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Jadeveon Clowney, Michael Sam top DLs to watch at combine

The NFL Scouting Combine gets underway this week in Indianapolis, and it brings together 335 of the nation's most draftable players and numerous front-office representatives and scouts from each NFL team.

A big portion of the combine is the individual events, such as the 40-yard dash, the bench press and the vertical jump.

This is Part 7 of our position-by-position look at the combine, spotlighting defensive linemen. We look at six prospects who will be scrutinized this year and also look at noteworthy event performances in the past five combines (some of the players listed at end for the combine became outside linebackers). We'll also look at how notable current players performed at their combine events.

Six to watch this year

DE Jadeveon Clowney, South Carolina: Clowney says he will do all the combine events, and he is expected to put up great numbers in each. His 40 time will be interesting, to say the least. Can a 275-pounder run the 40 in under 4.7 seconds? His agility tests, his bench press, his vertical jump -- heck, everything he does at the combine will be major news.

DT Ra'Shede Hageman, Minnesota: He was a highly touted tight end in high school and looks to be the most athletic interior lineman in this draft. He should put up good combine numbers. That, in turn, could solidify him as a first-rounder.

DT Anthony Johnson, LSU: He is known as a freakish athlete for a 300-pounder. While he would've been better off staying in school, a good combine performance could make him a second-round selection. His potential looks to be enormous.

DE Aaron Lynch, USF: He looked like a future star as a true freshman at Notre Dame in 2011, then transferred to USF to be closer to home. He sat out in 2012 and had a mediocre 2013 season. He made few splash plays for USF and, frankly, looked uninterested at times for a team that suffered through an awful season. Lynch is a superb athlete, though, and should test well. If he does, will that change some minds? Going strictly by his on-field performance with the Bulls, he definitely is a "buyer-beware" kind of guy.

DE Michael Sam, Missouri: He would've been scrutinized even if he weren't the first openly gay NFL draft prospect. He was highly productive in 2013, earning SEC Defensive Player of the Year honors, but his measurables aren't nearly as good as fellow Mizzou DE Kony Ealy. Sam's speed has been questioned, so his 40 time and his work in the agility drills will be closely watched.

DE/DT Stephon Tuitt, Notre Dame: He was an end at Notre Dame but did play some inside for the Irish in 2013, and there are some who think he fits best at tackle. He is a big guy (310 pounds) who can move. How will he do in the 40? And what position is he best-suited for at the next level?

Combine bests over past five years

40-YARD DASH

1. DE Dontay Moch, Nevada
Time: 4.44 in 2011
Draft status: 3rd round, Cincinnati

2. DE Bruce Irvin, West Virginia
Time: 4.50 in 2012
Draft status: 1st round (15th overall), Seattle

3. DE Trevardo Williams, Connecticut
Time: 4.57 in 2013
Draft status: 4th round, Houston

4. DE Barkevious Mingo, LSU
Time: 4.58 in 2013
Draft status: 1st round (6th overall), Cleveland

5. DE Margus Hunt, SMU
Time: 4.60 in 2013
Draft status: 2nd round, Cincinnati

5. DE Dion Jordan, Oregon
Time: 4.60 in 2013
Draft status: 1st round (3rd overall), Miami

5. DE Corey Lemonier, Auburn
Time: 4.60 in 2013
Draft status: 3rd round, San Francisco

Notable players

DT Fletcher Cox, Mississippi State: 4.79 seconds in 2012
DE Jevon Kearse, Florida: 4.58 seconds in 1999
DE Manny Lawson, North Carolina State: 4.43 seconds in 2006
DE Robert Quinn, North Carolina: 4.70 seconds in 2011
DE J.J. Watt, Wisconsin: 4.84 seconds in 2011

