Brandt's pre-Combine rankings: Defense By Gil Brandt NFL.com Senior Analyst (Feb. 15, 2007) -- Here's a breakdown by position of the key defensive players that will be at the RCA Dome for this year's Scouting Combine in Indianapolis. We are listing the top players at each position and players you might not know about prior to their workouts. We will try and point out who will be the Danieal Manning of this year's draft class. Manning, from Abilene Christian, was the 42nd overall pick in the 2006 draft and became a starter for the Chicago Bears. These rankings can and will change after the Combine because of the physical aspects like health or injury problems (Marcus McNeill of the Chargers dropped in the 2006 draft when teams became concerned about his back) and the workouts, where a player might run faster than had been expected (49ers tight end Vernon Davis moved up to the sixth pick last year after running a 4.37 in the 40-yard dash). Each player is listed with a number that he will wear at the workouts so you can follow them during the live coverage on NFL Network. You can check below for the schedule of events. NOTE: The Combine track will be fast, which is great for running good times. Over the past two Combines (2005 and 2006), over 21 defensive backs ran times of 4.40 and under in the 40-yard dash. Of those 21, 11 ran for times of 4.35 and under. Last year, Tye Hill and Tim Jennings both ran 4.30 and improved their draft positions (Hill went 15th overall and Jennings was picked in the second round by the Colts and earned a Super Bowl ring). Thirty-four of the 38 linebackers in attendance ran and worked out, with four of them running under 4.60, including A.J. Hawk, who ran a 4.59 and was the fifth player selected in the draft. Players will run on a new FieldTurf surface this year, which Marvin Harrison and Dwight Freeney say is very fast. Defensive linemen -- 50 players invited Quick hits In 2006, 52 defensive linemen were invited to the Combine (27 defensive ends and 25 defensive tackles) and 39 were drafted. Six defensive linemen were drafted that didn't attend the Combine. Arkansas defensive tackle Keith Jackson's father, Keith Jackson Sr., was picked in the first round of the 1988 draft by the Philadelphia Eagles out of Oklahoma. He caught 81 passes as a rookie tight end, making the All-Pro first team and playing in the Pro Bowl. Amobi Okoye will be 19 years old when drafted. In high school, he started 13 games at defensive tackle as a 13-year-old. He signed with Louisville when he was 15. Over the past 10 years, 68 defensive linemen have been drafted in the first round, with seven defensive ends being picked in the first round of the 1997 draft. Since 1967, 12 defensive linemen have been selected No. 1 overall in the draft. Of the 12, only one, Lee Roy Selmon, is in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. First players likely to be picked (listed alphabetically): 1. Victor Abiamiri, Notre Dame (No. 1) 2. Gaines Adams, Clemson (No. 2) 3. Jamaal Anderson, Arkansas (No. 6) 4. Alan Branch, Michigan (No. 11) 5. Adam Carriker, Nebraska (No. 16) 6. Tim Crowder, Texas (No. 19) 7. Charles Johnson, Georgia (No. 28) 8. Quentin Moses, Geogia (No. 35) 9. Jarvis Moss, Florida (No. 36) 10. Amobi Okoye, Louisville (No. 37) 11. Anthony Spencer, Purdue (No. 45) 12. LaMarr Woodley, Michigan (No. 49) * Some players in this group will be worked out as a linebacker in a 3-4 defensive scheme. More names to know: Jay Alford, Penn St. (No. 5) Baraka Atkins, Miami, Fla. (No. 8) Dan Bazvin, Central Michigan (No. 9) Kareem Brown, Miami (Fla.) (No. 12) Brandon Mebane, California (No. 33) Jay Moore, Nebraska (No. 34) Quinn Pitcock, Ohio State (No. 39) Wild cards: Ikaika Alama-Francis, Hawaii (No. 4): Recovering from injury Justin Harrell, Tennessee (No. 23): Coming off an injury Marcus Thomas, Florida (No. 46): Off-the-field problems Linebackers -- 36 players invited Quick hits In 2006, 38 linebackers were invited to the Combine and 30 were drafted. Two linebackers not invited to the Combine