Live updates on top draft prospects’ times, measurements

The measurements and 40 times are about to start rolling in from Indianapolis.

Workouts at the NFL scouting combine officially begin Thursday, with defensive linemen and linebackers taking the field for drills and testing. While this setting might seem like one that doesn’t lend itself to a showcase for players at these positions, there have been several breakout performers from the front seven in recent years, including Georgia’s Jordan Davis and Travon Walker last year and Clemson’s Isaiah Simmons in in 2020

Who will create the biggest buzz this year?

Check back throughout Thursday for live updates on players’ measurements, testing and performances during drills:

The NFL scouting combine logo at the Indiana Convention Center.

Jalen Carter back in Indianapolis but not in action

After turning himself in Wednesday on an arrest warrant, Jalen Carter is back at the NFL scouting combine to complete his interviews with teams.

Carter had already decided in the days leading up to the combine not to participate in testing and on-field drills.

Here’s the latest from USA TODAY Sports on what we know about Carter and his connection with a January car accident that killed one University of Georgia football player and a recruiting staffer.

– Michael Middlehurst-Schwartz

OPINION: Jalen Carter’s arrest warrant leaves rampant questions – including for NFL teams

Who will be Thursday’s NFL combine stars?

The action will get underway shortly, but let’s look at a few players who could be Thursday’s biggest standouts.

Lukas Van Ness, Iowa: Not hard to figure out that the guy nicknamed “Hercules” is probably going to make waves at this event. At a chiseled 6-5 and 275 pounds, Van Ness has excellent initial burst and should post one of the better 40 times among defensive ends. There’s still work for him to do in refining his rush, but this is the kind of event built to showcase his best traits.

Zach Harrison, Ohio State: The former five-star recruit did not enjoy the career many expected of him with the Buckeyes, but his athleticism is still evident. At 6-6 and 272 pounds, he boasts a massive frame and should be a top-notch tester.

Mazi Smith, Michigan: Don’t write off the 6-3, 337-pounder as just another lane-clogger in the middle. Smith’s explosiveness should be on display in Indianapolis in the broad jump and vertical leap, as he is a contender to post one of the best marks among interior defensive linemen.

Keion White, Georgia Tech: A former tight end who transferred from Old Dominion, White hasn’t lost his explosiveness even as he bulked up to 280 pounds on his 6-5 frame.

– Michael Middlehurst-Schwartz

Mock draft update: Which DL, LB are ticketed for the first round?

Let’s do a quick draft stock update ahead of today’s drills, courtesy of our latest NFL mock draft.

This class of defensive ends has three likely top-10 picks: Alabama’s Will Anderson, Texas Tech’s Tyree Wilson and Clemson’s Myles Murphy. Anderson currently is slotted at No. 1 to the Chicago Bears in our latest mock draft, although somewhere in the 2-4 range might be more likely given the expected jockeying for quarterbacks at the top of the order. Wilson is projected No. 5 to the Seattle Seahawks, while Murphy is ticketed for the Atlanta Falcons at No. 5.

There then looks to be a steep drop-off at defensive end, with Iowa’s Lukas Van Ness landing at No. 29 to the New Orleans Saints and LSU’s BJ Ojulari the only other players to make the first-round cut. But there are several other players on the cusp who could get a serious boost with strong showings in Indianapolis.

Jalen Carter, projected No. 3 to the Arizona Cardinals, is the top defensive tackle, followed by Clemson’s Bryan Bresee (No. 18 to Detroit Lions) and Pitt’s Calijah Kancey (No. 30 to the Philadelphia Eagles).

Georgia’s Nolan Smith is the only linebacker currently projected for the first round (and he’s essentially an edge rusher). Arkansas’ Drew Sanders and Clemson’s Trenton Simpson are among the off-ball linebackers who will look to boost their stock into Day 1.

– Michael Middlehurst-Schwartz

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: NFL draft combine results: News on top prospects’ times, measurements

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