clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Ten Biggest NFL Combine Questions

The annual NFL scouting combine will commence in Indianapolis on Tuesday. While the combine results do not overshadow on field production, the testing can solidify opinions and shape draft boards, Which prospects will rise and which prospects will fall?

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

1.  Does Florida's Vernon Hargreaves have the length to be a #1 cornerback in the NFL?

The playmaker is listed at 5'11" but rumors persist that he is closer to 5'9".  The weigh-in height and arm measurements could determine if Hargreaves has the length to match up with the bigger wide receivers in the league or if he is best served in a slot cornerback role.

2.  How fast is Mississippi wide receiver Laquon Treadwell?

The consensus top wide receiver in the class has the size, strength and hands to be a #1 wide receiver in the league, the only question is his vertical speed.  A sub 4.5 second 40-yard dash time could propel Treadwell into the top five.

3.  How explosive is Ohio State defensive end Joey Bosa?

Some pundits have recently speculated that Bosa has been overrated by the media and will not be able to translate his tremendous college production to the NFL.  Bosa is an elite tactician and can quiet concerns about his explosiveness with a strong vertical jump and shuttle run.

4.  How agile is Alabama running back Derrick Henry?

The Heisman trophy winner is a punishing and violent runner.  Stiff hips and ability to catch passes out of the backfield are possible knocks on Henry.  The 3-cone drill will test his change of direction, a good showing could cement a selection in the first round.

5.  Is Mississippi defensive end Robert Nkemdiche ready to be a professional?

Nkemdiche was once considered a top five lock until a cannibus arrest in December resulted in a suspension for the Sugar Bowl.  The team interviews will be important for this prospect as he attempts to instill confidence that has grown past his diva-like attitude and maturity issues

6.  What does the medical report indicate for Notre Dame inside linebacker Jaylon Smith?

The Butkus award winner torn both his ACL and MCL during the Fiesta Bowl in January.  Team doctors will be scrutinizing his knee carefully as they attempt to determine if Smith will be able to contribute in the 2016 season.

7.  How athletic are Clemson defensive ends Shaq Lawson and Kevin Dodd?

The shuttle run and 3-cone drill will show just how athletic the former teammates are by testing their short area quickness and change of direction ability.  Strong showings could elevate both of these prospects in the draft if they can prove they are versatile enough to excel as outside linebackers for 3-4 defensive alignments.

8.  Can Eastern Kentucky outside linebacker Noah Spence earn trust?

Team interviews will be a big part of the combine process for Spence.  Spence was kicked off the Ohio State football team as he struggled with addiction to the party drug Ecstasy.  If Spence can convincingly earn the trust of NFL front offices and also show good raw strength on the bench press, he could solidify a top ten draft spot.

9.  How healthy is UCLA linebacker Myles Jack?

Jack tore his lateral meniscus off the bone in September but will be participating in some of the combine tests after intensive rehabilitation.  Just how healthy Jack is remains to be seen, opinions on Jack's draft projection are mixed.

10.  Who will be the athletic freak of the year?

Every year some hyper athletic prospect comes out of the woodwork to wow NFL front offices and shoot up draft boards.  Last year, cornerback Byron Jones from Connecticut was relatively unknown  and destined for a mid round selection, until a phenomenal combine performance vaulted him into a first round selection.  Pass rusher Vic Beasley also rode an impressive 2015 combine performance to the #8 overall pick.  Defensive back Jalen Ramsey, offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil and wide receiver Corey Coleman are know commodities who should dazzle scouts at the combine.  What other supreme athletes will emerge?

Another storyline to monitor at the combine will be contract negotiations between Joe Flacco's agent Joe Linta and Ravens brass.  The combine facilitates an opportunity for agents and general managers to meet in person.  Discussions on restructuring Flacco's contract had not begun as of last week, but hopefully both sides will get the ball rolling at the combine this week. His last contract was banged out in just one week.