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NFL Combine Day 1 winners and losers from defensive linemen/linebacker drills, including Braden Fiske, Dallas Turner

NFL Combine
Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The first day of drills and tests took place on Thursday at the NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. While fans are likely most looking forward to when quarterbacks start throwing or when receivers and defensive backs start running at blistering speeds for the 40-yard dash, Thursday was all about the big fellas in the trenches on defense.

With one day of NFL Scouting Combine drills in the books, let’s look at the biggest winners and losers from the defensive linemen and linebacker prospects.

Related: NFL Combine 2024: Participants, dates, event info, drills and everything you need to know

FSU’s Braden Fiske stars during NFL Combine drills

Heading into Thursday’s NFL Combine, most eyes were on the edge rushers, with a few others keyed in on the pair of top defensive tackle prospects from Texas. But once FSU’s Braden Fiske got his chance, he made sure all scouts in attendance learned his name.

Fiske, who measured in at 6-foot-3 1/2, and 292 pounds, was most impressive during the 40-yard dash, where he clocked a 4.78 40 time. Not bad for a defensive tackle.

After four years in the MAC conference playing for Western Michigan, Fiske took his talent to the ACC with the Seminoles. Despite facing advanced competition, Fiske maintained his solid levels of play and wrapped up his playing career with 36 TFL and 19.5 sacks.

His showing today only reinforced what scouts already know: Fiske is a legitimate pass-rushing prospect. In addition to his impressive 40 time, Fiske also posted a vertical jump of 33 1/2 inches and had a 9-foot-9 broad jump, showing off his explosiveness.

Fiske even gave us this Kool-Aid-flavored cherry on top.

In addition to displaying above-average athleticism, Fiske showed he’s quite nimble on his feet too.

In all, Fiske, who was previously viewed as Daniel Jeremiah’s 45th-ranked prospect, boosted his NFL Draft stock or at least established himself as a viable Day 2 pick.

Byron Murphy shows why he’s an athletic freak

As one of two top Texas defensive tackle prospects, Byron Murphy is widely considered the better player between him and T’Vondre Sweat. Murphy is viewed as a first-round prospect, and on Thursday, he showed why.

Murphy is undoubtedly a large man, his 297-pound frame clearly displays that. But he also showed his athleticism is just as notable. Having run a 4.88 40-yard dash, a 1.65 10-yard split, Murphy also leapt 33 inches in the vertical leap.

Already viewed as the best defensive tackle prospect in the 2024 NFL Draft, Murphy didn’t do anything to hurt his draft stock. If anything, he boosted it.

Related: 2024 NFL Combine: 10 prospects with the most to prove

Chop Robinson proves he’s a top-ten talent

There are several fascinating edge rusher prospects expected to be first-round selections in April. Penn State’s Chop Robinson may just be the best of them all.

On Thursday, he showed what makes him special, using his extremely quick first step to clock a ridiculous 4.48 40 time despite being 6-foot-3 and 254 pounds. In doing so, Robinson flew past the times of fellow former top NFL Draft pass-rushing prospects such as Will Anderson Jr., and Nick Bosa.

Robinson also recorded a 34.5″ vertical, and had a broad jump of 10-foot-8 inches. But all anyone could talk about was his 40-yard dash, which was the fastest of all defensive linemen at the 2024 NFL Combine.

Robinson became just the second prospect to have a sub-4.5 40, while recording a broad jump of 10-foot-6 or better in the past 20 years. The only other player to do so actually played offense, with tight end Vernon Davis accomplishing the feat in 2006.

Related: Illinois NFL Draft prospect Tip Reiman is very skeptical about birds and pigeons: Are they real?

Dallas Turner’s wingspan wows NFL scouts

dallas turner
Credit: Junfu Han / USA TODAY NETWORK

Another top pass-rushing prospect who could hear his name called in the top half of the first round is Alabama’s Dallas Turner. At 6-foot-2, 247 pounds, Turner’s size isn’t what wows anyone.

His tape shows an overly athletic edge rusher who compiled 32.5 TFL and 22.5 sacks across three seasons at Alabama. But now scouts want to see how prepared he is for the pro levels, and it all begins with some basic measurements and athletic tests.

There was one area where Turner really stood out from his peers. Well, two, but let’s start with the more impressive one first.

Turner’s 83-inch wingspan is the longest among linebackers and defensive linemen at the 2024 NFL Combine. Yet, he also posted a 40.5-inch vertical, making us wonder if Turner could have been just as good in the NBA as he is at playing football.

Then, Turner topped it all off with a blistering 4.47 40-yard dash, showing he really can do it all when it comes to athletic testing.

After his fantastic display, NFL scouts will continue drooling over the size/speed combination Turner offers, hoping he can become the next elite pass rusher.

Related: 5 biggest NFL Combine fails of all time

T’Vondre Sweat shows up big, but underwhelms with athleticism

NFL: Combine
Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

At 6-foot-4 1/2, 366 pounds, Texas DT T’Vondre Sweat is a mountain of a man. Yet, despite his intimidating size, Sweat was still confident that he’d be able to shock the world when it came to his 40-yard dash. Sweat likened his ability to former Georgia DT Jordan Davis, who had a 4.78 40 time despite being 6-foot-6 and 341 pounds.

“I feel like a lot of y’all (are) gonna be like,” Sweat said, making a shocked face, “when I run this 40. I’m gonna shock a lot of y’all.”

T’Vondre Sweat anticipating a quick 40 time

Yet, when it came time to put his money where his mouth was, Sweat came up short of his goals, clocking an unofficial 40 time of just 5.27 seconds. Needless to say, that’s not the time he was hoping for.

While Sweat didn’t perform the way he wanted, it likely won’t hurt his draft stock too much. Scouts have already seen what the big defensive tackle is capable of, and he’ll never be asked to sprint 40 yards in a straight line again once he reaches the NFL.

Fastest 40-yard dash times at 2024 NFL Combine – Defensive linemen

  1. Chop Robinson – 4.48
  2. Mohamed Kamara – 4.57
  3. Jared Verse – 4.58
  4. Xavier Thomas – 4.62
  5. Cedric Johnson – 4.63

Fastest 40-yard dash times at 2024 NFL Combine – Linebackers

  1. Payton Wilson – 4.43
  2. Dallas Turner – 4.46
  3. Kalen DeLoach – 4.47
  4. Edgerrin Cooper – 4.51
  5. Trevin Wallace – 4.51

Related: Fastest 40 yard dash: Fastest players in NFL Combine history, fastest NFL players

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