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Zierlein: 9 draft prospects who should ace combine interviews

Editor's note: The interview process between prospects and NFL teams plays a key role in draft evaluations. NFL Media draft analyst Lance Zierlein has already highlighted the prospects that will have character concerns to answer for in their interviews next week at the NFL Scouting Combine. Here's a look at nine prospects he expects to ace their interviews. Full scouting reports by Zierlein are available here.

Ameer Abdullah, RB, Nebraska

From Zierlein's scouting report: Personal and football character is considered off-the-charts by the scouting community. ... His high character will make him a hit during interview process.
Sources Tell Us: "He has the highest overall character grade I've ever given to a prospect, and includes both football character and off-the-field. Aside from (Melvin) Gordon and (Todd) Gurley, I think he's the third best running back in this draft." -- AFC North scout

Obum Gwacham, DE, Oregon State

From Zierlein's scouting report: Exceptional personal and football character with a desire to learn his new position. ... His desire and character combined with his superb physical traits could make him a late-round project who teams show patience with as he gets bigger and continues to learn the position.
Sources Tell Us: "This guy is going to blow some people away with his explosion numbers and teams will love him in interviews because he's a genuinely good guy. As a player, he still needs a lot of time to develop and you better set aside time for that and have a plan for him." -- NFC South area scout.

Jordan Hicks, OLB, Texas

From Zierlein's scouting report: Smart and loves the game of football. Scouts say the staff at Texas raves about the way Hicks lifts, prepares for games and takes care of his body. Has football character in spades.
Sources Tell Us: "He'll probably be a coach after he's done with football. He loves it that much. His problem is that it's hard to project the player fitting into his traits because he struggles to make plays outside of the scheme." -- AFC area scout

Eric Kendricks, ILB, UCLA

From Zierlein's scouting report: Kendricks is an intelligent leader with high football character.
Sources Tell Us: "His production and character makes it easy for a scout to bang the table for him. The only blow-back I anticipate in my room is regarding his size, but if you stick him at the WILL spot, I don't think it matters." -- NFC West regional scout

Tyler Lockett, WR, Kansas State

From Zierlein's scouting report: His father was a standout wide receiver at Kansas State and played in the NFL. Intelligent player on field who has clearly learned from his father. ... Scouts say his personal character and football character are top-notch.

Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon

From Zierlein's scouting report: Considered extremely coachable by scouts, who also love his willingness to play hurt. Very humble and leads by example. Family and heritage are extremely important to him.

Lorenzo Mauldin, OLB, Louisville

From Zierlein's scouting report: Confident and tough with high football character. Gives second effort and doesn't quit on plays. ... Known for strong mental makeup, Mauldin is expected to check all of the character boxes, according to scouts.
Sources Tell Us: "He overcame a tough childhood and developed a mindset that nothing is going to stop him. He works his butt off and he wants to be great. I'm cheering hard for this kid and I'll bang the table for him when the time is right." -- NFC North scout

Joey Mbu, DT, Houston

From Zierlein's scouting report: Football and personal character are sky-high, according to regional scouts.
Sources Tell Us: "The coaches at Houston can't stop talking about how good the kid is and what kind of leader he is." -- AFC defensive line coach

Ty Montgomery, WR, Stanford

From Zierlein's scouting report: Strong personal character and considered an "accountable teammate" by coaching staff. ... Montgomery is a likable person with high character and an ability to leave a positive impression in draft interviews, but teams will still have to figure out how they want to use him.

Follow Lance Zierlein on Twitter @LanceZierlein.

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