The combine was the final opportunity for most of the prospects to showcase themselves to a national audience in addition to NFL scouts, coaches and executives. Though none of it was in an actual football game, it still was a great opportunity for players to boost their draft stock by performing well in the various drills and measurements.
Each player goes through a series of football-related drills for his specific position that helps him showcase his abilities. Though it's done without football pads, it can provide a glimpse into a player's abilities while also making NFL decision-makers comfortable with spending a draft pick on them.
Here is a look at the six players who were the real winners of the 2015 combine.
The Oregon Ducks signal-caller came into the combine in a battle with Jameis Winston to be the first quarterback selected and the likely No. 1 overall pick. Mariota had a great performance, leading all quarterbacks with a 4.52 40-yard dash and a 6.87 3-cone drill.
His speed and athleticism are two of his biggest strengths, and we saw a glimpse of them on display during his combine performance. If Mariota is to overtake Winston for the top spot, those two attributes will play a major role in it, as those are the areas in which Mariota is superior.
That was evidenced by Winston's 4.97 40 time, nearly a half-second slower than Mariota. Mariota also shined with a vertical leap of 36 inches and a broad jump of 10'1. Winston only managed 28.5 inches in the vertical leap and a broad jump of 8'7. Mariota won the combine battle with Winston, possibly helping his chances of going No. 1 in the process.
SB Nation presents: Marcus Mariota torches Jameis Winston in the 40
Chris Conley, WR, Georgia
Chris Conley was a bit of an unknown coming into the combine, but that changed quickly. He blew up in Indianapolis, posting a vertical jump of 45 inches and a broad jump of 11'7.
Both are the best marks ever for a wide receiver at the combine. Conley also ran a 4.35 40, which was the third-fastest time among wide receivers this year. All of the wide receiver hype coming into the combine was surrounding guys like Kevin White, Jaelen Strong and Amari Cooper, but the little-known Conley was the one who stole the show.
As of now, Conley is being projected as a seventh-round or even undrafted player by CBS Sports. This performance certainly enhanced his stock and will force scouts to go back to the tape and see if Conley was a better player than his 36-catch, 657-yard senior season suggests.
Byron Jones, CB, UConn
Like Conley, Byron Jones is just trying to make sure he hears his name called during the draft. He certainly helped his cause by recording an insane 12'3 in his broad jump. The previous best was 11'7.
Jones then went on to hit 44.5" on the vertical jump, which was just shy of the record, too. That kind of athleticism will put him on the radar of more scouts and NFL minds than before, and Jones needs every stock boost he can get.
His performance came four weeks after he was cleared to workout following shoulder surgery for an injury that ended his season last October. He had eight career interceptions at UConn, but he wasn't drawing a lot of NFL interest even before the season-ending injury. This performance could help him sneak into the latter part of the draft.
SB Nation presents: Byron Jones makes history at the NFL Combine
Alvin "Bud" Dupree, LB/DE, Kentucky
The Kentucky Wildcats don't tend to produce first-round NFL talent, but they'll do so this year in the form of Bud Dupree, who was a star at the combine. After measuring in at 6'5 and 270 pounds, Dupree then registered an outstanding 42" vertical jump to go with a blazing 4.56 40-yard dash.
Dupree needed to show that he could put on weight and still maintain his speed and explosiveness, and he more than did so. He played in the 250-to-260-pound range at Kentucky, which is too light if he's going to play defensive end in the NFL. He could end up playing as a 3-4 outside linebacker in the NFL, but being able to play either position will greatly enhance his draft stock.
Following his combine performance, Mocking the Draft now has Dupree going to the Chicago Bears at pick No. 7. It's safe to say Dupree's stock is on the rise.
Vic Beasley, LB/DE, Clemson
Arguably the best performance of anyone at the combine came from pass-rushing terror Vic Beasley, who notched 35 reps on the bench press and posted a blazing 4.53 in the 40-yard dash. He also recorded a 41" vertical leap, 10'10 broad jump and a 4.15-second 20-yard shuttle.
It's also worth noting that Beasley measured in at 6'3, 246 pounds after ending the college football season closer to the 230-pound range. He needed to put on some weight and maintain his freakish athleticism, and it's safe to say he did in Indy.
Beasley is projected as a 3-4 outside linebacker in the NFL, but this performance shows he may be able to play as a 4-3 defensive end. Following the combine, Mocking the Draft has Beasley going No. 8 overall to the Atlanta Falcons.
Ali Marpet, OL, Hobart
The 307-pound Ali Marpet was the only offensive lineman to break the 5-second barrier in the 40-yard dash, running it in 4.98 seconds. He also posted the second-best times in the 3-cone drill (7.33 seconds) and 20-yard shuttle (4.47 seconds) before bench-pressing 225 pounds 30 times, the fifth-most among offensive linemen.
What makes all of this even more amazing is that Marpet plays Division III Football for the Hobart Statesmen, a small private college in Geneva, N.Y. His chances of getting drafted before the combine weren't great, but he certainly enhanced them with a fantastic showing in Indy.