The NFL Scouting Combine is in full swing, and one of the most exciting days is still upon us. On Monday, defensive lineman and linebackers will get together for drills in hopes of impressing NFL scouts.
This year's crop of defensive prospects is deep. There are several players that are looking to separate themselves from the pack, and the combine will provide them with the outlet to do so.
Keeping up with all the action can be difficult given the number of athletes in attendance, but there are a few guys you should be on the look out for on Monday.
Make sure you don't miss when these three defensive stars partake in drills.
NFL Combine Viewing Information
When: Feb. 22-25
Where: Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis
TV: NFL Network (begins at 9 a.m. ET each day)
Live Stream: NFL.com Combine Live
Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina
All eyes will be on Jadeveon Clowney when he steps on the field at Lucas Oil Stadium.
Perhaps the most physically dominant player available in the draft, Clowney is looking to make waves. The 21-year-old stands at 6'6" and weighs nearly 250 pounds, but he's not going to let that stop him in the 40-yard dash. Per Hays Carlyon of the Florida Times-Union, Clowney told reporters at the combine on Saturday: “I know I am going to run a low 4.5, if I don’t run a 4.4. I’m hoping 4.4.”
Such a time would be absolutely unbelievable for a defensive end, let alone one of his size. Clowney is a beast physically, but a time like that might make him too good to pass up with the No. 1 overall pick.
John McClain of the Houston Chronicle tweeted that the Houston Texans are considering one of the three top quarterbacks—Teddy Bridgewater, Blake Bortles and Johnny Manziel—for the No. 1 overall pick:
Each day I get asked multiple times: Who are Texans drafting? I tell them 1 of the 3 top QBs. Forget about any other position.— John McClain (@McClain_on_NFL) January 30, 2014
If Clowney really impresses on the field and during his pre-draft interviews, though, Houston might have to select him.
While a quarterback might be a better building block, it would be hard to argue with Houston for pairing J.J. Watt with Clowney.
Khalil Mack, DE/OLB, Buffalo
Plenty of names have been floated around in regards to who could be the No. 1 overall pick. Clowney and the three aforementioned quarterbacks have all been considered, and even guys like Sammy Watkins and Greg Robinson have been talked about by some to go No. 1 overall.
Mike Mayock of NFL.com would like to offer another player into the mix: linebacker Khalil Mack. On Minneapolis radio station KFAN on Friday morning, Mayock said that he would take Mack first overall.
He had great things to say about the dynamic pass-rusher, stating: "He's explosive off the edge, he's tough, he's twitchy, he's got a little edge about him."
Mike Huguenin of NFL.com notes that Mack has been compared to Denver Broncos defensive end Von Miller. That type of talent may indeed be worth the top pick in the draft, but Mack will have to prove himself amongst the class' best at the combine.
Mack is certainly a sleeper pick to go very early in the first round.
C.J. Mosley, LB, Alabama
There's a lot to like about linebacker C.J. Mosley.
ESPN's scouting report provides a short breakdown, just in case you aren't familiar with his physical gifts: "Upper-echelon range versus run. Consistently makes plays outside tackle box. Very good closing burst. Smooth athlete."
Bleacher Report's Matt Miller has been hearing that Mosley is becoming quite the hot commodity amongst NFL teams, and he might already be skyrocketing up draft boards. With a strong combine, there's a chance he could continue to climb.
Mosley is widely considered to be the top interior linebacker in the draft. Whichever team selects him will be looking for a future leader on defense, and Mosley certainly possesses the type of ability needed to become one. He was the leader of an Alabama defense that was more than stingy against opponents.
Health might be an issue with Mosley, though, as Louis Riddick of ESPN points out via Twitter:
Health concerns w/Kouandjio/knee are legit. Longevity issue. LB C.J. Mosley longevity concerns very very real as well.— Louis Riddick (@LRiddickESPN) February 22, 2014
Whether or not teams take his health into consideration remains to be seen, but he's an impact NFL prospect—no questions asked.
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