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NFL Draft 2013: NFL Combine Preview

A look at the upcoming NFL Combine, what it means and who has the most on the line

Brian Spurlock-US PRESSWIRE

For those who do not know, the NFL’s scouting combine begins on February 20th and concludes on the 26th. Every coach, general manager, and pro scout will be conducting interrogations (interviews), intently watching drills, and evaluating talent. Top prospects will be re-graded and everyone will be searching for the next diamond in the rough. Rest assured, someone will go into this process being a 3rd round pick and come out being a solid first rounder; someone will go in carrying a first round grade and come out bearing a 3rd round grade; a player you have barely heard of will assure himself of being drafted, and one who is a household name will have his dreams of gridiron greatness hit a serious detour.

How are Combine Invitee’s chosen?

National and BLESTO scouting services (which combined are employed by 25 of the 32 NFL teams) along with an anonymous group of NFL player personnel executives meet in January. Any player receiving a plurality of votes receives a combine invite. This results in the first set of combine invites that go out in early January. Additionally, because there are more WRs than there are QBs to run drills for them, a few "throwing" QBs are added to the list. Also it is not uncommon for highly thought of prospects to completely skip the combine (though this is becoming less common) so replacement picks are made. A second set of invites is then sent out in very early February and the official list announced shortly thereafter. This year 332 men will descend on Indianapolis nursing the same dream they have had since they were a little boy to play professional football. With only 250 or so picks in the draft (the number changes slightly every season for compensatory selections) not all of them will make it. Beyond that typically 20-30 players not invited to the combine will be drafted by some team that uncovers them between now and April. So while all 332 participants dream of being drafted, 100 of them will simply not make the grade.

So who can answer some questions…and who can pose a few of their own?

1. Who will post the fastest 40 time?

It is a safe bet for it to be a WR/RB/CB. It doesn’t necessarily translate into even being drafted though, football is not a track meet. To prove the point: Chris Johnson and Rondel Menendez are tied for the fastest official 40 time at the combine at 4.24. Johnson’s vaulted him from a 2nd round pick to an easy 1st round stud, Menendez got drafted in the 7th round by the Eagles and never caught an NFL pass. Some contenders in my projected "40 time" order of finish:

Marquise Goodwin, WR, Texas. Goodwin is an Olympic long jumper and lightning fast.

Denard Robinson, WR/RB, Michigan. His legs carried him through 4 seasons at Michigan. Can they carry him to a selection on draft day?

B.W. Webb, CB, William&Mary. Light as a feather but fast as a Ferrari.

Markus Wheaton, WR, Oregon St. He can flat out fly and is auditioning both as a WR and return man.

Ontario McCalebb, RB, Auburn. Not sure how healthy he is but he has some eye popping in line speed.

Leon McFadden, CB, San Diego St. May not quite have the top end burst as the others do, but he's the most consistent speedster outside of Goodwin on the list

2. Who needs the biggest week?

Any of the small school guys -- and by small school I mean the players coming from FCS, DIV II, and DIV III who need to show they have the athletic ability to compete with the big boys. 33 of the 332 players invited are from outside of the Football Bowl Subdivision. If you are a RB like Miguel Maysonet of Stoney Brook, a defensive back like Demetrius McCray of Appalachian State, or OT Terron Armstead from tiny Arkansas Pinebluff your time to shine is now.

3. Which 5 players need the best interview?

The interview process is actually the biggest part of the draft prep for teams at the combine weekend. They have plenty of game tape on how players perform but this is a job interview, and prospects need to convince a team to draft them and invest millions of dollars. Some need the interview more than others.

Tyrann Mathieu, CB, LSU – No player needs a better interview than Tyrann, undersized at 5’8-9 ish and having struggled at times against larger receivers, Mathieu still brings 3rd round talent as a return man, slot corner, and special teams ace. He also has had three drug related incidents (that we know of) in his short stint at LSU. To make matters worse, he got arrested a few months ago for possession of marijuana just a few days after leaving a rehab facility.

