My instant reaction from my first watch through day one of the Combine times/drills…
DEFENSIVE TACKLE NOTES…
-- DT class comparison, for context, the 2022 v. 2023 class…
2 DT prospects = 320+ pounds and ran under a 5.00 40-time (2022)
0 DT prospects = 320+ pounds and ran under a 5.00 40-time (2023)
2 DT prospects = 300-320 pounds and ran under a 5.00 40-time (2022)
1 DT prospects = 300-320 pounds and ran under a 5.00 40-time (2023)
3 DT prospects = 280-300 pounds and ran under a 5.00 40-time (2022)
5 DT prospects = 280-300 pounds and ran under a 5.00 40-time (2023)
2 DT prospects = 320+ pounds and a 1.75 10-yd split or faster (2022)
0 DT prospects = 320+ pounds and a 1.75 10-yd split or faster (2023)
2 DT prospects = 300-320 pounds and a 1.75 10-yd split or faster (2022)
0 DT prospects = 300-320 pounds and a 1.75 10-yd split or faster (2023)
4 DT prospects = 280-300 pounds and a 1.75 10-yd split or faster (2022)
5 DT prospects = 280-300 pounds and a 1.75 10-yd split or faster (2023)
An overview thought, from the numbers -- the 2023 DT class is smaller and maybe a little faster, but faster because they are a smaller group of athletes at the position. You want BIGGER and FASTER…and the 2022 DT group gave us some shockers in size + speed prospects while the 2023 DT class seems to be smaller-sized to get their quickness.
-- Pitt DT Calijah Kancey was a big winner of the 2023 DT group at the Combine by running a 4.67 official 40-time with a 1.64 10-yard split -- best times of the DT group, but he was also the smallest (281 pounds) of the group.
The higher-end speed and undersized measurements for a DT, and the fact that he went to Pitt, evoked ALL the 'Aaron Donald' comps. But it takes more than a similar 40-time and similar undersized weigh in and going to the same school to be a 'next Aaron Donald'.
You also need…
A massive bench press: Aaron Donald threw down 35 reps, but Kancey skipped this.
A shocking three-cone: Donald had a surreal 7.11 three cone, but Kancey skipped this.
Proven dominance on the field: Donald's final season he had 28.5 TFLs, 11.0 sacks, 4 forced fumbles in 13 games…off-the-charts for a DT. Yancey had 14.5 TFLs, 7.5 sacks, 0 forced fumbles in 11 games…generically good for a modern era, small DT.
We'll have to wait for Kancey's Pro Day to see what his bench and three-cone might be.
-- The real big winner among the DTs, to me, was a college EDGE who bulked up and worked with the DTs: Northwestern's Adetomiwa Adebawore.
I didn't see it in my Senior Bowl preview scouting on him. And he was OK/not a standout one way or the other in Mobile, but watching more tape of O-Linemen led me to re-seeing more of AA's work and he jumped out at me with excellent/fluid movement and burst skills. AA was so very fluid and historically fast (for his size) at the Combine. He's probably worked his way into the 1st-round for sure now.
2023 DT Combine comparison…
6'1.5”/282, 33.8” arms, 10.5” hands, 4.49 40-time, 1.61 split, 37.5” vert. = Adetomiwa Adebawore
6'1.0”/281, 30.6” arms, 09.1” hands, 4.67 40-time, 1.64 split, n/a” vert. = Calijah Kancey
-- Wisconsin DT Keeanu Benton's draft stock continues to fall. He was all the rage for the TV commentators at the Senior Bowl, and I didn't see him flash all that much excitement in Mobile, but he was fine enough. Then this not-great 40-time and 10-yard split. Decent three-cone at 7.34 though.
-- Clemson DT Bryan Bresee had nice times at 6'5”/298 with a 4.86 40-time and a 1.71 split…but I walked away thinking he wasn't that fluid. He has the burst/punch but not high-end output in college. He's just known for being quick off the snap…but there's a questionable lack of results after 'quick off the snap' flash.
His size and speed times…very much like one of my comps for him: Taven Bryan (former 1st-round pick of JAX, and quick NFL disappointment).
-- South Carolina DT Zacch Pickens didn't have great (or bad) speed times…but just the eyeball test, he looked very quick/fluid for his size.