The 2013 NFL Scouting Combine gets underway on Wednesday, and with so many prospective pros on the invite list, it's worth distinguishing which ones will be the most intriguing to watch.
The first few days of action will consist of medical evaluations, interviews and meetings with the media, with the real measurable drills getting underway over the weekend.
Some players will get a chance to showcase their incredible athleticism, which could increase their stock significantly even though NFL teams have already put in countless hours of film study on many of these players.
Here is a breakdown of the top players to watch for—which includes some surefire workout warriors and polarizing figures. That is then followed by a complete list of the combine invitees (courtesy NFLCombine.net).
Top Prospects to Watch
Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia
The former Mountaineers standout did not participate in the Senior Bowl, which essentially helped his draft stock due to the relatively unimpressive showings in Mobile.
But Smith will throw at the combine, which will give scouts an opportunity to see him spin it without the benefit of having his favorite receivers at his disposal. This is a wise move by Smith, whose numbers likely benefited in college from the spread scheme and weapons like Stedman Bailey and Tavon Austin around him.
A good showing here would almost guarantee that he will be the first quarterback off the board in April, especially with prolific USC passer Matt Barkley still nursing an injury to his throwing shoulder.
It's a good bet that Smith will look very sharp.
Despite the lack of familiarity with the players he'll be throwing to, the drills should acccentuate his pinpoint accuracy. But it will be interesting to see how strong his arm is compared to the other prospects.
Marcus Lattimore, RB, South Carolina
As gruesome as the knee injury he suffered last college football season looked, reports about Lattimore have been beaming with positivity and optimism.
As documented by Brian McConchie of MidlandsConnect.com, Lattimore appeared on the University of South Carolina's "Inside the Roost" to discuss how he is recovering.
Lattimore said he is way ahead of schedule in his recovery from knee surgery, and the doctors who evaluate him at this week's NFL combine "will be shocked, I can tell you that."
That's certainly great news for Gamecocks fans who want to see their former star running back do well, and it's a nice surprise for casual fans who are intrigued by Lattimore's talent.
Lattimore simply has a nose for the end zone and blends a nice combination of power and speed into his game. He has also shown the ability to catch the ball out of the backfield, and when healthy, he was clearly one of the premier talents at his position in college football.
His draft stock has taken a hit due to health concerns as expected. However, should he check out well medically and put on a solid showing in whatever drills he does, he is among the prospects who have the most to gain this week.
Marquise Goodwin, WR, Texas
With a chance to show sub-4.3 speed in the 40-yard dash and outstanding agility, there is little question that Goodwin will dazzle in Lucas Oil Stadium.
Goodwin showed flashes of brilliance during the week of the Senior Bowl, but will really have a chance to strut his stuff here.
His lack of production in college is a concern, as he never caught more than 33 passes in any of his seasons with the Longhorns. That said, he has the ability to make an instant impact at the professional level —even if it's as a returner.
What makes Goodwin especially exciting is how lethal he could become working out of the slot. West Virginia's Tavon Austin may be getting a lot of the well-deserved hype in that regard, but Goodwin may steal the show from the electrifying former Mountaineer.
How often does an Olympic qualifier like Goodwin (h/t CBS Sports) have a legitimate chance at making it in the NFL, after all?
Ziggy Ansah, DE, BYU
There are few prospects that are as raw as Ansah, but few that are so physically imposing and enticing of a first-round flier.
At 6’6” and 270 pounds, perhaps only SMU’s Margus Hunt rivals Ansah’s combination of size and speed. But thanks to that type of quick-twitch ability, it is possible for Ansah to play either defensive end or line up as a 3-4 outside linebacker in the NFL.
Ansah will be another prospect whose interview process will be interesting to dissect for teams. If they think he is worth the plunge, it could land a franchise the league’s next star pass-rusher.
What is encouraging is NFL.com's draft profile of Ansah, which indicates how far his technique has come in such a short amount of time. So it becomes a question of how long teams are willing to be patient with Ansah before he ultimately thrives.
What’s for sure is that the workout portion of the combine will be filled with plenty of “Wow!” moments, courtesy of the former Cougars standout.
Alec Ogletree, LB, Georgia
His Bulldog teammate Jarvis Jones gets more hype and has his draft stock a bit higher at this point, but Ogletree has a chance to be just as good, if not better, in the pros.
What sets Ogletree apart is his incredible speed, which could translate well to the inside or outside at the NFL level. He began his career at Georgia as a safety, which gives an indication as to how athletic he is.
