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NFL Combine 2016: Defensive line drills

Combine drills will mostly look to measure the bend and burst of defensive linemen.

Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Only defensive players are left at the 2016 NFL Combine and linemen will get things started on Sunday. While results in timing drills don't matter much for positions like quarterback and offensive line, for defensive linemen it's a chance to show explosion and burst.

Drills like the vertical jump, 40-yard dash and broad jump are important for showing lower body burst in defensive linemen and their ability to explode off the line of scrimmage.

Bench press can show players' ability to stack up the line of scrimmage and shed blockers, but it also can be a misleading number with players with longer arms typically getting outperformed by those with shorter arms.

In position-specific drills, coaches will mostly be looking at their ability to rip and swim through blockers, and change direction en route to the quarterback. In a few different drills, bags will be set up with players given the challenge of swimming through a bag and turning at as sharp as an angle as possible.

Players with strong ankle flexibility will be able to bend around the edge without losing much speed, while stiff players will struggle to turn at an angle at full speed.

Players to watch

Joey Bosa (Ohio State): Considered by some to be the best player in the entire 2016 NFL Draft, Bosa's ideal fit in the NFL is likely as a 4-3 defensive end, but he has the athleticism to possibly sway teams into thinking otherwise. If he puts that athleticism fully on display on Sunday, he should be able to lock himself in to the top 10. Bosa's most important drills will likely be ones like the vertical jump that will give clues into the Ohio State lineman's ability to explode off the line of scrimmage.

DeForest Buckner (Oregon): Buckner is a giant defensive end who already opened eyes when his hands measured in as the biggest ever at the event. At 6'7, 291 pounds, nobody expects Buckner to run in the 4.5s in his 40-yard dash, but if he can show ability to burst off the line of scrimmage, it will bode well for the big-bodied lineman's ability to stack up opposing offensive linemen.

Noah Spence (Eastern Kentucky): It's hard to argue that any player took better advantage of the Senior Bowl than Spence, who stood out as the best pass rusher by a significant margin. A former five-star high school prospect, Spence has always been an elite athlete and only landed at the FCS level after he was dismissed from Ohio State. In drills that show off athleticism, Spence could keep the spotlight squarely on himself if he's able to bring the same momentum that he built at the Senior Bowl.