Starting this week, rookie hopefuls will descend on Indianapolis at the annual NFL scouting combine to be tested, interviewed, critiqued and broken down — with any and every flaw put under a microscope.
The National Football Post will be on the ground in Indy starting Wednesday, bringing you daily updates, reports and scoop from Lucas Oil Field and around town. It is a gathering of the NFL’s elite, from owners to entire coaching staffs — and we will let you know what we are seeing and hearing.
Today, let’s look at some big-name prospects that will be under the microscope come next weekend…
Oklahoma QB Sam Bradford/ Notre Dame QB Jimmy Clausen
Both possible top five picks have injury concerns. Bradford has a shoulder and Clausen is coming off of surgery to correct a toe issue. Yes, the medical exams — which are conducted individually by all 32 teams — will be big in their evaluation process, but what about the interview process? With the amount of money that will be spent up front on these two rookies, coaches, scouts and GMs will grill them beyond belief. From football talk to what they do in their free time, etc. will be asked. In the past the Dolphins had prospects interview with a priest. Anything goes in Indy. And clubs such as St. Louis, Washington, Seattle and Buffalo will expect the correct answers. It will be a grueling process for these two.
Clemson LB Ricky Sapp
NFP scout Wes Bunting is high on the Clemson linebacker, but there is talk circulating around the league as we speak about the injury concerns surrounding Sapp’s right knee. He is a first round talent, but there are scouts who believe that the issues in Sapp’s knee won’t test well when he is going through his medical evaluations. There are no hiding injuries anymore, and the luxury — plus the protection — these players had on campus with injury cover-ups won’t fly in Indy.
Mississippi State RB Anthony Dixon
The on-the-field testing will be big for Dixon, who has size at 6-1, 245. He was asked to play some fullback down in Mobile, but if he can show the NFL’s elite that he does have the ability to play running back at the NFL level through his testing results, his draft stock will improve, as will the money he will see up front. The 40-yard dash, the short shuttle and the 3-Cone drill will be big for the RB from Mississippi State.
Alabama DT Terrence Cody
Cody made headlines down in Mobile for his weight — and that is never good. He tipped the scales at a massive 370 pounds, and many scouts were skeptical. He has first round talent, and his weigh-in may be the most anticipated of the week. Does he show that he is serious about his pro career and come in with his weight down? Or, does he make teams think twice about using first round money on him by coming in overweight once again? It sounds small and simple, but it is the perfect opportunity for all 32 teams to read into what type of dedication the big DT from Alabama has.
Syracuse WR Mike Williams
Bunting said that Williams was the best receiver in the country — along with Okie State’s Dez Bryant — before he quit the team this fall, and the question marks surrounding this guy are through the roof. Every time he sits down to talk with a team, the first question they will ask will be about his situation at Syracuse — and they will all want as answer that satisfies them. His testing, his workout and his weigh-in will be secondary until all 32 teams know what they have in Williams from a character standpoint. He has the skills and size (6-2, 205) to play and start at the NFL level, but his past actions will be the main topic of discussion.
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