Alec Ogletree, ILB, Georgia – Top 10-15 talent and gets a DUI earlier this month. Less than a month before the biggest interview of your life you get stopped for a DUI? That does not show good judgment. To make matters worse per ESPN his suspension that cost him the first 4 games of this season for Georgia was for a failed drug test. That does not bode well at all, teams will want to know how serious he is about football. Can he be counted on to maintain his eligibility to play and show up every game day? Whatever happens because the arrest is in such close proximity to the NFL combine he will begin his career enrolled in the NFL substance abuse program, meaning his first failure in the NFL will result in a suspension.

Geno Smith, QB, W. Virginia – Geno does not have the character issues as above, but he comes from a spread single read offense at West Virginia. Bottom line: he needs to show the mental makeup to make reads from under center: he needs to speak well to coaches and in football terms that will make some offensive guru fall in love.

Baccari Rambo S Georgia – Twice suspended for violating team rules, Rambo failed to maximize his talent and never materialized as one of the top 3 safeties in this draft. The Taylor Mays comparisons may not be too far behind as a player who is simply too immature to take his craft seriously and may fall like he has been all season.

Sheldon Richardson DT Missouri – Suspended earlier this season for a violation of team rules and has had problems staying eligible academically. More than that, he made that "Old man football" comment about Georgia. Some coaches will call that good attitude (think Rex Ryan) but some who run a tight ship (Joe Philbin) will be less amused.

4. Which Players need a great workout?

Workouts are used particularly by players from outside the FBS to show they have the natural talent to be as dominant as they were at a lower level of competition. It also helps to generate "buzz" about their name and make sure every team at least takes a good look at them.

Manti Te’o, ILB, Notre Dame – Perhaps no player in this process is in need of some positive noise as much as Te’o. He played the worst game of his 50-game college career against Alabama in the National Title Game, which is troubling to some scouts. Then there's the hoax story which is troubling to fans (though most NFL GM’s are ignoring it). Being the victim of the hoax Manti desperately needs to generate some solid positive news and show he belongs in the top 15.

Johnathan Cyprien, S, FIU – Cyprien picked up HUGE momentum following an exceptional Senior Bowl. Now he needs to show his athletic ability that led him to record 93 tackles(3.5TFL), 4 interceptions, and 8 pass deflections as a senior for Florida International. He’s risen from being a day 3 only guy to someone who is solidly in the day 2 mix. He needs to finish what he started two months ago put on a show and finish the draft process strong.

Tavon Austin, WR, W.Virginia – I hope Tavon is taking this seriously, as he’s only 5’9" but has shown first round production and shiftiness. He needs to make sure that no one gets the mindset that he’s a system guy or a returner only option. If you are 5’9" you need to be able to burn.

Rex Burkhead RB/H-back/FB Nebraska – Burkhead has been highly productive and very versatile at Nebraska. Right now he has the label as a good, high character college player who may not be athletic enough to play in the NFL. He needs to show some raw talent to make NFL scouts believe he can be as versatile at the next level.

Jonthan Banks, CB, Mississippi St. – He’s getting pushed and in some circles replaced by Xavier Rhodes as the #2 CB in this draft. He needs to show out in order to stem the bleeding.

5. Big Boo’s to the NFL Official Website

It’s obviously written by someone who has never watched a football game. They list all RBs and FBs together, All Downlineman under DL, rather than DT or DE, all CBss and safeties merely as DB. In general they make it really hard to follow who was invited. So for you dear reader here is who is going to be at the combine, by their conventional position, combine jersey number, name , and school.

