The 2014 NFL Scouting Combine is fully underway in Indianapolis at Lucas Oil Stadium, but the best is yet to come as some of the most noteworthy events have yet to take place.
So far, some of the top prospects from around the nation have been measured, examined and interviewed in a lengthy process that serves as the biggest job interview of their lives.
The best is yet to come. As a centralized hub for scouting, fans have intimate access to the event in a variety of ways, which is great news with some of the top events still on the horizon.
NFL Combine Viewing Information
When: Feb. 22-25 (pre-workout activities such as interviews will begin on Feb. 19)
Where: Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis
TV: NFL Network (begins at 9 a.m. ET each day)
Live Stream: NFL.com Combine Live
NFL Combine Schedule
|Sat, Feb. 22||OL/TE Workouts, QB/WR/RB Psychological Testing, Bench Press and Interviews, DL/LB Measurements, Medical Exams and Interviews, DB Medical Exams, Orientation and Interviews|
|Sun, Feb. 23||QB/WR/RB Workouts, DL/LB Psychological Testing, Bench Press and Interviews, DB Measurements, Medical Exams and Interviews|
|Mon, Feb. 24||DL/LB Workouts, DB Psychological Testing, Bench Press and Interviews|
|Tues, Feb. 25||DB Workouts|
Positional Groups to Watch
The 2014 class is widely hailed as one of the deepest in years, and no positional group better personifies this notion than defensive backs—an ever important commodity in today's NFL.
To say the least, the cornerback position is deep. Michigan State's Darqueze Dennard is considered by many to be the best in class thanks to his physical prowess at the line of scrimmage and stellar body of work against top receivers.
But as Kyle Meinke of MLive.com points out, experts such as Mike Mayock need to see Dennard post a strong time in the 40-yard dash:
Mayock says MSU's Darqueze Dennard could go as high as No. 10 to Lions, if he runs under 4.45 at combine— Kyle Meinke (@kmeinke) February 18, 2014
Two challengers exist to Dennard's top slot at the position. Oklahoma State's Justin Gilbert and TCU's Jason Verrett both have strong collegiate tape at top programs and, provided they run well, have a set of skills corner-needy teams will invest in early.
Verrett himself is ready to display his speed in an effort to boost his stock, as he told reporters via NFL.com's Mike Huguenin:
I feel like where I'm at, as far as training, I feel like I can have a good combine," he said. The workouts are crucial. I'm learning different techniques to get my [40-yard dash] starts right and finishing calm. The rest is football drills and football is what I breathe. I'll excel at that.
Outside of the top three is where things really get interesting. A pair of Florida corners in Marcus Roberson and Loucheiz Purifoy has a chance to put on a show, as do lesser-known names like Nebraska's Stanley Jean-Baptiste and Lindenwood's Pierre Desir.
This all goes without mentioning the safety position, which is in some serious need of sorting at the top thanks to names like Alabama's Ha'Sean Clinton-Dix and Louisville's Calvin Pryor.
Suffice to say, the final day in Indianapolis is going to be a great one.
Of course, nothing will surpass the drama around the quarterbacks.
Teddy Bridgewater out of Louisville, after being the No. 1 quarterback in the eyes of most since the beginning of the college preseason, now has to answer questions about his size and show in workouts he is worthy of coming off the board first.
UFC's Blake Bortles has something to say about being the first signal-caller off the board, and recent happenings suggest he may be able to pull it off:
The wild card in all of this is the polarizing Johnny Manziel, who brings a versatile skill set to the table loved by many, including Mayock, as captured by NFL.com's Chase Goodbread:
At the end of the day, he's different than any quarterback I've done before," Mayock said. "He's different than RGIII, he's different than Cam Newton, different than Andrew Luck. He's different than Russell Wilson. I believe in the kid. I think he's going to be a top 10, if not a top five pick, but you're going to have to live with some of those negative plays in addition to the positive ones.
Regardless of what Manziel participates in at the combine, he will be a hot topic to watch.
As is the case with any position, other names can throw a wrench into things. Fresno State's Derek Carr can catapult himself into the top-quarterback discussion, and Eastern Illinois' Jimmy Garoppolo can potentially sneak into the first round, as could David Fales from San Jose State.
Expect nothing but the best from the quarterbacks on Saturday as the draft outlook changes dramatically.