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The 2012 NFL Scouting Combine has concluded in Indianapolis. As is the case every year when hundreds of college football’s top athletes gather to be poked, prodded and put through their paces, some defensive players boosted their stock considerably in April’s upcoming NFL Draft while others saw their draft hopes take a tumble after they fell flat.
Here’s a look at some of the defensive standouts from this year’s combine, a handful of players who likely should have just stayed home, and how these performances could potentially affect their Individual Defensive Players (IDP) fortunes in 2012 and beyond.
UP THE LADDER
Melvin Ingram, DE, South Carolina : The 6-foor-1, 264-pound senior was one of the standouts at his position, showing good speed with a 4.78 second 40-yard dash, impressive strength with 28 reps on the bench press, and excellent quickness in position drills. Ingram’s IDP value will still be highly dependent on whether he lands in a 3-4 defense or a 4-3 defense, but if he’s drafted as a defensive end he could easily be the first rookie at his position off fantasy draft boards this summer.
Dontari Poe, DT, Memphis: Poe was one of the stars of the combine, dazzling scouts with a sub-five second 40-yard dash time and leading all players in Indianapolis with 44 repetitions of 225 pounds on the bench press. Poe’s explosion has sent the 346-pound beefeater shooting up mock draft boards, but his fantasy value would likely be minimal if he’s drafted by a 3-4 team to play nose tackle.
Tank Carder, LB, TCU: After playing through nagging injuries much of last season the 6-foot-2, 236-pound Carder’s stock was sliding heading the combine, but he brought that to a screeching halt with an outstanding showing in drills, including a very nice 4.56 second 40-yard dash and 10-foot-1 broad jump. Carder’s landing spot will still have a huge impact on his fantasy value, but a favorable destination would drop him squarely on the IDP radar.
Luke Kuechly, MLB, Boston College: Although Kuechly led all of college football with 191 tackles en route to winning the Butkus award, the 6-foot-3, 242-pound All-American was still dogged by questions about his athleticism. Kuechly was able to dispel many of those doubts with a very strong showing at the combine, and so long as he’s drafted by a 4-3 team looking for a middle linebacker as expected, Kuechly is probably the king of the IDP heap among linebackers this year.
Josh Robinson, CB, Central Florida: Robinson wasn’t a player that was generating a ton of buzz entering the combine, but scouts and coaches were certainly buzzing after the 5-foot-10, 199-pound Robinson was the top performer among cornerbacks in both the 40-yard dash and vertical jump, and given that Robinson’s technique is still a bit raw he could be an excellent “rookie corner” rule candidate if he lands on a team where he sees playing time early.
Harrison Smith, SS, Notre Dame: With Alabama safety Mark Barron sitting out the combine while recovering from hernia surgery, the door was opened for some other safeties to showcase their talents. Smith made the most of it, impressing in position drills, turning in a strong 40-yard dash time for his 6-foot-2, 216-pound frame, and greatly increasing the chances that he’ll see the sort of early playing time that will make Smith IDP-relevant sooner as opposed to later.
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