DL: 3-cone, broad jump, bench press
Just like the offensive lineman, the defensive linemen need to be just as explosive out of their stances as they look to cause disruption in a short amount of time. So the broad jump is a nice drill to look at yet again. It also shows that a player has balance and body control in his lower half.
For edge rushers, not only do they need to have that burst from a standstill, but the ability to change direction is equally necessary, so a drill like the 3-cone is significant. Being able to not only explode from a stance but keeping that initial burst while changing direction is often what separates the 8 sack guys from the 12+ sack guys. A prime example is Jadeveon Clowney, who is unbelievably explosive but does not have a great change of direction. He’s clearly still a great player, but it is one of the reasons he has yet to hit double-digit sacks in his career.
The best of the best when it comes to edge rushers like Chandler Jones, Cam Jordan, the Watt and Bosa brothers, Danielle Hunter and Khalil Mack all possess that vital combo of skills. And it is important to know that all of these players don’t win the same way, but these traits still remain prevalent amongst all of them.
These are similar traits you want in your interior linemen, especially as they have become more and more pivotal as pass rushers. Aaron Donald is the gold standard, but he is a super athletic freak, so it is hard to compare anyone to him. However, many of the best interior rushers still possess either significant broad jump or 3-cone. It is also lovely to have a bench press in the 70th percentile to combat with the interior lineman. And that becomes essential if you’re a more traditional nose tackle that has to control gaps in the run game.