NFL Combine 2014: Offensive line drills

Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

The big uglies are going to be put to the test this week in front of every front office.

The 2014 NFL Combine begins this week at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, with coaches, scouts and general managers of all 32 teams ready to dissect every draft prospect.

Of the 335 young men looking to make a name for themselves in the NFL Draft, 50 of them are offensive linemen. Some of the biggest names will be there including Jake Matthews of Texas A&M, Notre Dame's Zack Martin and Auburn's Greg Robinson.

Like all the other positions, the offensive linemen will have their measurements taken and conduct interviews before hitting stations including the bench press, broad jump, vertical jump, 3-cone drill, shuttle run and 40-yard dash. However, there are also specialized drills made for the linemen, led by the kick-slide drill.

This drill is for the tackles, and shows the evaluators their ability to get out of two and three-point stances to protect the quarterback. Each tackle has to start out of those stances once, and when the ball is snapped the tackle must kick out wide to defend a bag placed 12 yards behind him and "inside the pocket", simulating his quarterback. The idea is for the lineman to drive the oncoming rusher up the field.

Over at NFL.com, Mike Mayock gives a nice animated view of the drill with multiple examples using film.

Players to Watch

Zack Martin: A versatile offensive lineman, Martin did well at the Senior Bowl at both the guard and tackle positions. While his versatility will be an asset for him during the draft process, the Combine will give some clues about the type of athlete he is and where his best fit might be in the NFL.

Dakota Dozier: It's never easy to tell how a small school player will do at the next level, but some clues about the Furman product's athleticism will be answered at the Combine. He already had a strong showing at the East-West Shrine Game and could solidify his stock as a top 100 pick with a great performance at the Combine.

Jake Matthews: The Texas A&M tackle has been thought as the top offensive tackle at times, but has since fallen behind Greg Robinson in the majority of mock drafts. While he's technically sound, he could recapture that top spot if he shows himself to be more athletic than he is given credit for.

Greg Robinson: Bigger than Matthews, Robinson can solidify his place as the top offensive tackle in the draft class if he can prove himself more athletic as well. At 6'5, 320 pounds, Robinson will not put up the best numbers of the week, but he is expected to run a 40-yard dash under five seconds, which would be very impressive for his size.

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