For most college football players, the goal at the end of college is to make a living playing football at the professional level. A select group of SEC players are currently attempting to make their dreams come true at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, Ind.
In the past, we've seen players shoot up the rankings at the combine, No. 1 picks solidify their standing and studs falter under the gaze of thousands of scouts.
Which SEC players have impressed so far at the NFL combine?
Onterio McCalebb - Auburn Tigers
Calling Onterio McCalebb "small" may be the understatement of the year, but the 5'10", 168-pounder was the talk of the town on Sunday afternoon, posting an official 40-yard dash time of 4.34 (initially hand-timed at a 4.21). McCalebb's time was the fastest among running backs and should vault him into consideration to be drafted.
His size is a problem, there's no doubt about it. But with straight-line speed like that, there's certainly a place for him at the next level. McCalebb rushed for 2,586 yards and 24 touchdowns during his four-year career at Auburn, being used primarily as a changeup running back.
While he made an impact as a running back, he also played a big role on special teams, returning 53 kickoffs for 1,360 yards and two touchdowns. New rules at both levels have chipped away at the relevance of kickoff returners, but his ability in that department coupled with his track-like speed makes him incredibly versatile.
Now that "gimmicky college offenses" have made their way to the NFL, the chances of McCalebb finding a home at the next level have increased tremendously.
Ryan Swope - Texas A&M Aggies
Johnny Manziel stole all of the headlines in Texas A&M's first year in the SEC, but having a veteran wide receiver like Ryan Swope to count on helped the redshirt freshman signal-caller adjust to the speed of the college game.
Not many people knew that Swope had blazing speed of his own, but he showed it off on Sunday in Indy.
The 6'0", 205-pounder clocked a 40-yard dash time of 4.34 (the second-best time among wide receivers) and a 37.0-inch vertical jump (the fifth-best mark for wide receivers). His 40-yard dash time is on par with former West Virginia speedster Tavon Austin, and better than former Tennessee Volunteer Cordarrelle Patterson and Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson.
That'll get you paid.
Previously thought to be—at best—a third receiver, Swope proved to the doubters that he has the measurables to be a star in the NFL.
Cordarrelle Patterson - Tennessee Volunteers
Speaking of Patterson, the one-year wonder at Tennessee made his case to become a high draft pick, and he made it well.
Swope may have topped his 40-yard dash time, but Patterson's 4.42 is certainly quick enough to turn some heads—especially for a 6'2", 216-pounder. He tallied an impressive 37-inch vertical and a 128-inch standing broad jump—placing in the top 10 for both categories along with former teammate Justin Hunter.
Some may disagree and say that Patterson wasn't as crisp as he should have been, but he made an impact at Tennessee as a wide receiver, ball-carrier and returner. His game tape coupled with his measurables will get him on an NFL field near you next season.
Knile Davis - Arkansas Razorbacks
Davis was sort of a forgotten man this season, as he split time with Dennis Johnson and his team did not contend as it was expected to do.
He vaulted himself back into the front of the minds of NFL scouts on Sunday with a dazzling combine performance that featured a 4.37 40-yard dash, 121-inch broad jump and 31 reps at 225 pounds in the bench press.
Davis led all SEC running backs with 1,322 yards in 2010 before a broken ankle kept him out in 2011. He came back in 2012 with 377 yards and two touchdowns, but he didn't appear to be the same running back.
That's going to be a concern for scouts, but in an age where measurables sometimes take precedent, Davis could find himself a spot in the middle rounds.
Barkevious Mingo - LSU Tigers
Mingo is in the top 10 of most NFL mock drafts, and you saw why on Monday as the former LSU star defensive end showed off his athleticism in front of the gazing eyes of NFL scouts.
Mingo clocked a 4.58 40-yard dash, a 37-inch vertical jump, a 128-inch standing broad jump and showed off his exlposiveness in individual drills.
He can probably play either defensive end or linebacker at the next level, but wherever he plays, Mingo is going to be a star.
Christine Michael - Texas A&M Aggies
Straight-line speed steals the the show; but while Michael's 4.54 40-yard dash isn't going to grab headlines, his agility was on display in Indy.
The former Texas A&M Aggie led all running backs with a 6.69 three-cone drill, 4.02 20-yard shuttle, 43-inch vertical (a RB record) and finished tied for second in the standing broad jump among running backs at 125 inches.
Not bad for the 5'10", 220-pounder.
Michael was banged up quite a bit during his Aggies career, and he took a back seat a bit last season to Manziel and Ben Malena. There's tread left on the tires, and his combine performance should raise quite a few eyebrows.
Chris Gragg - Arkansas Razorbacks
Gragg didn't close out his college career the way he wanted to. The 6'3", 244-pound tight end suffered a leg injury early in the season that kept him out of action for the majority of the 2012 season.
His absence played a part in Arkansas' struggles, and you saw why on Saturday at the combine—Gragg is an athletic freak.
He led all tight ends with a 4.50 40-yard dash, a 37.5-inch vertical and a 125-inch standing broad jump. Those are good stats for a running back, much less a tight end.
Gragg is big, fast and physical, which will make NFL scouts drool.
Cornelius Washington - Georgia Bulldogs
Washington came to the Combine as a bit of an unknown commodity, but that didn't last long as the former Bulldog linebacker had a very impressive day at Lucas Oil Stadium.
He clocked the second-best 40-yard dash time for linebackers with a 4.55, led all linebackers with 36 reps of 225 pounds on the bench press and notched a 39-inch unofficial vertical.
Washington only tallied 22 tackles, three tackles for loss and a half-sack a year ago; but in an age where combine statistics are becoming more and more of a determining factor, posting those stats on the draft boards of NFL teams will go a long way for Washington.
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