The Boise State football program has sent a steady stream of talent into the NFL in recent years. Doug Martin, Kyle Wilson, Ryan Clady, George Iloka, Jeron Johnson, Shea McClellin, Austin Pettis and Tyrone Crawford, just to name a few, are currently on NFL rosters.
This season another group of former Broncos will make their way into the NFL ranks. Some of them will be undrafted free agents, but others will hear their names called as the draft progresses.
Of the former Boise State players most likely to be drafted, a trio will showcase their talents in the 2014 NFL Scouting Combine.
Offensive lineman Charles Leno Jr., center Matt Paradis and defensive end Demarcus Lawrence received invitations. It is a big opportunity for each to turn some heads, get recognized and raise his stock.
Let's attempt to predict how each player will perform, and which of the three has the greatest chance to raise his draft stock.
40-Yard Dash: 5.35
Bench-Press Reps: 31
Draft Stock: Up slightly
Charles Leno Jr. is a 6'4", 295-pound offensive lineman who has gotten better each season.
Leno redshirted in 2009, and was a reserve in 2010, appearing in just two games. According to BroncoSports.com, he played some tight end that year as injuries hindered the Broncos.
In 2011 Leno stared every game at right tackle. He then moved to left tackle in 2012 where he stared every game for the next two seasons. Leno was a first-team All-Mountain West Conference selection in 2013, and a second-team choice in 2012.
According to CBSSports.com, Leno "has good athleticism, balance and mobility." But, the site also states that he, "lacks ideal lower body power and base to dig his cleats in the ground and the limb strength to control blocks."
NFLDraftScout.com lists Leno as a fourth- to fifth-round draft pick. The site rates him at No. 13 out of 153 offensive tackles.
If Leno can prove to NFL scouts that his strengths are even better than advertised, and his weaknesses are not what they appear, he should see some upward mobility. But anything more than a round improvement would take a very special performance.
Look for Leno to do enough to draw some attention and secure himself as a mid-round pick.
40-Yard Dash: 4.59
Bench-Press Reps: 25
Draft Stock: Up slightly
Demarcus Lawrence came to Boise State as a JUCO transfer in 2012. In just two seasons on The Blue he made his time count. Lawrence was a first-team All-Mountain West Conference selection in both 2012 and 2013.
Lawrence had 10.5 sacks in 2013, and his ability to get to the quarterback has helped his draft stock considerably. He has long arms that seem to reach through and around offensive lineman, and his quickness and athleticism are better than average.
NFLDraftScout.com has Lawrence as the No. 10 defensive end in the draft, and projects him as a third- to fourth-round pick.
The most likely combine scenario for Lawrence is that he will do what fans of the Broncos are used to seeing from him. That kind of performance should solidify him as a third-round pick.
40-Yard Dash: 5.25
Bench-Press Reps: 30
Draft Stock: Up
The former Bronco with the most to gain from the 2014 NFL Scouting Combine is center Matt Paradis. He is an Idaho product who played his high school football in the small town of Council.
Paradis was named second-team All-Mountain West Conference in 2013 and first-team in 2012. He has a reputation for being a tough, hardworking player with a great attitude.
For Paradis this combine is crucial. NFLDraftScout.com doesn't have a projected round for him, but does rank him No. 12 out of 97 centers.
Look for Paradis to turn some heads at the combine. He is a fierce competitor, and his athletic ability is overlooked. He is strong, physical and doesn't relent. He also has the knack for staying healthy.
When scouts get an up-close look at Paradis they will be impressed. Look for his draft stock to rise. By the end of the combine he should be considered at least a late-round selection.