Several linebackers create buzz with strong workouts

(Ben Liebenberg/

(Ben Liebenberg/

The up-close view from the sidelines at the combine always brings out certain truths. Watching Wake Forest LB Aaron Curry for one afternoon, it appears that everything that everyone has said about him is true. He went out and backed it up.

In terms of measurables, several other performances caught the attention of NFL team officials at the combine. USC LB Brian Cushing already had proved to be one of the strongest players at his position with 30 repetitions in the bench press, but he also ran well in the 40-yard dash today with a time of 4.74 seconds.

Several variations of linebackers were on display, and two players who fall into the “hybrid” category — as defensive ends in a 4-3 alignment or outside linebackers in a 3-4 scheme — also created buzz. Lawrence Sidbury Jr. of Richmond registered the best 40 time among the defensive linemen group (4.64 seconds). Cincinnati’s Connor Barwin posted the best marks in four categories — the vertical jump (40.5 inches), broad jump (10 feet, 8 inches), 3-cone drill (6.87 seconds) and 20-yard shuttle (4.18 seconds) — among the defensive linemen, and he also had the second-best 40 time at 4.66 seconds.

I’m told by senior analyst Pat Kirwan that both players also performed well in drills to help their draft stock today. More than once, I’ve heard Barwin compared to Patriots LB Mike Vrabel.

It was a tougher day for USC’s Rey Maualuga and Texas’ Brian Orakpo, both of whom left workouts early because of injuries.

Check out’s combine section for the top 10 official marks in all the combine drills for all positions, as well as Mike Mayock‘s top-rated linebackers.

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