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NFL Combine 2013: Small Players Who Will Prove Their Worth to NFL Teams

MIAMI GARDENS, FL - JANUARY 04:  Tavon Austin #1 of the West Virginia Mountaineers scores a 37-yard touchdown reception in the third quarter against the Clemson Tigers during the Discover Orange Bowl at Sun Life Stadium on January 4, 2012 in Miami Gardens, Florida.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images
Dan CarsonTrending Lead WriterFebruary 22, 2013

“Where Bigger is Always Better” might as well be the NFL’s tagline.

So it makes sense that every year when NFL scouts drool buckets over the biggest hulking linemen and defensive ends—that’s just how it goes.

But talent comes in all shapes and sizes, and once NFL scouts see these fun-sized flashes burning up the 40-yard dash and ripping through the shuttle run at this year’s combine, they won’t be able to look away.

 

Miguel Maysonet, RB 

A small back from a small school, Stony Brook running back Miguel Maysonet is a Duracell battery kind of player—he just keeps going. 

The 5’10”, 210-pounder knifed through defenses to the tune of 1,964 yards and 23 touchdowns in 2012, and was a runner-up for the Walter Payton Award as FCS Player of the Year.

And despite his relatively small size for a running back, Maysonet proved his hardiness while playing for the Seawolves—not missing a single game during his four-year career.

The biggest problem facing Masonet is a hamstring injury that could keep him from running an optimal 40-yard dash at the combine, should he choose to run.

 

Tavon Austin, WR/KR

He’s 5’9”, 171 pounds of bottled lightning.

West Virginia’s Tavon Austin is already high on the draft boards thanks to his incendiary speed and playmaking intangibles.

He’s not a Plaxico Burress, but Austin’s all-purpose kick returner/wideout stock will only improve after setting the 40-yard dash aflame with his 4.28 speed.

 

 

Montee Ball, RB 

When he’s healthy, Wisconsin’s 5’11”, 210-pound running back was a terror between the tackles.

Ball runs with the explosiveness of a scat-back and the physicality of a bruiser, and his 72 career rushing touchdowns at Wisconsin set an NCAA record for rushing scores.

As of now, where Ball ends up going in the draft isn’t certain, but with a show of improved “home run” speed in the 40 at the combine will prove to NFL teams that he has what it takes to go the distance.

 

Matt Elam, SS

At 5’10”, 202 pounds, Matt Elam is by no means the biggest strong safety on the block.

But the young man's standout ability to step into the box, jam receivers sternly at the line and flash back into coverage lends a physical menace to his defense, and far outstrips his stature.

It’s this same physicality that will scouts will not fail to see at the combine. 

 

Christine Michael, RB 

Despite health issues plaguing his college career, Texas A&M’s Christine Michael practically lived in the end zone when firing on all pistons. 

The 5’10”, 220-pound running back made his name in the red zone, punching in 12 touchdowns last season on 88 carries. 

Michael’s sub-4.5 speed and full back frame will take scouts by surprise at this year’s combine.

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