An attention-grabbing weigh-in came from LSU defensive tackle Michael Brockers at 6-foot-5 and 322-pounds. He had long arms of 35 inches. As a red-shirt sophomore, Brockers showed his explosive playmaking ability. His combination of size and speed is extremely rare. .
Oklahoma defensive end Frank Alexander has packed on some weight. He was listed at 255, but checked into the Combine at 270 pounds. Alexander also has long arms (35 inches). He needs a strong Combine to help his status. He didn't play in an All-Star game after a quiet second half to close out his senior season.
Syracuse defensive end Chandler Jones (6-5, 266) had solid measurements, and had the longest arms of any defensive lineman at the combine with 35 1/2. Jones is a 4-3 defensive end who is a quality athlete. He should perform well at the Combine.
USC defensive end Nick Perry (6-3, 271) was much larger than his listed weight of 250 pounds. That weight change is very significant. It could push Perry to being only a 4-3 defensive end and not a 3-4 outside linebacker. It will be interesting to see how he performs in the drills and if he has the athleticism to warrant consideration as a 3-4 edge rusher.
On the contrary to Perry, South Carolina defensive end Melvin Ingram (6-1, 264) has dropped weight. Ingram weighed 276 pounds at the Senior Bowl. He probably dropped the 12 pounds to help his 40 time. Coming off his senior season when he was playing defensive tackle and end, Ingram needed the extra weight to take on guards. Ingram already proved himself to be an explosive athlete as a senior, so his Combine field performance will be interesting to see what he posts with him at a lighter weight.
Illinois defensive end Whitney Mercilus (6-4, 261) was four pounds lighter than his listed measurements, but he has versatile size. He could function as a 3-4 outside linebacker or as a 4-3 right defensive end. Mercilus is a good athlete so it wouldn't be surprising if he performs well in Indianapolis.
A player who was a little lighter than expected was Clemson defensive end/outside linebacker Andre Branch. At 6-foot-4, 259 pounds Branch was a little smaller than expected. A 4-3 defense will probably want Branch to add a little more bulk to battle offensive linemen. Many 3-4 defenses will be fine with Branch's current weight as an edge rusher, however.
Boise State outside linebacker/defensive end Shea McClellin has packed on the weight from the Senior Bowl. McClellin (6-3) was 248 pounds in Mobile, but he gained 12 pounds in a month and is now up to 260. He still would fit best as a 3-4 outside linebacker rather than a 4-3 defensive end.
Penn State defensive tackle Devon Still (6-5, 303) was a little lighter than expected as he was generally viewed to be in the 310-315 range. Still is a versatile defender, and it will be interesting to see how he performs in the athletic drills.
Memphis defensive tackle Dontari Poe (6-4, 346) is 10 pounds lighter than his listed weight, but that doesn't have much significance. Poe is still a powerful load and a size mismatch. He has short arms (32 inches), but for his scheme fit as a nose tackle, that shouldn't hurt him. Poe's lesser weight could help him with a faster 40 time and better performance in the agility drills.
A player with solid measurements to be an NFL three-technique or nose tackle in a 4-3 defense was Michigan State's Jerel Worthy. He has good bulk to go along with some natural pad level at 6-foot-2, 308 pounds. Worthy is on the fringe between a first- and second-round pick, so the Combine could give him a push in either direction.
Another player who has added weight recently was Cincinnati defensive tackle/end Derek Wolfe. At the Senior Bowl, Wolfe (6-4) was weighing 286 pounds. Since then, Wolfe has added nine pounds to reach 295. It will be interesting to see how he performs in the field drills at the higher weight. With him checking in heavier he could potentially stay as a 4-3 tackle, but his best fit could be as a 3-4 defensive end.
Troy outside linebacker/defensive end Jonathan Massaquoi (6-2, 264) was heavier than expected. He was listed at 250 pounds by Troy. With the added weight, Massaquoi now opens himself up for consideration by 4-3 teams that are looking at speed rushing defensive ends.
One player with an injury concern is Nebraska defensive tackle Jared Crick. He was a potential first-round pick who lost most of his senior season to a torn pectoral muscle. Crick checked in at 6-foot-4, 279 pounds. That was lighter than expected, but Crick deserves a pass to a degree because he hasn't been able to work out completely as he was busy rehabbing after surgery.
2012 NFL Combine: Weigh-In Recap - Linebackers
Alabama's Dont'a Hightower (6-2, 265) is very heavy for an inside linebacker. It will be interesting to see if he runs slowly and looks stiff at that heavy weight. He would fit best on the inside of a 3-4 defense, but he may need to drop some weight to improve his quickness. That could be too much bulk for him to be a middle linebacker in a 4-3 defense. With those measurements, some teams could consider Hightower as a 3-4 outside linebacker.
Hightower wasn't the heaviest Alabama linebacker. Teammate Courtney Upshaw (6-2, 272) virtually duplicated his Senior Bowl measurements (6-1, 273). Upshaw is bigger than typical 3-4 outside linebackers, but with his rare speed and athleticism, he could excel as a 3-4 edge rusher.
The linebacker who may have been one of the biggest surprises was North Carolina's Zach Brown. He weighed in at 6-foot-1, 244-pounds. Brown put on eight pounds since the Senior Bowl. The heavier Brown could draw some interest from 3-4 defenses as a hybrid inside/outside linebacker due to his speed and blitzing ability. It also makes him prototype size for a 4-3 outside linebacker. Brown is expected to have an extremely fast 40 time, and he could be a workout warrior at Indianapolis.
Another linebacker who has added weight was Nebraska's Lavonte David (6-1, 233). He's added eight pounds of mass since the Senior Bowl. David is still is a fit as a 4-3 outside linebacker, but his added weight will please teams that had concerns about him holding up as an undersized linebacker.
For months, we've been writing that it looked like Oklahoma outside linebacker Ronnell Lewis was bigger than his listed measurement in the 240s. Lewis (6-2, 253) indeed packed on some muscle. He is a well-built athlete who is likely to impress at the Combine. He could fit well as a 3-4 defender that can play inside and outside linebacker.
Miami linebacker Sean Spence (5-11, 231) is too small to play in a non-4-3 defense. That hurts Spence, but he did add a few pounds over his Senior Bowl weigh in (228). At his shorter height it could be harder for Spence to put on more mass.
The consensus top inside linebacker, Boston College's Luke Kuechly, checked in at a solid 6-foot-3, 242 pounds. Kuechly has shorter arms (31 inches) than most of the linebackers, but that is not going to affect his status as he has massive production with fantastic tape. He may not test well in the 40 and the athletic drills, but he is a pure football player who should go in the top 20.
West Virginia outside linebacker Bruce Irvin (6-3, 245) should put on more weight, and hasn't done much to increase size leading up to the Combine. He was a one-dimensional pass-rusher in college, and is light for that role in the NFL. It will be interesting to see how he performs in the bench press.