Pos. Number Name School
QB QB01 Barkley, Matt Southern California
QB QB02 Bray, Tyler Tennessee
QB QB03 Cameron, Colby Louisiana Tech
QB QB04 Dysert, Zac Miami-Oh
QB QB05 Glennon, Mike North Carolina St
QB QB06 Gray, Marqueis Minnesota
QB QB07 Jones, Landry Oklahoma
QB QB08 Klein, Collin Kansas St
QB QB09 Manuel, E J Florida St
QB QB10 Nassib, Ryan Syracuse
QB QB11 Renfree, Sean Duke
QB QB12 Scott, Matt Arizona
QB QB13 Smith, Geno West Virginia
QB QB14 Sorensen, Brad Southern Utah
QB QB15 Vandenberg, James Iowa
QB QB16 Wilson, Tyler Arkansas
RB RB01 Anderson, C J California
RB RB02 Ball, Montee Wisconsin
RB RB03 Barner, Kenjon Oregon
RB RB04 Bell, Le’Veon Michigan St
RB RB05 Bernard, Giovani North Carolina
RB RB08 Burkhead, Rex Nebraska
RB RB09 Davis, Knile Arkansas
RB RB10 Ellington, Andre Clemson
RB RB11 Ford, Michael Louisiana St
RB RB12 Franklin, Johnathan Ucla
RB RB13 Gillislee, Mike Florida
RB RB14 Graham, Ray Pittsburgh
RB RB15 Harper, D J Boise St
RB RB16 Harris, Montel Temple
RB RB17 James, Mike Miami-Fl
RB RB18 Jamison, Jawan Rutgers
RB RB19 Jefferson, Stefphon Nevada
RB RB20 Lacy, Eddie Alabama
RB RB21 Lattimore, Marcus South Carolina
RB RB23 Maysonet, Miguel Stony Brook
RB RB24 Mccalebb, Onterio Auburn
RB RB25 Michael, Christine Texas A&M
RB RB27 Randle, Joseph Oklahoma St
RB RB28 Riddick, Theo Notre Dame
RB RB29 Rouse, Robbie Fresno St
RB RB30 Stacy, Zac Vanderbilt
RB RB31 Taylor, Stepfa'N Stanford
RB RB32 Thompson, Christopher Florida St
RB RB33 Tucker, Matthew Texas Christian
RB RB34 Ware, Spencer Louisiana St
RB RB35 Williams, Kerwynn Utah St
RB RB37 Winn, George Cincinnati
RB RB38 Wood, Cierre Notre Dame
FB RB06 Bohanon, Tommy Wake Forest
FB RB07 Boren, Zach Ohio St
FB RB22 Line, Zach Smu
FB RB26 Pryor, Lonnie Florida St
FB RB36 Wilson, Braden Kansas St
WR WO01 Allen, Keenan California
WR WO02 Austin, Tavon West Virginia
WR WO03 Bailey, Stedman West Virginia
WR WO04 Bonner, Alan Jacksonville St-Al
WR WO05 Boyce, Josh Texas Christian
WR WO06 Brown, Marlon Georgia
WR WO07 Davis, Marcus Virginia Tech
WR WO08 Dobson, Aaron Marshall
WR WO09 Fuller, Corey Virginia Tech
WR WO10 Goard, Tyrone Eastern Kentucky
WR WO11 Goodwin, Marquise Texas
WR WO12 Hamilton, Cobi Arkansas
WR WO13 Harper, Chris Kansas St
WR WO14 Harrison, Mark Rutgers
WR WO15 Hopkins, Deandre Clemson
WR WO16 Hunter, Justin Tennessee
WR WO17 Johnson, Darius Smu
WR WO18 Kaufman, Brandon Eastern Washington
WR WO19 King, Tavarres Georgia
WR WO20 Lemon, Alec Syracuse
WR WO21 Mellette, Aaron Elon
WR WO22 Moe, T J Missouri
WR WO24 Patterson, Cordarrelle Tennessee
WR WO25 Patton, Quinton Louisiana Tech
WR WO26 Robinson, Denard Michigan
WR WO27 Rogers, Da’Rick Tennessee Tech
WR WO28 Sampson, Lanear Baylor
WR WO29 Sanders, Ace South Carolina
WR WO30 Smith, Rodney Florida St
WR WO31 Spadola, Ryan Lehigh
WR WO32 Stills, Kenny Oklahoma
