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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

5 Defensive Players to Watch at Combine

Five players on the defensive side of the ball to keep an eye on at this week's NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis.

Keep an eye on these five defenders at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis this week.

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According to CBS' draft prospect rankings, neither Jameis Winston nor Marcus Mariota are the top overall player in this year's draft class – it's USC defensive lineman, Leonard Williams. NFL Media analyst Bucky Brooks agrees that Williams is the top player in this year's class, listing him at No. 1 in his first Big Board on Feb. 17. "(Williams is a) smooth-moving athlete with explosive quickness and impressive hand skills," Brooks wrote. "Williams is just scratching the surface of his immense potential, but he is clearly the No. 1 prospect in the 2015 draft class." Williams played both on the interior and as an end during his college career.

2. DE Randy Gregory, NebraskaGregory is one of the best defensive ends in this year's draft class and still has a good 20 to 30 pounds of muscle he could add onto his 6-foot-6 frame. He played as a stand-up defensive end, an outside linebacker and with his hand in the dirt at Nebraska. Gregory thinks he is a viable option for the Buccaneers at No. 1. "I think I'm worthy of the No. 1 pick," Gregory told USA Today. "I would hope anybody in the draft would want to be the No. 1 pick. I know how I am as a player. I know my potential. I know what I can do. I know what I bring to a team."


  1. DE/LB Vic Beasley, Clemson**
    It's unclear which position Beasley will play at the next level, but he'll likely be a first-round pick regardless. He was primarily a defensive end in college and was a devastating pass-rusher. But at 6-3 and 220 pounds, scouts suggest he may be better suited at outside linebacker. "He's not big," NFL Media's Mike Mayock said, "but he led the ACC with 13 sacks a year ago. He's got rare athletic traits; he can accelerate to the ball, run the arc to the quarterback. Teams are going to question his size and his strength." Beasley will have an opportunity to lay at least one of those concerns to rest when he hits the bench press at the combine on Saturday.


  1. DB Quinten Rollins, Miami (OH)**
    Rollins only played one year of college football, but he may the best cornerback at the combine. He was a standout on Miami of Ohio's basketball team for three seasons but made the transition to the football field as a senior. "I'm ready to get to the combine and show those guys how quick I can learn and diagnose stuff, and I think they'll walk away impressed with my board work," Rollins told USA Today. "I know my 40's going to be the question mark, my 'long speed' — at least that's what I've heard. I'm looking forward to going down there and running the best I can and competing the best I can, and I feel like the rest will take care of itself. I'm hoping to run under 4.5, but we'll see. I really never have run a 40 before."

5. LB Denzel Perryman, Miami
Perryman is one of the best inside linebackers in this year's draft class and may slide into the second round. He is a physical, hard-nosed run stuffer who squats more than 600 pounds. Perryman isn't an every-down linebacker, but won't be a liability in coverage.

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