It goes without saying that former South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney is the fastest defensive lineman at the Scouting Combine. He was also only two-hundredths of a second away from tying the fastest linebacker.
Only two linebackers ran faster than Clowney’s official time of 4.53 seconds in the 40-yard dash: Kevin Pierre-Louis of Boston College (4.51) and Telvin Smith of Florida State (4.52).
Freak athletes like Clowney who can run a 4.53-second 40 at 266 pounds just don’t come around very often, so it’s unsurprising that the two linebackers who are faster than Clowney are a whole lot smaller than him. Pierre-Louis weighed in at 232 pounds, while Smith is a safety-sized 218 pounds.
Smith’s speed makes him a likely special teams contributor, but he probably can’t hold up as an NFL linebacker unless he adds some size. Smith was also only a starter for one season at Florida State. Pierre-Louis, on the other hand, was a four-year starter at Boston College and looks like the type of player who should be able to contribute to an NFL defense as a rookie.
Both Pierre-Louis and Smith looked very good in the 40 today. But no one looked as good as Clowney.