The end of next week kicks off the 2012 NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, on the same field that recently hosted Super Bowl XLVI. I guess it’s true that the Midwest has all the fun.
The Combine is a time to measure every tangible element of a prospective players’ game: speed, strength, obstacle courses and hand size. It’s a time of quick risers and tragic falls, as teams try to decide who will be the future faces of their franchise.
In anticipation of the festivities, NFL.com expert Mike Mayock posted his list of Combine attendees that he predicts will wow the stopwatches in the 40-yard dash. Some of the names could be targets for a Redskins offense and defense looking to add speedy playmakers.
Here’s a recap of his top players to watch for:
Running back Chris Rainey, Florida: Mayock predicts that Rainey and fellow Gator Jeff Demps might be the two fastest men in the Draft, but with Demps training for the Olympic team, Rainey looks to be the man. His fastest time clocked, according to Scout.com, is a 4.25, and he currently sits as a mid-round draft pick. With top of the class speed, he might be pushed higher than that.
Wide receiver Kendall Wright, Baylor: Wright played a significant role in Robert Griffin III’s Heisman trophy, hauling in 108 receptions for 1,663 yards and 14 touchdowns this season, with another 72 yards on the ground. At 5-10, 190 pounds, he is currently projected as a first round pick, and has a 40 time listed at 4.32. Mayock anticipates another mid-4.3 showing, calls him his No. 2 receiver in the draft, and compares him to Eagles receiver DeSean Jackson in ability. He may not be the top-rated receiver in his class, but a good showing could push him up many teams’ draft boards.
Linebacker Zach Brown, North Carolina: It’s not very often that a linebacker prospect is included in the discussion for fastest man, but Brown packs speed that could change that. At 6-1, 237 pounds, he’s slender for a linebacker, but could run a projected 4.35, down from his listed time of 4.40. According to Mayock, Brown holds the UNC track record for the 60-meter dash, proving that he has legitimate speed, which could land him in the first two rounds.
How will this affect the Redskins? Hard to say, other than that they’re looking for playmakers and depth at each of these positions. All three prospects are seniors, and Rainey and Brown were teammates on the Redskins-coach South Team at the 2012 Senior Bowl (Wright was invited, but had to decline with an ankle injury).
That exposure will put these prospects in perspective, no matter what their 40 times are next week.