NFL Draft Odds – Strongest Defensive Draft Prospects

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BetMGM Jun 15, 2021, 1:20 PM
ANN ARBOR, MICHIGAN - NOVEMBER 17: Kwity Paye #19 of the Michigan Wolverines tries to sack Peyton Ramsey #12 of the Indiana Hoosiers at Michigan Stadium on November 17, 2018 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Michigan won the game 31-20. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
(Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

In football, when you’re one of the guys up front, strength is a mighty good friend to have. When it comes to making an NFL roster, it’s good to have friends. As they say, you can never have too many.

When it comes to the defensive side of the ball, how strong are the best NFL Draft prospects when it comes to linemen and linebackers? Who had the top repetition numbers in the bench press this spring? We took a look at the top players at each position, based on the BetMGM NFL Draft betting odds. 

With no centralized NFL Combine this year, on-campus pro days took its place. Who did what in the more than 100 pro days scattered across the country? We take a look and let you know.

While we did do a quick list of defensive backs, separating the cornerbacks and safeties, we focused primarily on the defensive line and linebackers. Just like with the offense, the bench press is more important at some positions than others. While speed and leaping ability are critical at the DB positions, possessing brute strength is more of a bonus attribute.

On the flip side, if a defensive line prospect lifts 225 pounds fewer than 20 times, that’s a massive warning signal to NFL teams that a player may not be ready for the rigors of pro football. This year’s top mark was 40 reps -- and Ohio State defensive lineman Tommy Togai nailed it. He’s a promising nose tackle/defensive tackle prospect projected to go in the middle of the second round. Only one other athlete in the country hit 40 during pro days.

So how did the players perform who are atop the NFL Draft odds to be among the first taken at their respective positions? We tell you below using DraftScout.com for the pro-day data.

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The Bench Press  - By Defensive Position

Defensive Linemen

Bench Press -- Measured in how many repetitions an athlete can lift 225 pounds

TOP COMBINE PERFORMANCE SINCE 1999 (number of reps)

51 -- Justin Ernest, Eastern Kentucky (DT -- 1999)

45 -- Mike Kudla, Ohio State (DE -- 2006)

TOP PRO DAY PERFORMANCES BY POS. - 2021 (number of reps)

40 -- Tommy Togiai, DT, Ohio State

36 -- Kwity Paye, DT, Michigan


TOP DL PROSPECTS (by BetMGM odds)

Kwity Paye, DE, Michigan

ODDS OF FIRST DL PICKED: -225

PRO DAY REPS: 36 (tied for 2nd)

DRAFTSCOUT PROJ: 1st round (No. 15 overall)

Jaelan Phillips, DE, Miami (Fla.)

ODDS OF FIRST DL PICKED: +225

PRO DAY REPS: 21 (tied for 16th)

DRAFTSCOUT PROJ: 2nd round (No. 42 overall)

Greg Rousseau, DE, Miami (Fla.)

ODDS OF FIRST DL PICKED: +900

PRO DAY REPS: 21 (tied for 16th)

DRAFTSCOUT PROJ: 1st round (No. 24 overall)

Christian Barmore, DT, Alabama

ODDS OF FIRST DL PICKED: +900

PRO DAY REPS: did not lift (choice)

DRAFTSCOUT PROJ: 1st round (No. 22 overall)

Jayson Oweh, DE, Penn State

ODDS OF FIRST DL PICKED: +1800

PRO DAY REPS: 21 (tied for 16th)

DRAFTSCOUT PROJ: 1st round (No. 19 overall)

Levi Onwuzurike, DT, Washington

ODDS OF FIRST DL PICKED: +4000

PRO DAY REPS: 29 (tied for 8th)

DRAFTSCOUT PROJ: 2nd round (No. 64 overall)

Ronnie Perkins, DE, Oklahoma

ODDS OF FIRST DL PICKED: +4000

PRO DAY REPS: 25 (tied for 12th)

DRAFTSCOUT PROJ: 4th to 5th (No. 158 overall)

Joe Tryon, DE, Washington

ODDS OF FIRST DL PICKED: +6600

PRO DAY REPS: 22 (tied for 15th)

DRAFTSCOUT PROJ: 2nd round (No. 53 overall)

Tommy Togiai, DT/NT, Ohio State

ODDS OF FIRST DL PICKED: +10000

PRO DAY REPS: 40 (tied for 1st)

DRAFTSCOUT PROJ: 2nd round (No. 54 overall)


(Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)

