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Let the testing begin. The Scouting Combine kicked off Wednesday with interviews of offensive linemen, tight ends, kickers and punters. Russ Lande and his team of former NFL scouts examine players who need to step up in a specific area to help their stock in Indianapolis.
Here are a couple of comments on a few players we have been discussing lately across our draft threads
Anthony Davis, OT, Rutgers. He is a thickly built and strong tackle prospect, and teams want to get a close look at him to determine whether he has the athleticism to play left tackle in the NFL or if he is merely a right tackle.
Bruce Campbell, OT, Maryland. Campbell is a highly regarded tackle prospect who flashes big-time athleticism but does not show it consistently. During his workout, he needs to prove he has elite athletic ability if he hopes to challenge Oklahoma State's Russell Okung and Oklahoma's Trent Williams as the top tackle.
Mitch Petrus, G, Arkansas. Petrus has shown good athletic ability on film but did not display it consistently at the Senior Bowl. He needs to prove he has it in his workout if he wants to be drafted as early as the third round.
Jason Pierre-Paul, DE, South Florida. He is getting raves about his rare explosiveness and athleticism, which could allow him to develop into a very dangerous pass rusher. But he must prove it in his workout to maintain his draft status because his on-field play is still raw and lacks consistency.
Carlos Dunlap, DE, Florida. No one doubts Dunlap's combination of size, long arms, quickness and speed, but his tendency to play upright and straight-legged and his inability to consistently change directions quickly have led some to think he is a straight-line athlete who lacks good all-around athleticism. He must shine in his workout to make sure he is considered an elite athlete who just lacks consistency.
Jerry Hughes, DE/OLB, TCU. Hughes is an undersized end who lacks great explosiveness off the ball, so he needs a big workout to convince teams he has the athleticism to stand up and play outside linebacker in a 3-4 scheme. Otherwise, he will likely be classified only as a 4-3 end, which could really hurt his draft status.
Lamarr Houston, DT, Texas. In each game last season, Houston's play improved and he showed the quickness, agility and athleticism to defeat blocks and make plays. But at the Senior Bowl, he looked ordinary as an athlete. To be drafted higher than the fourth round, he must prove he is the athlete he showed on film.
Rolando McClain, ILB, Alabama. Because he is very smart and instinctive, McClain is able to consistently play quicker and faster than his timed speed. Still, he needs to run well and work out well to prove to teams he has the athleticism to be productive outside of the hash marks and in coverage.
Brandon Spikes, ILB, Florida. Spikes is a similar player to McClain and needs to work out well to show he can play sideline-to-sideline and cover well.