The NFL Scouting Combine provides an enormous stage for top prospects to show off their athleticism. There are always a dozen or so players who see their draft stock climb with solid performances, while another dozen or so create concern amongst NFL evaluators with poor performances.
2013 NFL Draft: Gil Brandt's Top 25 prospectsThe NFL Scouting Combine is about to kick the draft season into high gear. With that in mind, Gil Brandt puts together the first "Hot 100" list of the year. Find out who made the top 25.
The 2013 draft class features plenty of payers capable of "wowing" evaluators with their testing numbers. I've listed 10 such workout warriors below. As an added bonus, each possesses the football skills to be a solid NFL player.
Goodwin is my leading candidate to create the most buzz with his combine performance. He won the long-jump title at the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials (with a jump of 27 feet, 4.25 inches) before finishing 10th in the London Olympics. He is obviously going to jump extremely well in Indianapolis, and I won't be shocked if he sneaks under 4.30 seconds in the 40-yard dash.
Before moving to offensive tackle at Oklahoma, Johnson lined up as a quarterback, tight end and defensive end. He is incredibly athletic for a 300-pounder, and he's been timed in the 4.7s. He had a dominant week at the Senior Bowl; the buzz on him should continue to build when he posts some eye-popping numbers at the combine.
Gooden really helped his stock with a solid Senior Bowl performance. Now he's going to get a chance to really wow evaluators with his speed and explosiveness. Last spring, NFL scouts timed Gooden at 4.39, and he also posted a 40-inch vertical during his time in the Missouri strength program. He is expected to post around 30 reps on the 225-pound bench test.
Ansah is an absolute freak. He grew up in Ghana, playing soccer and basketball before arriving at BYU. The former member of the BYU track team (he competed in the 200-meter dash) has been timed in the low 4.6s at over 270 pounds, and he's also posted a 39-inch vertical jump. He was the defensive player of the game at the Senior Bowl, and the buzz will continue to build after he's finished testing at the combine.
Hunt is a unique player with a very interesting background. He grew up in Karksi-Nuia, Estonia and was a track star. He won gold medals in the shot and the discus at the 2006 World Junior Championships. He checked in at 6-foot-8 and weighed 277 pounds at the Senior Bowl. He is expected to run in the 4.7 neighborhood and leap around 9-10 in the broad jump. I had a chance to watch him train at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., last month, and he was very impressive in the shuttle drills as well.
Watson is another player with a unique sporting background. He grew up as a basketball player in England before attending Marist College in New York to play hoops. He has also has a boxing background and actually spent time working out with Oscar De La Hoya's trainer. He is a raw football player but a freaky athlete. He should break 5.0 in the 40 at 6-6 and more than 300 pounds.
Austin has never been timed in the 40 at West Virginia, but after watching him, it's pretty obvious to me that he will test extremely well. He should post a sub-4.4 time, and he will destroy the shuttle drills; he also has a very good shot at breaking the combine's three-cone record.
Mingo's speed and athleticism jumped off the videotape when I evaluated him. On runs away from him, he displays a rare burst to close on the ball carrier. He has been timed in the mid 4.5s and is expected to post a broad jump in the 10-7 range.
Williams is yet another prospect with an international background. He grew up in Brisbane, Australia, before attending Arizona Western College to play football. The work he did in the weight room after arriving at the University of Alabama is the stuff of legend. He has reportedly posted a 600-pound bench press. That's not a typo. He has a real shot at breaking the bench-press record at the combine and should also run under 5.0.
Michael had an up-and-down career for the Aggies, but his stock is on the rise following a solid week of practice at the East-West Shrine Game. He is expected to test extremely well at the combine. He should weigh-in at around 225 pounds and run in the mid 4.4s. His combination of size and speed will stand out in a position group that's filled with players possessing either one or the other, but not both.
Ten more players who will post eye-popping numbers at the combine: Georgia LB Alec Ogletree, Arkansas-Pine Bluff OT Terron Armstead, Florida DT Sharrif Floyd, Oregon State WR Markus Wheaton, Missouri Southern State DT Brandon Williams, Georgia DE Cornelius Washington, Oregon DE Dion Jordan, Tennessee WR Cordarrelle Patterson, Sam Houston CB Daxton Swanson, Southeastern Louisiana CB Robert Alford.
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