were drafted. H.B. Blades' father, Bennie, was the third player selected in the 1988 draft to the Detroit Lions and he played 10 years in the NFL. Zak DeOssie from Brown is the son of Steve DeOssie, who played 12 years in the NFL after being selected in the fourth round of the 1984 draft by the Dallas Cowboys. In the past three years, linebackers Jonathan Vilma (Jets), Shawne Merriman (Chargers) and DeMeco Ryans (Texans) were named Defensive Rookie of the Year. First players likely to be picked (listed alphabetically): 1. Jon Abbate, Wake Forest (No. 1) 2. Rufus Alexander, Oklahoma (No. 2) 3. Jon Beason, Miami, Fla. (No. 4) 4. H.B. Blades, Pittsburgh (No. 7) 5. Stewart Bradley, Nebraska (No. 8) 6. Earl Everett, Florida (No. 14) 7. David Harris, Michigan (No. 16) 8. Paul Posluszny, Penn State (No. 22) 9. Brandon Siler, Florida (No. 29) 10. Lawrence Timmons, Florida State (No. 33) 11. Patrick Willis, Mississippi (No. 36) More names to know: Desmond Bishop, California (No. 5) Buster Davis, Florida State (No. 11) Juwan Simpson, Alabama (No. 30) Kevin Smith, Syracuse (No. 31) Anthony Waters, Clemson (No. 35) Wild card: Justin Durant, Hampton (No. 13): He's an athletic player from a small school and two-time winner of the MEAC Defensive Player of the Year award. His brother, Darian, was the starting quarterback at North Carolina. Defensive backs -- 55 players invited Quick hits In 2006, 61 defensive backs were invited to the Combine (30 cornerbacks and 31 safeties) and 42 were drafted. In addition, seven were drafted that didn't get invited to Indy (three cornerbacks and four safeties). Only one defensive back has ever been drafted No. 1 overall – Gary Glick (Colorado State) by the Steelers in 1956. David and Kenny Irons are brothers that played for Auburn and both will be drafted this year, David as a defensive back and Kenny as a running back. J.D. Nelson of Oregon is the son of Darrin Nelson, a first-round pick of the Minnesota Vikings in 1982 who played for 11 years (152 games) in the NFL. First players likely to be picked (listed alphabetically): 1. Fred Bennett, South Carolina (No. 4) 2. Tarell Brown, Texas (No. 6) 3. Michael Griffin, Texas (No. 18) 4. Leon Hall, Michigan (No. 19) 5. Daymeion Hughes, California (No. 22) 6. Tanard Jackson, Syracuse (No. 24) 7. LeRon Landry, LSU (No. 27) 8. Marcus McCauley, Fresno State (No. 30) 9. Brandon Meriweather, Miami, Fla. (No. 32) 10. Reggie Nelson, Florida (No. 35) 11. Darrelle Revis, Pittsburgh (No. 40) 12. Aaron Ross, Texas (No. 41) 13. Aaron Rouse, Virginia Tech (No. 42) 14. Jonathan Wade, Tennessee (No. 48) 15. Eric Wright, UNLV (No. 55) More names to know: A.J. Davis, Clemson (No. 12) Chris Houston, Arkansas (No. 21) David Irons, Auburn (No. 23) Michael Johnson, Arizona (No. 26) Kenny Scott, Georgia Tech (No. 43) Eric Weddle, Utah (No. 49) Wild cards: Michael Coe, Alabama State (No. 8): He transferred from Arkansas to play for his dad at Alabama State. Is he this year's Danieal Manning? Want to get in the combine? For years, I've been part of the NFL combine, and I can tell you it's an interesting time because this is the first chance to see the rookie class of 2007. Fans will be able to check out the workouts for themselves via NFL Network's live coverage. It will be your chance to see the next Antoine Bethea (Colts DB) and Marques Colston (Saints WR) establish themselves before they ever play an NFL game. Starting at 2 p.m. ET on Thursday, Feb. 22, and Friday, Feb. 23, you will be able to watch press conferences live that take place those two days for two hours -- in total, five hours will be broadcast from the combine these two days. From Feb. 24-27 starting at 11 a.m. ET, you will be able to watch daily coverage of live workouts -- the 40-yard dash and position drills. In addition, NFL Total Access will be on the scene with news, analysis and interviews, featuring host Rich Eisen and other NFL former coaches and players. If you are a fantasy football player, this is a must-watch event. I think you will really enjoy this special program.