The NFL season ended three weeks ago, an eternity in the right now media era, but the NFL Combine has thrust the premier sports league back into the headlines. This weekend in Indianapolis, the NFL Combine is set to highlight the future stars that will thrill football fans next season.
There will be several big time players who are set to make a name for themselves during the official audition of the National Football League. Draft experts have their eyes on Jadeveon Clowney, Michael Sam and Zach Martin.
Clowney is probable one of the most polarizing figures in the NFL draft this year. Many marvel at his explosive athleticism but balk at his perceived lack of work ethic. When asked about that very topic, Clowney’s coach at South Carolina, Steve Spurrier said it was just “OK.” When asked about the lack of an endorsement by his college coach, Clowney just shook his head and said that Spurrier was entitled to his opinion. Clowney went on to state a few times that he plans to be a hard worker in the NFL. Just the fact that this is a lingering question may justify the red flags surrounding him. He gets set for his drills on Monday.
So much media has surrounded Michael Sam since his announcement that he is gay. Before that announcement, his name probably would not have come up much with the casual sports fan. But when he performs his drill on Monday, America will be watching and waiting on his results. All along draft expects had Sam as a 3rd through 5th rounder. They note his in-between size. Is he a defensive linemen or a linebacker? That question will cause some general mangers to take a good hard look on whether they spend a draft pick on Sam.
This draft will have a good stock of offensive linemen. A name that many experts are expecting good things from is Zach Martin from Notre Dame. Draft expert and Notre Dame color analyst Mike Mayock believes that Martin has a tremendous upside and says Martin can play all five O-line positions and projects him as a top 20 pick.
The NFL Combine is not the only way future stars will be highlighted. The elite quarterbacks in this class actually won’t be performing this weekend. Players such as Louisville’s Teddy Bridgewater and Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel have elected instead to hold their own “pro-days.” A pro-day is a private work out. It cuts down on the circus like atmosphere and gives quarterbacks more time to work with the receivers they will be throwing to. There are only millions of dollars on the line so it is an understandable decision.
The combine is a vital part of the NFL off-season. It is where many young men’s future prospects for a job are laid down. It just may be that these future stars highlighted at the NFL Combine are set to see their dreams to come true.
Here are Mel Kiper’s top 10 picks in this year’s NFL draft:
- Johnny Manziel, Quarterback
- Greg Robinson, Offensive Tackle
- Jadeveon Clowney, Defensive End
- Teddy Bridgewater, Quarterback
- Sammy Watkins, Wide Receiver
- Anthony Barr, Outside Linebacker/Defensive End
- Khalil Mack, Outside Linebacker/Defensive End
- Blake Bortles, Quarterback
- Jake Matthews, Offensive Tackle
- 10. Justin Gilbert, Corner Back
Editorial by Tony Bowers
The Sporting News
The Bleacher Report