The annual event at Lucas Oil Stadium is a learning experience for everyone. Scouts, executives, coaches and all others hit Indy with preconceived notions about prospects after assessing from afar -- via game film and conversations with people familiar with the players. If we know all of the prospect's habits and tendencies beforehand, why is the combine such a pivotal part of the draft process? It's used to fill in the blanks. And boy, do I wish I knew all of this when I was a draft prospect myself. ...
All guys invited to the combine are talented football players -- that's why they're invited in the first place. We're all aware of the strengths they put on tape in college. But the combine provides an opportunity for teams to find shortcomings and get a better sense of just who these guys are.
I was really impressed with a number of wide receivers in Indianapolis. Calvin Ridley certainly caught my eye, but I'm not here to discuss a known commodity we all knew was going to be highly touted throughout the pre-draft process. The receivers in this article are guys who really benefited from the combine, those whose stock improved most. Here are five guys trending up after the trip to Indy, listed in alphabetical order:
Deon Cain, Clemson: Clemson's produced some talented NFL pass catchers in recent years (with DeAndre Hopkins leading the pack), and Cain could be next up. The 6-foot-2, 202-pound wideout really impressed in all facets in Indy. He caught the ball well and was very smooth in and out of breaks, finishing fifth in the three-cone drill (6.71 seconds) among all receivers. Cain was flying under the radar in this receiver class before the combine, but he put everyone on notice with his showing at Lucas Oil Stadium.
D.J. Chark, LSU: Chark didn't have a reception in his first two years in Baton Rouge but worked to earn the WR1 role as a senior in 2017. All that practice showed in his route-running at the combine. The top WR performer in the 40 (4.34 seconds) in Indy, Chark can run right by defenders and has punt/kickoff return ability. The combine atmosphere didn't shake him one bit, which is why he's trending up on most draft boards.
D.J. Moore, Maryland: The 6-foot, 210-pound wideout played with four different quarterbacks at Maryland in 2017, a season in which he was named the Big Ten Receiver of the Year. He had some interest coming into the combine and didn't disappoint. Among receivers on the Lucas Oil Stadium turf, Moore was a top performer in five categories, including the 40-yard dash (4.42 seconds), vertical leap (39.5 inches) and broad jump (11 feet). Talk about explosiveness ... Now, teams know he's coming.
Trey Quinn, SMU: Quinn isn't one of those receivers who will wow you. In Indy, he just did what he always does: The 5-11 SMU product grabbed his brown paper lunch bag and got to work. Quinn caught everything thrown his way and ran great route after great route. Then, this Steady Eddie got back in line like another day on the job.
Ka'Raun White, West Virginia: Every single time I looked up, White made me ask, "Who's that guy?" He had a very solid workout in Indianapolis, and I'm excited for the team that gets him. He might not be as athletic as his brother -- Kevin, the No. 7 overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft -- but he's going to make an impact and will be fun to watch. You heard it here first.