The NFL combine has the ability to make or break a player.
Team scouts will be watching closely as potential draft picks display their physical attributes in an attempt to stand out amongst the best of the best, but they will also take note of character and personality.
Like I said, the NFL combine can literally make or break a player’s draft status, so it is important to impress.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at 10 players that really need to have a great showing in the 2011 NFL combine:
I’ve been high on John Clay for a long time now, and I think he would be a perfect change-of-pace back for many NFL teams.
He’s a big, physically intimidating, north-and-south runner, which in my opinion makes him very attractive to teams that already have their “lightning,” and are now searching for the “thunder.”
There have been concerns about Clay’s speed though, so if he can impress scouts in the combine, I can see him improving on his projected third or fourth-round status.
Matthews is naturally going to get a lot of hype because he is the brother of Clay Matthews, and if he is half the player that his brother is, he is going to be a very good NFL player.
The problem is that most good NFL teams do not believe in hype, so Matthews is going to have to prove that he is much more than a name.
If he impresses in the combine, I can see him going as high as the second round.
Normally I would be wise to keep a fullback off this list because let’s be honest, many people find fullbacks to be boring.
Not this guy.
Marecic won the Paul Hornung award which honors the most versatile player in college football. He carried the ball 23 times for 46 yards and five touchdowns and was the fifth leading tackler on the team.
If he can show he is indeed versatile at the combine, I can see a team drafting him a bit higher than projected, especially if they are looking for a great fullback.
This big man actually spent his redshirt year and the 2007 season as a tight end, which makes it very impressive that many consider him to be the potential first offensive lineman to be taken in this draft.
Apparently, Solder added 30 pounds to his frame and has been a staple at tackle ever since.
He has huge upside being that he still possesses great speed from his tight end days, but a poor showing in the Senior Bowl may have hurt his stock.
If he can impress scouts in the combine, he could potentially solidify his status as the head honcho.
Baldwin is 6’5’’ which automatically makes him a gem at the wide receiver position.
He is going to be a site to behold at the combine, and if he is able to show off his size and more importantly his speed, I can see his draft stock rising tremendously.
He’s got a couple big-name receivers projected to go in front of him, but if Baldwin can prove that his physical upside is bigger than their names, then I could see him jumping up the board as far as wide receivers are concerned.
Jenkins is your prototypical run stopping defensive tackle, and he has shown that he possesses both the size and skills to do so at the professional level.
Scouts report that he has trouble shedding blockers though, and that he doesn’t have a whole lot of rush moves and counters in his repertoire. There is also a concern about his conditioning and stamina.
Obviously, he’s going to want to prove those reports wrong, and the combine is an excellent place to do that.
Technically, Amukamara doesn’t even need to have a great combine, considering that he is slated to go in the top 10 in many mock drafts.
That being said, some people actually consider him to be better than the No. 1 ranked corner, Patrick Peterson, so impressing scouts in the combine could potentially bump him above Peterson in the eyes of some NFL teams.
All you need to do is impress one team, and nothing else really matters after that.
Leshoure is ranked to be a borderline first-round draft pick in some mock drafts, but he has the talent and upside to go much higher than the late first round.
He’s 6’1’’, 230 pounds and has that rare combination of size and speed that NFL teams dream about.
If he proves himself in the combine, he could potentially be a top-10 pick.
Locker had a very poor Senior Bowl showing both during practice and in the actual game, which really hurt his draft stock.
He is still a very skilled quarterback though and could succeed in the NFL. He’s going to have to knock one out of the park at the combine if he wants to hear his name called sometime before the third round.
Mallett is 6’6’’, 238 pounds which makes him a giant at the quarterback position.
Obviously, his stature is a huge upside to NFL scouts, and he has an incredibly strong arm to go with his big frame.
He has every physical characteristic that points to him being a big time NFL quarterback.
There have been some character issues surrounding Mallett though, so he might need to make his best impression in combine interviews rather than on the field.
Either way, the combine is going to be huge for Ryan Mallett.