Tampa Bay Buccaneers

What to Watch at the 2019 NFL Combine: Defensive Linemen & Linebackers Take the Field 

Some might say this is the main event given how deep a draft class it is for defense. Plus, with holes to fill on that side of the ball for the Bucs, here are some guys to watch out for on Sunday.

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Washington defensive lineman Vita Vea runs the 40-yard dash during the NFL football scouting combine on Sunday, March 4, 2018 in Indianapolis. (Aaron M. Sprecher via AP)

This year's draft is very defense heavy – specifically defensive line. It's a very deep class for both interior linemen and edge rushers with a defensive end likely the top pick for Arizona if they don't end up going the rumored Kyler Murray first overall route.

With the fifth overall pick and a few holes on the defensive side of the ball, the Bucs should be looking long and hard at these two groups today for their potential choice. It's widely thought, again minus the Cardinals caveat, that the teams picking ahead of Tampa Bay aren't in the market for a quarterback and are in fact facing similar needs as the Bucs. That makes it tricky to know who will be available at five but Jason Licht said earlier this week he has his top five prospects in mind and if the Bucs don't end up moving spots such as they did last year, that fifth overall pick would guarantee one of the guys on Licht's wish list. It's anyone's guess who it ends up being but pay a little closer attention today if you can.

Take a look at a few guys to look out for as the deepest positions in the draft get going:

Defensive Line

Nick Bosa, Ohio State

Likely the first pick overall, Bosa is a highly anticipated prospect who sat out the majority of last year with a core injury suffered after Week Three. He decided to focus full-time on his rehab and training for his future pro career instead of trying to come back towards the end of the year for the Buckeyes – which was a largely controversial decision. Therefore, he's going into the on-field workouts with a mentality that he has a lot to prove and from the sound of it, should be a full participant in today's drills.

Josh Allen, Kentucky

Kentucky had a sneakily good defense in 2018 that not many people are talking about and it was highlighted by Josh Allen – the edge defender, not last year's quarterback out of Wyoming. At 6'4-230, Allen seems more of a pure pass rusher who's best on the edge of a more flexible scheme. His measurables will be interesting to see compared to his fellow defensive ends as he gets put through the combine rigor.

Clelin Ferrell, Clemson

Ferrell was part of a defensive front that could feature multiple first-round draft picks out of Clemson. The National Champion Tigers had a suffocating defensive line that Ferrell played a huge role in. He'll likely be taken after Bosa and Allen as far as defensive ends go but that also means he could be available at number five. Keep an eye on Ferrell to see his results and if he can separate himself from the pack.

Quinnen Williams, Alabama

Williams has been touted as the best interior defensive linemen in this year's draft class. He's been part of an Alabama Crimson Tide defense that has helped the team to a national title after the 2017 season. He doesn't have much to prove, but his combine testing can confirm he should be the first defensive tackle off the board.

Brian Burns, Florida State

Burns is an intriguing prospect in that he has the height to be an amazing defensive end, standing at 6'5 but at Florida State, he had a playing weight of 227 pounds, which is extremely light by defensive end standards. However, he came into the combine weighing 249 pounds, proving he can put on mass. He told the media on Saturday that he had a formal interview with the Bucs and his on-field testing can prove he's comfortable at the heavier weight to Tampa Bay… and every other team that's likely to take notice.

Christian Wilkins, Clemson

Another Clemson Tiger defensive linemen that could be a first rounder. He'll look to solidify his place in the top 32 with a strong combine showing.

Linebackers

Devin White, LSU

Many media types walked out of the podium session 'sold' on Devin White in Indianapolis. He's one of the best athletes in this draft class and should by far and away be the first linebacker taken. Is he top-five material? A lot of analysts seem to think so. The on-field drills can further that possibility with a strong showing from the former LSU Tiger.

Vosean Joseph, Florida

Bucs fans that are also Gator fans or alum should be happy about this guy. He was on a defense with defensive end Jachai Polite that proved effective for the Gators. Joseph is still right on the cusp of solidifying himself as a top linebacker prospect but can help his cause immensely with a strong showing during on-field drills.

Mack Wilson, Alabama

Wilson is probably not as high-profile as the program he comes from but did well for the Crimson Tide starting as a true freshman when he played in 12 games. Wilson will be looking to impress those media types at the combine and further upgrade his draft stock among a linebacking group with a lot of talent.

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