Comparing Colts to Combine: Top Pass Rushers


The NFL Combine is now safely in the books, as the defensive backs completed the final day of physical tests today. Previously, we took a look at some key Indianapolis Colts, and how their measurables compared to the top prospects at the tight end, offensive tackle, quarterback, and wide receiver position. However, now we’ll shift our focus to the defensive side of the football and look at pass rushers, namely in outside linebackers.

Feb 25, 2013; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Florida State Seminoles defensive lineman Bjoern Werner does a defensive drill during the NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Among the top pass rushers in this year’s NFL Draft class are Florida’s Dante Fowler Jr., Nebraska’s Randy Gregory, Kentucky’s Alvin “Bud” Dupree, and Clemson’s Vic Beasley.

For this “just for comparison“, we’ll compare them to the likes of two of the Colts young pass rushers in both Bjoern Werner and Jonathan Newsome. Of course, Werner was the 1st round pick of the Colts in 2013 out of Florida State, while Newsome was selected in the 5th round last year from Ball State.

Otherwise, numbers are just numbers, but this better provides a context of just how impressive some of them actually are:

Looking over such numbers, and it’s easy to see that this year’s draft class is littered with some “physical freaks” as pass rushers, especially in Kentucky’s Bud Dupree and Clemson’s Vic Beasley:

However, Newsome’s performed measurables in last year’s NFL Combine are pretty good for a 5th round pick all things considered. His vertical jump (34.0), broad jump (117.0), and 3-cone drills (7.31) all best Dante Fowler, Jr., who’s widely projected to be a Top 10 pick in this year’s draft.

While Werner’s numbers aren’t as impressive as Newsome’s across the board, keep in mind that Werner’s nearly 20 pounds heavier than his pass rushing Colts counterpart. Even so, Werner has so-so measurables across the board among this talented group, except for an exceptional 3-cone drill time of 7.30, that bests even Newsome.

The NFL Combine physical tests can help measure speed, acceleration, and power, which are requirements for any productive pass rusher. The 40-yard dash is a good indicator of straight-line speed and whether a pass rusher can effectively chase down a ball carrier, while acceleration can be measured using the vertical leap, broad jump, and 3-cone drills. However, what is frequently overlooked is power:

Of course, power comes from theoretically both size and bench reps. It’s worth noting that Werner had 25 reps on the bench press, while Newsome had 21, which demonstrates some effective power. The leader in power of course was Vic Beasley, who as mentioned, did 35 reps at a personal weight of 246 pounds as part of his impersonation as the Incredible Hulk.

It’s an incredibly physically gifted group of pass rushers, and while both Werner and Newsome didn’t necessarily stand out, they at least held their own, particularly in Newsome’s case. It will be interesting to see whether some of these “freak measurables” in this year’s crop of top pass rushers actually translates to the field.