WR WO33 Swope, Ryan Texas A&M
WR WO34 Thompkins, Kenbrell Cincinnati
WR WO35 Vernon, Conner Duke
WR WO36 Wheaton, Markus Oregon St
WR WO37 Williams, Terrance Baylor
WR WO38 Wilson, Marquess Washington St
WR WO39 Woods, Robert Southern California
TE TE01 Cunningham, Justice South Carolina
TE TE02 Eifert, Tyler Notre Dame
TE TE03 Ertz, Zach Stanford
TE TE04 Escobar, Gavin San Diego St
TE TE05 Fauria, Joseph Ucla
TE TE06 Furstenburg, Matt Maryland
TE TE07 Gragg, Chris Arkansas
TE TE08 Jefferson, D C Rutgers
TE TE09 Kasa, Nick Colorado
TE TE10 Kelce, Travis Cincinnati
TE TE11 Lutzenkirchen, Philip Auburn
TE TE12 Mcdonald, Vance Rice
TE TE13 Otten, Ryan San Jose St
TE TE14 Pantale, Chris Boston Col
TE TE15 Reed, Jordan Florida
TE TE16 Rivera, Mychal Tennessee
TE TE17 Sims, Dion Michigan St
TE TE18 Stoneburner, Jake Ohio St
TE TE19 Toilolo, Levine Stanford
C OL11 Cave, Braxston Notre Dame
C OL20 Frederick, Travis Wisconsin
C OL25 Holmes, Khaled Southern California
C OL28 Johnson, T J South Carolina
C OL32 Jones, Barrett Alabama
C OL34 Lonergan, P J Louisiana St
C OL36 Madsen, Joe West Virginia
C OL45 Schwenke, Brian California
C OL46 Stankiewitch, Matt Penn St
OG OL02 Allen, Zach North Carolina St
OG OL04 Baca, Jeff Ucla
OG OL07 Barker, Chris Nevada
OG OL09 Bond, Travis North Carolina
OG OL13 Cooper, Jonathan North Carolina
OG OL22 Gilkey, Garrett Chadron St
OG OL24 Herman, Eric Ohio
OG OL31 Johnson-Webb, Jamaal Alabama A&M
OG OL33 Kugbila, Edmund Valdosta St
OG OL37 Mady, Lamar Youngstown
OG OL47 Thomas, Dallas Tennessee
OG OL48 Thornton, Hugh Illinois
OG OL51 Warford, Larry Kentucky
OG OL52 Warmack, Chance Alabama
OG OL53 Watford, Earl James Madison
OG OL58 Winters, Brian Kent St
OT OL01 Aboushi, Oday Virginia
OT OL03 Armstead, Terron Arkansas-Pinebluff
OT OL05 Bailey, Alvin Arkansas
OT OL06 Bakhtiari, David Colorado
OT OL08 Becton, Nick Virginia Tech
OT OL10 Brown, Braden Brigham Young
OT OL12 Cleary, Emmett Boston Col
OT OL14 Devey, Jordan Memphis
OT OL15 Faulk, Chris Louisiana St
OT OL16 Fisher, Eric Central Michigan
OT OL17 Fluker, D J Alabama
OT OL18 Foketi, Manase West Texas A&M
OT OL19 Fragel, Reid Ohio St
OT OL21 Gaines, Rogers Tennessee St
OT OL23 Hawkinson, Tanner Kansas
OT OL26 Jackson, Mark Glenville St
OT OL27 Joeckel, Luke Texas A&M
OT OL29 Johnson, Lane Oklahoma
OT OL30 Johnson, Oscar Louisiana Tech
OT OL35 Long, Kyle Oregon
OT OL38 Marquardt, Luke Azusa Pacific
OT OL39 Milhim, Stephane Massachusetts-Amherst
OT OL40 Mills, Jordan Louisiana Tech
OT OL41 Nixon, Xavier Florida
OT OL42 Painter, Vince Virginia Tech
OT OL43 Pugh, Justin Syracuse
OT OL44 Quessenberry, David San Jose St
OT OL49 Tretter, J C Cornell-Ny
OT OL50 Wagner, Ricky Wisconsin
OT OL54 Watson, Menelik Florida St
OT OL55 Weaver, Jason Southern Mississippi
OT OL56 Wetzel, John Boston Col
OT OL57 Williams, Brennan North Carolina

