NFL Combine 2014: Defensive line drills

Matt Cashore-US PRESSWIRE

The defensive linemen are looking to show why big can be beautiful when they hit the turf to strut their physical stuff.

The NFL Combine starts this week, with 335 NFL Draft hopefuls stepping onto the field of Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis to perform for scouts, general managers and coaches.

Once everybody is accounted for, the players will be broken up into groups depending on position. In the case of the defensive linemen, they will go through all the same drills as everybody else including the shuttle run, 40-yard dash, three-cone drill, broad jump, vertical jump and bench press.

For the defensive linemen, two drills tailored to them feature the dip and swim moves. Each player will have to go to his left and right one time each, showing that they can execute these techniques in order to get to the quarterback. The drills are shown nicely on NFL.com by Mike Mayock.

Off the field, all the players will go through extensive interviews in a one-on-one format with clubs, lasting no longer than 15 minutes each.

Players to watch

Jadeveon Clowney: This isn't so much a case of confirming ability but pulling up a chair for the show. At this point it would take a stunning turn of events to keep Clowney out of the top five picks in May, even with a bad combine -- but Indianapolis affords an opportunity to see one of the most intriguing participants in recent memory. It's not uncommon to see a workout warrior in the combine or a late riser because of physical prowess, but it's rare to see those qualities in a player already established as a top pick. Will Clowney's time in Indianapolis be Bo Jackson-esque? We can't wait to see.

Louis Nix: It takes a rare talent to be coming off a season-ending injury and still project as a first round pick, but such is the production of this Notre Dame nose tackle. Nix weighs in well over 325 pounds, making him the perfect space eater for a 3-4 scheme. It will be interesting to see how he carries that weight in running and what number he puts up in the bench press, while also assuring teams he's healthy.

Kony Ealy: Missouri has developed quite a pass rushing pipeline to the NFL and Kony Ealy is seen as the next top prospect. He's been overshadowed slightly by Jadeveon Clowney, but totaled 9.0 sacks in the SEC and cemented himself as a first round pick. It's going to be fascinating to see how his hailed athleticism translates to the drills and where he finishes in relation to Clowney.

Aaron Donald: There isn't a glut of talented under tackle prospects this year, unlike 2013. To this end it will be fascinating to see how a player widely regarded as the draft's top defensive tackle. Donald is an interesting prospect given he weighs less than 300 pounds but that can be erased if he shows in the drills that he has the strength and power needed to play at the next level. Much is made of his speed coming out of the snap, and that will be interesting to watch.

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