Dec 28, 2014; Kansas City, MO, USA; San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers (17) is sacked by Kansas City Chiefs outside linebackerJustin Houston
(50) during the first half at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports
Two days of workouts at the NFL Combine are finished, and there are two more to go. The offensive players are finished, now it is time for the defense to take the Combine center stage. Today, the featured act will be defensive linemen and linebackers. The Combine will feature stars like Nebraska’s Randy Gregory and Florida’s Dante Fowler Jr.
Is the next Justin Houston(above) going to take the field today? He could. We know the Jets are looking for an edge pass rusher, so Mike Maccagnan, Todd Bowles and company will be taking a good hard look at the Combine events today?
So, as we have been doing all week, let’s talk about the day’s events. What should you look for? Here are some thoughts.
Next: Bench Press
BENCH PRESS: I know we won’t see this on the field, but take a look at how these guys performed in the Bench Press. It’s especially important for the linemen. According to the study we have been referencing each day of the Combine, 54.2% of the top performers start in the NFL at defensive tackle. 54.7% of top performers are starters, classified as “Large Defensive Ends”.
Why is this so important? Linemen have to have the strength to fight through one, sometimes two offensive linemen. Sheer strength is often the only way to do it.
While we are talking about measurables, look at the arm length of these guys. Longer arms allow a player to get their hands on the offensive lineman first, often giving them an advantage.
Now let’s look at the on-field Combine drills.
Next: 40 Yard Dash
Feb 24, 2014; Indianapolis, IN, USA; South Carolina Gamecocks defensive endJadeveon Clowney
(R) talks to Pittsburgh PanthersAaron Donald
(L) during the 2014 NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
40 YARD DASH: Yes, the 40 yard dash is important. At each position over the last ten years, over 50% of the top performers in the 40 yard dash have started in the league. Outside linebackers and large defensive ends have the highest figures, with starting percentages of 54.5% and 55.8% respectively. These guys have to use their speed to rush the passer, and to drop back into pass coverage. The relationship for these positions make sense.
Next: Broad Jump
Feb 25, 2013; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Connecticut Huskies linebackerSio Moore
does the broad jump during the NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
BROAD JUMP: For defensive ends, there has been a stark correlation between high performance in the broad jump and starting in the league. 55.8% of the top performers over the last ten years started in the NFL. Being able to explode off of the line is key in getting to the quarterback. The Broad Jump is a direct example of a player’s explosiveness.
Enjoy the Combine today.