Pos. Number Name School
NT DL02 Barnes, T J Georgia Tech
DT DL04 Boyd, Josh Mississippi St
DT DL08 Dawkins, Everett Florida St
DT DL09 Dial, Quinton Alabama
DT DL11 Floyd, Sharrif Florida
NT DL12 Geathers, Kwame Georgia
DT DL15 Grissom, Cory South Florida
DT DL16 Hankins, Johnathan Ohio St
DT DL17 Hill, Jordan Penn St
NT DL18 Hughes, Montori Tennessee-Martin
NT DL21 Jenkins, John Georgia
DT DL22 Jones, Abry Georgia
DT DL23 Jones, Chris Bowling Green
DT DL28 Lewis-Moore, Kapron Notre Dame
DT DL29 Logan, Bennie Louisiana St
DT DL30 Lotulelei, Star Utah
DT DL32 Mcgee, Stacy Oklahoma
DT DL38 Richardson, Sheldon Missouri
DT DL39 Short, Kwann Purdue
DT DL41 Smith, Jared New Hampshire
DT DL43 Spence, Akeem Illinois
DT DL48 Williams, Brandon Missouri Southern St
NT DL49 Williams, Jesse Alabama
DT DL51 Williams, Nick Samford
DT DL52 Williams, Sylvester North Carolina
DE DL01 Ansah, Ziggy Brigham Young
DE DL03 Bass, David Missouri Western St
DE DL05 Bryant, Armonty East Central
DE DL06 Buchanan, Mike Illinois
DE DL07 Carradine, Tank Florida St
DE DL10 Edwards, Lavar Louisiana St
DE DL13 Gholston, William Michigan St
DE DL14 Goodman, Malliciah Clemson
DE DL19 Hunt, Margus Smu
DE DL20 Jenkins, Brandon Florida St
DE DL24 Jones, Datone Ucla
DE DL25 Jordan, Dion Oregon
DE DL26 Kruger, Joe Utah
DE DL27 Lemonier, Corey Auburn
DE DL31 Maponga, Stansly Texas Christian
DE DL33 Mingo, Barkevious Louisiana St
DE DL34 Montgomery, Sam Louisiana St
DE DL35 Moore, Damontre Texas A&M
DE DL36 Okafor, Alex Texas
DE DL42 Smith, Quanterus Western Kentucky
DE DL44 Square, Damion Alabama
DE DL45 Stewart, Walt Cincinnati
DE DL46 Taylor, Devin South Carolina
DE DL47 Werner, Bjoern Florida St
DE DL53 Williams, Tourek Florida Int
DE DL54 Williams, Trevardo Connecticut
OLB LB01 Alonso, Kiko Oregon
OLB LB02 Barrington, Sam South Florida
OLB LB06 Collins, Jamie Southern Mississippi
OLB LB07 Gooden, Zaviar Missouri
OLB LB08 Greene, Khaseem Rutgers
OLB LB10 Hodges, Gerald Penn St
OLB LB11 Holloman, Devonte South Carolina
OLB LB12 Jenkins, Jelani Florida
OLB LB14 Jones, Jarvis Georgia
OLB LB16 Knott, Jake Iowa St
OLB LB18 Magee, Brandon Arizona St
OLB LB20 Mccray, Lerentee Florida
OLB LB22 Moody, Nick Florida St
OLB LB23 Moore, Sio Connecticut
OLB LB25 Porter, Sean Texas A&M
OLB LB26 Pough, Keith Howard
OLB DL37 Powell, Ty Harding
OLB LB28 Sabino, Etienne Ohio St
OLB DL40 Simon, John Ohio St
OLB LB31 Taylor, Mike Wisconsin
OLB LB33 Thomas, Chase Stanford
OLB LB34 Washington, Cornelius Georgia
OLB DL50 Williams, Nate Ohio St
ILB LB03 Beauharnais, Steve Rutgers
ILB LB04 Bostic, Jonathan Florida
ILB LB05 Brown, Arthur Kansas St
ILB LB09 Hepburn, Brandon Florida A&M
ILB LB13 Johnson, Nico Alabama
ILB LB15 Klein, A J Iowa St
ILB LB17 Lotulelei, John Unlv
