Category:NFL Draft
Posted on: February 24, 2012 9:10 am
Edited on: February 24, 2012 10:34 am

Dolphins, Chiefs win coin flips; first round set

The first round order of the 2012 NFL Draft was solidified with a pair of coin flips Friday morning. The Miami Dolphins will select eighth overall and the Carolina Panthers ninth, while the Kansas City Chiefs will have the 11th overall pick and the Seattle Seahawks will be 12th.
The coin flips at the Scouting Combine in Indianapolis broke ties between teams that finished the 2011 regular season with identical records and strength of schedules.
The coins were specially minted with the logo of the respective teams on either side. 

With the first round draft order finalized, the Colts are now officially on the clock.  
Posted on: February 23, 2012 6:35 pm

Combine experimenting with 40-yard dash timing

INDIANAPOLIS -- As about 327 former college football stars participate in the National Football League's job fair known as the Scouting Combine, they will be part of a grand experiment in the most popular and most publicized event -- the 40-yard run.
In a first, the Combine will use Fully Automated Timing, meaning electronic devices will be used for both the start and the finish of each 40-yard run. However, these FAT 40-yard times will not be revealed to players or NFL teams, The Sports Xchange has learned.
Most player workouts will be between Saturday and Monday, with some special teams players only working out on Friday.
NFL teams were briefed on the new timing method Wednesday. Because NFL teams keep 40 times to a hundredth of a second, there has long been a push to further legitimize those times by using the same methods as track and field and the Olympics.
However, according to coaches and scouts who discussed this with The Sports Xchange, the FAT times are expected to be .20 to .24 seconds slower than the relative times recorded using methods the Combine has gone with since 1990, and before.
"We were told it is just an experiment and we won't be told the results," said one team official. "People are worried about the reaction players may have if the 40 times change that much."
Combine, team and league officials are concerned that an abrupt change to recognizing the more accurate FAT times would create a culture shock of sorts for players. These players have long been told that, for skilled positions such as wide receiver, cornerback and running back, a 4.30 clocking is elite, a 4.40 is extremely good, a 4.50 is good and 4.70 and above may be cause for concern at those positions for an NFL prospect.
As an example, the great Jerry Rice had a rather pedestrian 40 time in the mid-4.6 range. If that time were converted to equate to FAT timing, Rice, rated by many as the best wide receiver -- and the best player -- in NFL history, would be credited with only a mid-4.8 time in the 40.
So suddenly adding .21-to-.24 seconds on the Combine times for prospects could result in some sort of psychological shock. As it is, some of the top rated athletes do not run at the Combine. If FAT 40-yard times became official, it is feared that even more players would refused to run at the Combine.
For the past 22 years, Combine 40 times included two manual timings and one that was determined by a manual start and an electronic beam at the finish. In those cases, all starts were determined by the player's first motion. Before 1990, all times were entirely manual.
The fastest verifiable time in Combine history was a 4.12 by Bo Jackson in 1986 on manual stopwatches in the Superdome.
There are numerous stories that Deion Sanders ran a faster than 4.2 seconds at another Superdome Combine. However, research indicates that he was timed in 4.28 seconds at best on one of the so-called "official" stopwatches.
Even before the inclusion of the secret FAT timings this year, there was confusion by the media and fans over the so-called "official" 40 times. And the reason is simple -- there really is no single, "official" 40 time.
Here is what happens to get the 40 times at the Combine that are revealed:
   --Those who participate in the 40 actually run twice, and on each run they are timed by two hand-held stopwatches and one electronic timer (that is actually initiated by hand on the player's first movement).
   --Combine data put together for NFL teams by National Scouting includes all six of those times for each player, but no single official time.
Team scouts and coaches have various approaches for reaching agreement on a 40 time they use from those six timings. Some use averages. Some throw out slowest and fastest and then average the rest. Some ignore the whole thing and use a time taken by their own scout.
However, the rapid ascent of the Combine as a media event has created a lot of misconceptions, especially with the addition of live coverage by NFL Network on television and online. In recent years, in an attempt to expedite reporting of data, both NFL Network and have published 40 times and have not cited the source of those times, except to say they are unofficial.
And this year there will be more of the same, as stated in this week's press release from and NFL Network, which says: "For the first time ever, provides unofficial 40-yard dash times for each participant in real time with the Combine Tracker, allowing fans to obtain results and data faster than ever before. Additionally, the new Combine Tracker lists how each athlete performed in all of the drills, providing a central location to receive statistics as they happen."
All this is great for fans viewing online or on television, as long as they understand, as the press release states, that the times are "unofficial." Most media will go with those same times until more specific data becomes available.
In deference to the players, uses the best verifiable -- or listed -- time from the Combine unless it is conspicuously skewed from the other times. However, the times are usually well grouped.
Following are the best 40 times and other data documented by in all Combines since 2000, a Combine All-Century list:

