NFL Combine 2014: Defensive players to watch

Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

The Jaguars are needy on the defensive line and many potential picks will be on display at the 2014 NFL Draft.

The 2014 NFL Scouting Combine will begin on Wednesday, but the fun stuff won't get started until the weekend when the players begin running through drills. On Monday, the defensive lineman and linebackers will take the field at Lucas Oil Stadium, which is particularly worth keeping an eye on for Jaguars fans, as the team desperately need new players to add to their pass rush.

With such deficiencies at defensive end and a lack of depth at defensive tackle, it wouldn't be shocking at all for the Jaguars to address the position early in the draft and possibly select multiple defensive linemen.

Here are few defensive players worth watching:

Khalil Mack, DE, Buffalo - If the Jaguars pass on a quarterback with the third overall selection, there's a chance that Mack could be the pick instead. The 6'3, 248-pound pass rusher did everything well during his record-setting career with the Buffalo Bulls and drew high praise from Mike Mayock on Tuesday.

At the Combine, Mack will have to prove that he has the athleticism to match the highly-touted abilities of UCLA's Anthony Barr. If he can, Mack can solidify his position as a top 10, or possibly top 5, pick in the 2014 NFL Draft.

Ethan Westbrooks, DE, West Texas A&M - While he is far from a household name, many experts are circling Westbrooks as a player that could open some eyes during the Combine. The 6'4, 264-pound pass rusher dominated Division II with 26.5 sacks in his final two seasons.

However, he showed that his abilities have a strong chance at translating to the next level when he had a great showing at the East-West Shrine Game, earning Defensive MVP honors. He won often with his first step off the line which means he could impress in the vertical and broad jumps as well as the 10-yard split of his 40-yard dash.

Ra'Shede Hageman, DT, Minnesota - While defensive ends are going to garner the attention at the Combine, Jaguars fans should keep an eye on the interior too, as it's definitely a position that can be upgraded.

Perhaps no player would better address that need than Hageman, a 6'6, 318 pound lineman with versatility to play several different positions in different defensive schemes. He should put that athleticism on display in Indianapolis and be one of the more impressive large athletes in participation.

Michael Sam, DE, Missouri - I need not explain why the media will be following Sam in everything he does in Indianapolis, but his sexuality is not the only reason he should garner attention.

At 6'2, 260 pounds, Sam has been labeled a "tweener," which is exactly the type of project that the Seahawks have found success with and the Jaguars could be interested in. First he'll have to show he has the physical athleticism to warrant taking that chance.

Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina - Lastly, the player that has the opportunity to make jaws drop more than any other at the Combine. A huge defensive end, Clowney has as much talent as any player in the last decade and could blow everyone away.

Clowney says he is shooting for a 4.4 in the 40-yard dash, which would be incredible for a 6'5, 274 pound defensive end. It would also surpass Margus Hunt (who ran a 4.51 40-yard dash in 2013) for the fastest time ever by a defensive lineman.

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join Big Cat Country

You must be a member of Big Cat Country to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Big Cat Country. You should read them.

Join Big Cat Country

You must be a member of Big Cat Country to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Big Cat Country. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9341_tracker