2012 NFL Combine: Defensive Preview

Bruce Irvin Patriots Draft

Bruce Irvin could the fastest defensive lineman in Indianapolis this week. But how will he stack up during official measurements? (Photo: ICON SMI)

NEPD Editor: Doug Kyed

The combine is great for many things, but one of those is just the chance to see every player in one setting, doing the same drills right next to one another. There are so many variables during the season, it’s nice to see one controlled environment even if they aren’t in pads.

Each of these positions has something different to showcase at the combine, for DBs, it’s all about speed at footwork. For the defensive line, it’s more about flexibility and strength. For linebackers, teams will be looking at technique, burst and overall athleticism.

It’s a fun time of year, so when you’re watching the NFL Network, make sure to watch some of these guys.

DEFENSIVE LINE

Chas Alecxih, PITTSBURGH, DL01, DT
Frank Alexander, OKLAHOMA, DL02, DE
Jake Bequette, ARKANSAS, DL03, DE
Jamie Blatnick, OKLAHOMA ST, DL04, DE
Andre Branch, CLEMSON, DL05, DE
*Michael Brockers, LOUISIANA ST, DL06, DT
Josh Chapman, ALABAMA, DL07, NT
Quinton Coples, NORTH CAROLINA, DL08, DE
*Fletcher Cox, MISSISSIPPI ST, DL09, DT
Jack Crawford, PENN ST, DL10, DE
Tyrone Crawford, BOISE ST, DL11, DE
Jared Crick, NEBRASKA, DL12, DT
Vinny Curry, MARSHALL, DL13, DE
Mike Daniels, IOWA, DL14, DT
Loni Fangupo, BRIGHAM YOUNG, DL15, DT
*Marcus Forston, MIAMI-FL, DL16, DT
Justin Francis, RUTGERS, DL17, DE
Trevor Guyton, CALIFORNIA, DL18, DE
Dom Hamilton, MISSOURI, DL19, DT
DaJohn Harris, SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA, DL20, DT
Akiem Harris, REGINA, DL21, DE
Jaye Howard, FLORIDA, DL22, DT
John Hughes, CINCINNATI, DL23, DT
Melvin Ingram, SOUTH CAROLINA, DL24, DE
Bruce Irvin, WEST VIRGINIA, DL25, DE
Malik Jackson, TENNESSEE, DL26, DT
Jamaar Jarrett, ARIZONA ST, DL27, DE
Cam Johnson, VIRGINIA, DL28, DE
*Chandler Jones, SYRACUSE, DL29, DE
Markus Kuhn, NORTH CAROLINA ST, DL30, DT
*Ronnell Lewis, OKLAHOMA, DL31, DE
Brandon Lindsey, PITTSBURGH, DL32, DE
Mike Martin, MICHIGAN, DL33, NT
Jonathan Massaquoi, TROY, DL34, DE
Shea McClellin, BOISE ST, DL35, DE
Vaugh Meatoga, HAWAII, DL36, DT
*Whitney Mercilus, ILLINOIS, DL37, DE
Rennie Moore, CLEMSON, DL38, DT
*Donte Paige-Moss, NORTH CAROLINA, DL39, DE
*Nick Perry, SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA, DL40, DE
*Dontari Poe, MEMPHIS, DL41, DT
Tydreke Powell, NORTH CAROLINA, DL42, DT
Kheeston Randall, TEXAS, DL43, NT
Kendall Reyes, CONNECTICUT, DL44, DT
Travian Robertson, SOUTH CAROLINA, DL45, DT
Brett Roy, NEVADA, DL46, DT
Derrick Shelby, UTAH, DL47, DE
Jacquies Smith, MISSOURI, DL48, DE
Scott Solomon, RICE, DL49, DE
Devon Still, PENN ST, DL50, DT
JR Sweezy, NORTH CAROLINA ST, DL51, DT
Alameda Ta’amu, WASHINGTON, DL52, DT
Brandon Thompson, CLEMSON, DL53, DT
Christian Tupou, SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA, DL54, NT
DeAngelo Tyson, GEORGIA, DL55, DE
*Olivier Vernon, MIAMI-FL, DL56, DE
Billy Winn, BOISE ST, DL57, DT
Derek Wolfe, CINCINNATI, DL58, DT
*Jerel Worthy, MICHIGAN ST, DL59, DT

The Patriots have needs all along their defensive line, so New England fans need to pay close attention to this group, whether it’s a three or five technique, or even an edge rusher.

Quinton Coples is one player that I expect to have a massive combine. Athleticism has never been his problem, so I’d expect him to excel at all of the workouts.

Jared Crick should be healthy at this point from his torn pectoral, but I’m sure a lot of teams will be looking at his medical tests taken at the combine. Since teams didn’t get to see him most of the year, it would also be nice to see him do well in the defensive line drills.

I have a feeling Melvin Ingram will have a nice combine week too. He’s more flexible than a lot of the other defensive line prospects, so he should look good in drills. He’s more athletic than other players his size, so he should fare well in workouts too.

Bruce Irvin is a guy that I’m interested in for a number of reasons. First, he’s a converted WR who’s listed at 6-3 245, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he was as small as 6-0 220. He’ll need to tear up the 40 time while also having a strong weigh in. Irvin wasted at West Virginia as a 5-tech in a 3-3-5, but I expect him to be a solid situational pass rusher at hte next level.

My money’s on Mike Martin to not only bench press 225 the most this year, but I think he’ll break the record of 51.

Donte Paige-Moss will need to have a strong week, not only physically, but mentally if he hopes to even get drafted. He’s the biggest head case of the draft, so he’ll hve to interview very well.

I’d like to see how Shea McClellin moves as a linebacker. He’s somewhat undersized at only 244, so he’ll have to move run well if he hopes to make that transition.

Some slightly lesser known guys that should impress are Malik Jackson, Jaye Howard and Derek Wolfe. All three of those players could fit the Patriots system pretty well, and could have a strong week showing off some nice athleticism and technique.

Other than those guys, I’m excited to watch some of the bigger DTs like Ta’amu and Poie and how well they carry their weight, how well they run and how they look in drills.

Click on page 2 for the linebackers.

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Tags: 2012 NFL Combine, 2012 NFL Draft, Brandon Boykin, Bruce Irvin, Courtney Upshaw, Don'ta Hightower, Janoris Jenkins, Luke Kuechly, Quinton Coples, Vontaze Burfict

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