*Top scores from 2000-2011 Combines
(unofficial bests also listed if verified)

Fastest 40 times, 2000-2011 Combines
(Unofficial combine record is 4.12, Bo Jackson (RB), Auburn, 1986
4.21 - Trindon Holliday, (WR), LSU - 2010
4.22 - Jacoby Ford, (WR), Clemson - 2010
4.24 - Chris Johnson, (RB), East Carolina - 2008
4.25 - *Darrius Heyward-Bey, (WR), Maryland - 2009
4.25 - DeMarcus Van Dyke, (CB), Miami - 2011
4.26 - Jerome Mathis, (WR), Hampton - 2005
4.27 - C.J. Spiller, (RB), Clemson - 2010
4.27 - Stanford Routt, (CB), Houston - 2005
4.28 - Mike Wallace, (WR), Mississippi - 2009
4.29 - *Fabian Washington, (CB), Nebraska - 2005
4.29 - Johnny Knox, (WR), Abilene Christian - 2009
4.29 - Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, (CB), Tennessee State - 2008
4.30 - Mike Thomas, (WR), Arizona - 2009
4.30 - Darrent Williams, (CB), Oklahoma State - 2005
4.30 - Yamon Figurs, (WR), Kansas State - 2007
4.31 - Tyvon Branch, (CB), Connecticut - 2008
4.31 - Edmond Gates, (WR), Abilene Christian - 2011
4.31 - Michael Waddell, (CB), North Carolina - 2004
4.31 - Santana Moss, (WR), Miami - 2001
4.31 - Deon Butler, (WR), Penn State - 2009
4.31 - *Justin King, (CB), Penn State - 2008
4.31 - *Johnathan Joseph, (CB), South Carolina - 2006
4.31 - *Patrick Peterson, (CB), LSU - 2011
4.31 - Taylor Mays, (FS), Southern Cal - 2010
4.31 - Tiquan Underwood, (WR), Rutgers - 2009
Highest Vertical Jump, 2000-2011 Combines
46 - Gerald Sensabaugh, (FS), North Carolina - 2005
45 1/2 - Derek "Cameron" Wake, (OLB), Penn State - 2005
45 - *Donald Washington, (CB), Ohio State - 2009
45 - Chris McKenzie, (CB), Arizona State - 2005
45 - Chris Chambers, (WR), Wisconsin - 2001
44 - A.J. Jefferson, (CB), Fresno State - 2010
43 1/2 - Dustin Fox, (FS), Ohio State - 2005
43 1/2 - Kevin Kasper, (WR), Iowa - 2001
43 1/2 - Dorin Dickerson, (TE), Pittsburgh - 2010
43 - Cedric James, (WR), TCU - 2001
43 - Darius Butler, (CB), Connecticut - 2009
43 - Scott Starks, (CB), Wisconsin - 2005
43 - *Eric Berry, (FS), Tennessee - 2010
42 1/2 - Nate Burleson, (WR), Nevada - 2003
42 1/2 - Jonathan Carter, (WR), Troy - 2001
42 1/2 - Brock Williams, (CB), Notre Dame - 2001
42 1/2 - Jarett Dillard, (WR), Rice - 2009
42 1/2 - Virgil Green, (TE), Nevada - 2011
42 - Boss Bailey, (OLB), Georgia - 2003
42 - *Jon Baldwin, (WR), Pittsburgh - 2011
42 - Trindon Holliday, (WR), LSU - 2010
42 - Santana Moss, (WR), Miami - 2001
42 - Rashad Holman, (CB), Louisville - 2001
