INDIANAPOLIS — The big men opened the workout portion of the NFL scouting combine Thursday in Lucas Oil Stadium. It didn’t take long for one of them to set the tone.
The University of Pittsburgh’s Calijah Kancey, at 6-foot-1, 281 pounds, had a 4.67 official time in the 40-yard dash, the fastest time by a defensive tackle at the combine since 2006, when ESPN Stats & Information began tracking data from the event.
Kancey was in the first group of players at the combine to participate in the on-field workouts. The defensive linemen and linebackers, divided into three groups, were the first to do the on-field drills.
About an hour later, Northwestern defensive end Adetomiwa Adebawore ran a 4.49 at 282 pounds, believed to be the fastest 40 time for any player electronically timed at the combine who weighed in at 280 or more pounds. Form No. 1 overall pick Mario Williams previously had the fastest time when he ran a 4.66 at 295 pounds in 2006, according to ESPN Stats & Info.
Georgia outside linebacker Nolan Smith, who had heartily proclaimed Wednesday, “I look forward to showing what I can do,” did just that Thursday.
Smith, who was coming off a torn pectoral muscle he suffered in November, said he would only do a selection of drills. It just so happened he was elite in the three drills he did with a 4.39 official time in the 40-yard dash, a 41.5-inch vertical jump and a broad jump of 10 feet, 8 inches.
Since 2006, Smith’s 40 time is the third-fastest time at the combine among front-seven players, trailing only Amare Barno’s 4.36 in 2022 and Shaquem Griffin’s 4.38 in 2018, per ESPN Stats & Information.
Kancey, who was Pitt’s first unanimous All-American since Aaron Donald in 2013 and was an Outland Trophy finalist, had come to Indianapolis having already drawn raves from scouts for his work at the Senior Bowl. Donald ran a 4.68 40-yard dash at the 2014 combine.
Kancey led the nation’s interior defenders this past season with 14.5 tackles for loss and finished with 7.5 sacks as well.