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Published on 02/23/2010 at Tue Feb 23 12:32.
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Every year at the combine there is always a set of players who are on the outskirts of the first round. These players have to capitalize off of every drill, test, and interview the combine has to offer if they want to be one of the fortunate thirty-two. Below is a list of players who’ll need to show the NFL what they’re made of. For a list of the combine’s schedule click here.

10. Taylor Mays, S, USC

Taylor Mays may not be the best safety in the 2010 draft but he might be the most athletic one. People (including me) talk up Eric Berry’s physicality and speed, but Mays’ frame begs to differ. For a safety Mays is a gargantuan at 6’3 and 230 pounds, whereas Berry is a decent 5’10 and 203 pounds. Berry’s skill set sets him apart from Mays, but a fast forty by Mays could make him a proud owner of a Raiders jersey.

Where to Watch: 40 Yard Dash and Defensive Back Drills – Mays is known for his hard hits and lack of coverage skills so keep a keen eye on him during the drills, it could be the difference between second round and the top ten.

9.     Colt McCoy, QB, Texas

Since Sam Bradford and Jimmy Clausen will not work out at the combine this is Colt McCoy’s chance for teams to like him. McCoy was knocked for toughness after being bruised and beaten out of the national championship. Ironically though, McCoy will be the only top-tier quarterback in this draft to participate in the combine. I don’t exactly understand that point of questioning McCoy’s grit. Daniel ‘Colt’ McCoy has been starting for so long that starting quarterback for Texas was Vince Young. How’s that for perspective?

Where to Watch: Throwing Drills and Bench Press – McCoy is considered to be very accurate quarterback with a quick release so he’s bound to impress in the drills. Where McCoy is seriously lacking is in arm strength, a paramount attribute for an NFL quarterback. McCoy needs avoid following in fellow Texas alumnus Kevin Durant’s footsteps when it comes to the bench press.

8.    Kyle Wilson, CB, Boise State

Mike Mayock is high on Kyle Wilson so people will be watching. Wilson had an inconsistent season but a great Senior Bowl. The NFL is becoming more pass happier than ever. Cornerbacks like Darrelle Revis, Charles Woodson, and Champ Bailey have proven the importance of having shutdown corners. The Combine could be Mr. Wilson’s chance to lift himself into the first round.

Where to Watch: Vertical Leap and 40 Yard Dash - Kyle Wilson size is mediocre at best, at 5’10 and 190 pounds. For a team to invest a first round pick on Wilson he’ll have to prove he has the vertical jump and speed to contend with the best receivers the league has to offer.

7.   Jermaine Gresham, TE, Oklahoma

Jermaine Gresham was considered to be the best tight end in the NCAA entering this last season. Sadly, due to a a knee injury Gresham wasn’t able to play a single game of it. Amazingly, Gresham is still the top rated tight end of this draft. However it’s no wonder why he’s considered the best with his production in college (111 receptions, 1,629 yards, and 26 TDs) and his height at 6’6 and his weight at 260 pounds.

Where to Watch: Everywhere - The main question scouts will be asking themselves about Gresham is “Does he still have it?” After missing a whole season and undergoing knee surgery Gresham has to capitalize on every chance that comes his way to push himself into the first round.

6. Dan Williams, DT, Tennessee

Quality nose tackles are hard to come by in the NFL and Dan Williams has the makings to  be exactly that. Williams’ problem is that he’s just like his former teammate Robert Ayers, a one-year-wonder. Will Williams continue to excel without the tutelage of the legendary Monte Kiffin?

Where to Watch: Everywhere – I know it sounds vague but Dan Williams has a lot to prove. His athletic ability and massive frame matches him perfectly with the 3-4 scheme, but 4-3 teams like the Vikings may be tempted to bulk up their defensive line (since Pat Williams is 37, another Williams would keep the ‘Williams Wall’ alive).

5.   Golden Tate, WR, Notre Dame

There’s a lot of competition when it comes to wide receiver this draft. Golden Tate has a lot of work to do vying against the likes of Dez Bryant, Damian Williams, Arrelious Benn, and Brandon LaFell. One major property Tate brings to the table is production. Tate prevailed despite the Slacking Irish’s complete and utter collapse to the end of their season. Notre Dame failed to win their final four games undeterred by Tate’s  dominance. Golden Tate somehow managed to accumulate 569 yards receiving and six touchdowns during the four game dry spell. The Irish played 12 games this last season and Tate posted nine games of over a 100 yards receiving and only failed to catch a touchdown in the season opener.

Where to Watch: 40 Yard Dash - What really separates receivers from one another at the combine is their 40 yard dash time. Measuring talent by 40 yard dash times alone is usually a mistake (a common one at that). Donte Stallworth was expected to be a second round pick until he ran a 4.26 at the combine. Come draft day he was selected 13th overall by the Saints. Back to the point however, if Golden Tate wants to break into the first round he’ll need to outrun or at least compare to the other receivers. Tate’s time would probably have to be in the very low 4.4′s, but most likely in the mid-to-high 4.3′s.

