All eyes are sure to be set on prospects like Jadeveon Clowney and Sammy Watkins when the NFL Combine starts in three days, but experts can now finally count on at least one of the top five quarterbacks to throw during the drills. Blake Bortles just made it clear today on his Twitter account that he plans to participate in this weekend’s event, and that it has always been a dream of his to do so. The other quarterbacks projected to be drafted within the first few rounds have not verified if they will be joining Bortles or not, Johnny Manziel has made clear he will not participate in the scouting combine; electing to use his own personal pro day at the end of March to display his wide array of talents for the NFL scouts.
Another prospect who has become a house hold name in recent weeks who will be joining Bortles this weekend, is Michael Sam. Sam has made plenty of noise throughout his senior year at Missouri, being named as the All SEC Co-Defensive Player of the Year; but has seemed to make a bit more news with his personal life. Sam is expected to be the first gay NFL player active on a roster. There are a different variety of stories for each player as they enter the combine, but be expecting Sam’s to be the most intriguing during the drills. Scouts have more of a concern of his ability on the field compared to his off the field life at the combine. Experts have questioned his speed, wondering if he can be more than just a pass rusher.
Other players who will be on notice for their performances are prospects like defensive tackle Ra’Shede Hageman, and wide receiver Mike Evans. Two others are freak type athletes the scouts just want to see perform off the charts. Jadeveon Clowney is projected to be the overall number one talent in the draft, and one of if not the best, defensive end prospects to come out of college in a decade. Sammy Watkins is supposedly coming into the draft as the number one wide receiver prospect. Many expecting the wide receiver to blow through the drills with his blazing speed. Obviously all eyes will be on the signal callers and to see how they throw, but so far Blake Bortles is the only quarterback willing to prove his talents at the event. Other notable quarterbacks that are still undecided are Teddy Bridgewater and Derek Carr.
The NFL combine in itself is a standard platform for all the NFL teams to get an inside look at each prospect that is invited. What others do not tend to notice is they will spend more time getting to know the prospect on a personal level. Getting to know the mentality and mental capacity they possess to understand the dynamics of the game. All the prospects needing to prove their talent will need to prove how they will be able to handle football at a professional level as well.
Each scout looking to digest as much information as possible about their positions of need on the roster; which will be crucial for more quarterbacks than just Blake Bortles, to show up and get to know their potential homes in the near future. The draft is only two months away, many moves to make, and many players to review; no place better to start the new football year then at the NFL combine.
by Justin Huffman