ILB LB19 Mauti, Michael Penn St
ILB LB21 Minter, Kevin Louisiana St
ILB LB24 Ogletree, Alec Georgia
ILB LB27 Reddick, Kevin North Carolina
ILB LB29 Stewart, Jonathan Texas A&M
ILB LB30 Taylor, Bruce Virginia Tech
ILB LB32 Te'O, Manti Notre Dame
ILB LB35 Wort, Tom Oklahoma
CB DB01 Adams, Johnny Michigan St
CB DB02 Alford, Robert Southeastern Louisiana
CB DB03 Amerson, David North Carolina St
CB DB04 Anthony, Marc California
CB DB05 Banks, Johnthan Mississippi St
CB DB07 Bushell, Adrian Louisville
CB DB10 Davis, Will Utah St
CB DB11 Edwards, Mike Hawaii
CB DB14 Gratz, Dwayne Connecticut
CB DB15 Hawthorne, Terry Illinois
CB DB16 Hayden, D J Houston
CB DB17 Hester, Aaron Ucla
CB DB18 Hyde, Micah Iowa
CB DB20 Johnson, Jay Jay Purdue
CB DB23 Mathieu, Tyrann Louisiana St
CB DB24 Mccray, Demetrius Appalachian St
CB DB27 Mcfadden, Leon San Diego St
CB DB28 Mcgee, Brandon Miami-Fl
CB DB30 Milliner, Dee Alabama
CB DB32 Poyer, Jordan Oregon St
CB DB35 Reid, Greg Florida St
CB DB36 Rhodes, Xavier Florida St
CB DB37 Robey, Nickell Southern California
CB DB38 Ryan, Logan Rutgers
CB DB39 Simon, Tharold Louisiana St
CB DB41 Slay, Darius Mississippi St
CB DB44 Swanson, Daxton Sam Houston St
CB DB46 Sweeting, Rod Georgia Tech
CB DB47 Taylor, Jamar Boise St
CB DB50 Trufant, Desmond Washington
CB DB52 Webb, B W William & Mary
CB DB53 Webster, Kayvon South Florida
CB DB57 Williams, Steve California
CB DB59 Wooten, Khalid Nevada
CB DB60 Wreh-Wilson, Blidi Connecticut
S DB06 Boyett, John Oregon
SS DB08 Commings, Sanders Georgia
FS DB09 Cyprien, Johnathan Florida Int
FS DB12 Elam, Matt Florida
FS DB13 Evans, Josh Florida
FS DB19 Jefferson, Tony Oklahoma
SS DB21 Johnson, Keelan Arizona St
SS DB22 Lester, Robert Alabama
FS DB25 Mcdonald, T J Southern California
S DB26 Mcdougald, Bradley Kansas
S DB29 Miles, Rontez Cal U-Penn
S DB31 Motta, Zeke Notre Dame
FS DB33 Rambo, Bacarri Georgia
FS DB34 Reid, Eric Louisiana St
SS DB40 Slaughter, Jamoris Notre Dame
FS DB42 Stafford, Daimion Nebraska
SS DB43 Starling, Jawanza Southern California
SS DB45 Swearinger, D J South Carolina
FS DB48 Thomas, Phillip Fresno St
SS DB49 Thomas, Shamarko Syracuse
S DB51 Vaccaro, Kenny Texas
SS DB54 Wilcox, J J Georgia Southern
SS DB55 Williams, Duke Nevada
S DB56 Williams, Shawn Georgia
FS DB58 Wolff, Earl North Carolina St
LS ST01 Ingram, Luke Hawaii
PK PK03 Cantele, Anthony Kansas St
PK PK06 Hopkins, Dustin Florida St
PK PK10 Maher, Brett Nebraska
PK PK12 Sturgis, Caleb Florida
P PK01 Allen, Ryan Louisiana Tech
P PK02 Breeding, Dylan Arkansas
P PK04 Cowan, Bobby Idaho
P PK05 Dunnachie, Alex Hawaii
P PK07 Hubner, Josh Arizona St
P PK08 Kovanda, Scott Ball St
P PK09 Locke, Jeff Ucla
P PK11 Sharp, Quinn Oklahoma St
P PK13 Wing, Brad Louisiana St