2011 NFL Combine: Defensive Lineman That Have A Lot To Gain And Lose

Defensive linemen are perhaps the most difficult to evaluate and draft. They could quite potentially have the highest bust rate out of any position aside from quarterbacks. The development process once they are finally in the NFL typically takes much longer; especially in a 34 defense. It is a bit easier to do well in a 43 defense because of the added body. Defensive ends typically do much better as far as getting after the quarterback in a 43 defense opposed to a 34 defense.

This year there the defensive lineman talent is certainly there from a college stand point. The talent that will translate is going to be hard to gauge though. The combine could potentially help weed out some of the slackers. 

A player can only be held accountable for the technique's that he has been taught. If a guys skill-set is limited, sometimes it can be attributed to lack of teaching by their respective head coaches, and other times the guy may just not possess the ability physically.

The 49ers have two pretty decent defensive linemen, and one great one. They all serve their purpose in the 34 defense. It is still uncertain who will be playing at the nose tackle position once the season starts. 

I will be highlighting a few of the guys coming out this year not excluding any position. From the 34 defensive tackle, 34 defensive end, 43 defensive tackle, and 43 defensive ends, we will look at some of those that have a lot to gain and a lot to lose.

THE DEFENSIVE LINEMAN

Most to gain:

Robert Quinn (North Carolina) 6'5", 270 LBS: Quinn may happen to have the most to prove out of every other defensive linemen. There is debate as to whether or not he will play as a 43 defensive end, or a 34 outside linebacker. For practical purposes, and since it's all he has played throughout his collegiate career, I will say that he is the best fit to play 43 defensive end. In any case, due to his suspension last year, there will be a crucial interview session for Quinn, and of course his tangibles in the other events will determine how high he is selected.

Marcell Dareus (Alabama), 6'3", 310 LBS: Dareus is most likely going to play as a 43 defensive tackle. Most consider him to be the second best candidate behind Nick Fairley to play that position. However, there will be some teams that will consider him as a nose tackle or defensive end in a 34 defense as well. The biggest knock on Dareus is that his motor shuts down on certain plays. From snap to whistle he tries to conserve energy. It will be interesting to see how his stamina holds up at the combine. But in essence, Dareus can boost his stock quite a bit to the top of the draft boards through a solid outing.

Cameron Jordan (California), 6'4", 290 LBS: Cameron Jordan looked like a menace in the Senior Bowl game. He rose to the occasion and showcased just how good he was, and just how much the media neglected to give him attention. Jordan is best suited to play as a 34 defensive end. But he will not be looked at as solely that. Teams have taken notice of Jordan. He can secure a high selection in the first round if he keeps the momentum of what he did in the Senior Bowl in to the 2011 NFL Combine.

Phil Taylor (Baylor), 6'3", 340 LBS: Taylor has been all over the map and all over the boards in regards to where he will be selected. He may be the most erratically evaluated prospect in years. This will be his chance to lock up a relatively high spot in the draft and bury the wide variety of speculation. Taylor most likely will be drafted to play as a nose tackle in a 34 defense, but there could be some consideration at 43 defensive tackle as well. Either way, he is a pure tackle at 340 LBS.

 

Most to lose:

Da'Quan Bowers (Clemson), 6'4", 280 LBS: Bowers is probably going to be strictly a pass rusher. The previous two years for Bowers was not as successful as this last one. Many of his 15 sacks came in two or three games where the competition was not great. It's hard to gauge a player based on one season of good play. But if it can work out for a guy like Jason Pierre-Paul, then it's possible for a guy like Bowers. If he doesn't do as well as the guys who will be contending for the same spot as he is, it's quite possible that he drops some in the first round.

Stephen Paea (Oregon State) 6'1", 300 LBS: Paea is the best defensive linemen that Oregon State has seen in a while. He was regarded (and still may be) as one of the best defensive linemen coming out this year. However, he was injured during the Senior Bowl. Even though everything was reported to be minor as far as the injury was concered, the scout will definitely be keeping a close eye on Paea. He will most likely be best suited to play 43 defensive tackle.

J.J. Watt (Wisconsin), 6'6", 290 LBS: Watt may be the most hyped up player in this years draft at his position. Comparison's have been drawn to Justin Smith of the 49ers and Jared Allen of the Vikings. Whether those comparisons hold true, lays in the future. As far as the combine is concerned there may be a bunch of guys that are more athletic and do better in the events. Watt will have to push himself to the limit to keep up with the other guys and secure a late fisrt round selection. If not, it's possible that he could slide all the way to the back half of the 2nd Round or so. He will be a defensive end no matter what offense he is selected to, but probably better equip to play and have success in the 43 defense. 

Adrian Clayborn (Iowa), 6'3", 290 LBS: Clayborn has slid down the boards quite a bit as of late. In some ways, I felt like he should be on "the most to gain" list because he does have a lot to prove. But he has more to lose I think considering how much he has already dropped. If he doesn't have the best luck at the combine, he is going to drop majorly. Clayborn is a very good player, but much like Marcell Dareus tends to not go hard all the time. Go hard, or go home will be the theme for Adrian Clayborn at this years Combine.

