The 2012 NFL draft combine is fast-approaching. The “under-wear” Olympics is often the most important interview in a young players life. With that being said here are five players who need to have big combine’s to maintain their first round grades they currently have.
Let’s assume everyone is going to work out here. And let’s also assume that everyone does fine with their medical checks which is obviously a big part of the process.
#1 Alshon Jefferey, WR, South Carolina
Jefferey is a big wide receiver prospect who had a breakout 2010 College Football season, but his production went down dramatically in 2011. Teams will have to decide whether that is because of his own abilities or the poor quarterback play going on in South Carolina. Heading into the season Jefferey was a consensus top 10 pick now there are a lot of questions swirling around him. Does he have enough speed to get down field, is he quick enough intermediately to create seperation? The questions have continued. A common draftnik joke now is to list Jeffery as a TE or an OL because there are reports about him being out of shape.
If Jefferey comes to the combine in terrific shape and runs anywhere near the 4.5 range he’ll solidfy his stock in the first round and possibly even put an end to the questions.
Kendall Wright WR Baylor
I’m not buying the top 15 talk about Wright yet. Wright is small. He’ll have to come to the combine and be at least 5’10 as he’s currently listed now (which is still short), but if he measures in at 5’9 that could be bad for him. Wright also has gained a reputation as a DeSean Jackson type of athlete. He’ll have to be to go in the first round. If he’s 5’10 and 180 pounds will a 4.4 be enough to get him into the first round? I’m not sure. Right now Wright is 31 on our big board, which is where I think he should be. If he wants to be in the top 15 range like he’s been a lot he needs a big combine.
Melvin Ingram, DL/OLB South Carolina
Ingram is kind of aplayer without a position right now, so he has to look as athletic has he has looked on film. Does Ingram have enough fluidity to play standing up as a 34 OLB? Is he long enough to win consistently as an DE? IF not can he put on some weight to play defensive tackle. No one questions how good Ingram looked during the 2011 College Football Season but he’ll have to play a different role and if he looks slow or stiff it’ll really hurt his stock.
Alfonzo Dennard, CB, Nebraska
Dennard got torched in his bowl game by Jeffery and then was struggling at times at the Senior Bowl before an injury forced him to miss the rest of the week. Dennard was considered by some to have better film during the 2011 College Football season than #19th overall pick Prince Amukamara though Amukamara is bigger and possibly faster in a straight line. Dennard could really use a good week or he’ll be middle second round instead of first round.
Vontze Burfict, LB, ASU
Everyone’s favorite punching bag. Burfict has questions about his work ethic, he has questions about his football intelligence, the one thing he doesn’t have a lot of questions about is his athletic ability. He can’t afford a bad combine. If he looks less athletic than the reputation that proceeds him, forget about him having a shot at the first round. The interview process is also important for him more so than other players. And maybe even more than the interiview process, the background checks teams will do on Burfict.
Who do you think needs a big week at the combine, for those players who are first round types. I’ll have more combine previews coming this week
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