NFL Combine 2013: Prospects on the Rise Early on

Ryan DavenportContributor IFebruary 23, 2013

SOUTH BEND, IN - NOVEMBER 17:  Tyler Eifert #80 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish catches the ball for a touchdown over Kevin Johnson #9 of the Wake Forest Demon Deacons at Notre Dame Stadium on November 17, 2012 in South Bend, Indiana.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Each year, prospects have the opportunity to demonstrate their potential and value to the hordes of scouts who make the trip out to the NFL combine. 

In Indianapolis, this year's crop of eligible draftees is doing the same. We still have another three days of testing to go, but there already are a number of players who have opened eyes with their performances during the on-field testing sessions. 

With that in mind, here's a look at some of the guys who will see their stock rise as a result of strong showings during the early stages of the 2013 NFL combine. 

Chris Gragg

Heading into the combine, former Arkansas Razorback Chris Gragg was ranked by CBS Sports as the ninth-best tight end available in this year's draft. 

However, Gragg's results during testing may be enough to launch him into one of the draft's first four rounds. The 22-year-old posted top-flight numbers in the 40-yard dash, vertical jump and broad jump. 

Gragg's biggest stumbling block is his rather diminutive frame. However, given his off-the-charts performance at the combine, he'll be an enticing option for teams looking for a blocking tight end.

Jeff Baca

After having a strong high school career, Jeff Baca had a substantially more tumultuous time with the UCLA Bruins, being ruled ineligible at one point due to academic struggles. 

But now, after having started 12 games in 2012 and performing exceptionally well at the combine, Baca is an intriguing option for teams in search of an aggressive presence at guard. 

Baca's athleticism and quickness aren't a question anymore with his 20-yard shuffle time of 4.44 seconds, so the 302-pounder will definitely be drafted and could be a late-round steal.

Tyler Eifert

Former Notre Dame Fighting Irish star Tyler Eifert wouldn't have left school early if he wasn't sure he'd be taken early in this year's draft. 

But after putting up such impressive numbers at the combine, the 2012 Second Team All-American selection has seemingly cemented his status as a first-rounder. In fact, he might be the top prospect at tight end overall. 

Thus far, Eifert has recorded eye-popping results at the 40-yard dash, vertical jump, bench press and broad jump. Given his performance with the Irish in 2012, scouts know he'll put that athleticism, speed and strength to work. 

Star tight ends such as Rob Gronkowski and Jimmy Graham have been putting up legendary numbers as of late, which bodes well for a prospect like Eifert. If his raw talent is any indication of what he's capable of at the next level, he'll be a hot commodity come April.