42 - Kerry Rhodes, (FS), Louisville - 2005
42 - *Vernon Davis, (TE), Maryland - 2006
Longest Broad Jump, 2000-2011 Combines
11'05" - Justin Fargas, (RB), Southern Cal - 2003
11'05" - Scott Starks, (CB), Wisconsin - 2005
11'04" - Chris McKenzie, (CB), Arizona State - 2005
11'04" - Terence Newman, (CB), Kansas State - 2003
11'04" - Jerome Simpson, (WR), Coastal Carolina - 2008
11'03" - *Donald Washington, (CB), Ohio State - 2009
11'03" - Boss Bailey, (OLB), Georgia - 2003
11'03" - *Julio Jones, (WR), Alabama - 2011
11'03" - Hilton Alexander, (WR), Morris Brown - 2001
11'02" - Jonathan Carter, (WR), Troy - 2001
11'02" - Chris Chambers, (WR), Wisconsin - 2001
11'02" - Cedric James, (WR), TCU - 2001
11'02" - Darius Butler, (CB), Connecticut - 2009
11'02" - Anthony Alridge, (RB), Houston - 2008
11'02" - Carl Stewart, (FB), Auburn - 2008
11'02" - Dekoda Watson, (OLB), Florida State - 2010
11'01" - Pat Watkins, (FS), Florida State - 2006
11'01" - Gerald Sensabaugh, (FS), North Carolina - 2005
11'01" - Will Blackmon, (CB), Boston College - 2006
11'00" - *Donte Whitner, (SS), Ohio State - 2006
11'00" - *Andre Johnson, (WR), Miami - 2003
11'00" - Chris Cook, (CB), Virginia - 2010
11'00" - Andre Carter, (DE), California - 2001
11'00" - David Bruton, (FS), Notre Dame - 2009
11'00" - Jon Alston, (OLB), Stanford - 2006
Fastest 20-yd Shuttle, 2000-2011 Combines
3.73 - Kevin Kasper, (WR), Iowa - 2001
3.75 - Dunta Robinson, (CB), South Carolina - 2004
3.76 - Deion Branch, (WR), Louisville - 2002
3.82 - Carlos Rogers, (CB), Auburn - 2005
3.82 - Dante' Hall, (RB), Texas A&M - 2000
3.83 - Kevin Bentley, (OLB), Northwestern - 2002
3.83 - Jason Allen, (FS), Tennessee - 2006
3.83 - Terence Newman, (CB), Kansas State - 2003
3.84 - Justin Beriault, (FS), Ball State - 2005
3.84 - Troy Walters, (WR), Stanford - 2000
3.85 - Rashad Holman, (CB), Louisville - 2001
3.86 - Jason Hebert, (FS), Rice - 2002
3.87 - Coy Wire, (SS), Stanford - 2002
3.87 - Randy Fasani, (QB), Stanford - 2002
3.88 - Ryan Tolhurst, (WR), Richmond - 2002
3.88 - Kevin Curtis, (FS), Texas Tech - 2002
3.88 - Austin Pettis, (WR), Boise State - 2011
3.88 - Kendrick Starling, (WR), San Jose State - 2004
3.88 - Jeff Shoate, (CB), San Diego State - 2004
3.88 - Joey Thomas, (CB), Montana State - 2004
3.89 - Charles Tillman, (CB), Louisiana-Lafayette - 2003
3.89 - Niko Koutouvides, (ILB), Purdue - 2004
3.89 - Domonique Foxworth, (CB), Maryland - 2005
