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NFL Combine: Top Defensive Linemen Performances

By Ryan Mayer

Athletic defensive linemen have become a necessity now a days to keep up with the fast pace of many NFL offenses. They can also be game changing players as JJ Watt has shown us continuously during his time in the league. Today a new group of prospects will look to leave their mark in scouts minds as we get ready for the draft. Here are the position group records they’ll be aiming for. 

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Credit: Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images

40 yard dash & 60 yard shuttle- Manny Lawson DL NC State 2006- Lawson entered the draft after a standout senior season for the Wolfpack recording 10.5 sacks and 19.5 tackles for loss. At Indy, he continued to impress, posting a blistering 4.43 time in the 40, a 39.5-inch vertical, 10’4″ broad jump and a 11.08 time in the 60 yard shuttle. The 49ers liked him enough to select him with the 22nd overall pick in the 1st round. In 10 years he has 24.5 sacks, 8 forced fumbles, and 6 fumble recoveries. 

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Credit: Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Bench Press- Stephen Paea DT Oregon State 2011- Paea was known for his strength heading into the combine and boy did he show it off with 49 reps on the bench. The Chicago Bears took him in the 2nd round (53rd overall) and he played four years for them before moving on to the Redskins in free agency this past year. He’s collected 14.5 sacks in his 5 year career. 

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Credit: Handout/Getty Images

Vertical Jump- Mark Anderson DL Alabama 2006- Anderson’s 42-inch vertical with 4.61 speed and a 10’7″ broad jump helped get him selected in the 5th round (159th overall) by the Bears. His rookie season was his best as he racked up 12 sacks and 4 forced fumbles. He spent four plus seasons with the Bears before signing with the Texans in October of 2010. The following year his production surged once again with 10 sacks for the Patriots. He is now in the Tampa Bay Buccaneers organization as a scout. 

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Credit: Christian Peterson/Getty Images

Broad Jump- Kareem Martin DE UNC 2014- Martin had a prolific senior season for the Tar Heels with 11.5 sacks and 21.5 tackles for loss as he got ready for the combine. His 10’9″ broad jump remains a position group record and combined with his 4.72 40 time, 4.33 20 yard shuttle and 7.20 3-cone drill helped to get him drafted in the 3rd round (84th overall) by the Arizona Cardinals. He’s played 27 games in his first two seasons and recorded 2.5 sacks. 

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Credit: Joe Robbins/Getty Images

3-cone drill- Sam Acho DL Texas 2011- Acho was an undersized DE coming out of Texas at just 6’1″ and 257 pounds. He was looked at as an outside linebacker/rush end in the NFL. His 6.69 time in this drill, combined with a 4.68 40 time to help get him taken by the Arizona Cardinals 4th round (103rd overall) and played four years with the team recording 13 sacks before moving on to the Chicago Bears last season. 

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Credit: Rob Carr/Getty Images

20 yard shuttle- Bruce Irvin DE West Virginia 2012- Irvin lit up the combine in 2012 with a 4.50 40, 33.5-inch vertical, 10’3″ broad jump, 6.70 in the 3-cone drill and the record 4.03 in the 20 yard shuttle. He was hugely productive in his final two years for the Mountaineers as well with 22.5 sacks and 29 tackles for loss. The Seattle Seahawks liked him enough to take him 15th overall and in four years he has collected 22.0 sacks. 

Ryan Mayer is an Associate Producer for CBS Local Sports. Ryan lives in NY but comes from Philly and life as a Philly sports fan has made him cynical. Anywhere sports are being discussed, that’s where you’ll find him.

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