Every February NFL scouts flock to Indianapolis for the NFL Scouting Combine, an event in which college football players have a chance to showcase their talents before entering the NFL Draft in April. The event, which lasts four days, begins today.
One of the most interesting players to keep an eye on throughout the combine will be Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o. Despite the chaos surrounding Te’o and the fake girlfriend hoax, he was able to amass quite an impressive career, winning every major award for a linebacker as a senior.
His draft stock certainly dropped after news broke that his late girlfriend, Lennay Kekua, never existed. He’ll either continue to fall down the draft boards, or he’ll remind all the scouts why he was the runner-up for this year’s Heisman trophy.
One big name that won’t get much coverage at this year’s combine is USC quarterback Matt Barkley. At the beginning of the season, Barkley was the frontrunner to win the Heisman trophy and his USC Trojans were the odds-on favorites to win the national championship.
However, USC was a disappointment all season, and Barkley had to sit out his final two collegiate games as a senior due to a shoulder injury. That injury is going to keep him from throwing any passes at the 2013 NFL Scouting Combine.
There are five Hokies participating in this year’s NFL scouting combine which include Corey Fuller, Marcus Davis, Bruce Taylor, Nick Becton and Vinston Painter.
Fuller seemed to come up with a catch whenever the Hokies needed it most this year and was the man who led the team in receiving touchdowns. He consistently proved to be a reliable target for Logan Thomas over the course of the year. However, Fuller isn’t exceptionally big or fast for an NFL receiver. He’ll have to have an impressive combine if he wants a chance at a late-round selection.
Davis was also another favorite target of Thomas and led the team in receiving yards this year. Davis has the size to have a successful career in the NFL, but will have to work on his pass catching and blocking. He’ll most likely find a spot in the mid-late rounds if he puts up good numbers at the combine.
Taylor has been a valued member of Tech’s defense for three straight years as a linebacker, earning honorable mention All-ACC honors as a junior and senior. Possessing the size to play linebacker at an NFL level, Taylor will have to show scouts that he can cover in the passing game and that his past injury problems won’t affect his play in the future. He should find a home in the later rounds of the draft.
Becton was a solid contributor on Tech’s offensive line for three years, moving into his starting position at left tackle as a senior. Becton doesn’t have great size for a lineman, but he is able to make up for it with a quick burst off the line. NFL teams are always looking for good lineman, so Becton will most likely be drafted in the mid-late rounds.
Painter played the opposite tackle position to Becton and is actually a very similar player. They are both 6’6”, weight about the same and both play the tackle position. However, Painter was named to the honorable mention All-ACC coaches team this year. Painter should also find a home in the later rounds of the draft, as every NFL team needs a good offensive line to be successful.