3.89 - Markus Curry, (CB), Michigan - 2005
3.90 - Kelvin Hayden, (CB), Illinois - 2005
Fastest Three-Cone drill, 2000-2011 Combines
6.34 - Sedrick Curry, (CB), Texas A&M - 2000
6.42 - Jeff Maehl, (WR), Oregon - 2011
6.44 - Buster Skrine, (CB), Tennessee-Chattanooga - 2011
6.45 - Scott Long, (WR), Louisville - 2010
6.46 - Dane Sanzenbacher, (WR), Ohio State - 2011
6.48 - Carlos Rogers, (CB), Auburn - 2005
6.48 - Terrance Toliver, (WR), LSU - 2011
6.48 - Rogers Beckett, (FS), Marshall - 2000
6.50 - Leon Hall, (CB), Michigan - 2007
6.50 - Cecil Shorts III, (WR), Mount Union - 2011
6.50 - Chykie Brown, (CB), Texas - 2011
6.51 - Jon McGraw, (SS), Kansas State - 2002
6.54 - Trindon Holliday, (WR), LSU - 2010
6.54 - *Anthony Gonzalez, (WR), Ohio State - 2007
6.55 - Shiloh Keo, (SS), Idaho - 2011
6.56 - Ben Taylor, (ILB), Virginia Tech - 2002
6.56 - Kevin Kasper, (WR), Iowa - 2001
6.57 - Harry Douglas, (WR), Louisville - 2008
6.58 - Cody Grimm, (SS), Virginia Tech - 2010
6.58 - *Patrick Peterson, (CB), LSU - 2011
6.59 - Curtis Brown, (CB), Texas - 2011
6.59 - Malcolm Jenkins, (CB), Ohio State - 2009
6.60 - Sherrod Martin, (CB), Troy - 2009
6.60 - David Bruton, (FS), Notre Dame - 2009
6.60 - Trent Gamble, (FS), Wyoming - 2000
Most 225 Bench Reps, 2000-2011 Combines
(Unofficial record Justin Earnest (51), Eastern Kentucky, 1999)
49 - Stephen Paea, (DT), Oregon State - 2011
45 - Leif Larsen, (DT), Texas-El Paso - 2000
45 - Mike Kudla, (DE), Ohio State - 2006
45 - Mitch Petrus, (OG), Arkansas - 2010
44 - Jeff Owens, (DT), Georgia - 2010
44 - Brodrick Bunkley, (DT), Florida State - 2006
43 - Scott Young, (OG), BYU - 2005
42 - Isaac Sopoaga, (DT), Hawaii - 2004
42 - Tank Tyler, (DT), North Carolina State - 2007
41 - Terna Nande, (OLB), Miami (OHIO) - 2006
41 - *Igor Olshansky, (DT), Oregon - 2004
40 - Manuel Ramirez, (OG), Texas Tech - 2007
40 - Justin Blalock, (OG), Texas - 2007
39 - Louis Vasquez, (OG), Texas Tech - 2009
39 - *Linval Joseph, (DT), East Carolina - 2010
38 - Marvin Austin, (DT), North Carolina - 2011
38 - Russell Okung, (OT), Oklahoma State - 2010
38 - Tony Pashos, (OT), Illinois - 2003
37 - Terrance Taylor, (DT), Michigan - 2009
37 - *Vernon Gholston, (DE), Ohio State - 2008
37 - Jake Long, (OT), Michigan - 2008
37 - Victor Leyva, (OG), Arizona State - 2001
37 - Moran Norris, (FB), Kansas - 2001
37 - Roberto Garza, (C), Texas AM-Kingsville - 2001
37 - *Haloti Ngata, (DT), Oregon - 2006