But as with several high-upside picks, Ogletree does bring some off-field concerns to the table. He was suspended four games in 2012 for failing a drug test (h/t ESPN), and was recently charged with a DUI in Arizona according to Pro Football Talk.
Despite those missed games, Ogletree still led the Bulldogs in tackles, and has all the tools to thrive wherever he winds up. It simply depends on how willing teams will be to take a risk on him.
His workout will be a spectacle, but what might be most intriguing are the reports that come out during the combine relating to how he interviewed with teams.
Complete Invite List for 2013 NFL Scouting Combine
* = denotes junior
|Johnny Adams||DB||Michigan State|
|Robert Alford||DB||Southeastern Louisiana|
|Zach Allen||K||North Carolina State|
|David Amerson*||DB||North Carolina State|
|Ziggy Ansah||DL||Brigham Young|
|Tavon Austin||WR||West Virginia|
|Stedman Bailey*||WR||West Virginia|
|Johnthan Banks||DB||Mississippi State|
|Matt Barkley||QB||Southern California|
|TJ Barnes||DL||Georgia Tech|
|Sam Barrington||LB||South Florida|
|David Bass||DL||Missouri Western State|
|Nick Becton||OL||Virginia Tech|
|LeVeon Bell*||RB||Michigan State|
|Giovani Bernard*||RB||North Carolina|
|Tommy Bohanon||RB||Wake Forest|
|Travis Bond||OL||North Carolina|
|Alan Bonner||WR||Jacksonville State (Ala.)|
|Zach Boren||LB||Ohio State|
|Josh Boyce||WR||Texas Christian|
|Josh Boyd||DL||Mississippi State|
|Arthur Brown||LB||Kansas State|
|Braden Brown||OL||Brigham Young|
|Armonty Bryant||DL||East Central|
|Colby Cameron||QB||Louisiana Tech|
|Anthony Cantele||K||Kansas State|
|Tank Carradine||DL||Florida State|
|Braxston Cave||OL||Notre Dame|
|Emmett Cleary||OL||Boston College|
|Jamie Collins||LB||Southern Mississippi|
|Jonathan Cooper||OL||North Carolina|
|Justice Cunningham||TE||South Carolina|
|Johnathan Cyprien||DB||Florida International|
|Marcus Davis||WR||Virginia Tech|
|Will Davis||DB||Utah State|
|Everett Dawkins||DL||Florida State|
|Zac Dysert||QB||Miami (Ohio)|
|Lavar Edwards||DL||Louisiana State|
|Tyler Eifert||TE||Notre Dame|
|Gavin Escobar*||TE||San Diego State|
|Chris Faulk*||OL||Louisiana State|
|Eric Fisher||OL||Central Michigan|
|Manase Foketi||OL||West Texas A&M|
|Michael Ford*||RB||Louisiana State|
|Reid Fragel||OL||Ohio State|
|Corey Fuller||WR||Virginia Tech|
|Rogers Gaines||OL||Tennessee State|
|William Gholston*||DL||Michigan State|
|Garrett Gilkey||OL||Chadron State|
|Mike Glennon||QB||North Carolina State|
|Tyrone Goard||WR||Eastern Kentucky|
|Cory Grissom||DL||South Florida|
|Johnathan Hankins||DL||Ohio State|
|Chris Harper||WR||Kansas State|
|DJ Harper||RB||Boise State|
|Brandon Hepburn||LB||Florida A&M|
|Jordan Hill||DL||Penn State|
|Gerald Hodges||LB||Penn State|
|Devonte Holloman||LB||South Carolina|
|Khaled Holmes||OL||Southern California|
|Dustin Hopkins||K||Florida State|
|Josh Hubner||K||Arizona State|
|Mark Jackson||OL||Glenville State|
|Mike James||RB||Miami (Fla.)|
|Brandon Jenkins||DL||Florida State|
|Luke Joeckel*||OL||Texas A&M|
|TJ Johnson||OL||South Carolina|
|Jay Jay Johnson||DB||Purdue|
|Keelan Johnson||DB||Florida State|
|Oscar Johnson||OL||Louisiana Tech|
|Jamaal Johnson-Webb||OL||Alabama A&M|
|Chris Jones||DL||Bowling Green|
|Brandon Kaufman*||WR||Eastern Washington|
|AJ Klein||LB||Iowa State|
|Collin Klein||QB||Kansas State|
|Jake Knott||LB||Iowa State|