 

Here are the rest of the defensive linemen invitees of this years combine:

ACHO, SAM

 

TEXAS

7

DL1

DE

CARTER, CHRISTOPHER

CHRIS

FRESNO ST

7

DL10

DE

CASEY, JURRELL

 

SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA

7

DL11

DT

CHINASA, UGO

 

OKLAHOMA ST

7

DL12

DE

CLAYBORN, ADRIAN

 

IOWA

7

DL13

DE

DANIELS, WAYNE

 

TEXAS CHRISTIAN

7

DL14

DE

DAREUS, MARCELL

 

ALABAMA

7

DL15

DE

DOBBS, DEMARCUS

 

GEORGIA

7

DL16

DE

ELLIS, KENRICK

 

HAMPTON

7

DL17

DT

ELMORE, RICK

RICKY

ARIZONA

7

DL18

DE

FAIRLEY, NICK

 

AUBURN

7

DL19

DT

AJIBOYE, OLUFEMI

LADI

SOUTH CAROLINA

7

DL2

DT

FUA, SIONE

 

STANFORD

7

DL20

NT

GRAVES, JOHN

 

VIRGINIA TECH

7

DL21

DT

GUY, LAWRENCE

 

ARIZONA ST

7

DL22

DT

HEYWARD, CAMERON

CAM

OHIO ST

7

DL23

DE

JENKINS, JARVIS

 

CLEMSON

7

DL24

DT

JORDAN, CAMERON

 

CALIFORNIA

7

DL25

DE

KERRIGAN, PATRICK

RYAN

PURDUE

7

DL26

DE

KLUG, KARL

 

IOWA

7

DL27

DT

LEVINGSTON, LAZARIUS

PEP

LOUISIANA ST

7

DL28

DT

LIUGET, COREY

 

ILLINOIS

7

DL29

DT

ALLEN, PIERRE

 

NEBRASKA

7

DL3

DE

LOCKETT, KENTRELL

 

MISSISSIPPI

8

DL30

DE

MATTHEWS, CLIFF

 

SOUTH CAROLINA

8

DL31

DE

MCCLAIN, TERRELL

 

SOUTH FLORIDA

8

DL32

DT

MCPHEE, PERNELL

 

MISSISSIPPI ST

8

DL33

DE

MILLER, BRUCE

 

CENTRAL FLORIDA

8

DL34

DE

MOCH, DONTAY

 

NEVADA

8

DL35

DE

NEILD, CHRISTOPHER

CHRIS

WEST VIRGINIA

8

DL36

NT

NEVIS, DRAKE

 

LOUISIANA ST

8

DL37

DT

OZOUGWU, CHETA

 

RICE

8

DL38

DE

PAEA, STEPHEN

 

OREGON ST

8

DL39

DT

AUSTIN, MARVIN

 

NORTH CAROLINA

7

DL4

DT

PARKER, MARTIN

 

RICHMOND

8

DL40

DT

POWE, JERRELL

 

MISSISSIPPI

8

DL41

NT

QUINN, ROBERT

 

NORTH CAROLINA

8

DL42

DE

REED, BROOKS

 

ARIZONA

8

DL43

DE

REED, D'AUNDRE

 

ARIZONA

8

DL44

DE

ROMEUS, GREGORY

GREG

PITTSBURGH

8

DL45

DE

SHEARD, JABAAL

 

PITTSBURGH

8

DL46

DE

SILIGA, TUPAIMOEFITPO

SEALVER

UTAH

8

DL47

DT

SMITH, ALDON

 

MISSOURI

8

DL48

DE

TAYLOR, ADRIAN

 

OKLAHOMA

8

DL49

DT

BAILEY, ALLEN

 

MIAMI-FL

7

DL5

DE

TAYLOR, PHILLIP

PHIL

BAYLOR

8

DL50

DT

THORNTON, CEDRIC

 

SOUTHERN ARKANSAS

8

DL51

DT

WATT, JUSTIN

J J

WISCONSIN

8

DL52

DE

WHITE, MARKUS

 

FLORIDA ST

8

DL53

DE

WHITLOCK, COLBY

 

TEXAS TECH

8

DL54

DT

WILKERSON, MUHAMMAD

 

TEMPLE

8

DL55

DT

WILLIAMS, IAN

 

NOTRE DAME

8

DL56

NT

WINTERSWYK, RYAN

 

BOISE ST

8

DL57

DE

BAIR, BRANDON

 

OREGON

7

DL6

DT

BALLARD, CHRISTIAN

 

IOWA

7

DL7

DT

BEAL, JEREMY

 

OKLAHOMA

7

DL8

DE

BOWERS, DA'QUAN

 

CLEMSON

7

DL9

DE

 

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