NFL Network's coverage of the 2011 Scouting Combine begins Thursday and lasts through Tuesday, March 1. Over 300 players, and many more NFL team representatives, will convene at Indianapolis' Lucas Oil Stadium for the premier event of the pre-draft process.
We've got you covered with this comprehensive preview of the six-day affair, and will update all notable Combine developments beginning with the weigh-in on the Rotoworld news page
.Spotlight on the Stars
LSU CB Patrick Peterson
The Thorpe Award winner as college football's top defensive back, Peterson is aiming for a 4.2 forty time
while draft analysts debate
whether his best NFL position is corner or safety
. Peterson was timed at 4.37 last spring, also putting on record a 39-inch vertical and 11-foot-1 broad jump.
Georgia WR A.J. Green
I sent Green to Cleveland with the sixth pick in my latest mock draft
, but he's emerging as a sleeper to go No. 1 overall with momentum building
for a Steve Smith
trade. In addition to his forty time and vertical, keep an eye on Green's hand size and arm length at the weigh-in.
Auburn DT Nick Fairley
Like Ndamukong Suh
last year, Fairley heads to Indy favored to be drafted first. Suh enjoyed a terrific Combine
, but "fell" to No. 2. Fairley isn't as clean a prospect as Suh was, so he may need even better workouts to avoid being passed by Green, Da'Quan Bowers
, or Cam Newton
Alabama WR Julio Jones
Jones is currently seen as a surefire top-14 pick
who may begin receiving consideration at No. 10 from Washington. But what if the Panthers trade Smith and use the top pick on Green? With only two wideouts certain to be drafted in the top 20, Jones could benefit greatly from such a scenario.
UCLA LB Akeem Ayers
In 28 college starts, Ayers racked up 29.5 tackles for loss, 14 sacks, and six interceptions despite playing out of position at strong-side linebacker in UCLA's 4-3 defense. He's seen as a 3-4 rush linebacker prospect for the pros, and could be among the Combine's leaders in the 10-yard split
Indiana WR Tandon Doss
ESPN's Mel Kiper and Todd McShay have both mentioned Doss as a likely Combine riser, with Kiper going so far as to suggest Doss could be drafted late in the first round
. An impressive athlete
at 6'3/200, Doss led the Big Ten in all-purpose yardage last season as a third-year junior.
Hawaii RB Alex Green
Discussed over on Pancake Blocks
, Green boasts the second best career yards-per-carry average in the 2011 NFL draft. Hawaii's first 1,000-yard rusher since June Jones
installed the run-and-shoot offense in 1999, Green is a physical runner with plus size (6'0/219) and great hands.
Nevada TE Virgil Green
6'3/248, Green has shot to No. 5 among draft-eligible tight ends in NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock's latest rankings
. Expected to "come real close
" to the 2006 Combine numbers posted by Vernon Davis
, Green averaged 14.71 yards per reception as a senior.
Lehigh G/T Will Rackley
McShay has jumped on the Rackley bandwagon started by Mayock months ago, and the FCS first-team All-American is now widely seen as a future starter by the draftnik community. Rackley started 40 straight games as Lehigh's left tackle. At 6'3/307, he projects as an NFL guard.
USC TE Jordan Cameron
Essentially a poor man's version of Jimmy Graham
last year, Cameron played basketball at Brigham Young and Southern Cal before taking up football full time for the Trojans. Another basketball player-turned-footballer at the Combine will be Julius Thomas
from Portland State.Workout Wonders
Pitt WR Jonathan Baldwin
Baldwin is targeting a forty time in the 4.3s, 41-inch vertical leap, and 20-plus repetitions of 225 pounds on the bench press. Interviews may be the biggest obstacle for the college malcontent
Baldwin, but he's likely to put a dent in stop watches. At a listed 6-foot-5 and 230 pounds.
Nevada DE Dontay Moch
Depending on which scout you ask, Moch was timed anywhere from 4.19 to 4.28
at Nevada's Junior Day last year. Size is going to be an issue for the 6'1/227-pound pass rusher, but speed and production isn't. Moch paced the Wolfpack in sacks (8.5) and tackles for loss (22) in 2010.
Virginia Tech RB Ryan Williams
At a rocked-up 5'10/202 (listed), Williams recently ran a 4.41 forty
with a 1.54 ten-yard split, the latter time indicating a player's short-area speed. Still just 20 years old, Williams lost his starting job as a sophomore after a monster freshman year, so he'll be on the spot in Indianapolis.