Category: NFL Draft
Posted on: February 23, 2012 6:27 pm

Colts deny report they advised Luck not to throw

New Indianapolis Colts' general manager Ryan Grigson flatly denied a report that his team had advised likely No. 1 overall pick Andrew Luck not to throw passes at the Scouting Combine this week.

Grigson, speaking to the media at the Combine Thursday, was twice asked about a tweet from Bob Kravitz of the Indianapolis Star that claimed Luck was willing to throw Sunday but was talked out of it by the Colts. 

"I never said anything," Grigson said. "Players are allowed to make their own decisions what they're going to do at the Combine. I've had no bearing on that, believe me."

At least one member of the media may not have believed Grigson. Seconds after answering the first question about whether he'd individually asked Luck not to throw, a follow-up question came asking if any member of the Colts had pushed the Stanford passer's decision. 

"No. Absolutely not," Grigson replied. 
The reality is, Luck's decision to throw or not throw at the Combine this week is unlikely to have any bearing whatsoever on his draft status. The redshirt junior has three years worth of tape proving his talents. He's been the top-rated prospect in the country by for nearly two years. My CBS colleague Mike Freeman noted that scouts were absolutely "kissy, kissy" about Luck. Frankly, if the Colts stun the world by taking anyone other than Luck with the first pick of the draft, the list of suitors calling the St. Louis Rams to move up to No. 2 overall would likely be a long one. 

Any perceived slight or miscommunication between the Colts and Luck could be significant, however, especially considering the precarious situation Indianapolis already has with their current quarterback, Peyton Manning. Speaking of Manning, Grigson offered little news on the star's progress and asked the media to understand that he and the Colts have little choice but to wait for Manning to improve medically.

"...Peyton has to be healthy," Grigson explained. "It has to be something that’s spoken on and investigated and talked about. Right now, it’s a process. We’re waiting for things to happen. Right now, we’re doing the things we have control of. Things we don’t have control of, we just have no choice but to be patient. We ask all of you to be the same."

Regardless of the Colts' decision with Manning, expect the team to be well represented at Luck's Pro Day March 22
Posted on: February 23, 2012 3:34 pm

Stanford OT Martin to push workout to Pro Day

Stanford left tackle Jonathan Martin is expected to wait until his March 22 Pro Day to work out for scouts rather than compete at the 2012 Scouting Combine.

Martin is in Indianapolis to undergo all of the medical testing and interviews. However, according to a source close to him, he was limited by illness in recent days preparing for the Combine at Athletes Performance Institute and doesn't feel comfortable performing the drills with his draft stock on the line until he's back to 100%. 

Though currently rated by as the No. 3 offensive tackle prospect in the 2012 draft, Martin is viewed by some as an even better athlete than Southern Cal's Matt Kalil and Iowa's Riley Reiff and therefore possessing higher upside. Each is among's top 14 rated prospects for the 2012 draft.

Workouts are, of course, important for every prospect but considering the strong tape Martin has over three starting seasons protecting Andrew Luck's blindside, pushing off the workout isn't likely to have any negative impact on his stock.

Should Martin indeed elect to push back his workout until his Pro Day, he won't have to worry about a lack of NFL interest.  High-ranking officials are expected to flock to Stanford's Pro Day to see Luck throw as well as see senior tight end Coby Fleener make his workout debut. A high ankle sprain suffered against Oklahoma State in the Fiesta Bowl kept Fleener out of the Senior Bowl and the Combine this week.

In all, Stanford has four prospects currently viewed as potential first round prospects: Luck (rated No. 1), Martin (14), Fleener (37) and junior offensive guard, David DeCastro (9),'s top-rated prospect at the position.

Posted on: February 23, 2012 1:08 pm
Edited on: March 26, 2012 8:36 am

Doctor's note confirms ILB Wagner's pneumonia

Utah State linebacker Bobby Wagner has been hospitalized in Scottsdale, Arizona since Monday with pneumonia and was advised by a doctor there not to travel this week for the 2012 Scouting Combine. 

Wagner's agent, Kenny Zuckerman, sent a doctor's note explaining as much to National Football Scouting, the group that organizes the Combine in an effort to have the news distributed to all 32 NFL teams. 

Wagner, who earned the North Team MVP honors wih an impressive seven tackle, one tackle for loss, one interception performance in the Senior Bowl last month, is expected to make a full recovery and be discharged "in the next few days." His performance in Mobile helped ease concerns about Wagner's ability to play inside or out in the 4-3 defense as well as inside linebacker in the 3-4 as he demonstrated athleticism, instincts and physicality. Because of this, he's been charging up draft boards as one of the 2012 draft's more versatile linebackers. 

