Whether you consider the evaluation process that takes place at the NFL Scouting Combine to be bogus or not, it's tough to ignore the happenings in Indianapolis. There are plenty of prospects that football fans are excited to see in action, especially in drills that fit their respective skill sets.
The 40-yard dash, bench press, vertical jump, broad jump and other events are good barometers for a player's speed, strength and overall athleticism. While on-field performance should still trump whatever happens at the combine, it gives the prospects a great platform to showcase their abilities.
Here are three combine performances that every football fan should keep an eye out for.
Kendall Wright's 40
Catching passes from Heisman-Trophy-winning quarterback Robert Griffin III at Baylor this past season, wide receiver Kendall Wright was one of the most devastating pass catchers in the nation. He managed to reel in 108 passes for 1,663 yards and 14 touchdowns thanks largely to his world-class speed. Wright has a decorated background as a track star, so he was often the fastest player on the field in college. As a result, many are eagerly anticipating his 40-yard dash.
Wright has been clocked at under 4.4 seconds in the past, and since he has obviously been training in order to run the 40 effectively, it wouldn't be a surprise to see him somewhere in the 4.35 range or lower. One of the most important aspects to running a fast 40 is an explosive start. As a former track star, Wright is no stranger to bursting out of the blocks. If he runs like he should, he will likely solidify his status as a first-round pick.
Mike Martin Bench Press
At 6'1" and 307 pounds, Michigan defensive tackle Mike Martin figures to be a versatile player at the next level. There is potential for him to play anywhere along the line in a 3-4 defense and at tackle in a 4-3. Despite his usefulness, Martin currently figures to go off the board late on the second day. Obviously, one way for Martin to improve his draft stock is with a dominant performance at the combine. One drill in particular that he should impress in is the bench press.
According to Michael Rothstein of WolverineNation, Martin and Michigan teammate David Molk have set goals to break the combine's bench press record set last year by former Oregon State defensive lineman Stephen Paea. He benched 225 pounds 49 times. Clearly, the bench press doesn't necessarily translate to on-field success, but Martin can really help himself if he is able to set a new mark.
Robert Griffin III Throwing Drills
For the past several years, there has always been a question of whether the draft's top quarterbacks would choose to throw at the combine or wait until their respective pro days. Last year, Rookie of the Year Cam Newton decided to throw at the combine and it likely improved the public perception of him. One player who could really benefit from a strong passing performance at the combine this year is Baylor gunslinger Robert Griffin III.
The Heisman Trophy winner has proven to be a capable passer, but there are going to be question marks since he played in a spread offense. According to Jarrett Bell of USA Today, Griffin hasn't yet decided whether or not he will throw at the combine and that he will go through the preliminary process before he comes to a decision. If he does throw, it will undoubtedly be one of the most anticipated events of the week.