The stars of next week's 2015 NFL Scouting Combine are pretty obvious. Miami wide receiver Phillip Dorsett is going to be one of the fastest players. Nebraska pass rushers Randy Gregory should put together unbelievable numbers. But what about the players who aren't as well known? Here's a look at some of the players who could make a name for themselves in Indianapolis.
Bryan Bennett, QB, Southeastern Louisiana
Here is what's known about Bennett: He's a wonderfully gifted quarterback who only ended up at a school like Southeastern Louisiana because he got beat out by Marcus Mariota to be Oregon's starting quarterback. He's a fantastic athlete who can run and move around the pocket with ease. He was a late invitation to the Senior Bowl, but never seemed to find his accuracy and rhythm during practices.
The tools are there, and he'll get to show them off as one of the combine's throwing quarterbacks. He's going to test well, but everyone expects that to happen. If he can deliver an abundance of good passes, he'll force evaluators back to the tape.
Karlos Williams, RB, Florida State
Sure, it may be ridiculous to consider a Florida State player someone who is under the radar. However, Williams is just the type of player who seems to have everything going against him. He was expected to have a big season for Florida State, but was overtaken on the depth chart by freshman Dalvin Cook. He only played two years of running back at FSU after being a blue chip safety recruit. In October there were domestic violence allegations surrounding Williams, but charges were never filed.
Williams isn't going to get drafted high -- he could even be an undrafted free agent considering the position depth and character issues -- but there are tools there. He's bigger than most backs and has shown good top-end speed on longer runs. Relative to his 6'1, 225-pound frame, he should test well in several drills. If teams can get past his rawness and determine he's not a character risk, they could have a solid project running back who should be able to be worked onto coverage duties.
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J.J. Nelson, WR, Alabama Birmingham
Nelson is UAB's best and last NFL hope. There's no question that Nelson is small at a listed 5'11 and 160 pounds. But his speed is unquestionable. He won the state titles in the 100- and 200-meter dashes, and his speed can be seen on the field. For the Blazers, he averaged about 20 yards per reception and was used as a kick and punt returner. He is one of the sleepers to win a gaudy Porsche for having one of the three fastest 40-yard dash times.
Jesse James, TE, Penn State
Seemingly no one is talking about James, who left Penn State a year early to enter the draft. They may be after the combine. He could push 225 pounds in the bench press 30 times, an incredible number for a tight end. He's also run the 40-yard dash in 4.6 seconds. At a listed 6'7, people are going to fall in love with his athletic combination. Prepare theimpersonations.
D.J. Humphries, OL, Florida
There is some buzz starting to build around Humphries online, and it started with Daniel Jeremiah of NFL Network who said the offensive tackle is a potential first-round pick. He's the type of player who could come out of nowhere and approach that sort of draft ceiling after the combine. The junior is a lean, fluid tackle who should stand out in agility drills.
The most important and translatable combine drill for offensive linemen is the 20-yard short shuttle. It shows how fast the player can move his feet, get in position and react. Humphries has arguably the quickest feet of any offensive lineman in this year's draft and should excel in this drill.
2015 NFL Draft
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2015 NFL Draft
Christian Covington, DL, Rice
The original purpose of the combine, before it turned into a circus, was for players to get medical evaluations. Covington's medical evaluation will be as critical as anyone's. He missed Rice's final five games of the season after surgery for a dislocated kneecap. Chances are he's not going to work out in Indianapolis. A positive medical report, though, and teams will be intrigued. Covington was once a highly regarded prospect, and has a good combination of power and quickness. If Covington is smart, he'll hold an individual workout day before the draft.
Obum Gwacham, LB, Oregon State
Gwacham played defensive end for the Beavers, but was listed as a linebacker by the NFL. That’s due largely to his unreal athleticism. In high school, he was one of the best high jumpers, long jumpers and triple jumpers in California. At Oregon State he topped seven feet in the high jump while participating on the track team as a freshman. Expect people to go crazy when Gwacham does the high jump Feb. 22.
Gwacham may be a UDFA, but scouts will love his athletic potential. He should land on a practice squad a high-end developmental player.
Jacoby Glenn, DB, Central Florida
Glenn was a surprise entrant in this year's draft following his redshirt sophomore season at Central Florida. Because he only played two years, there is little tape on Glenn, and as a result minimal buzz. Glenn is coming off an All-American season in which he had seven interceptions and 11 pass breakups. A former high school basketball standout in addition to playing football, Glenn should do well in testing drills. Don't be surprised if he comes out of the combine being considered a top-64 pick.