NEPD Editor: Mike Loyko
With the 2012 NFL Combine slated to start this Wednesday I take a look at prospects who are likely to create a buzz in Indianapolis and those who are likely to disappoint for one reason or another.
Each year at the combine we see certain prospects put on a show in the 40 yard dash, the bench press or in positional drills. With the combine so publicized now this can create a lot of buzz for a prospect.
Sometimes this can really affect a prospects draft stock (none more so than BC DE Mike Mamula 1995) and sometimes putting on a show at Indy doesn’t help or hurt their stock because their game film speaks for itself (Maryland OT Bruce Campbell 2010). Conversely, having a bad week at Indianapolis can expose some flaws they have been able to cover up at the college level. Players who come in with first round buzz can fall right out of the first round mix with a poor showing.
Ultimately, the combine is just one step in the vetting process of potential NFL players and where a player will be picked is how they have performed on the field. However, it is fun to see how fast or slow some of these guys truly are.
This list is just my opinion based on what I may have seen on the field or what I have heard and nothing more than that. I also am not going to include some of the obvious names. Obviously if Trent Richardson decides to do all the drills and run I think he is going to tear it up.
Here is my list of players who I think will either tear it up or disappoint this week.
Players who will Impress:
Joe Adams, WR, Arkansas
It’s been confirmed to me that Adams will run at the combine and will run fast. I expect him to be one of if not the fastest WR to run in Indianapolis. Adams looked like the best WR all week at the Senior Bowl and he looks to build on that with a sub 4.4 forty. Adams also should excel in the 3-cone drill and vertical jump. He is an electric player with the ball in his hands and with so many WR bunched into that 2nd round mix, Adams’ combine performance will likely separate him from the pack and generate some first round buzz.
Zach Brown, OLB, North Carolina
Brown is one of the most athletic linebackers in the draft. Can he get under 4.4? I would be surprised, but he should be somewhere in the 4.4s and jump like a WR. He will look fluid in positional drills and should create a lot of buzz in Indianapolis.
Orson Charles, TE, Georgia
Charles is a new school TE who plays off the line of scrimmage. He will run very well and his agility that he shows on the field should shine through in testing. By the end of the combine I think Charles will be the consensus top ranked TE in the draft.
Demario Davis, LB, Arkansas State
Davis is a LB who doesn’t get talked about as much as others, however by the end of the combine he will. He is one of the most athletic and agile LBs in the draft class. He proved in Mobile he can play with the best, he should put up some impressive numbers this week.
Cliff Harris, CB, Oregon
Harris was kicked off the Oregon football team mid-year. He’s been out of the spotlight and therefore doesn’t have much buzz. When he is playing Harris might be the most dynamic athlete and kick returner in the country. I have a feeling he is going to put on a show this week.
Jayron Hosley, CB, Virginia Tech
While I don’t expect Hosley to be the fastest CB in Indy, his quickness, change of direction and ability to stop and go should suit him very well in most of the agility drills. I’d keep a close eye on Hosley in the 3 Cone and short shuttle drills particularly.
George Iloka, S, Boise State
Iloka is the tallest DB in the draft class, but one of the most athletic. He told me he expects to run in the 4.4s however, I think that may be a little out of reach. Anything in the 4.5s will be a terrific time for a DB his size.
Bruce Irvin, DE/OLB, West Virginia
Irvin is a lean DE/OLB prospect. He is built to be a speed rusher, but did little of that at West Virginia. If I had to guess I would say Irvin will be the fastest DE with a time in the low 4.5s and that always turns some heads.
Alshon Jeffery, WR, South Carolina
I’m going to include Jeffery on this list simply because so many people expect him to bomb out. I actually think he will test better than expected and show up in really good shape.
Mike Martin, DT, Michigan
Mike Martin has the physique of a gladiator. He told me personally he is going to attempt to break the bench press record at the combine. If he will do it is another thing, but he will give it a run for his money.
Lamar Miller, RB, Miami(FL)
If Miller doesn’t run the fastest 40 time at the combine it will definitely be in the top five. He is an explosive RB and a home run threat. If he doesn’t tear up the 40 he has no shot at going in round 1.
Dontari Poe, DT, Memphis
Poe is one of the strongest human beings on the planet. Combine that with his massive frame and his athleticism and he should shine this week. Poe hasn’t been seen by the mainstream due to playing at Memphis, so this will be the first time the common fan will have seen him. Poe should also put up a big number on the bench press.
Rueben Randle, WR, LSU
Randle wasn’t always able to show his stuff due to the quarterback situation at LSU. With all the lights shining on the big stage this is Randle’s time to show what he really is and I think he shows very well.
Darron Thomas, QB, Oregon
Thomas will obviously be one of the fastest QBs at he combine, but I think he will show off his arm and his ability to make NFL quality throws. Thomas was a questionable entry into the draft, but I think after the combine all that discussion will be put to bed.
David Wilson, RB, Virginia Tech
If Miami RB Lamar Miller isn’t the fastest RB this week it will be Wilson. I think Wilson will actually test better overall that Miller as I see a little bit more change of direction and short area quickness from Wilson and that suits him well for hit environment.
Devon Wylie, WR, Fresno State
Wylie is someone that gets very little publicity, but he could end up being the most impressive athlete among the WRs this week. He is rumored to be running in the low 4.3s and that is after a couple major leg injuries.
Click on page 2 for the players that will disappoint.