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How NFL clubs evaluate def. linemen

Thu, Sep 26, 2013

By Phil Savage


When NFL scouts go to colleges around the nation this Fall, they are looking for three qualities when it comes to defensive lineman.

1. ABILITY TO PLAY FRONT-SIDE BLOCKS. Meaning, at the point of attack, plays run right at them. This is the first thing scouts look at. Often the players are double-teamed -- can they split the block and make a play, separate and make a tackle.

2. HOW THEY DEFEND AGAINST BACK-SIDE BLOCKS. When the ball goes away from them, do they demostrate athletic ability to chase it down. Players will have to ward off a potential cut block and work their way down the line of scrimmage, move laterally, and make a tackle.

3. PASS-RUSH ABILITY. Probably the most important aspect when you look at today's game. This not only means getting to the quarterback, but also the ability to recognize a potential screen, get extention on the offensive lineman, break free and chase down the potential runner/receiver on the screen.

Watch the video above to see these three examples using former Missouri defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson.

Phil Savage Phil Savage is the Executive Director of the Senior Bowl. He worked 20 years in the NFL as a coach, scout and executive, including two years as the Director of Player Personnel for the Baltimore Ravens and four years as the general manager of the Cleveland Browns.