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NFL Combine 2013: Pass-Catchers Who Need to Boost Their Draft Stock

Steven SlivkaCorrespondent IIIFebruary 20, 2013

NFL Combine 2013: Pass-Catchers Who Need to Boost Their Draft Stock

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    The 2013 NFL draft class is one of the weakest in offense in recent memory.

    Not only does this year's draft scream the word "defense," the word " offense" is barely even whispered.

    Although defense will rule this year's draft, there are still pass-catchers who can make a difference to a team who is in need of one.

    Here are five players who need to put on a show at the combine in order to boost their draft stock.

Levine Toilolo, TE, Stanford

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    At 6'8'', 265 pounds, Levine Toilolo is a beast of a man. He was the backup to Zach Ertz last season, and skipped his senior season at Stanford to enter this year's draft.

    He caught 24 passes for 393 yards and four touchdowns as a backup, which are pretty impressive numbers for a guy who was second-string to one of the best tight ends in the country.

    Loilolo has the size to be an absolute monster on the field, but he needs to improve on his blocking skills. Whether it's his footwork or his other intangibles, Loilolo must put up a solid performance in the combine to show he can ball with the rest of the tight ends.

    The role of the tight end has evolved over the last decade and has become an invaluable position in the NFL.

    Loilolo is projected to be taken between the third and fifth round, but can improve that stock by impressing teams in Indianapolis.

Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia

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    Being Geno Smith's favorite target in 2012 has helped West Virginia's Tavon Austin become one of the flashiest wide receivers in this year's draft.

    The fact that this draft is loaded so heavily on defense also gives Austin the benefit of the doubt.

    He finished his senior season with nearly 1,300 yards and 12 touchdowns, but his 5'9'', 174-pound frame make him a liability for any team that drafts him.

    Aside from Keenan Allen and Cordarrelle Patterson, Austin is one of the few talented receivers in this draft.

    However, wide receivers with bigger frames like Calvin Johnson and Larry Fitzgerald have made the position a more physical one. Austin needs to show that he can still be a threat as a wideout despite his undersized frame.

Gavin Escobar, TE, San Diego State

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    Zach Ertz and Tyler Eifert are the two premier tight ends in this year's draft, but there are still some legitimate tight ends that can make a surprise at the combine.

    One of them is San Diego State's Gavin Escobar.

    As a member of the Aztecs, Escobar compiled over 1,200 yards and 13 touchdowns over the last two seasons.

    Sure, Escobar put up great numbers, but he played in the horrible Mountain West Conference.

    Tearing up defenses like UNLV and New Mexico aren't exactly resume builders. This is why Escobar must put up a solid showing at the combine.

Cobi Hamilton, WR, Arkansas

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    Arkansas had an abysmal year in 2012, but wide receiver Cobi Hamilton was the saving grace for the 4-8 Razorbacks.

    Hamilton went on a tear in his final season in Arkansas, finishing with 90 receptions for 1,335 yards and five touchdowns.

    Not bad for a guy who had less than 1,200 yards during his sophomore and junior seasons combined.

    Hamilton needs a strong showing at the combine to show that his senior year wasn't a fluke.

    As weak as the wide receiver class is this year, just turning a few heads will launch Hamilton's draft stock.

Ryan Swope, WR, Texas A&M

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    Johnny Manziel clearly stole the show in College Station in 2012, but wide receiver Ryan Swope put together a nice career for himself as an Aggie.

    Swope finished with 2,945 yards and 23 touchdowns during his three years as a starter, and his 913-yard campaign as a senior was actually 300 yards less than his junior year.

    For some reason, this guy isn't being talked about as much as the rest of the wide receivers in this year's draft.

    Maybe it's because of his bad haircut.

    Swope has proven he can be consistent, now he must prove it in front of scouts at the combine.

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