|Scott Kovanda||K||Ball State|
|Edmund Kugbila||OL||Valdosta State|
|Marcus Lattimore*||RB||South Carolina|
|Kapron Lewis-Moore||DL||Notre Dame|
|Bennie Logan*||DL||Louisiana State|
|PJ Lonergan||OL||Louisiana State|
|Joe Madsen||OL||West Virginia|
|Brandon Magee||LB||Arizona State|
|EJ Manuel||QB||Florida State|
|Stansly Maponga*||DL||Texas Christian|
|Luke Marquardt||OL||Azusa Pacific|
|Tyrann Mathieu*||DB||Louisiana State|
|Michael Mauti||LB||Penn State|
|Miguel Maysonet||RB||Stony Brook|
|Demetrius McCray||DB||Appalachian State|
|TJ McDonald||DB||Southern California|
|Leon McFadden||DB||San Diego State|
|Brandon McGee||DB||Miami (Fla.)|
|Christine Michael||RB||Texas A&M|
|Rontez Miles||DB||California University (Pa.)|
|Jordan Mills||OL||Louisiana Tech|
|Barkevious Mingo||DL||Louisiana State|
|Kevin Minter||LB||Louisiana State|
|Sam Montgomery||DL||Louisiana State|
|Nick Moody||LB||Florida State|
|Damontre Moore||DL||Texas A&M|
|Zeke Motta||DB||Notre Dame|
|Ryan Otten||TE||San Jose State|
|Vince Painter||OL||Virginia Tech|
|Chris Pantale||TE||Boston College|
|Quinton Patton||WR||Louisiana Tech|
|Sean Porter||LB||Texas A&M|
|Jordan Poyer||DB||Oregon State|
|Lonnie Pryor||RB||Florida State|
|David Quessenberry||OL||San Jose State|
|Joseph Randle*||RB||Oklahoma State|
|Kevin Reddick||LB||North Carolina|
|Eric Reid*||DB||Louisiana State|
|Greg Reid*||DB||Florida State|
|Xavier Rhodes*||DB||Florida State|
|Theo Riddick||RB||Notre Dame|
|Nickell Robey*||DB||Southern California|
|Darick Rogers||WR||Tennessee Tech|
|Robbie Rouse||RB||Fresno State|
|Etienne Sabino||LB||Ohio State|
|Ace Sanders*||WR||South Carolina|
|Quinn Sharp||K||Oklahoma State|
|John Simon||DL||Ohio State|
|Tharold Simon*||DB||Louisiana Tech|
|Dion Sims*||TE||Michigan State|
|Jamoris Slaughter||DB||Notre Dame|
|Darius Slay||DB||Mississippi State|
|Geno Smith||QB||West Virginia|
|Jared Smith||DL||New Hampshire|
|Quanterus Smith||DL||Western Kentucky|
|Rodney Smith||WR||Florida State|
|Brad Sorensen||QB||Southern Utah|
|Matt Stankiewitch||OL||Penn State|
|Jawanza Starling||DB||Southern California|
|Johnathan Stewart||LB||Texas A&M|
|Jake Stoneburner||TE||Ohio State|
|Daxton Swanson||DB||Sam Houston State|
|DJ Swearinger||DB||South Carolina|
|Rod Sweeting||DB||Georgia Tech|
|Ryan Swope||WR||Texas A&M|
|Bruce Taylor||LB||Virginia Tech|
|Devin Taylor||DL||South Carolina|
|Jamar Taylor||DB||Boise State|
|Manti Te'o||LB||Notre Dame|
|Phillip Thomas||DB||Fresno State|
|Christopher Thompson||RB||Florida State|
|Matthew Tucker||RB||Texas Christian|
|Spencer Ware*||RB||Louisiana State|
|Earl Watford||OL||James Madison|
|Menelik Watson*||OL||Florida State|
|Jason Weaver||OL||Southern Mississippi|
|BW Webb||DB||William & Mary|
|Kayvon Webster||DB||South Florida|
|Bjoern Werner||DL||Florida State|
|John Wetzel||OL||Boston College|
|Markus Wheaton||WR||Oregon State|
|JJ Wilcox||DB||Georgia Southern|
|Brandon Williams||DL||Missouri Southern State|
|Brennan Williams||OL||North Carolina|
|Kerwynn Williams||RB||Utah State|
|Nate Williams||DL||Ohio State|
|Sylvester Williams||DL||North Carolina|
|Tourek Williams||DL||Florida International|
|Braden Wilson||RB||Kansas State|
|Marquess Wilson*||WR||Washington State|
|Brad Wing*||K||Louisiana State|
|Brian Winters||OL||Kent State|
|Earl Wolff||DB||North Carolina State|
|Cierre Wood*||RB||Notre Dame|
|Robert Woods*||WR||Southern California|