The NFL Scouting Combine runs Feb. 22-25 in Indianapolis, and it brings together 335 of the nation's most draftable players and numerous front-office representatives and scouts from each NFL team.
A big portion of the combine is the individual events, such as the 40-yard dash, the bench press and the vertical jump.
This is Part 6 of our position-by-position look at the combine, spotlighting tight ends. We look at six prospects who will be scrutinized this year and also look at noteworthy event performances in the past five combines. We'll also look at how notable current players performed at their combine events.
Six to watch this year
Rob Blanchflower, Massachusetts: Blanchflower (6-foot-4, 260 pounds) is one of the best senior prospects at the position despite playing for one of the worst FBS programs in the nation. He also missed eight games over the past two seasons, including six as a senior, and his injury issues caused him to miss the Reese's Senior Bowl. He has good size but needs to show he's healthy at the combine.
C.J. Fiedorowicz, Iowa: Fiedorowicz (6-5, 262) has excellent size and good athleticism but was inconsistent and sometimes unproductive with the Hawkeyes. Was he underutilized for a legitimate reason? He is the No. 1 senior prospect at the position but needs to show well in the combine events.
Xavier Grimble, USC: Grimble probably would have been best served returning for his senior season. He is athletic and will test well, but will that trump his lackluster career at USC?
A.C. Leonard, Tennessee State: Leonard, who turned pro a year early, began his career at Florida before transferring; he also played at two high schools and has had maturity issues. That said, he is a big-time athlete who should open some eyes in the combine events. Leonard (6-4, 245) isn't much of a blocker, but he can run and has the speed to be a legitimate deep threat.
Troy Niklas, Notre Dame: Niklas surprised some by turning pro early, but he should be among the first five or so tight ends off the board despite not seeing much playing time until the 2013 season. He was a touted offensive tackle in high school and might be the best blocker among the tight ends. Niklas (6-7, 270) was nicknamed "Hercules" by his Irish teammates. How will he test at the combine?
Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Washington: Seferian-Jenkins (6-6, 276) is a big-time athlete whose production dropped way off in his junior season after a strong sophomore season. But he surprised no one when he turned pro early. His combine performance should be excellent, and if you like Seferian-Jenkins, that will strengthen those feelings. But will that combine performance win over any detractors?
Combine bests over past five years
Mike Huguenin can be reached at email@example.com. You also can follow him on Twitter @MikeHuguenin.