In Indianapolis, Sunday was the day for prospective linebackers and defensive linemen to take the stage at the NFL Combine. That meant it was the day for former Kansas State Wildcat Jordan Willis to step up and show off his skills for pro scouts, coaches, and front offices.
He didn’t disappoint.
Yesterday’s bench press was a bit lackluster, as Willis only pushed 24 reps. Auburn’s Carl Lawson led the way with 35, so Willis went into today needing some eye-popping performances.
In the 40-yard dash, Willis posted the second-best time among all defensive linemen at 4.53 seconds. That time was just 0.01 seconds behind the event’s best performer, Temple’s Haason Reddick. The 1.54 10-yard split time recorded by Willis, best among linemen, has been described by multiple analysts as “ridiculous”.
Willis then notched another second-place finish, clearing 39 inches in the vertical leap. Texas A&M’s Myles Garrett hit 41, while Reddick was third at 36.5 inches.
Willis then hit a 125-inch (10’ 5”) broad jump, good for a tie for sixth; Reddick again led the way at 133, followed by Garrett, Tanoh Kpassagnon of Villanova, and Northwestern’s Ifeadi Odebnigo at 128. Solomon Thomas of Stanford reached 126, while Willis was joined at 125 by Deatrich Wise of Arkansas.
In the three-cone drill, Willis posted an absurd 6.85 time, tops among all linemen. Of the players already mentioned, only Thomas cracked the 7-second barrier (6.95). Utah’s Pita Taumoepenu was the closest competition for Willis, posting a 6.91 time.
Willis tied for third with Thomas in the 20-yard shuffle at 4.28 seconds. Lawson recorded a 4.19 for the lead, followed by Trey Hendrickson of Florida Atlantic with a 4.20 mark. Most of Willis’s main competition didn’t even crack the 4.40 barrier.
At this writing, either full results for the 60-yard shuttle aren’t available or, most likely, all but seven linemen opted out.
So what’s all this mean for Willis? Well, Will Brinson of CBS Sports marked Willis down as one of the four big winners today, along with Garrett, Reddick, and Michigan’s Jabril Peppers. Brinson has Willis firmly in the middle of the second round, but thinks he’s still got room to move up. Aaron Kasinitz, writing for the Harrisburg Patriot-News (aka PennLive), also gave Willis accolades, expressly stating that he’d improved from a possible third- or fourth-round pick to a clear two. Sports Illustrated’s Chris Burke also gave props to the Wildcat, saying he made one of the most meaningful moves up draft boards today.
In blog-land, you’ll have to dig down deep but Alex Kozora of Steelers Depot says “Willis took the world by storm [...] I like him. Dude’s a winner.” Chris Pflum at our sister site Big Blue View, a Giants blog, was impressed too.
Long story short: Jordan Willis hit it out of the park today. Not everyone is gushing over his performance, but those who mention him are uniformly nodding in appreciation. The Wildcat star probably made himself a lot of money today.