The NFL combine is less than two days away, and with it comes some offseason relief for hardcore football fans. The combine represents an opportunity for scouts and fans to evaluate a player's quantifiable abilities.
With marquee events like the 40-yard dash and 225-pound bench press, players have the ability boost their draft stock in a matter of seconds.
Heading into the offseason, even the modest NFL Draft fan had some sense of who the top prospects would be this year. Names like Geno Smith and Luke Joeckel are already highly anticipated stars for future fans.
However, the combine represents a chance for lesser known prospects to shoot up the boards and into the forefront of your draft conversations.
In this piece we will explore 10 players that Washington Redskins fans should know about and be watching this weekend. We will focus on players who fans may be overlooking but, at the same time, would be a great fit for the schemes in Washington.
Desmond Trufant is already one of the biggest winners this offseason after his stellar week at the Senior Bowl. Trufant showcased speed and technique that allowed him to stay with any receiver coaches pinned against him.
Marcus Trufant's little brother is rocketing up draft boards and may sneak into the first round before all is said and done.
The Redskins have a clear need in the secondary, but a majority of current conversations are focused on more high-profile players like Xavier Rhodes or David Amerson.
If Trufant can slow his meteoric rise and settle in the second round, the Redskins may have no choice but to pull the trigger with their first draft pick.
If Desmond Trufant was the biggest cornerback riser from the Senior Bowl, then Jonathan Cyprien is the biggest riser among the safety group. Cyprien was off most teams' radars heading into this offseason but is now being talked about as a potential first- or second-day prospect.
Safety is a clear need for the Redskins, and Cyprien brings a blend of coverage ability and nastiness that would immediately ignite the defense.
The Redskins have been searching for a true leader at the back end of their defense since the death of Sean Taylor.
Cyprien may just be that guy.
The offseason offensive-line talk has been dominated with names like Joeckel, Chance Warmack and D.J. Fluker, but many are forgetting the most decorated of them all. Barrett Jones has won national awards at three different positions along the offensive line (RT, G, C) and has experience with all five.
Versatility is always valued in football players, but Barrett Jones is not only versatile, he is proficient at every position. The ability to plug a player of this caliber into any position and fix a need will have the Redskins paying close attention to Jones all offseason long.
Brandon Williams is another Senior Bowl standout who is looking to boost his stock at the NFL combine.
At 6'2", 341 pounds, Williams is a chiseled brick wall that will have running backs wishing they had sat the play out. Williams proved the small-school name on his resume is nothing to worry about, as he dominated top-tier competition all week in Mobile.
While defensive line is not an immediate need for the Redskins, Williams is an intriguing prospect that may get lost in the shuffle this year. This year's class is loaded on the defensive line, and someone is going to fall through the cracks.
If Williams falls to the third round, do not be surprised to see the Redskins go with talent over need.
The big risers at offensive tackle the past few months have been Eric Fisher (Central Michigan) and Lane Johnson (Oklahoma). This has led a once-prominent name in Dallas Thomas to fall back into the crowd.
Thomas has played the majority of his career at left tackle but showed some weaknesses in his pass protection at the Senior Bowl.
With the left tackle spot solidified in Washington, Thomas could potentially switch to right tackle and fill one of the Redskins' biggest needs.
Quinton Patton may be the best receiver in the country that no one talked about in 2012. It was not until Patton flashed his ability in the offseason that scouts began to look back at the tape and see one of the most underrated weapons in college football
Patton not only has electric speed but also the skills to manipulate and vary his speed. This manipulation allows him to get incredible separation and create big plays.
With dropped balls being an issue last year in Washington, a sure-handed Patton would be a fine addition in the middle rounds.
It is hard to look at the Redskins needs and think a cornerback or safety will not be one of their first few selections.
Blidi Wreh-Wilson is a tall, rangy cornerback who may be better served by converting to safety, a la Malcolm Jenkins of the New Orleans Saints.
Wreh-Wilson has great sideline-to-sideline ability but struggles at times in one-on-one coverage, which will not fly in the NFL. A conversion to safety would make this Huskies gem a great cover safety in Jim Haslett's defense.
D.J. Swearinger is another name from the safety position who is flying below the radar at this point. At South Carolina, Swearinger was an electric player known for forcing turnovers.
While there are still some things for Swearinger to improve on, all the ability is present to make him a reliable NFL starter.
The Redskins will be looking for at least one and possibly two safeties in this draft. Swearinger is an in-the-box safety with the necessary movement skills to play in coverage.
While not as pure a coverage safety as some others, Swearinger might represent the perfect blend of talent and value to fit with the Redskins draft-day plans.
The Redskins will be adding a minimum of two cornerbacks in this year's draft so that means we need to examine talent at the top of the list and in the later rounds.
Robert Alford is a small-school corner with the size and agility to make it in the NFL.
One of Alford's biggest weaknesses is his play against the run, which will push him down draft boards. At this point, Alford is likely a day-three corner, but a good showing at the Combine could have him off the board earlier.
Alford represents a potential nickel and dime player for the Redskins who can mature over time into a Josh Wilson replacement.
After Tyler Eifert (Notre Dame) and Zach Ertz (Stanford), many analysts stop talking about tight ends, as this class is viewed as particularly weak at the position.
Jordan Reed will remind many of another Florida tight end in Aaron Hernandez. With his size, speed and hands, Reed is a wide receiver in a tight end's body just waiting to make the big play.
Tight end may not be the biggest priority for the Redskins, but it is a position that will need to be addressed. Fred Davis may have played his last days in Washington, and while Logan Paulsen gives his best, there is little to write home about with him.
Adding a player like Jordan Reed would help stretch the field and give Robert Griffin III another dynamic weapon to work with.