NFL Combine Players to Watch

There are plenty of football fans that don't like the NFL Scouting Combine. Or, better put, they may not appreciate the Combine.

Shockingly (not really), I'm not one of those.

Now, I understand its place as just a piece in the college football-to-NFL Draft-player-accumulation process but I've always been a fan of watching athletes do things 99.4% of the rest of the world can't do.

If you're like me in any way, shape or form, even just a smidge, you'll want to know who to watch at the Combine. I know you're going to watch every single minute and I'll be right there with you. So, by position, here are the guys who are going to treat the Combine events like a 5th grade obstacle course and some surprise names to learn along the way as well.

Quarterback
Combine superstar
Bryce Petty, Baylor:Outside of Oregon QB Marcus Mariota, Petty's more than likely the best athlete at this position. He should run in the 4.6 range and hit 35+ inches on his vertical. Plus, he should interview extremely well and win teams over as he did with people/media during his career at Baylor.

Surprise to watch
Brandon Bridge, South Alabama: More athlete than polished quarterback, Bridge is a developmental candidate, perhaps more so than any other quarterback in Indianapolis. But, he can run and has a strong arm. He'll have a chance to show both off over the next few days.

Running back
Combine superstar
Duke Johnson, Miami: This could be his show if he participates in every event. He ran a 10.6 100 meters in high school, also a 22.31 200 meters in addition to being a long jumper. His most redeeming quality is quickness, but if he backs that up with a legit 4.3 or 4.4, look out.

Surprise to watch
Zack Zenner, South Dakota State: The speed is real even though when he walks in the building he reads more like an accountant than a next level running back. I've seen him sprint away from some speedy secondaries at the highest level of college football.

Wide Receiver/Tight end
Combine superstar
Pick one - Phillip Dorsett of Miami may run in the 4.2 range. Auburn's Sammie Coates is an athletic freak. Tyler Lockett of Kansas State will crush the COD/quickness drills as should Duke's Jamison Crowder. Louisville's DeVante Parker...East Carolina's Justin Hardy...Ohio State's Devin Smith...I could go on and on. Of any position, WR is loaded with athletic jaw droppers.

Surprise to watch
Kaelin Clay, Utah:He only played one year for the Utes but earned an invite to the Combine. He ran a smoking 10.4 in the 100 and 21.07 in the 200 as a track star at Long Beach Poly HS. He could sneak up on a lot of people in Indianapolis.

Offensive line
Combine superstar
Brandon Scherff, Iowa: NFL Network will only show the bench press for players like Scherff and that's good. He's a weight room junkie, but can move. He ran a sub-5.0 second 40 in the spring, not to mention he was a four sport athlete in high school. Scherff is one of those players that EVERYONE in the weight room stops to watch. He's a machine.

Surprise to watch
Jamil Douglas, Arizona State: He, arguably, may be the strongest player at the Combine. He's benched 430, full squatted well over 550 pounds and can run the 40 in less than 5.0 seconds. He had a solid week at the Senior Bowl, but can truly shine at the Combine.

Defensive line
Combine superstar
Shane Ray, Missouri: The first step. Nothing more, nothing else - his blazing first step. That's what I first saw when watching him in 2013 so his quickness measurements should be top notch. But, rumor has it that he ran a 4.4 in the spring of 2014. Even if he's in the 4.6 range in Indianapolis, that's outstanding for a 245 edge blazer.

Surprise to watch
Obum Gwacham, Oregon State: He's a former wide receiver that moved over to defensive end for one year. He didn't start but was a key contributor on pass rushing downs, enough so that he got a Combine invite. He wasn't making it to Indy as a WR. Furthermore, he was a track star in high school, having cleared 6'10" in the high jump and 48 feet in the triple jump and he was a member of the Oregon State track team. He could be real fun to watch at Indianapolis.

Linebackers
Combine superstar
Alvin 'Bud' Dupree, Kentucky: Ask most scouts which player has the most 'buzz' heading into his individual workout and the response you'd get most often is Dupree. At 6'4" and nearly 260 pounds, Dupree can run in the 4.5 range, with a 38+ inch vertical, and he broad jumped nearly 11 feet in the spring of 2014. I, like most, have been waiting for two years to see his show in Indianapolis.

Texans analyst and radio sideline reporter John Harris unveiled his top 100 prospects for the NFL Draft. (Photos courtesy of AP)

Surprise to watch
Alani Fua, BYU: He was a 6'5" volleyball player at Oaks Christian HS so I'm going on the assumption that he's going to sky during the vertical jump. He's packed on weight up to 235 pounds so seeing a player that light on his feet explode upward is fun to watch. He's not on a lot of people's radar screen, so I'll put him in this surprise category.

Defensive backs
Combine superstar
Ronald Darby, Florida State: Pure speed is his game. He ran a 4.37 in high school, not to mention, he was a member of the gold medal-winning USA medley relay at the 2011 World Youth Championships. Similar to the WR group, Darby and the DB athletes will shine on the last day of the Combine.

Surprise to watch
P.J Williams, Florida State: Okay, most people may already know Williams as he's not much of a surprise, but he put a Vine video on his Instagram page showing his 11'+ broad jump in training last week (best of last nine combines is 11.7'). He's a cornerback that I've said I'd move to safety but he's got all the physical tools a next level DB should possess. He'll blaze the 40 yard track, as well, as he was clocked in the low 4.4 range earlier in his college career. 6', 196 running a 4.4 who can hit 11' in the broad jump?

Yeah, sign me up.

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