4. Rolando McClain, ILB, Alabama

Rolando McClain is a sure fire first rounder (barring a freak injury, massive drug addiction, limb amputation, tragic eye gouging, Rey Maualuga incident, or accidental lobotomy). McClain’s stock is hazy at the moment though, he’s on this list solely because his situation is intriguing. McClain has drawn comparisons to Patrick Willis but top ten pick teams still needs to see more. The combine can be McClain’s playground if he comes prepared.

Where to Watch: Everywhere – Just like Jermain Gresham, McClain’s overall performance is what’s important. McClain’s speed hasn’t been the most impressive and he doesn’t always shine in the most important games (not very active in the national championship and virtually absent in last seasons sugar bowl). McClain is basically a lock in for the first round. The combine will help gauge exactly where in the first McClain will land.

3. Terrence Cody, NT, Alabama

When it comes to size Terrence Cody is not lacking in the department. By default alone Cody is able to collapse the pocket. There may be many knocks against him, but franchise nose tackles are valuable and there’s a lot of upside to Terrence Cody.

Where to Watch: Weight and Work Ethic – If Terrence Cody had his way he’d be 400 pounds. The Alabama man weighed in at 370 pounds at the Senior Bowl. I don’t care how strong his motor can be when he’s got that much weight to burden it. Cody has also be criticized heavily for his lack of work ethic. If Cody wants a jersey with a number one on it he’ll have to avoid anymore comparisons to Andre Smith.

2. Dez Bryant, WR, Oklahoma State

Dez Bryant’s situation is a hybrid of Jermaine Gresham’s and Rolando McClain’s. Bryant is most likely a first rounder, exactly where he’ll land is the issue. Everyone knows what Dez did in college (147 receptions, 2,425 yards, and 29 TDs). The flip side is everyone knows what Dez didn’t do. Due to a strange relationship with the even more strange Deon Sanders, Dez Bryant had to sit out the rest of the season after playing only in three games. There’s no doubt that Bryant was a playmaker in college, but how does a season removed from playing football translate to an NFL career? Bryant will need to prove that he’s still in shape and not even a thought of football ever oozed out of his head.

Where to Watch: Receiver Drills and Interviews: Not only will Dez have to show that he’s still as fluid as a receiver than ever he’ll have to answer awkward interview questions. Any team interested in picking up Bryant will no doubtingly ask him about his suspension and situation that caused it.

1.   Tim Tebow, QB, Florida

A huge bummer was announced yesterday. Tim Tebow will not throw at the combine. Although Tebow won’t be showing off his guns, the microscope won’t go anywhere. I don’t think there’s a bigger wild card in this draft than Tebow. After having such an outstanding career, and being chock-full of intangibles and leadership skills, could cause teams to forgive his shortcomings. Scouts criticize Tebow for his inaccuracy, footwork, inexperience under the center, bad mechanics, slow release, and Florida’s failed quarterback reputation (Rex Grossman, Chris Leak, Danny Wuerffel, and Jesse ‘The Bachelor’ Palmer). Tebow has a laundry list of bad qualities, but team’s may be persuaded by his upside, and proving his athletic skills at the combine wouldn’t be a bad start. If Tebow can have a good combine, enough teams will be interested in attending his pro day March 17th. Tebow is expected to unveil his new style of throwing that day. Hence the former Heisman’s reason for not throwing at the combine.

Where to Watch: Everywhere – You won’t have to look hard come February 28th (QB’s Group) for Tim Tebow. There’s no doubt that the media will be swarming all over him. The combine should help provide more insight on what the NFL scouts think of Mr. Tim Tebow.

There’s plenty more I wish I could have listed, so now I’m leaving it up to you. Who else is intriguing to watch during the combine? Leave a comment, air it out!

  • Plato

    The Teebs has a lot to prove… A LOT.

    Also the running backs of this draft have a lot to prove. Either Dwyer and Best may not go in the first round if they have sucky combines. Yes, I just said sucky.

  • MrEast

    I was tempted to put Anthony Davis on the list because of his ethic issues. However franchise offensive tackles are hard to come by and some team will risk taking him in the first round.

  • kerry

    Mays is a freaking bum. the guy has no skills in terms of coverage and awareness. not a good tackler either. athletic yes but athletic doesnt mean good at football. Earl Thomas out of Texas is better then Mays.

  • DenversFinest

    Thats why I bet the raiders take him.

  • MrEast

    Exactly.

  • ben

    McCoy will not be working out (at least he will not be throwing) in the combine.

  • MrEast

    Yep he just changed his status. He probably wont bench press either, which makes him useless to this list.

  • Stevie B

    I think Golden Tate will be one of the best receivers of this draft, if not the best. The guy was just a flat out stud in college. Also, his leap into the Michigan State marching band is on my all time favorites for hilarious sports moments.

  • Matt

    Why is Jason Pierre-Paul not on the list he went to community college for his first two years and played only one year for South Florida. Forty five tackels and six sacks is not bad, but over rated is an under statement.

  • http://www.saferoofcleaning.com/ chris tucker

    I like the big Tackle Cody

  • http://hubpages.com/hub/Guide-To-Owner-Financed-Land Ronnie pack

    I think Tebow may have to learn to hook slide.

  • http://hubpages.com/hub/Guide-To-Owner-Financed-Land Ronnie pack

    I think Tebow may have to learn to hook slide.