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Diner morning news: Five players to watch in Indy

This is where the draft begins to take shape. Michael Lombardi

Print This February 25, 2010, 10:30 AM EST

QUOTE: “True genius resides in the capacity for evaluation of uncertain, hazardous, and conflicting information.” -- Winston Churchill

INDIANAPOLIS -- Welcome to the 2010 NFL Scouting Combine, where the draft starts to take shape -- not because of the workouts on the field but because everyone in each organization is involved in the draft process. Here are a few players I’m looking forward to seeing in the coming days:

Jahvid Best RB California

I watched him play in high school and he was one of the most explosive players I’ve ever seen. His speed on the track translates to the football field, and his game is well-suited to the NFL. His big-play ability both as a runner and receiver is exactly what works well in the NFL right now, and the notion of one back to handle all the carries is not realistic anymore. Best will run fast, test well, and most of all, he plays well.

Derrick Morgan DE Georgia Tech

Whenever there’s a defensive end in the draft who can record sacks and pressure the passer, it piques my interest. Morgan has the size, speed and production to keep moving up the charts in the draft since everyone is looking for his type of skill set. I know he already ranks as the first defensive end in the draft, but I have a hunch he’ll keep moving higher in the first round.

Jason Pierre-Paul DE South Florida

Another junior coming out with impressive pass-rushing skills. Pierre-Paul played only one year at South Florida but was very impressive. In terms of length, he has the build that works well for a pass rusher. Like Morgan, he’s highly rated and can keep moving up with a good week.

Taylor Mays DS USC

Mays is built like a linebacker and can run fast in a straight line. He’ll have to show change-of-direction skills because zone safeties in the NFL are not in vogue right now. Safeties today must be able to play well on all three levels of the defense: high down the field, in the box like a linebacker and attacking the passer. Mays can handle two of the three, but he’ll have to prove he can play the game with range and pass-covering skills. If not, his freefall will continue.

Jimmy Clausen QB Notre Dame

This combine might be the most important event in Clausen’s career, not from a physical standpoint but in allowing teams to know who the real Jimmy Clausen is. There has been much talk about Clausen as a teammate; whether that talk is accurate remains to be determined. That determination will not occur in the meetings with coaches but in the physiological profiling that teams use to test each prospect. Clausen might be able to go into a room and deny all the rumors, but the real validation will come from the profiling test, which is uncannily accurate. These tests are extremely important when it comes to determining the work habits, character, competitiveness and stability of each player. With high marks in this test, Clausen will keep moving.

Make sure you tune in to the NFL Network today and all week for combine coverage, and check back at the Post for all your updates on the players, rumors and happenings here in Indy.

Follow me on Twitter: michaelombardi

Check out the NFP's 2010 Draft Central for in-depth coverage leading up to the draft.

For a look at prospects who may need strong interviews to help their stock in the draft, check out this article from Bleacher Report.

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