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NFL Combine 2019 recap: Potential Eagles defensive lineman targets

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From the spin move to the flash chop, the DLs on Saturday had a lot to offer their prospective teams.

The defensive lineman spoke to the media on Saturday afternoon, and it’s definitely an area of interest for the Eagles. Granted, things look better than they did a week ago, with news that Brandon Graham was signed to a three-year extension, but with several free agents still up in the air, and Chris Long still having yet to confirm his return to football at all, there’s definitely a need for Philadelphia.

Here’s what a few of the prospects and potential targets had to say:

Montez Sweat (Mississippi State)

Sweat talked a little about the coaching change during his time at Mississippi State and how he had to transition to a 4-3 defense, but that he liked playing in that scheme. He said the change is definitely an advantage, and that he was able to see a lot more things and be more explosive out of the 2-point, and that there’s a lot of things you can do out of that.

He joked that Mississippi State was DLU and that a lot of the alumni kept in contact with each other, and he’s been given a lot of advice heading into this weekend.

Sweat also talked about coming in to college at 17 years old and how he’s matured every year, especially after being dismissed from Michigan State. He said it was a big blow that humbled him a lot and made him grow up.

Despite being a DL, he played multiple positions in high school, including tight end, quarterback, receiver, and just a little bit of defensive end. It wasn’t until college that they really had him commit to DE, but he just took it from there.

Brian Burns (Florida State)

Burns talked about his technique and how his coaches helped him develop a technique that worked for his size, specifically. He talked more about his size and how it might not look like it, but he’s putting down 5-6 meals a day and his target is somewhere around 4,000 calories a day. He also talked about how he talked to Marcus Davenport after learning he had put on about 20 pounds heading into the combine, as someone to learn from. He said he doesn’t know what the future holds, but if he can add on more weight he will, but if not he feels comfortable competing at his current weight.

Burns talked a bit about his penchant for using the spin move, and said he started using it back in high school after one game in which he had a “nasty spin move” — he didn’t get the sack, but it was a nasty outside sack, and ever since then it was something he’s been working on it just to perfect it. He also talked about how it was his favorite move.

He said that as he’s developing the spin move, he studies guys like Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis. Burns went on to say that there’s so many things that go into it, and there are so many different kind of spins.

“You can add it off of shake and bake, or pure speed, or rush, or bull rush, there’s plenty of ways you can go into a spin. It can be a pure counter, they can be a pre-determined move, so I mean just repping it and having your feet in place is everything for a spin move.”

He was asked (by a guy in an Eagles shirt) is he was a film buff — someone who like film study — and he agreed that he was. He talked about learning a lot from DeMarcus Walker who taught him his freshman year that film study was very important. He also noted that he doesn’t know a guy who watches more film than Walker.

Rashan Gary (Michigan)

Chase Winovich (Michigan)

Winovich said that when he leaves the combine, he hopes he can dispel some of the perception that he can’t drop, and anything other limits that they’ve put on him — which to him is something they’ve always done. He said that he’s at the combine “to win” but that it’s not really about beating people, but rather beating the expectations he set for himself.

He wasn’t sure if he was allowed to talk about (or “speculate”) which teams he’s met with, but once told by the reporters around him that he is and that everyone else is in fact already doing that, he then admitted he had met with the Texans and had seven formal interviews scheduled for Saturday night, but he didn’t know who was on the list.

Winovich said that drawing up play and talking about scheme during his interviews wasn’t something he was worried about because they trained him well at Michigan, saying that if you know football and know what teams are trying to do it’s relatively easy and that things carry over from team to team. Learning that from his coaches has helped him play faster.

He said he didn’t really have a favorite go-to pass rush, but rather liked to watch film of his opponent and tailor his attack to what might be utilized best.

Winovich also said that he hasn’t met Clay Matthews yet, but has some grand plans for his draft party where Jack Links had Sasquatch there in a blonde wig and he was hoping they could do “like Papa Sasquatch and the Little Sasquatch” like he’s the up-and-coming.

He grew up in Pittsburgh and played college in Michigan, so despite quoting Jim Harbaugh, “It’s cold up in the North, but we have buildings,” he said it does give him a bit of an advantage should he play for a northern team.

Christian Wilkins (Clemson)

The lineman said one of his go to moves is the stab-chop/flash-chop, it looks good on tape when you put it all together. He joked that he can’t give all his secrets away, but that he just flashes that long arm, get the offensive lineman to show his hands, get him leaning a little bit, and as soon as he shows his hands chop him down and short edge to the quarterback.

He talked about taking the leadership style he had at Clemson to the next level, and holding himself and his teammates accountable and contributing to a winning culture. He looks forward to taking all the tools that worked for him at the college level, to the NFL.

He was asked about whether tackle of defensive end was his preferred place to line up and he said that he can be versatile and is willing to bounce around to where ever is needed.

“I’m willing to do whatever it takes to win. If a team needs me to play 5, 3, running back, quarterback, safety, I’ll happily do that if it means we’ll win.”

Dre’Mont Jones (Ohio State)

Jones talked about how he was asked to do the linebacker workout, as well as defensive lineman, during Sunday’s on-field drills. He said that most teams have expressed interest in seeing him at both tackle and end, but if a team were interested in him playing linebacker, he would certainly give it a try — when asked how he thinks he’ll do, he said he was just as eager to find out as everyone else.

He talked a lot about his time at Ohio State, and playing alongside Nick Bosa. Jones also talked about playing for Greg Schiano, whose very military-like in his approach, but is also someone he said knows the ins and outs of every single defensive position.