Nick Bosa, Ohio State
40 time: 4.79
Strengths: Exceptional combination of strength and speed, which gives him a terrific upfield burst . . . Excellent first step puts him in good position for his rushes . . . Extremely productive, as evidenced by his sophomore season at Ohio State, when he collected 8 1/2 sacks and had 16 tackles for loss . . . Good technician . . . Comes from a football family (father is former Dolphins linebacker John Bosa and brother is Chargers defensive end Joey Bosa).
Weaknesses: Had surgery to repair a core muscle injury after third game last season, so some mild concerns about durability … May need more time to adjust to NFL game due to lack of playing time in 2018 … Some scouts say he needs to use better leverage when attacking offensive linemen.
Projected draft status: Top 5 pick.
Quote: Bosa on dealing with his injury: “The toughest part is the beginning. It’s such a unique injury in that he’s literally the muscle used to breathe, to cough, to go to the bathroom. It’s your core muscle, it’s something different than I’ve dealt with before. It’s really gradual, small steps. Once you get through it, I’m feeling better than I’ve ever felt right now.”
Josh Allen, Kentucky
40 time: 4.63
Strengths: Elite production with 17 sacks last season . . . Physically gifted player who can rush the passer with great impact and can also drop back into coverage . . . Strong enough to set himself against the run . . . Good ability to shed blocks.
Weaknesses: Will need to employ greater variety of techniques now that he’ll face elite offensive linemen at the NFL level . . . Some scouts believe he was somewhat inconsistent, although that’s a fairly common assessment for many linebackers . . . Occasionally will lack discipline in technique.
Projected draft status: Top 10
Quote: Allen on his versatility: “I think I’m one of the only guys who dropped into coverage half the season as well. I pass rushed, I also dropped in coverage as well, so that separates myself from a lot of the guys.”
Rashan Gary, Michigan
40 time: 4.58
Strengths: Very strong with above average size that allows him to play on the edge or move inside if the alignment calls for it . . . Had a combined 23 tackles for loss in his three seasons at Michigan . . . Excels against the run.
Weaknesses: Not a prototypical outside pass-rusher, so may not have the full arsenal of moves necessary for elite status . . . Often prefers to run at linemen and rely on his brute strength, but will need to diversify his moves to be more effective.
Projected draft status: First round.
Quote: Gary on being able to play outside or inside: “I played base end, but you’re able to throw me aside to D-tackle, I could work over a guard. I could stand up, rush off the edge. I could really do anything anybody wants me to be.”
Montez Sweat, Mississippi State
40 time: 4.41
Strengths: A natural pass-rusher, Sweat had a combined 23 1/2 sacks in his two seasons at Mississippi State after being dismissed by Michigan State after one season . . . Fastest edge rusher in this year’s draft . . . Has good change of direction.
Weaknesses: May be a bit light, although should fill out with help of NFL strength and conditioning program . . . Had what was considered a minor pre-existing heart condition detected during the Scouting Combine. Not likely to affect his draft status, although some teams may shy away . . . Was dismissed from Michigan State team, although he insists it was because of his immaturity.
Projected draft status: First round.
Quote: On being dismissed from Michigan State: “I was there for a year. I started out young and immature, and I was dismissed. I’ve grown from that so much, and I just want to keep on building on that and show teams I’ve matured a lot.”
Clelin Ferrell, Clemson
40 time: Did not run 40 at Scouting Combine.
Strengths: Was one of Clemson’s top defenders the last two seasons with a combined 21 sacks and 38 tackles for loss . . . Has good upper-body strength to deal with physical offensive linemen . . . Shows a relentlessness that will serve him well in the NFL.
Weaknesses: Not always fluid in his movements, relying on power, so will need to refine pass rush technique . . . Had benefit of playing with some of the country’s best defenders, so uncertain if he can become a franchise-caliber player at the next level.
Projected draft status: First or second round.
Quote: On playing with so many talented players on defense: “It was huge because obviously we push each other to a level that I can’t really explain words . . . It really taught me the mentality of not taking any plays off, of learning to really push and fight every single play because if you want to have an impact you gotta scratch and claw with my brothers out there.”