The NFL Scouting Combine has officially started the on-field drills process of the event and now NFL scouts will get hands-on workouts and interviews with some of the nation’s best prospects. Every year draft stock rises and falls with the data collected in Indianapolis and Thursday defensive ends and linebackers were first up.
The Pittsburgh Panthers had three players representing on day one and no player made a bigger eye-catching performance than former star Calijah Kancey. The consensus All-American stole the show by running the 40-yard dash in a reported 4.67, breaking former Pitt standout Aaron Donald’s record for the fastest forty time for a defensive tackle.
Kancey has rocketed up draft boards since the season’s end and while he may not be projected top-10 anymore in Mel Kiper Jr’s latest mock draft, he still is a projected first-round pick that will surely garner more interest within the league after his record-setting testing. Kancey on tape has showcased his ability of what that speed looks like in game situations.
Q: But what does a DT who runs a 4.67 in the 40-yard dash look like on film?— Pitt Football (@Pitt_FB) March 2, 2023
A: Like this.pic.twitter.com/QMYVdOiAU8
Some other measurables from Kancey include 30 5/8’’ arm length, 9 1/8’’ hand size, and running the 10-yard split in 1.64 seconds. The former Pitt star scored a 94 in athletic score according to NFL next gen stats, good for first among defensive tackles.
Next up in Pitt players at the NFL Combine is defensive end Habakkuk Baldonado. Coming over from Rome, Italy, Baldonado has generated some buzz from NFL teams coming into this part of the process from the east-west shrine bowl. Having met with numerous teams already, including multiple meetings with the Tennesse Titans and the New York Jets, the former Pitt standout even got some extra attention from New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick.
During the Combine Baldonado ran a 4.78 40-yard dash and a 1.67 10-yard split. Baldonado did the most testing out of the three Panthers at the combine participating in every possible drill. Here are the results of the other tests at the event,
3 Cone: 7:11
Hands: 10 1/2
Bench: 21 reps
Rounding out the list for day one of the combine is linebacker SirVocea Dennis. Unfortunately for the former team captain, Dennis injured his foot during the Senior Bowl and was unable to participate in any of the on-field agility drills and speed drills. The versatile linebacker did measure at the combine with 32 7/8’’ arm length, 10 5/8’’ hands, and 19 bench press reps.
Dennis has been able to establish good momentum with his performance at the Senior Bowl and has interviewed well so far in the process. With the positional versatility Dennis brings, the former Pitt star will be a player teams keep an eye on as they look to see how he can fit into their schemes.