2011 NFL Combine: Stopwatches Ready, 5 Players To Watch

Greg HerringtonContributor IFebruary 24, 2011

2011 NFL Combine: Stopwatches Ready, 5 Players To Watch

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    Although the all important "game tape" is the true measure of a player, the NFL combine, strips players down to t-shirts and shorts and asks them to perform various agility,strength and speed drills.

    Throughout the combine most teams will use this evaluation session to confirm their initial player grades. There are some players , however that can improve their draft stock by turning in a great 40 time. I have highlighted 5 players that fall into that category. In most cases, a great 40 time doesn't automatically increase a players draft grade but it can cause NFL teams to take another look at the tape.

Ryan Kerrigan, DE, Purdue

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    Kerrigan is all about hustle, work effort and a never say die attitude. At 6'4", 255 lbs. you would think he could make the transition to OLB in a 3-4 defense, but his speed is suspect.

    He is not a quick twitch athlete and struggles at times on the edge as a pass rusher. He is an excellent run defender but will need to show scouts some quickness and fluidity on agility drills and try to run in the 4.6 range in the 40. If Kerrigan can do that his first round draft stock will be solidified.

Jimmy Smith, CB, Colorado

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    Jimmy Smith is a big physical CB with great read and react skills.He has above average size(6-2, 205) for the position and has tremendous field awareness. He's physical in run support and has good closing speed. Smith already has a first round grade but if he can run in the low 4.4's he could move up some teams draft boards. Big corners with elite speed are a rare commodity, so if Smith can light it up , he could solidify a place in the top half of the first round.

Mark Ingram, RB, Alabama

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    What you see is what you get. A powerful runner with the heart of a champion. Mark Ingram is the top RB in this year's draft. He runs with determination and knows how to finish off runs. Blessed with good speed and agility , Ingram uses his powerful lower body and elite vision to blow past defenders and was the heart of a great Alabama team. NFL teams know that Ingram doesn't possess elite speed but if he can run a great 40 (if he runs), then his draft grade will surely be on the rise.

Sam Acho, DE, Texas

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    Measuring 6'2", 257 pounds, Sam Acho needs to show scouts that he has the speed and flexibility to considered as a 3-4 OLB. He flashes explosion and is solid against the run, but he lacks polish and it's not certain whether or not he can make a significant impact from day one. His second round grade will evolve with a great combine performance.

Mikel LeShoure, RB, Illinois

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    Mikel LeShoure has the skill set to thrive in any system. He is a power runner able to run through defenders and also excels in the open field, possessing excellent vision and the ability to elude defenders. Measuring 6'0", 230 lbs, he has ideal size for the position, but lacks elite straight-line speed. If LeShoure can run a great 40 time (4.4 or better) he will certainly elevate his first round draft position.