Wagner, whose 446 career tackles are the most from any Western Athletic Conference defender since 1999, earned All-WAC honors after each of the past three seasons. Experienced inside and out, Wagner is gaining grades from some teams as an inside linebacker and at weakside linebacker for others. Due to his athleticism, he's currently rated as the No. 5 OLB prospect in the 2012 draft by

To maintain his lofty grade at OLB, Wagner may have to show scouts he has the speed to match up in coverage. It is not yet known, however, whether Wagner will be recovered sufficiently to participate in Utah State's Pro Day March 8 or if a new workout date will have to be set up. 

Update: Wagner has scheduled his on-campus Pro Day for March 30.

Scouts, of course, are interested to see Wagner perform in athletic drills, but like with all players, the bigger need may be for Wagner to travel to Indianapolis prior to the draft for a Combine medical "re-check" after missing the in-depth medical testing this week recovering from his illness.  

Posted on: February 23, 2012 12:25 pm
Edited on: February 23, 2012 12:26 pm

NFL: Once order set, Colts free to sign No. 1

NFL spokesman Greg Aiello informed the media today at the 2012 Scouting Combine that once the final order is determined for the first round, the Indianapolis Colts are free to sign whomever they intend to draft No. 1 overall. 

The Colts are widely expected to select Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck, but owner Jim Irsay also specifically mentioned Baylor's Robert Griffin III as another player his franchise is considering with the first pick. Irsay has said that his team plans to select a quarterback with the first pick. Dane Brugler, Pete Prisco and I each project the Colts to ultimately choose Luck in our current mock drafts.

The Colts aren't necessarily expected to actually sign anyone at this early stage of the process but the ability to negotiate with players could make their decision at No. 1 that much easier. 

The vast majority of the draft order has already been determined, but four teams -- the Carolina Panthers, Miami Dolphins, Kansas City Chiefs and Seattle Seahawks -- won't know which pick they'll be using until coin-flips break ties. The winner of a coin flip tomorrow morning will determine whether it will be the Panthers or Dolphins selecting eighth. The loser will pick ninth. The Buffalo Bills own the 10th pick. The Chiefs and Seahawks' coin flip will determine which club gets the No. 11 and No. 12 overall picks. 

Regardless of which teams win the coin flip, the competing teams will alternate picks in Rounds 2-7.   

Posted on: February 22, 2012 7:20 pm
Edited on: February 23, 2012 10:32 am

Knee scope will sideline RB Richardson at Combine

The competition to be the second running back selected in the 2012 NFL Draft will go from one of the more intriguing second tier topics of this week's Scouting Combine to one of the major stories with news Wednesday that Alabama runner Trent Richardson, the unquestioned top talent at the position, won't be able to perform in Indianapolis. 

Richardson,'s No. 6 rated overall prospect, underwent minor knee surgery a few weeks ago after initially injuring his knee while preparing for the BCS National Championship, according to's Jason LaCanfora

Though Richardson won't be able to participate in the athletic drills at the Combine, according to the report, he is expected to be able to participate in Alabama's March 7 Pro Day

(LaCanfora has since reported via Twitter that Richardson will be working out on March 27, raising questions about his availability for Alabama's original Pro Day.)

Assuming that team doctors don't find reason to believe that Richardson will be troubled by the knee in the future, his stock isn't likely to be impacted, according to a league source who shared his thoughts under the condition of anonymity.

"If the doctors say he's okay, it won't change anything. [Richardson] is an elite talent," the scout wrote in a text message.

Considering the physicality with which he plays, however, the injury certainly will be checked out thoroughly by every team. Richardson suffered a slight MCL tear in 2011 and underwent surgery as a sophomore in high school after tearing ligaments in his ankle.

  Richardson is currently slated to be a top five draft pick by Dane Brugler and I. Our colleague Pete Prisco has Richardson slipping a bit further but still has the Crimson Tide star earning a pick in the top half of the first round

Since beating LSU in the BCS Championship, it has been a tough few weeks for several highly rated Alabama players. Prior to news of Richardson's injury, Tide seniors Josh Chapman (nose guard) and Mark Barron (safety) each missed the Senior Bowl due to injuries. Junior cornerback 'Dre Kirkpatrick was arrested (and ultimately had the charges dropped) for marijuana possession.

