Nebraska Football: 5 Players with the Most to Prove at Pro Day

Patrick RungeCorrespondent IFebruary 27, 2014

Nebraska Football: 5 Players with the Most to Prove at Pro Day

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    GM Andrews/Associated Press

    Nebraska football fans will have watched NU’s alums perform at the NFL Combine and will now be waiting for Nebraska’s pro day on March 6 to see how those alums do in their last audition for NFL scouts.

    In addition to Nebraska’s three combine attendees (Stanley Jean-Baptiste, Spencer Long and Quincy Enunwa), other NFL prospects will have their chance to show their wares to the assembled NFL observers.

    So here are five Nebraska alums who will have the most to gain by a good performance at Nebraska's pro day.

Taylor Martinez

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    Stop me if you’ve heard this one.

    Taylor Martinez is a true wild card, and it’s hard to know what to expect from him.

    If it was true during his playing career, why should it be any different for his NFL prospects? Injuries kept him from being invited to the NFL Combine, but he still possesses the kind of game-breaking speed (4.32 40-yard dash, according to NFLDraftScout.com) and playmaking ability to perhaps draw a look from an NFL club. After all, Michigan alum Denard Robinson is still on the Jacksonville Jaguars’ roster as a wide receiver.

    (Cue jokes about whether the Jags should count as an NFL team in three, two, one…)

    Because he didn’t get a chance to participate in the combine, Nebraska’s pro day (assuming he is healthy enough to participate) will be Martinez’s opportunity to make an impression on NFL scouts.

Ciante Evans

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    Eric Francis/Getty Images

    Although one of the unquestioned leaders of the Blackshirts last year, Evans did not get an invitation to the NFL Combine. He his listed by NFLDraftScout.com as a projected seventh-round pick or priority free agent, and the No. 35 cornerback in the 2014 draft.

    Without the combine, Nebraska’s pro day will be Evans’ opportunity to make his case to NFL scouts that he should be on their prospect list.

Spencer Long

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    Eric Francis/Getty Images

    Long’s underlying talent has few question marks. The NFL’s own combine reports gave Long a grade of 5.26, meaning he projects as an NFL backup or special-teams player. That’s without any performance at the combine, given Long’s injuries.

    If Long is able to showcase his skills at Nebraska’s pro day, it will be his opportunity to put down a performance to raise that grade and perhaps raise his stock on draft day.

Quincy Enunwa

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    Nam Y. Huh/Associated Press

    Things started out really well for Enunwa at the combine, with him putting up an unexpected 4.45 40-yard dash. But a hamstring problem held Enunwa out of many combine drills, leaving him unable to build on the momentum from his surprising 40-yard time.

    The NFL Combine report had Enunwa’s grade as 4.8, suggesting he should at least be in an NFL camp. Enunwa’s hamstring should be fully healed by Nebraska’s pro day, giving Enunwa a real opportunity to build on his performance in Indianapolis.

Stanley Jean-Baptiste

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    Michael Conroy/Associated Press

    The receiver-turned-cornerback was the shining star of Nebraska alums at the NFL Combine, posting a 5.29 grade (meaning he has potential as an NFL backup or special-teams player) and posting top performances in the vertical jump and broad jump drills.

    He also benefits from good timing, looking very similar to the Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks’ Richard Sherman, another receiver-turned-cornerback who has made a name for himself in the NFL.

    (Yes, I’m a Seahawks fan. And yes, I’m going to take every opportunity I can find to type the phrase “Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks.” Get used to it.)

    A strong performance at Nebraska’s pro day should give Jean-Baptiste the ability to build on his performance (and his good timing) and improve his draft stock.

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