Monday, 18 February 2013

NFL Combine: 5 Players With a Point to Prove

It's almost combine time for the 2013 NFL draft prospects and that means there will be plenty of analysis over the most minute details. As with every year there's a few guys out there who can massively help their money earning potential with a big performance in Indianapolis, so here are a few of the names that you need to keep an eye during their on field workouts.


Eddie Lacy – RB, Alabama
As a 'Bama back, Lacy has a couple of tough acts to follow.
Even though there is no consensus on who is the top running back in this years fairly weak draft class, Eddie Lacy is probably going to garner the most attention. He couldn’t have wished for a better stage and performance to end his college career on after running over and spinning around Manti Te’o and the Irish in the National Championship game. After playing behind a dominant O-line at Alabama his draft stock has risen dramatically, but his straight-line speed and quickness are two attributes that the scouts question and Lacy must perform well in these categories to ease the scouts worries and set himself apart from the other running backs.

The two drills that Lacy needs to have big performances in are the 40 yard dash and shuttle run. Experts say that his 40 needs to come in at under 4.53 to keep the haters quiet.

Matt Barkley – QB, USC

Barkley needs to prove his accuracy is not an issue.
He should have entered the draft last season, but his dedication to the Trojans means that he came back and unfortunately had a year to be forgotten. Regarded as the standout top quarterback prior to the season, Barkley saw his stock fall massively to the point where if the other QBs outperform him, he might not even end up in the first round.

Barkley is unlikely to show ‘off-the-charts’ type of numbers in comparison to the other quarterbacks, but where he could help himself is with his on field passing drills, interviews and his ability to lead.

Barkley is likely to do very well in the interview process seeing as he is known as an off the field leader as well as having no issues away from the game of football. The biggest maker or breaker of Barkley’s stock at the combine could be the accuracy of his passing, despite how tough it is to sync with all the receivers straight away, if Barkley is erratic with his combine throws his stock is not going to improve. NOTE- Since this was written Matt Barkley has said he will not throw at the combine.

Ezikiel Ansah – DE, BYU

Ansah: Very raw talent, needs to prove himself against next level competition.
Ansah is probably the most physically gifted overall player at the combine, but he is still very raw as a football player. While he flashed a little bit of that athleticism at the Senior Bowl he now has the opportunity to put that athleticism into numbers, which the NFL scouts love *cough* Raiders *cough* (Ed: those days are gone now...).

If Ansah brings his A-game to the combine and puts himself on another level from the rest of the ends/outside backers, he will shoot up drafts boards. However, if he just shows slightly above average athleticism then he’s likely to drop a little due to his rawness on the field. I don’t expect Ansah to flop at the combine at all, but to maximize his potential draft position, he needs to have a next level workout.

Cordarrelle Patterson – WR, Tennessee

Does Patterson have the measurables despite not having the best production this year?
The wide receiver group as a whole has a lot to prove but Patterson, despite being considered as the top prospect, needs a good performance at the combine to prove himself worthy of one of the top 15 picks. He has lots of athletic talent (duhh, he’s the top WR prospect) but with only 46 receptions on his resume this year, no one really knows what they’re going to get out of Patterson. Where he needs to impress scouts is in the interview room and in the catching drills on the field, which are by no means the best indicator of WR talent, but it can help prove that he can be a consistent target at the next level. 

Marquise Goodwin - WR, Texas

Not catching this guy!
This is the type of guy everyone is eager to see at the NFL combine, he's a olympic athlete and has world class speed (rumours are putting his speed at 4.2, we'll have to wait on that though). Goodwin started generating more buzz around himself after he lit up the Senior Bowl, the combine is going to be his forte, but it's vitally important for him to perform well so that the buzz he generates carries him up draft boards.

In this scenario, I want you guys to think about the 2009 draft and Darrius Heyward - Bey, who despite not being considered as the top prospect, earned himself a huge payday with the Raiders after being picked seventh overall (first receiver off the board) after he had run the fastest 40 at the combine. 

Goodwin's tape will be analysed over and over again, but one things for sure, his speed translates to the field and when you have a talent like speed which can't be taught, some team is going to stick their neck out just a little further in order to try and mould the unique talent into their own weapon. 

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