Richardson finished third in the Heisman voting in 2011 behind only Robert Griffin III and Andrew Luck. He won the Doak Walker Award as the nation's elite running back, rushing for 1,583 yards and scoring 23 touchdowns, including the only touchdown in the BCS Championship Game. currently lists Virginia Tech's David Wilson, Miami's Lamar Miller, Boise State's Doug Martin and Washington's Chris Polk as the other four backs behind Richardson as the top five talents at the position for the 2012 draft.  
Posted on: February 22, 2012 11:19 am
Edited on: February 22, 2012 11:34 am

Under radar underclassmen set to light up combine

With the NFL Scouting Combine kicking off Wednesday, nearly every where you look you'll find another analyst with a list of athletes who could put up astonishing workout numbers. 

Dane Brugler and I collaborated on a that identified ten players with questions to answer in Indianapolis. Our colleague, Bruce Feldman, identified ten "athletic freaks" who should put forth some of the best numbers of any players invited to the combine this year.    

The simple reality of the combine season is that only occasionally are scouts surprised by the athleticism shown by prospects. At least among the senior prospects, scouts have been looking at them all year long and know what to expect. Prospects who don't perform well despite having a month (or more) typically to prepare for the very specific drills tested serve as more of a red flag to most talent evaluators than a surprisingly strong workout usually helps a prospect. 

The story is very different for underclassmen, however. 

Teams haven't had nearly as much time to prepare for these athletes and considering that the 2012 draft will feature a record 65 underclassmen, no year in history has as much potential for under the radar underclassmen to emphatically put their names on the map than this one. 

Rather than wait to see which underclassmen will surprise, I thought I'd take a chance at predicting five I believe could light up the combine and see a significant boost to their draft stock, as a result. 

CB Cliff Harris, Oregon: Harris has been a bit of a forgotten man since multiple run-ins with authorities led to his ultimately being kicked off the team by head coach Chip Kelly. While he'll certainly need to answer scouts' questions, once Harris is allowed to show off his athletic gifts, I believe he'll quickly force NFL teams to recognize his upside. After playing at less than 170 pounds throughout much of his career with the Ducks, scouts will be just as interested in how Harris physically measures up as well as how fast he runs, etc.

WR Stephen Hill, Georgia Tech: Hill reminds me a lot of former Georgia Tech standout Demaryius Thomas for his size, straight-line speed and big play ability. is currently estimating Hill as being able to run the 40-yard dash in 4.57 seconds. I think he'll shave a tenth off that time, as well as impress in leaping drills. He's undeniably raw but don't be surprised if a strong showing in Indianapolis pushes Hill into the second round.

OT Bobby Massie, Mississippi:
Massie signed with Ole Miss as one of the elite prep talents in the country but partially due to the anonymous nature of the right tackle position and to Ole Miss' relative struggles, Massie isn't getting much attention in the mainstream media. I wouldn't be surprised, however, if he shows very impressive athleticism, balance and power in drills based on his tape. The "big three" junior tackles -- USC's Matt Kalil, Iowa's Riley Reiff and Stanford's Jonathan Martin -- get the bulk of the attention but with the position essentially wide open after them, don't be surprised if Massie gives Ohio State's Mike Adams a run for his money as the 4th tackle off the board.

QB Brock Osweiler, Arizona State: Osweiler is currently's No. 4-rated quarterback and No. 45-rated prospect, overall, so he hardly qualifies as under the radar. However, considering the amount of hype being generated around Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III and even Ryan Tannehill, the lanky Osweiler hasn't received the national attention his talent warrants. If Osweiler can calm concerns about his mobility at a estimated 6-7, 240 pounds, scouts won't be able to resist admiring his strong, accurate arm.

CB Josh Robinson, Central Florida: Robinson is one of three relatively "unknown" cornerbacks that I am significantly higher on than most (the other two are seniors Ryan Steed from Furman and Trumaine Johnson from Montana). Robinson's speed, agility and leaping ability jump off tape. If he works out as well as I think he will based on the athleticism I've seen on the field, scouts may have a hard time justifying Robinson not winding up a top 100 pick.        
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or