Monday Combine Results: The Defensive Ends As Outside Linebackers

Feb 27, 2012; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Clemson Tigers defensive lineman Andre Branch participates in an interception drill during the NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-US PRESSWIRE

Melvin Ingram stands out, Devon Still struggles at NFL Scouting Combine - Tony Pauline - SI.com. If the Green Bay Packers draft a defensive end in the first round, it's nearly guaranteed that they'll be converting him to outside linebacker. While that could be a good strategy, depending on the player, it brings a lot more risk.

I've seen South Carolina's Melvin Ingram listed as an outside linebacker, but he ran with the defensive ends on Monday. He'd been regarded as a mid-first round talent after a strong senior season, and he might have helped himself with a strong showing at the combine. USC's Nick Perry and Illinois's Whitney Mercilus had been considered late first round players by CBS Sports.com, but Perry had "a workout for the ages" and Mercilus showed speed and athleticism which may have elevated both of their draft rankings.

Clemson's Andre Branch might be a good candidate at outside linebacker. According to CBS Sports.com, he's the 35th rated player available, so theoretically he should be available by the time the Packers are on the clock. He too had a strong workout, and "got depth on pass routes and showed the ability to run fast laterally as well as in a straight line."

Of the players listed at defensive end, the top ranked defensive end, North Carolina's Quinton Coples, might actually be able to play DE in a 3-4 scheme. He too had a strong workout on Monday, but he might be better suited as a 4-3 DE.

"As many as six defensive ends have first round ability" and it's possible that the Packers might not be in a position to select any one of them. But when there are so many players at one position, the possibility that a player or two could fall to the end of the first round is a possibility. There are no obvious fits among these players and the Packers, but there are a lot of good ones available and it's a position to watch.

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