The combine’s ‘wow’ players
With the 2010 NFL Scouting Combine just days away, the National Football Post takes a look at prospects who seem poised to impress this week at Indianapolis.QB Jarrett Brown, West Virginia (6-3, 219)
Not only do I expect the athletically gifted Brown to run and work out as well as any quarterback at Indy this week, he should also shine during the throwing sessions. Brown is a big, strong-armed kid who has the physical skill set needed to make all the throws at the next level. What gets him in trouble is when he’s asked to decipher information from the pocket and quickly go through his progressions. However, with no defenders on the field during throwing sessions, expect him to look impressive spinning the football on all areas of the field, showcasing good zip in the intermediate pass game and a nice touch down the field on bucket throws. This is the kind of setting in which Brown can excel.
RB Ryan Mathews, Fresno State (5-11, 220)
I’ll admit I’m not the biggest supporter of Mathews. Even though he possesses good size, power and acceleration to his game, to me he’s just too much of a linear runner. He struggles to create on his own at the line of scrimmage and reminds me of Colts RB Donald Brown, who, like Mathews, doesn’t display the type of wiggle needed to consistently make defenders miss in the NFL. However, at 5-11, 220 pounds, I still expect Mathews to run well this week, put up plenty of reps on the bench and show off a physique that’s second to none. He might be a bit under the radar right now, but by the end of the combine, there will likely be plenty of positive buzz about him.
WR Jacoby Ford, Clemson (5-9, 181)
It’s not every year you get to see the NCAA’s indoor 60-meter champion running at the combine, but that’s exactly the case with Ford this season. He won the NCAA title with a time of 6.52 in 2009, and when I talked to him at this year’s Senior Bowl, he didn’t seem fazed when he was asked if he could run his 40 in the 4.2 range. Either way, the guy can fly and will be one of the fastest prospects running this year – if not the fastest.
WR Trindon Holliday, LSU (5-5, 162)
If there’s one guy who could end up beating Ford for the combine’s fastest time, it could well be Holliday. Like Ford, Holliday is another former track star, having competed in the 100 meters at the U.S. Olympic trials in 2008. He’s still raw in all aspects of the game and will likely need to make his mark on special teams if he hopes to make a roster, but it wouldn’t surprise me to see this guy pull off one of the best 40 times in combine history.
WR David Gettis, Baylor (6-3, 217)
One prospect I’ve been extremely high on throughout the season is Gettis. Even though he didn’t quite have the type of year I expected from a production standpoint, he still possesses the kind of physical attributes needed to play and win on the outside in the NFL. At 6-3, Gettis isn’t a strider in any sense of the word; he gets up to speed quickly and knows how to accelerate away from defenders down the field. He’s still raw and needs to improve his ability to catch the ball, but given his size, he’s another guy who could really open some eyes during workout sessions.
OT Bruce Campbell, Maryland (6-6, 310)
For a guy who’s been heralded as the Vernon Davis of offensive linemen, the combine seems like the perfect place for Campbell to shine. He’s a tall, lean-looking athlete who moves effortlessly for his size and should light up the workouts across the board. He’s still more of an athlete than an overall football player at this stage, but his upside is tough to ignore.
DE Jason Worilds, Virginia Tech (6-2, 252)
One of the main reasons I’m so high on Worilds is his obvious first-step explosion and quick-twitch ability off the edge. An event like the combine is tailor-made for an athlete the caliber of Worilds to “wow” in just about every aspect of the workout and prove he has the ability to become one of the draft’s top pure pass rushers.
DB Chris Cook, Virginia (6-2, 212)
Cook has done a nice job during the postseason process, showing well in press coverage at this year's Senior Bowl and exhibiting intriguing athleticism for his size. Although I still think he’s a better fit for the free safety position than cornerback, Cook is the kind of long, explosive athlete who’s going to work out very well in linear events at the combine, which will likely end up overshadowing his inabilities to cleanly change directions in coverage.
S Taylor Mays, USC (6-3, 231)
We all know about Mays’ struggles at this year's Senior Bowl, but if there’s an event made for him to shine, it’s the combine. He’s a gifted straight-line athlete who possesses impressive overall explosion and natural strength, and I fully expect him to be near the top end of just about every tested event at his position as he tries to salvage his first-round draft stock.
S Chad Jones, LSU (6-3, 230)
Finally, the one guy I can’t wait to see work out is LSU’s Jones. At 6-3, 230 pound, he’s surprisingly fluid and has the ability to cleanly flip his hips and change directions on all areas of the field. Plus, I expect him to run extremely well for his size (in the mid/low 4.4 range) and prove that he’s an elite-caliber athlete for the position.
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