INDIANAPOLIS — There’s no better event at the NFL Scouting Combine than the bench press. It’s the ultimate combine theater.
It’s brute strength, man versus barbell, with some guy screaming in the ear of a 320-pound defensive lineman while he bounces 225 pounds off his chest more times believed humanly possible. Then, just as it seems like he can’t do anymore, the lineman summons up all his remaining strength and gives one last extension of his arms.
Yeah, it’s cool to run the fastest 40, but if you’re the guy with the most bench-press reps, you’ve earned some kind of street cred.
This year’s hero was Memphis’ Dontari Poe, who put up 44 reps, eight more than the next best D-linemen and edging the previous leader, Michigan center David Molk by three.
At 6-foot-4 and 346 pounds, Poe said Saturday he was gunning for 40 reps, and his performance here this week could do a lot for his draft stock with any team that’s in the market for a dominating force up front. Poe is widely considered a borderline first- or second-round pick, though Charles Davis, Chad Reuter and Bucky Brooks all predict he’ll go to the Texans with the 26th overall pick.
Other top D-linemen in bench press
Loni Fangupo, BYU: 36
Ronnell Lewis, Oklahoma: 36
Mike Martin, Michigan: 36
Kendall Reyes, Connecticut: 36
Top 5 LBs in bench press
Demario Davis, Arkansas State: 32
Miles Burris, San Diego State: 31
Ryan Baker, LSU: 30
Brandon Marshall, Nevada: 28
Darius Fleming, Notre Dame: 27
Luke Kuechly, Boston College: 27
Keenan Robinson, Texas: 27
Stay on top of all the results with NFL.com’s combine tracker.