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2015 NFL Draft prospects facing pivotal pro days

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Not every high-level -- or big-name -- prospect was able to work out at the NFL Scouting Combine.

That makes a handful of upcoming pro days extremely important for a few prospects. Here's a look at a dozen of them.

Injured players, such as Oregon cornerback Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, Georgia running back Todd Gurley and Texas A&M offensive tackle Cedric Ogbuehi, are not on this list. Neither is Connecticut cornerback Byron Jones, who didn't run the 40 at the combine but did all the other tests and posted an astounding broad jump of 12 feet, 3 inches. (One of the best parts about Jones' broad jump is the reaction by Arizona State safety Damarious Randall, who turns away in seeming disbelief after the stupendous leap.)


» Bucky Brooks' top 5 draft prospects by position


Michael Bennett, DT, Ohio State


Measurables: 6-2, 293.
Skinny: Is he a first-rounder? Doubtful, but a strong workout obviously would be helpful in that regard. He is the smallest of the top DTs available, but he might be the quickest. He needs to show that at his pro day.
Pro day: March 13.

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A.J. Cann, OG, South Carolina


Measurables: 6-2 3/4, 313.
Skinny: Cann might be the best pure guard in the draft (by that we mean a guy who won't be changing positions, i.e., moving from tackle). Guards usually don't go in the first round, but considering the needs of some of the teams that pick late in the first round, you never know. Cann did do the bench press at the combine, and had a strong showing with 26 reps.
Pro day: April 1.

Tevin Coleman, RB, Indiana


Measurables: 5-11 3/8, 206.
Skinny: Todd Gurley and Melvin Gordon seem certain to be the first running backs off the board, but who will be the third guy? No one truly staked claim to that designation at the combine. Coleman is in the mix, along with Nebraska's Ameer Abdullah, Boise State's Jay Ajayi, Miami's Duke Johnson, Alabama's T.J. Yeldon and maybe Northern Iowa's David Johnson. Coleman's 40 time will be interesting. None of the aforementioned guys broke 4.5, and Abdullah was at 4.6 and Yeldon at 4.61.
Pro day: March 30.

Eddie Goldman, DT, Florida State


Measurables: 6-3 7/8, 336.
Skinny: Goldman is a big guy known for his work against the run, and he definitely has the potential to go in the 20s in the first round. If you consider Danny Shelton and Jordan Phillips as nose tackles and not defensive tackles, Goldman could solidify himself as the second DT to come off the board.
Pro day: March 31.

Garrett Grayson, QB, Colorado State


Measurables: 6-2 1/2, 213.
Skinny: Everybody knows the top two quarterbacks (and maybe even the first two players off the board) are Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota. But there is no clear-cut No. 3 quarterback, so Grayson needs to be saying, "Why not me?" Given the value that teams place on quarterbacks, they often are drafted earlier than they should be. This year, being the No. 3 quarterback likely means going in the second round.
Pro day: March 11.

Jeff Heuerman, TE, Ohio State


Measurables: 6-5 1/8, 254.
Skinny: Minnesota's Maxx Williams unquestionably is the top tight end, but no other player at the position truly stood out at the combine. Heuerman had mediocre college stats, finishing with just 52 career receptions. But he is a good athlete and should test well. And testing well could mean he becomes a second-day pick as teams search for a tight end.
Pro day: March 13.

Hau'oli Kikaha, LB, Washington


Measurables: 6-2 3/8, 253.
Skinny: Kikaha was incredibly productive for the Huskies, leading the nation with 19 sacks this season and finishing his career with 36 sacks and 51.5 tackles for loss. But read any analysis about Kikaha, and there's no mention of high-level athleticism; instead, analysts laud his grit, determination and high-revving motor. While he does have a proven ability to get to the quarterback, teams are leery of his perceived lack of athleticism and that he has had two ACL surgeries. He doesn't have to run as fast as Vic Beasley or Dante Fowler Jr. But his stock will take a hit if he puts up mediocre numbers.
Pro day: April 2.

Breshad Perriman, WR, UCF


Measurables: 6-2, 212.
Skinny: Perriman is receiving some attention as a potential first-rounder, and to keep the hype train on track, a good workout is vital. He is a big, physical receiver -- one of many in this class. One thing Perriman has had to have noticed: "Big receivers" Amari Cooper, Dorial Green-Beckham, DeVante Parker, Jaelen Strong and Kevin White all ran faster than 4.50 in the 40 at the combine, and all but DGB were faster than 4.45.
Pro day: March 25.

Shane Ray, DE, Missouri


Measurables: 6-2 5/8, 245.
Skinny: There's a quartet of top-flight pass rushers, and all but Ray had good combines. Indeed, a case can be made that Clemson DE Vic Beasley had a great combine. And Florida DE Dante Fowler Jr.'s wasn't bad, either. Ray is confident he will have a strong pro day. He needs to if he harbors hopes of being one of the first two edge rushers off the board.
Pro day: March 19.

Three safeties

(Note: We're grouping these three together because the safety board is so jumbled after Alabama's Landon Collins, who questionably is the top prospect at the position. Who's second-best -- and third-best, etc.? That's a good question.)

PATH TO THE DRAFT
(Weekdays at 6 p.m. ET on NFL Network)

"Path to the Draft" previews the 2016 NFL Draft by providing in-depth expert analysis of the top prospects and each teams' needs.

Virginia's Anthony Harris
Measurables: 6-0 5/8, 183.
Skinny: Harris burst on the scene in a big way in 2013, when he led the nation with eight interceptions; he had two picks and 10 pass breakups this season. He has good size, but his straight-line speed is a question. Harris currently is NFL Media analyst Bucky Brooks' No. 5 safety, and none of the safeties other than Collins stood out at the combine.
Pro day: March 2.

Gerod Holliman, Louisville
Measurables: 5-11 3/4, 218.
Skinny: He currently is Brooks' No. 2 safety. Holliman led the nation with 14 picks this season, which tied the FBS single-season record, and there are no concerns about his ball skills. The biggest knock on Holliman is his tackling ability -- or is it inability? He needs to show off his athleticism at his pro day if he doesn't want to slide down draft boards.
Pro day: March 11.

Derron Smith, Fresno State
Measurables: 5-10, 200.
Skinny: He currently is Brooks' No. 3 safety. His lack of height is bothersome to some, and his straight-line speed is a question. He had 15 picks -- no one questions his ball skills -- and 304 tackles in his career. Given his negatives, a strong workout is needed.
Pro day: March 25.

Mike Huguenin can be reached at mike.huguenin@nfl.com. You also can follow him on Twitter @MikeHuguenin.

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