Linebackers

Bench Press -- Measured in how many repetitions an athlete can lift 225 pounds

TOP COMBINE PERFORMANCE SINCE 1999 (number of reps)

41 -- Terna Nande, Miami, Ohio (OLB: 2006)

36 -- Liam Ezekiel, Northeastern, Mass. (ILB: 2005)

TOP PRO DAY PERFORMANCES BY POS. (number of reps)

29 -- Derrick Barnes, ILB, Purdue

28 -- Grant Stuard, OLB, Houston


TOP LB PROSPECTS (by BetMGM odds)

Micah Parsons, OLB, Penn State

ODDS OF FIRST LB PICKED: -450

PRO DAY REPS: 19 (tied 11th best)

DRAFTSCOUT PROJ: 1st round (No. 8 overall)

Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, OLB, Notre Dame

ODDS OF FIRST LB PICKED: +650

PRO DAY REPS: did not lift

DRAFTSCOUT PROJ: 1st round (No. 17 overall)

Azeez Ojulari, OLB, Georgia

ODDS OF FIRST LB PICKED: +900

PRO DAY REPS: 26 (tied 4th best)

DRAFTSCOUT PROJ: 1st round (No. 20 overall)

Jamin Davis, ILB, Kentucky

ODDS OF FIRST LB PICKED: +1100

PRO DAY REPS: 21 (tied 9th best)

DRAFTSCOUT PROJ: 1st round (No. 27 overall)

Zaven Collins, OLB, Tulsa

ODDS OF FIRST LB PICKED: +2000

PRO DAY REPS: 19 (tied 11th best)

DRAFTSCOUT PROJ: 1st round (No. 23 overall)

Joseph Ossai, OLB, Texas

ODDS OF FIRST LB PICKED: +2000

PRO DAY REPS: 19 (tied 11th best)

DRAFTSCOUT PROJ: 1st to 2nd round (No. 39 overall)


AUSTIN, TEXAS - OCTOBER 03: Al'Vonte Woodard #9 of the Texas Longhorns is tackled by Trevon Moehrig #7 of the TCU Horned Frogs in the third quarter at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium on October 03, 2020 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)
(Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)

Defensive Backs

Bench Press -- Measured in how many repetitions an athlete can lift 225 pounds

TOP COMBINE PERFORMANCE SINCE 1999 (number of reps)

35 -- Nick Perry, Alabama (FS: 2015)

32 -- Mario Edwards, Florida State (CB: 2000)

31 -- Adam Archuleta, Arizona State (SS: 2001)

TOP PRO DAY PERFORMANCES BY POS. - 2021 (number of reps)

26 -- Marco Wilson, CB, Florida

24 -- Tyler Coyle, SS, Purdue

22 -- James Wiggins, FS, Cincinnati


TOP DB PROSPECTS (by BetMGM odds)

Trevon Moehrig, FS, Texas Christian

ODDS OF FIRST SAFETY PICKED: -400

PRO DAY REPS: 14 (tied for 13th)

DRAFTSCOUT PROJ: 2nd round (No. 41 overall)

Patrick Surtain II, CB, Alabama

ODDS OF FIRST CB PICKED: -300

PRO DAY REPS: 18 (tied for 7th)

DRAFTSCOUT PROJ: 1st round (No. 6 overall)

Jaycee Horn, CB, South Carolina

ODDS OF FIRST CB PICKED: +225

PRO DAY REPS: 19 (tied for 6th)

DRAFTSCOUT PROJ: 2nd round (No. 43 overall)

Jevon Holland, FS, Oregon

ODDS OF FIRST SAFETY PICKED: +350

PRO DAY REPS: 19 (tied for 6th)

DRAFTSCOUT PROJ: 2nd round (No. 14 overall)

Richie Grant, FS, Central Florida

ODDS OF FIRST SAFETY PICKED: +550

PRO DAY REPS: 12 (tied for 15th)

DRAFTSCOUT PROJ: 2nd to 3rd round (No. 67 overall)

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Brian McLaughlin is a writer for BetMGM and co-host of BMac and Herd’s FCS Podcast. He has covered the national recruiting scene in football and basketball for The Sporting News, headed up the PARADE Magazine High School All-America selections, and handled FCS college football for HERO Sports. Follow BMac on Twitter @BrianMacWriter.

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Our BetMGM editors and authors are sports experts with a wealth of knowledge of the sports industry at all levels. Their coverage includes sports news, previews and predictions, fun facts, and betting.