Cordarrelle Patterson put the NFL on notice with a strong showing at the 2013 NFL Scouting Combine, and he's one of the players who has scouts buzzing about his pro potential.
The NFL features elite players at every position, and one of the best ways to make a name for yourself as a prospect is by proving your worth as a premier athlete amongst the best players in the nation.
Being a workout warrior can obviously only get you so far, though.
These players not only dominated the workouts, but they also have a proven track record of excellence on the field—the hottest prospects from the first two days at the combine.
Cordarrelle Patterson, Wide Receiver, Tennessee
Patterson was widely considered to be a lock as a top 20 player heading into the combine. Many mock drafts had him pegged at No. 12 overall to the Miami Dolphins.
After his performance at the combine, I'll be surprised if he lasts that long.
Patterson's official 40-yard dash time was 4.42 seconds, making him the sixth-fastest receiver at the combine. His unofficial time was 4.37 seconds, and no matter how you slice it, the young man is a proven speedster.
Equally impressive was how Patterson attacked the vertical jump, where he posted a mark of 37 inches—the fifth-highest total of all receivers in Indy.
These two traits—speed and the ability to leap—combined with Patterson's incredible abilities in space as a return man, a runner or a receiver, have teams drooling about the possibilities. He projects as a legitimate No. 1 receiver in the NFL, and his stock is sky high after his impressive showing at the combine.
Lane Johnson, Offensive Tackle, Oklahoma
A player who has been consistently rising up draft boards since the end of the 2012 season, Johnson's stock continued its meteoric climb at the combine.
Johnson dominated the competition at the Senior Bowl, locking himself into a first-round grade. He displayed top-level athleticism and showed he has the strength and technique to excel at the next level.
Then, he blew up the combine.
Terron Armstead received all the praise from the media after he logged a 4.71-second 40-yard dash, but Johnson's time of 4.72 was just as impressive. Furthermore, Johnson displayed a natural athleticism in all his drills that proved superior to that of any other prospect at the combine.
Luke Joeckel is more technically sound and Eric Fisher is certainly an impressive young player, but in the end, Johnson could become the best offensive tackle of the 2013 draft class.
Tavon Austin, Wide Receiver, West Virginia
Quarterback Geno Smith gets all the national recognition as the top West Virginia player in this year's draft, but Austin may end up becoming a more dynamic playmaker in the NFL.
He proved his versatility and explosiveness during his college career, piling up 7,284 all-purpose yards and 40 career touchdowns.
Then, he proved that he's just as explosive on the track, posting a time of 4.34 seconds and tying Ryan Swope for the second-best 40-yard dash of any receiver in this year's draft class.
The only player to top him was Olympian Marquise Goodwin, who ran it in 4.27 seconds—though an NFL Network simulcast showed the two players to be neck and neck on the replay.
Austin's best quality lies in the fact that he's capable of changing direction just as fast as he can run in a straight line—a quality that leads to big plays on short passes. He's likely to be taken somewhere in the late first round by a team that is already dangerous on offense—a scary thought for clubs across the league.
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