20-YARD SHUTTLE

1. DE Bruce Irvin, West Virginia
Time: 4.03 seconds in 2012
Draft status: 1st round (15th overall), Seattle

2. DE Jake Bequette, Arkansas
Time: 4.07 seconds in 2012
Draft status: 3rd round, New England

3. DE Adrian Clayborn, Iowa
Time: 4.13 seconds in 2011
Draft status: 1st round (20th overall), Tampa Bay

4. DE Jerry Hughes, TCU
Time: 4.15 seconds in 2010
Draft status: 1st round (31st overall), Indianapolis

5. DE Junior Galette, Stillman
Time: 4.16 seconds in 2010
Draft status: Undrafted

Notable players

DE Chris Long, Virginia: 4.21 seconds in 2008
DE Robert Quinn, North Carolina: 4.44 seconds in 2011
DT Ndamukong Suh, Nebraska: 4.44 seconds in 2010
DE J.J. Watt, Wisconsin: 4.21 seconds in 2011
DE Mario Williams, North Carolina State: 4.37 seconds in 2006

VERTICAL JUMP

1. DE Dontay Moch, Nevada
Jump: 42 inches in 2011
Draft status: 3rd round, Cincinnati

2. DE Connor Barwin, Cincinnati
Jump: 40.5 inches in 2009
Draft status: 2nd round, Houston

3. DE Brian Orakpo, Texas
Jump: 39.5 inches in 2009
Draft status: 1st round (13th overall), Washington

4. DE Michael Johnson, Georgia Tech
Jump: 38.5 inches in 2009
Draft status: 3rd round, Cincinnati

4. DE Nick Perry, USC
Jump: 38.5 inches in 2012
Draft status: 1st round (28th overall), Green Bay

Notable players

DT Geno Atkins, Georgia: 33 inches in 2010
DE Jevon Kearse, Florida: 37 inches in 1999
DT Gerald McCoy, Oklahoma: 30.5 inches in 2010
DT Ndamukong Suh, Nebraska: 35.5 inches in 2010
DE Mario Williams, North Carolina State: 40.5 inches in 2006

BENCH PRESS

1. DT Stephen Paea, Oregon State
Numbers: 49 reps in 2011
Draft status: 2nd round, Chicago

2. DT Jeff Owens, Georgia
Numbers: 44 reps in 2010
Draft status: 7th round, Philadelphia

2. DT Dontari Poe, Memphis
Numbers: 44 reps in 2012
Draft status: 1st round (11th overall), Kansas City

4. DT Linval Joseph, East Carolina
Numbers: 39 reps in 2010
Draft status: 2nd round, New York Giants

5. DT Marvin Austin, North Carolina
Numbers: 38 reps in 2011
Draft status: 2nd round, New York Giants

5. DE Margus Hunt, SMU
Numbers: 38 reps in 2013
Draft status: 2nd round, Cincinnati

5. DT Brandon Williams, Missouri Southern
Numbers: 38 reps in 2013
Draft status: 3rd round, Baltimore

Notable players

DT Geno Atkins, Georgia: 34 reps in 2010
DT Gerald McCoy, Oklahoma: 23 reps in 2010
DT Haloti Ngata, Oregon: 37 reps in 2006
DT Ndamukong Suh, Nebraska: 32 reps in 2010
DT Vince Wilfork, Miami: 36 reps in 2004

3-CONE DRILL

1. DE Sam Acho, Texas
Time: 6.69 seconds in 2011
Draft status: 4th round, Arizona

2. DE Bruce Irvin, West Virginia
Time: 6.70 seconds in 2012
Draft status: 1st round (15th overall), Seattle

3. DE Melvin Ingram, South Carolina
Time: 6.83 seconds in 2012
Draft status: 1st round (18th overall), San Diego

4. DE Thaddeus Gibson, Ohio State
Time: 6.84 seconds in 2010
Draft status: 4th round, Pittsburgh

4. DE Barkevious Mingo, LSU
Time: 6.84 seconds in 2013
Draft status: 1st round (6th overall), Cleveland

Notable players

DE Connor Barwin, Cincinnati: 6.87 seconds in 2009
DT Gerald McCoy, Oklahoma: 7.32 seconds in 2010
DT Ndamukong Suh, Nebraska: 7.21 seconds in 2010
DE J.J. Watt, Wisconsin: 6.88 seconds in 2011
DE Mario Williams, North Carolina State: 7.19 seconds in 2006

Mike Huguenin can be reached at mike.huguenin@nfl.com. You also can follow him on Twitter @MikeHuguenin.

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