247 lbs
  • 34-inch arms
  • 40-yard dash: 4.47
  • Vertical jump: 40.5 inches
  • Broad jump: 10 ft 7 inches

Everything here is a picture of perfection except for his weight. The Bears usually prefer their defensive ends around 260 lbs. Turner might be able to add enough mass to handle that. Otherwise, he was the freakiest athlete at his position for the entire combine. It is easy to see why he had 22.5 sacks and 32.5 tackles for loss in three years for the Tide.

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Darius Robinson (DL, Missouri)

  • 6’5
  • 285 lbs
  • 34.5-inch arms
  • 40-yard dash: 4.95
  • Vertical jump: 35 inches
  • Broad jump: 9 ft 3 inches

Robinson really emerged at the Senior Bowl last month. His mix of size, length, and power was evident. Unfortunately, he doesn’t seem to have the explosiveness necessary for a defensive end role. However, that wouldn’t be an issue if the Ryan Poles were to draft him as a defensive tackle instead. His numbers are better than DeForest Buckner’s in those conditions.

Ruke Orhorhoro (DT, Clemson)

  • 6’4
  • 294 lbs
  • 34-inch arms
  • 40-yard dash: 4.89
  • Vertical jump: 32 inches
  • Broad jump: 9 ft 8 inches

If you’re looking for a poster child for measurables at defensive tackle, this is it. He’s got the height, weight, length, and explosiveness tailor-made for the three-technique position in the Bears’ scheme. His production was also consistently good, with 24 tackles for a loss and 11.5 sacks over three seasons.

Kris Jenkins (DT, Michigan)

  • 6’3
  • 299 lbs
  • 34-inch arms
  • 40-yard dash: 4.91
  • Vertical jump: 30 inches
  • Broad jump: 9 ft 7 inches

One thing people knew about Jenkins going into the combine was his power. The dude was a tank in the middle of that Wolverines defense. These numbers suggest he has untapped potential as an interior pass rusher. History shows Michigan defenders often become better pros once in schemes that fully utilize their skills. Rashan Gary is a perfect example.

Maason Smith (DT, LSU)

  • 6’5
  • 306 lbs
  • 35-inch arms
  • 40-yard dash: 5.01
  • Vertical jump: 31 inches
  • Broad jump: 9 feet

He looked like an ascending stud before an injury slowed his progress in 2022. A coaching change last didn’t help either. Yet Smith was still a solid presence in the middle for the Tiger and proved at the combine that he is both healthy and brimming with untapped potential.


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Mar 1, 2024 4:45 pm

@TGena Well, there are about 10,000 different factors (or more) that go into who actually wins each game, which is kind of the whole point behind playing the games. There are factors that are easily measurable, such as yards per attempt, turn overs, etc. And there are plenty that there is no realistic way to measure or quantify, such as effort, motivation, leadership, quick thinking, awareness, etc. even though some of those tend to also show up in quantitative stats. But, all of that said, what we are talking about here at this stage of the offseason, is roster construction,… Read more »

Mar 1, 2024 2:44 pm

So, we agree completely on the “data point” value of the various stats, available to fans.

Then, I suppose our actual disagreement is whether teams with the “better” players, always — or, even usually — win the games they play.

Mar 1, 2024 2:29 pm

@TGena I agree with you 100% on that, but in the context of my comment, I was only using PFF as an example of one data point you can use to compare two players. There would be no scouts, nor sports talk guys if it were THAT simple as there’d be no debate left to be had. My overall point still stands though. The Bears are behind (by varying degrees, of course) at the majority of positions in the lineup compared to the teams we need to beat to achieve THE goal. I’ve even heard many GM’s talk about that… Read more »

Mar 1, 2024 2:16 pm

@Arnie — As an Erik Lambert reader that quotes PFF as much as anyone. I must correct an assumption you seem to have made: PFF grades do not establish which player is “better.” Each grade is a subjective assessment, based on play-by-play performance. It’s “performance;” not “talent,” nor “proficiency.” EXAMPLE: Larry Borom was PFF’s highest graded OT, in the 2023 pre-season. And yet, his PBLK grade versus Washington (2023 Game #3, which the Bears won, 31-13) was 8.0 (out of a possible 100) due to 8 allowed QB pressures — despite the fact that Borom did not allow a sack,… Read more »

Mar 1, 2024 11:43 am

@BearDownTX I know this isn’t easy to do, but depending on how much knowledge you have of non-big name players around the league or how much time you’re willing to spend researching it with things like PFF grades, etc, you ought to try comparing the Bears depth chart from last year to those of other teams, player by player, position by position, especially against teams you must beat (your division), teams you’ll likely have to get past in the playoffs (SF, Dallas, Philly, etc.) and then, the current gold standard in KC. It’s interesting because while you obviously do not… Read more »

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