TAMPA, Fla. -- Don't expect Kansas State quarterback Collin Klein to embrace a move to another position in the NFL.
"I know I'm a quarterback," the highly decorated playmaker emphatically told me during an interview for an upcoming episode of the NFL Draft Tracker podcast, adding that he wants to prove he can play the position in the NFL. He said he loves the "mental strategy and challenges" of being a quarterback, and that his "heart" is in doing so as a pro.
On Tuesday, I wrote that the East-West Shrine Game offered a prime opportunity for the Kansas State product, who has an unconventional throwing motion, to show NFL scouts he has what it takes to play at a different spot, like tight end or H-back. However, it appears the Heisman finalist has no interest in making such a switch.
These comments should raise red flags for NFL teams thinking of Klein in another role and end some of the speculation that he would consider being anything but a quarterback.
Other players, meanwhile, are making an impression on evaluators during the first few practice sessions leading up to Saturday's game. Based on conversations with NFL scouts on the sideline, here's a list of some guys earning solid reviews for their performances early on:
The explosive running back has been the buzz of NFL scouting circles after displaying an impressive combination of speed, quickness and power. He has wowed scouts with his stop-start quickness, and shows more wiggle than most expected from a stocky workhorse runner. Some evaluators have expressed concern about character issues during his final season as an Aggie, but Michael's on-field work has earned him a reprieve in the minds of many scouts.
After dominating team drills and nine-on-seven sessions for the past two days, Hodges has been the talk of the town. Scouts have raved about his instincts, awareness and lateral quickness while also praising his fundamentally sound game. Most scouts I talked to had already expected him to be one of the game's top performers, but he has been more impressive in drills than many evaluators anticipated, certainly sending his stock soaring on draft boards across the league.
Moore has been repeatedly cited as one of the most impressive players here. He shows a dazzling array of skills (in terms of rushing and run-and-chase ability), while playing with a relentlessness that will produce a ton of plays at the next level. In addition, scouts have raved about his size (6-foot-2, 244 pounds), physique and impeccable physical conditioning. Several NFL teams are searching for linebackers who can impact the game in a variety of ways, and Moore is certain to rise up the charts following his performance this week.
On Tuesday, I called McGee one of the guys to watch this week, and he certainly has not disappointed. Scouts already thought McGee would be one of the best athletes on the field, based on his size, speed and movement skills; he has exceeded those expectations, showing excellent ball skills and awareness in coverage. This is particularly impressive when factoring in his lack of experience playing zone or off-man coverage at Miami. If McGee continues to show he can play in any scheme, he could rise dramatically up the charts heading into the draft.
Taylor was overshadowed by the ultra-talented Jadeveon Clowney at South Carolina, but he definitely has opened some eyes with his play here. He has the size (6-8, 267) that scouts covet in edge players, and he shows enough athleticism to develop into a credible pass rusher at the next level. Although his game remains a work in progress, Taylor's physical dimensions and athleticism have scouts furiously scribbling notes about his potential as a pass rusher.