Even before some players walk into the NFL Scouting Combine, they are guaranteed to be top picks in this year's draft. For others, a strong showing is needed in order to crack the top 10.
Guys like quarterback Geno Smith, offensive tackle Eric Fisher and defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd all have a great chance to go early in the first round, but they can turn that chance into a certainty by showing their stuff at the combine.
Let's take a closer look at each of these players and what they must prove to make the grade.
Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia
The only thing we can say for sure in regard to Smith is that he's the best quarterback in this year's class and could potentially go as the No. 1 overall pick if things go well.
Smith had a great start to his last season in college, but the former Mountaineers quarterback didn't finish so strong. After winning his first five games, Smith and his squad went on to lose five in a row and in that time Smith cooled off considerably.
We already know that Smith has great size for this position and that he possesses the necessary arm strength to make it in the NFL. He also displays impressive athleticism that allows him to extend plays in the pocket, though it won't lead to him being a dual-threat quarterback.
What we aren't sure of is how well he can place the ball as his accuracy has come into question time and time again. Also, ESPN's draft guru Todd McShay said of Smith that "sometimes the information does not transfer as quickly as you would like to see" (per West Virginia Illustrated).
At the combine, Smith will have plenty of time to talk to teams and show his physical abilities, so we should have a better idea of where he'll land after that.
Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan
There are some differing opinions of Fisher, who is one of the top tackles on the board heading into the combine.
Fisher played at Central Michigan and the Chippewas didn't exactly have a tough schedule filled with difficult opponents last season. The Central Michigan product only saw one ranked team in his senior season and that matchup came against the Michigan State Spartans.
The Chippewas would get spanked, 41-7.
Supporters of Fisher will point to the Senior Bowl where the big man had a great showing against some of the best seniors in the country. Still, that is just a small sample size against truly legit competition.
Fisher has shown great footwork, excellent hand placement and explosiveness off the snap of the ball. If he can display that once again at the combine, Fisher should earn a selection in the top 10.
Sharrif Floyd, DT, Florida
There are plenty of solid defensive players in this draft and specifically the defensive tackle position is deep, so Floyd must distinguish as a step above the rest.
Floyd showed plenty of versatility during his college career as he played multiple positions on the defensive line, but he will be lining up in the middle in the NFL.
Great size ensures Floyd will be stuffing running lanes from day one with whatever team drafts him, and he is extremely explosive off the ball, which means he will beat opposing linemen to the point of attack.
For negatives, Floyd sometimes gets too caught up in fighting with linemen and can often lose sight of the ball-carrier. He also has consistency issues with staying low and maintaining his quickness throughout the course of a game.
These are all problems that can be solved and Floyd must do so if he wants a more desirable spot in the 2013 draft.
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