Every year it seems we anxiously wait to see which NFL hopeful will arrive at Lucas Oil Stadium and proceed to blow up the NFL Combine and make himself millions of dollars. There are plenty of household names that most fans are familiar with, but there are always a few players that come from off the radar to surprise everyone and make a name for themselves.
Every year prior to the college football season, Bruce Feldman puts out a list of college football’s freakiest athletes. I am going to put a little bit of a twist on that and put together a list of combine participants that I think will absolutely crush it in Indianapolis and have the entire football world buzzing by the time they step off the turf.
To keep things organized, I will category all the players I include by position.
- Marcus Mariota
This is an obvious one for many reasons, but I am mostly intrigued by the fact that Mariota has elected to throw in Indy. With Jameis Winston reportedly electing to throw as well the competitive juices will be flowing. It also doesn’t hurt that Mariota could run sub 4.5 as well, I have compared him to Colin Kaepernick when it comes to athleticism.
- Brett Hundley
With the quarterback class carrying a lot of uncertainty after Mariota and Winston, Hundley has a chance to help himself a lot with a good performance in Indy. He measured in at 6’3, 226 pounds and with him being a plus athlete, I expect him to test well in the 40. That will be the easy part, if Hundley throws well he could possibly put himself in the conversation to be a first rounder.
- Bryce Petty
A lot has been made about how hard of a worker Petty is and how he stands out in the weight room. Any time you get some props from a branch in the armed services, you will certainly raise a few eyebrows. I want to see if Petty’s testing ability is myth or reality.
- Jerry Lovelocke
Lovelocke makes the list simply because you don’t often see quarterbacks from schools like Prairie View A&M get invited to the combine very often.
- Ameer Abdullah
I have a funny feeling that Abdullah is going to dazzle us in variety of ways in Indy. I think him running well is a given, but I expect his athleticism will be on full display.
- Melvin Gordon
With Todd Gurley unable to take part in the combine, this is a huge opportunity for Gordon to narrow the gap between him and Gurley. He showed up with some good added weight, if he puts on a show he has a chance to put himself in good company.
- Duke Johnson
One word: SPEED. I expect Johnson to put up great numbers in any drill that involves speed or agility.
- Sammie Coates
Coates is one of three big wide receivers I think will put on a show in Indy. While his hands were very inconsistent, Coates is one of the freakier wide receiver specimens you will come across.
- Devante Parker
Despite an injury that kept him out for part of the 2014 season, Parker still was able to show why he is going to be a first round pick. I expect him to solidify his place within the first twenty picks.
- Kevin White
See Devante Parker, minus the injury. Kevin White was one of the best receivers in the country for a reason and was almost uncoverable all year long. He will show everyone why at the combine.
- Phillip Dorsett
Just like his teammate Duke Johnson, I expect Dorsett to run a blazing forty time. This is my favorite to run the fastest 40 time at the combine this year.
- Dorial Green-Beckham
The ex-Mizzou wide receiver possesses measurables comparable to Calvin Johnson, but is he the same kind of alien that Megatron is? If DGB can test well, some teams may be willing to move past his off the field troubles and take him early.
- JJ Nelson
He was the best return man in the nation this past season for a reason. He will lay down an absurd 40 time as well.
- Brandon Scherff
Anybody who can hang clean 480 pounds is worthy of this list.
- Ereck Flowers
He got off to a great start with 37 reps of 225 on the bench press and that is with some very long arms. Flowers is squarely in the mix to be the first offensive lineman off the board.
- Shane Ray
Missouri just keeps churning out defensive lineman. Ray was one of the best pass rushers in all the land, and his skill set is as good as they come.
- Arik Armstead
Guys that are 6’7, 290 pounds shouldn’t be able to move the way he does. I am very intrigued by what he will shows throughout the draft process.
- Leonard Williams
If Tampa Bay didn’t need a quarterback as bad as they do big Leonard would probably be the first player off the board. They don’t make defensive lineman like this very often.
- Vic Beasley
While he is a bit undersized, Beasley was blessed with great athleticism and he used it to become one of the best pass rushers in the country.
- Dante Fowler
He will be one of the first pass rushers off the board for a reason, he won’t disappoint the scouts.
- Randy Gregory
One of the most intriguing pass rushing prospects in this draft class. Extremely gifted with tons of upside.
- Bernardrick McKinney
Big, physical specimen of a linebacker. How often do you come across linebackers that are 6’5, 250 pounds? Scary when you think about it.
- Shaq Thompson
Thompson was a two player for the Huskies at both linebacker and running back. He was so good at both that folks are struggling to figure out where to project him at the next level.
- Jalen Collins
Has the rare size/speed combination that is coveted by NFL coaches at the cornerback position. He should solidify his spot among the elite defensive backs in Indy.
- Ronald Darby
As a former high school track star, I expect Darby to throw down a scorching time on the runway.
- PJ Williams
Florida State was blessed with two very good corners, I expect there to be some friendly competition to see who goes lower on their 40 times.