2012 NFL Draft: 5 Prospects Who Should Rise Up the Boards After a Good Combine

David LevinSenior Writer IIJanuary 14, 2012

2012 NFL Draft: 5 Prospects Who Should Rise Up the Boards After a Good Combine

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    When you shop for a new car, you really aren't sure of what you are getting until you take it out for a test spin, look under the hood and kick the tires a bit.

    Think of the NFL combine as an auto auction of sorts. You don't know exactly how a player will perform until you have a chance to see them lift, run sprints, catch, throw and block.

    And just like buying a car, what looks good to some potential teams may not look so good to others. With so many choices to make a decision from, they need to see more success and evaluate performance based on their own criteria.

    Welcome to the NFL world of scouting.

    While there are players who have entrenched themselves as "certain" top-10 selections, there are still questions that remain about players and their ability. Are they sliding down the draft board? Why are they considered high risk? How will they perform at the combine?

    These players are looking rise up the draft board after they have had a chance to show NFL scouts what they can do on the field and what they can do in big-game situations.

Jerel Worthy, Defensive Tackle, Michigan State

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    Worthy is a top-20 draft pick right now, and with a strong performance, he could move to the outside of the top-10.

    At 6'3" and 310 pounds, Worthy is imposing and can stuff the run or push the line back and put pressure on the quarterback.

    Whether he can move past Devon Still of Penn State as the top tackle prospect still remains to be seen.

Ryan Tannehill, Quarterback, Texas A&M

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    I believe Tannehill will be this year's version of Andy Dalton.

    Tall (6'4") and lanky (222 pounds), he has proven he can move the ball down the field and is mobile enough to get out of the pocket.

    Tannehill will not be at the postseason showcase games because of a broken foot. The combine and his pro day are his major performance-enhancing showcases.

    Will he be able to wow someone and maybe slip into the bottom of the first round?

Brian Quick, Wide Receiver, Appalachian State

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    If teams do not know about him now, they will soon find out about him.

    Every year, there are players who are drafted because of their combine performance, and this year, Quick could be one of them.

    He is tall (6'4") and a good possession receiver. While teams will be talking about Nick Toon of Wisconsin and Mohammed Sanu of Rutgers as potential "sleepers," they better not close their eyes on this guy.

    The team that drafts him will be glad they did.

Chris Polk, Running Back. Wisconsin

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    Lamar Miller and Trent Richardson are not the only runners who could be first-round selections.

    Look out for Polk out of Washington. He should be a solid second-round selection right now if the draft was held today. With a good combine, does a team like New England take a chance on him or maybe someone like an Indianapolis slides back into the first round.

    Polk is is a bowling ball at 5'11 and 222 pounds, and he will run through and over a defender for a tough yard.

Luke Kuechly, Linebacker, Boston College

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    Boston College has a history of producing good, dependable linebackers. Add Kuechly to this list.

    Kuechly is a late first-round selection, but he needs a little more exposure in the combine or in a pro day, because players like Dont'a Hightower, Courtney Upshaw and Vontaze Burfict are all part of this draft.

    Kuechly led the nation in tackles this past season and won the Butkus Award as the nation's top linebacker.

    At 6'3" and 237, he is the right size for most 4-3 defenses. With a strong showing, he could solidify himself of a mid-first-round selection instead of a possible late first, early second-round selection.