The NFL Scouting Combine has become a bigger production than anyone could have imagined, but it still meets the same exact intended purpose that it had at the first National Invitational Combine in 1982—get all the prospects together so teams can get a close-up look.
Let's be honest with one another: An NFL team doesn't need help scouting prospects from Alabama or LSU; scouts that practically live on those campuses. As for "Directional State Polytechnic"? Those guys benefit most from the combine, when they can show on an equal playing field that they can match up with their peers from bigger schools.
As for the media, it is usually the first look at many of these guys (unless that media member covered the Shrine Game and Senior Bowl, like yours truly). Save the occasional "lamb led to the slaughter" matchup, many of these schools don't spend much time on TV. A great workout in Indianapolis can send both media and team personnel scurrying to find game tape on the most obscure of prospects.
So, which small-school studs stood out this year?