2013 NFL Combine Schedule: Skill Position Players with Most To Prove on Sunday

Mike Moraitis@@michaelmoraitisAnalyst IFebruary 24, 2013

MORGANTOWN, WV - NOVEMBER 03:  Tavon Austin #1 of the West Virginia Mountaineers carries the ball against the TCU Horned Frogs during the game on November 3, 2012 at Mountaineer Field in Morgantown, West Virginia.  TCU defeated WVU in two overtimes 39-38.  (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

Skill position players will take to the field at Lucas Oil Stadium on Sunday to show their stuff at the NFL Scouting Combine, but some prospects have more to prove than others.

Next up for the combine workouts will be quarterbacks, running backs and wide receivers who will take part in timing, stations and skill drills.

Prospects such as quarterback Geno Smith of West Virginia, wide receiver Tavon Austin of West Virginia and running back Giovani Bernard of North Carolina can help their respective draft stocks considerably with a strong showing.

Let's take a closer look at each player and why they have the most to prove.


NFL Combine Schedule (Courtesy of NFLCombine.net)

Sunday, Feb. 24: Quarterbacks, running backs, wide receivers
Monday, Feb. 25: Defensive linemen, linebackers
Tuesday, Feb. 26: Defensive backs


Players to Watch

Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia

Smith has the best chance to be selected No. 1 overall of any other quarterback in this year's class, but with reports surfacing that the Kansas City Chiefs may be looking elsewhere for a signal-caller, chances are he needs a historic showing at the combine to change their minds.

The former Mountaineers quarterback had a lackluster finish to his college career and that certainly hurt his draft stock. On top of that, scouts have questioned his ability to make accurate throws and process information on the field.

As far as strengths are concerned, Smith has the size and arm strength to make him a solid NFL quarterback. While his athleticism won't make him a dual-threat, he does a great job of extending plays in the pocket.

Until he has his day at the combine, Smith's potential landing spot in the draft is uncertain. He may be a long shot to go No. 1 overall at this point, but Smith can make himself an early first-rounder by proving himself on Sunday.


Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia

Austin has already proclaimed himself to be the best player in this year's draft, so he has put an immense amount of pressure on his shoulders going into Sunday.

The West Virginia receiver doesn't have great size for the position (5'9'', 175 lbs), but he is lightning fast and displays great acceleration and agility to make tacklers miss in the open field.

Austin is also a versatile player as he has experience running the ball out of the backfield, but he can also line up in the slot and abuse opposing defenses over the middle and pretty much anywhere on the field.

Most experts have pegged Austin behind other receivers like Cordarrelle Patterson of Tennessee and Keenan Allen of California. That could change if he can outperform his counterparts at the combine.


Giovani Bernard, RB, North Carolina

While Bernard is seen as one of the top running backs in this year's class, the position as a whole is pretty much wide open for the 2013 NFL draft.

Bernard had a stellar college career with North Carolina after tearing his ACL back in 2010. In the years to follow, the North Carolina product went on to break the 1,200-yard mark in both 2011 and 2012.

The best thing about Bernard is his explosiveness and how quickly he can hit the hole. After that, Bernard has the kind of speed that makes him a home-run threat from anywhere on the field. He also showed versatility while in college as he compiled over 850 receiving yards in his two seasons.

Granted, Bernard has already been established as having the best chance to be the first running back off the board, but he can solidify that status with a strong showing on Sunday.