1. Jameis Winston: throw or no?
While NFL clubs are probably more concerned with getting a full personality and character profile of Winston, who has had some off the field transgressions in his time Florida State, there is still the question of whether he'll participate in quarterback drills and throw. A lot of top QB prospects have not thrown in the past. If his agent doesn't see any inherent benefit to him throwing, he'll likely skip it. We'll know by next Thursday at the latest.
2. Combine question marks
It's not just Winston who will have questions to answer when NFL teams sit him down for formal interviews. Michigan DE Frank Clark, TCU LB P.J. Dawson, Missouri WR Dorial Green-Beckham, Tennessee LB A.J. Johnson, Florida DT Leon Orr, Washington CB Marcus Peters, USC CB Josh Shaw and Florida State RB Karlos Williams will all be under the microscope as NFL clubs decide whether these prospects can be trusted to stay on the straight and narrow at the pro level.
3. Prospects from Southern Ontario
There are four native Canadians who will be participating at this year's NFL Combine. Two of them hail from Southern Ontario. QB Brandon Bridge (6-5, 235) from South Alabama is from Mississauga and Yale RB Tyler Varga (5-10, 227) is from Kitchener. Varga participated in the Senior Bowl and by most accounts had a solid week. Bridge played in the NFLPA bowl and runs a 4.64 40-time. He projects as a day three pick.
4. D3 Nation repped
Fred Jackson would be happy to see a Division III player participating at this year's Combine. On top of that, he hails from Hobart College in Geneva, NY. Ali Marpet projects to guard in the NFL and is coming off a solid week in Mobile at the Senior Bowl, where he proved himself capable of playing with some of the best defensive line talent in the college ranks. Marpet is projecting as a fourth-round pick.
5. Under the radar names
Marpet won't be the only small school player looking to boost their profile at the combine this week. Among some of the other under the radar players are the following.
RB John Crockett – North Dakota St.
RB Zach Zenner – South Dakota State
WR Dez Lewis – Central Arkansas
WR Tre McBride – William & Mary
TE MyCole Pruitt – Southern Illinois
TE Jean Sifrin – UMASS
OL Robert Myers – Tennessee State
DL Ryan Delaire – Towson
DE Lynden Trail – Norfolk State
DT Xavier Williams – Northern Iowa
6. Underclassmen offer top talent at WR and DE
Though the number of underclassmen eligible for the 2015 NFL draft is down from that of a year ago there is a good deal of top flight talent at wide receiver and defensive end.
Of the 12 under classmen in the draft pool at receiver, as many as six could go in the top 50 picks this spring. Defensive end isn't very far behind with up to five going in the top 60 overall selections.
The early entry receivers are led by Amari Cooper (Alabama) and Jaelen Strong (ASU) while at defensive end junior eligibles Randy Gregory (Nebraska) and Shane Ray (Missouri) are deemed the best at their position.
7. Players coming off injury
There are unfortunately a little more than half a dozen prospects coming off of late season injuries heading into the NFL combine. They'll be examined more thoroughly than most this week. Most of them are not expected to test on the field.
RB Tevin Coleman – Indiana (toe/foot surgery - Dec.)
CB Ifo Ekpre-Olomu – Oregon (ACL – Dec.), RB Tori Gurley (ACL – Nov.)
DE/OLB Randy Gregory - Nebraska (concussion, knee surgery)
DT Christian Covington – Rice (dislocated kneecap – surgery)
C Greg Mancz – Toledo (knee injury – Dec.)
OT Cedric Ogbuehi – Texas A&M (ACL - Jan.)
LB Edmond Robinson - Newberry
S Dean Marlowe – James Madison
S Jaquiski Tarrt - Samford
8 – Fastest in the 40?
Next Saturday will be the big workout day when quarterbacks, running backs and wide receivers take to the Lucas Oil Stadium turf. Miami WR Phillip Dorsett, who is coming off a strong Senior Bowl week, is considered by many to be the favorite to clock the fastest 40 time in Indianapolis.