I'm really looking forward to seeing West Virginia receiver
Kevin White. I loved watching his game tape; he's very physical and he attacks the ball in the air. Some evaluators question his deep speed, but I expect him to post a sub-4.50 40 time. This draft is loaded with talented pass-catchers, but I'd put White right at the top of the list.
I'm looking forward to watching Hobart offensive lineman
Ali Marpet continue to up his stock and show that he fits in with the best of the players he watched on TV and heard discussed each and every week. He might have played at a Division III school, but he went to Mobile for the
Senior Bowl, where he performed better every day and justified his selection. (Well done, Phil Savage and staff.)
Now, Marpet gets to do it again ... this time in the "Olympics" of the football world. It's a great story, and it shows no signs of ending anytime soon.
I'm really interested to see if
Phillip Dorsett can turn some heads -- literally -- with
a 40-yard dash in the 4.2-second range. But he's not the receiver I'm going to keep an eye on, because there's so much intrigue over
Dorial Green-Beckham. I remember watching him when he was the No. 1 overall recruit coming out of high school and then making a solid transition to the speed of play in the SEC at Missouri. But we just haven't seen enough of him in college to say he's definitely a first-round pick. As a result, he's got a huge opportunity to change opinions of him on the field and in the meeting room.
I'm most excited to see the edge pass rushers -- guys such as
Dante Fowler Jr.,
Bud Dupree and
Hau'oli Kikaha, specifically. I think a number of edge rushers have been overdrafted the past two years, but this year's class of pass rushers looks deeper than the past two. The college production of this year's group was much better than each of the past two, and I think the athleticism of this year's group will be better overall -- and that will show during the combine.
It's hard to single out one player. I'm excited to see what Baylor quarterback
Bryce Petty has accomplished over the past couple weeks. I'm also excited about Auburn receiver
Sammie Coates, because I think he's one of these guys who has real super speed. But the guy I'm probably most excited about is Washington defender
Shaq Thompson. Not only did he spend time playing linebacker, defensive back and running back for the Huskies, but his athleticism led the
MLB's Boston Red Sox to draft him in 2012.
Kentucky defensive end
Bud Dupree is the best pure athlete to come out of the Wildcats' program since
Randall Cobb, if not beyond. Chatter about Dupree's workout prowess around the UK football facility has been loud for a couple of years now. Expect the 265-pounder's combine numbers to read more like those of a linebacker than an end -- Dupree is as fast, agile and explosive as many of the top prospects who will weigh in at 30 or more pounds lighter. Kentucky coach Mark Stoops regards Dupree as highly as any defensive end he's ever coached -- and Stoops has made stops at places like FSU and Miami.