Welcome back for Defensive End Workout… Part 2, where we introduce drills you can do to get better at the things NFL scouts tend to look for when they’re scouting DE’s.

In case you didn’t know, I didn’t make up this list of skills, I got ’em from some credible sources;

The late-great Bill Walsh, Greg Gabriel, a former NFL scout with over 30 years of experience, and one of the nation’s premier scouting authorities, Scouts Inc.

If you want to check out their articles on your own, check out Bill Walsh’s How I Evaluate Each Position: Defensive End, Gabriel’s Scouting Defensive Linemen from the National Football Post, and Scouts Inc on Defensive Ends from Espn.com by Scouts Inc, which discusses the criteria they use to grade defensive ends.

Let’s finish up, shall we?

Consistent Penetration


Regardless of  how good you are, you’ll need  to use some moves from time to time to help you get penetration.

This video explains the outside swat-and-swim move.  Chances are you won’t have pads on in your training sessions, but lining up against a friend and stepping through these moves (even if you’re going through them in slow motion) is better than not working on them at all.

This video explains the bull rush move.


Ability to Play 2-Gap/1-Gap Scheme

In case you’re not familiar with what 1-gap and 2-gap means, MHR Football University – DL gaps and techniques, via milehighreport.com, breaks them down pretty well.



This plyometric drill can be done just about anywhere.  If you don’t have a platform around the house you can use, you can always do this one on the bench you use for the bench press at the gym.

These drills can be done without a band, but having one will make the drills much more effective.

Quickness and agility kinda bleed together, if you will, but these ladder drills will help you with both.  There’s a ton of ladder drills in this video that you can use to work on your quickness.



Using a medicine ball, this drill helps you with your hand/feet coordination when it comes to using your hands on the line of scrimmage.

This drill will help you develop more quickness in your hands.

Former NFL players Chris Gizzi and LeCharles Bentley go over the basics of hand placement, and break-down the dynamics of the hand battle between linebackers and offensive linemen.

A lot of the info applies to defensive ends, too.

As the gentleman in the video below points out, strong hands are ok, but you need to be fast with your hands, to be effective.

You should be able to do all three of the drills in the video from home.  For the last one, I’m sure you can find something around the house to use instead of the big bag that he’s swinging at the kid in the video.

The drills in this one take you through some more drills to help you develop speed in your hand usage.  Again, you don’t really need to buy a ladder (although it might be a good investment), you can just use tape, or chalk, to mark your spots on the floor.




There’s a difference between football speed, and running a fast 40.  There’s a lot of guys that can run a 4.4 or below in a t shirt and shorts, but don’t play fast.  You should want to do both well, but football speed is the more important of the two.

Check out an article we posted on developing football speed, below.

What Everybody Ought to know about Improving Football Speed

This guy gives some really good tips on running the 40.  I really wish I knew some of this stuff back when I was trying out for teams back in my hey day.

I was really impressed with the information in this video.

This guy does a fantastic job of explaining the entire sequence of the 40 yard dash, but from the perspective of the scouts or personnel that’s timing you in the 40.

He then gives you a strategy to use to run the 40, that’s based on how they time the 40.

In this video, the gentleman gives you insights about the the strategy you want to employ, along with examples of specific exercises you should be doing to get faster in the 40 yard dash.

If you’re a football player, you should be familiar with the names of the exercises that he mentions.

If you’re not, Google the terms and exercises to become more familiar.


Ability to Shed Blocks

Unfortunately, this one doesn’t have any sound, but it doesn’t need any.  It shows you proper technique for shedding blocks using the shrug technique.

Same thing with this one, except this time, they’re going over the “rip” technique.

Shedding Blocks, from playsportstv.com gives you the fundamentals of another technique you can use to shed blocks.  The video’s focused on linebackers, but the fundamentals apply to DE’s too.

Do you know about any other good drills that are good for defensive ends?

By the way, who’s the best DE in the league right now, in your opinion?

Holler at me in the comments below!

Catch me on Twitter!  @alvingrier 

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