2014 NFL Draft

NFL Scouting Combine: 8 Players Who Will Improve Their Stock This Weekend

Garrett BakerSenior Analyst IFebruary 18, 2014

NFL Scouting Combine: 8 Players Who Will Improve Their Stock This Weekend

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    Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press

    The NFL Scouting Combine is just days away, and 335 prospects will be lining up this weekend to try to do just one thing: improve their draft stock.

    While the combine gives us a unique look at some of the physical and athletic attributes a prospect may have, it has been overblown by the media in terms of importance to NFL teams.

    But there are always "combine warriors" who come in and really impress because of their physique, speed, strength or some combination of the three.

    A couple of the prospects on this list are touted as late-first round possibilities, but the rest are all second or mid-round guys. That will change after they light up the combine.

    Here are eight players who will improve their stock at the combine this upcoming weekend.

Lache Seastrunk, RB, Baylor

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    Current Big Board Rank: 53

    Seastrunk is undeniably a talented back and had a lot of success in Baylor's high-octane offense. But the biggest knock on him is his size.

    At 5'10", 209 pounds, Seastrunk isn't necessarily undersized, but he looks even smaller than that on tape, and if he comes in around 200, then it will be at least a question mark on his resume.

    How can Seastrunk still rise to the top of boards? Blow everyone away with his legs. He's an incredibly explosive runner who has elite acceleration and change-of-direction ability.

    He runs low and has powerful but quick legs that make him extremely difficult to bring down in the open field. That incredible speed should translate well to the combine.

    Don't just pay attention to his 40-yard dash, but also the three-cone drill and shuttle run. The broad jump could also showcase his explosiveness. Seastrunk should cement his spot as a top-three back this weekend. 

Ra'Shede Hageman, DT, Minnesota

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    Current Big Board Rank: 13

    I've had him in my top 20 since back in November, and it seems like people are finally coming around to how talented Hageman is after he impressed at the Senior Bowl.

    Everyone in attendance and watching on television will immediately be intrigued as soon as they see Hageman step up to do a drill. 

    There just aren't many chiseled 6'6", 318-pound men walking around, and even fewer who have the quickness, coordination and tenacity that Hageman possesses. Teams will become enamored with his versatility and athleticism, which he'll prove at the combine.

    He didn't put up big numbers and was pretty obscure up at the University of Minnesota. But Hageman should have a good 10-yard split in the 40-yard dash, tear up the position drills and force everyone to recognize the potential that this kid has.

Robert Herron, WR, Wyoming

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    Current Big Board Rank: NR

    At 5'9", 193 pounds, Herron won't command much attention when he's just walking around. But once he starts running, people pay attention.

    It's hard to get a lot of hype while playing at Wyoming, even though he had 72 receptions for 937 yards and nine scores. But Herron stared building momentum with a strong Senior Bowl week and will keep that going at the combine.

    Try to ignore the blabber about Logan Thomas in this clip from the Senior Bowl and instead focus on how Herron absolutely shreds multiple defensive backs in one-on-one drills.

    It'll be fun to watch more position drills, but also see how that agility and speed translate int the 40-yard dash, three-cone drill and shuttle run. 

    Also be sure to check out this incredible piece on Herron's tough upbringing by Bleacher Report's own BJ Kissel. If Herron excels at the combine, his story should have a really special ending.

Brent Urban, DE, Virginia

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    Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

    Current Big Board Rank: 59

    Urban has yet to catch the attention of the national media, but he should this weekend. If there's anyone who will catch more attention than Hageman simply for sheer physique, it's Urban.

    Depending on where you look, Urban is listed at about 6'7" and between 280 and 295 pounds. He also seems to have long arms on tape and is strong throughout his body.

    After playing both defensive end and defensive tackle at Virginia, Urban will be looked at primarily as a 3-4 defensive end for the NFL, a position with reasonably high demand but low supply. 

    When a man with such a massive frame starts moving in the way that Urban can, scouts will undoubtedly be scampering to watch more of his tape.

    He's the kind of athlete who is worth monitoring in every position drill and workout, because his performance in each of them will determine how high his stock elevates.

Austin Seferian-Jenkins, TE, Washington

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    Current Big Board Rank: 36

    Seferian-Jenkins is a really rare athlete. He's going to measure in at about 6'6", 260 pounds, and will then go and showcase a quickness that is seemingly impossible for a man of that size.

    While he doesn't boast enormous statistics, he's a legitimate playmaker with the capability to be a better NFL player than college player.

    He has been unfairly characterized as a prospect with "off-the-field issues" because of one isolated DUI incident a few years back, and I fully expect him to shed that label with great interviews at the combine.

    Watch him tear up the gamut of drills, leave his fellow tight ends (besides Eric Ebron) in the dust and have his draft stock move back up towards the first round again. 

Loucheiz Purifoy, CB, Florida

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    Current Big Board Rank: NR

    Arguably the most naturally gifted cornerback in this entire class, many people are lower than expected on Purifoy as a prospect because of his lack of fundamentals and strength.

    But when he goes to the combine and makes people's jaws drop, everyone will be forced to rank him relatively high just based off his potential alone.

    The Florida junior showcased his exceptional speed and quickness in spurts, but was extremely inconsistent throughout his career and is only a mid-round prospect in a solid cornerback class.

    There's a chance, however, that he could compete to be the fastest guy at the entire combine. If that happens, his stock will rise as a result.

Brandon Coleman, WR, Rutgers

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    Current Big Board Rank: 52

    In such a deep receiver class, it's difficult for any one player to stand out. People will look at heights and speed and try to categorize players. Mike Evans is looked at as the top possession receiver available because of his 6'5" frame. 

    Others will look at Coleman, see his impressive 6'6" frame and also label him as a possession guy. They'll check his statistics in 2013, see that he caught just 34 passes and label him as a mid-round prospect.

    But that would be a mistake. Rutgers' quarterback play this year was abysmal, so Coleman's stock took a big hit with such a limited workload. But turn on the tape and you'll see a truly special athlete.

    Or just take a look at this short highlight reel, and you'll see why I'm expecting Coleman to be a star in every event at the combine and shoot up into the first-round discussion as a result.

    He's incredibly coordinated for having such a long frame and has the agility, acceleration and breakaway speed to be a star if he gets put into the right situation. His raw talent is on the level of a Josh Gordon or A.J. Green.

Kyle Van Noy, OLB, Brigham Young

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    Current Big Board Rank: 15

    After a good week at the Senior Bowl, Van Noy started making a name for himself. In a bit of a strange outside linebacker class full with pass-rush specialists and DE/OLB tweeners, Van Noy is the full package.

    He has a special skill for getting to the quarterback, but his quickness allows him to be effective in both run support and pass coverage.

    Van Noy is an extremely fast and fluid athlete who will put on a show at the combine. He should have very good numbers in agility drills, but he'll also show his talent in position drills.

    Watch the former BYU standout in position drills, and especially in the pass-drop and hip rotation drill (long name but it's just one drill). This will allow Van Noy to show off his quick feet and smooth hips and really make him stand out among the competition.

    I'm admittedly higher on Van Noy than most, but when he excels at his position drills he'll start rising up a lot of boards.

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