While the 2014 NFL Scouting Combine officially kicked off Thursday, on-field action doesn't begin until Saturday. Here is the daily workout schedule:
Saturday: Offensive linemen, tight ends, special teams.
Sunday: Quarterbacks, running backs, wide receivers.
Monday: Defensive linemen, linebackers.
Tuesday: Defensive backs.
So, once everyone hits the turf at Lucas Oil Stadium, who will emerge as the stars of this combine? Here are five guys to watch:
Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina: Everyone in the scouting community is expecting Clowney to put on a show in Indianapolis. When asked about his own expectations, Clowney said that he hoped to post a 40-yard-dash time in the 4.4's. Prior to the 2013 season, he reportedly was timed between 4.45 and 4.50. He also apparently produced a broad jump over 10 feet and a vertical jump of 38 inches. Clowney is expected to check in around 6-foot-6 and weigh 270 pounds. Combine those measurements with the aforementioned athletic feats: That's the definition of a "freak." Clowney is my top-rated player in this draft class and he is going to make it very difficult for the Houston Texans to pass on him with the No. 1 overall selection.
Anthony Barr, OLB, UCLA: Barr came to UCLA as a running back and didn't make the switch to the defensive side of the ball until his junior campaign. He has a rare blend of size and explosiveness. In the spring, NFL scouts timed him at 4.44 in the 40-yard dash, and he ran that time at 244 pounds. He should record a similar time this week, and I also expect him to perform very well in the change-of-direction shuttle drills. Barr is competing with Buffalo linebacker Khalil Mack to be the second defender chosen in May (behind Clowney). A strong workout could bolster his campaign.
Ra'Shede Hageman, DT, Minnesota: Hageman might not be a household name to NFL fans heading into the combine, but they'll be aware of him by the time he departs Indy. He is going to check in at around 6-6, 315 pounds, and he'll test extremely well. According to scouting sources, he's posted a 4.90 40 time and a vertical leap of 36 inches. After having some time to train, he should improve both of those numbers. He's an inconsistent player on tape, but does show flashes of dominance. I expect his explosiveness to translate to a big-time workout.
Justin Gilbert, CB, Oklahoma State: As I wrote earlier in the week, I believe Gilbert has a legitimate shot at running the fastest 40-yard dash. The Oklahoma State product also should excel in the change-of-direction drills, as well as the jumps (vertical and broad). After studying him on tape, I was very impressed by both his explosiveness and fluidity. That combination will serve him well in this environment. I won't be surprised if he logs a 40 in the low 4.3s, jumps close to 40 inches and produces impressive three-cone and 20-yard-shuttle times.
Odell Beckham Jr., WR, LSU: Beckham is a dynamic player on tape and I expect him to put up impressive numbers when he works out on Sunday. According to scouting sources, he logged a vertical leap of 38 inches at LSU and produced a broad jump of 10-3. Given combine prep time, I expect both of those numbers to improve and he should clock a 40 time somewhere between the high 4.3s to low 4.4s. His sprinting form should be flawless, considering his mother is the head track and field coach at Tulane. This draft is absolutely loaded at the receiver position, but Beckham has a very good shot at landing in the first round.
Follow Daniel Jeremiah on Twitter @MoveTheSticks.