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Fastest players at the 2012 NFL Scouting Combine

INDIANAPOLIS -- Just when the inhabitants of Indy felt the last of the aftershocks from hosting Super Bowl XLVI, the NFL returns to town for the NFL Scouting Combine.

Hundreds of NFL personnel ascend on Indianapolis to poke, prod and pry into the lives of the 300-plus players invited to partake in what amounts to a four-day job interview.

The biggest headline-makers from any combine are usually the quarterbacks. But in terms of the actual events, nothing garners as much attention as the 40-yard dash. And although teams will downplay the usefulness of this "track meet" featuring "guys in shorts," every GM, coach and scout in the building pulls out their own stopwatch when the running starts.

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In recent years, WR/KR Trindon Holliday, WR Jacoby Ford, RB Chris Johnson and CB DeMarcus Van Dyke were among those players wowing scouts by breaking the 4.3-second barrier. There are a few players who will crash that party this year due to their track backgrounds. And there are a few larger players who will follow in the footsteps of past flyers Taylor Mays, Patrick Peterson and Julio Jones by putting up amazing times for their 220-to-240-pound builds.

These are the burners who'll likely turn heads on the Lucas Oil Stadium turf:

Joe Adams/Jarius Wright, WR, Arkansas: These Razorback pass-catchers, who combined for nearly 1,800 receiving yards and 15 touchdown catches this year, could both break the 4.4-second barrier.

Zach Brown, OLB, North Carolina: Expect Brown to run in the 4.4's at about 240 pounds while also performing very well in other agility drills. His combine workout may be reminiscent of the one Von Miller rode to becoming the second overall pick of last spring's draft.

Morris Claiborne, CB, LSU: Claiborne isn't really regarded as a burner, but don't be surprised if the draft's top cover corner puts up one of the top times among defensive backs.

T.J. Graham, WR, North Carolina State: The son of former Olympic trainer Trevor Graham (known as the whistleblower in the BALCO steroids scandal) showed his pure speed as a receiver and returner for the Wolfpack in 2011, as well as at the Senior Bowl.

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Lamar Miller, RB, Miami (FL)/David Wilson, RB, Virginia Tech: These two talented running backs may as well run their 40s side-by-side, as the "winner" may end up beating out the other for a late first-round draft slot.

Chris Rainey, RB/WR, Florida: Now that former Gator teammate Jeff Demps has decided to focus on track instead of football, the versatile Rainey could run the fastest time at the Combine. He'll also need to follow up a very good Senior Bowl effort with strong receiving hands when given the chance.

Kendall Wright, WR, Baylor: Separating from defenders has not been an issue for Wright, and breaking into the 4.3's would also help him secure an invitation to Radio City Music Hall for the opening round of the draft on Thursday, April 26.

Others to watch:

Travis Benjamin, WR, Miami (FL)
Brandon Boykin, CB, Georgia
LaMichael James, RB, Oregon
Kashif Moore, WR, Connecticut
Isaiah Pead, RB, Cincinnati
Devon Wylie, WR, Fresno State

Follow Chad Reuter on Twitter @ChadReuter

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