2012 NFL Combine predictions

With less than a week remaining before the 2012 NFL Combine gets underway, let's take a moment and attempt to predict how things will shake out in Indianapolis next weekend (otherwise known as the Super Bowl of college prospect workouts). We already have a good idea of who the main players will be at the Combine; what we don't know, however, is if any lesser-known prospects will be close to household-name status after next weekend. The field of defensive prospects this year is sneaky good, and there are a handful of receivers who could make some serious noise via pass-catching drills and the 40 yard dash.

Some of these predictions are obvious; others are pretty much shots in the dark. Let me know your own predictions in the comment section. I'll post the best responses in my recap following the Combine.

Most dominant performance

Offense: Trent Richardson, RB Alabama

Defense: Quinton Coples, DE North Carolina

No surprises here. Richardson is built to destroy Combine workouts, and I expect Coples to pick up where he left off from Senior Bowl week.

Biggest Riser - QB

B.J. Coleman, Tennessee-Chattanooga

Great size (6'3", 225), big arm and accurate. Coleman could put on a show during passing drills and warrant a day two selection.

Biggest Riser - RB

David Wilson, Virginia Tech

Wilson should be in play as the No.2 running back in this draft class after his Combine performance (though Miami's Lamar Miller will have something to say about that). Wilson is an explosive talent in the backfield, and he has the thick build necessary to withstand a punishing workload at the NFL level.

Biggest Riser - OL

Mike Adams, Ohio State

Adams may have already sneaked past Jonathan Martin as the third-best tackle in this draft class, but he could become a legit top 15 selection with a solid performance in Indianapolis. His size (6'7", 330) and impressive footwork will turn plenty of heads at the Combine.

Biggest Riser - WR

Kendall Wright, Baylor

Haven't heard much regarding Wright's banged-up ankle. Still, I am certainly not putting myself out there by suggesting he will have a big Combine. Wright's phenomenal speed and near-flawless hands should vault him into the No.2 receiver position in this draft.

Biggest Riser - TE

Orson Charles, Georgia

Dwyane Allen and Coby Fleener will be the big tight-end names at the Combine, but Orson Charles' style of play is very similar to New England's Aaron Hernandez. That aspect alone will get him plenty of attention next weekend.

Biggest Riser - DE

Andre Branch, Clemson

Branch has tweener size, but could play end in the 4-3, and he's a big hitter for such a lanky prospect. He'll be able to put his speed and length on display for scouts next weekend. Get ready for the JPP comparisons.

Biggest Riser - DT

Fletcher Cox, Mississippi State

Cox has the base to anchor consistently hold up at the point of attack, and he's athletic enough to be a frequent visitor to the opposing backfield. The defensive tackle position is a wee bit thin in this draft class, so look for Cox, as well as Michigan State's Jerel Worthy and Clemson's Brandon Thompson, to become familiar names at the Combine.

Biggest Riser - DE/OLB

Nick Perry, USC

Questions remain as to whether or not Perry is big enough to play 4-3 end in the NFL, but his speed, instincts, Enzo Ferrari-approved motor and pass-rush skills will have scouts drooling over the prospect of Perry playing outside linebacker at the next level. That's not to say Perry can't be a 4-3 end, though, and he'd sure be a nice addition to a team running, say, a hybrid scheme.

Biggest Riser - LB

Zach Brown, North Carolina

This projection is mainly based on the likelihood that Brown will run a phenomenal 40 yard dash. Unlike fellow linebacking flyer Dontay Moch (remember him?), Brown consistently looked the part of dominant 4-3 outside linebacker this season.

Biggest Riser - S

Antonio Allen, South Carolina

Allen's name was often lost on a Gamecocks defense loaded with talent (Melvin Ingram, Devin Taylor, Jadeveon Clowney, Stephon Gilmore, etc.), but he brings quality size (6'2", 205) and speed to the safety position, and he was an absolute run killer at South Carolina. Notre Dame's Harrison Smith was a close runner-up here.

Biggest Riser - CB

Dwight Bentley, Louisiana-Lafayette; Cliff Harris, Oregon

The only true split on this list, mainly because I believe both prospects are going to tear it up in their own unique way at the Combine. Bentley looked fantastic during Senior Bowl week, and could be a day two lock in the 2012 draft if he has an impressive showing in Indianapolis. Harris' 2011 season was mired in character concerns and questionable choices, but his athleticism and uber-ball-hawking prowess could win over several scouts at the Combine. He's a pure cover corner who can make a difference in the run game.

Tomorrow we'll take a look at the players who may not look so great at the Combine.

Log In Sign Up

Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join The Phinsider

You must be a member of The Phinsider to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at The Phinsider. You should read them.

Join The Phinsider

You must be a member of The Phinsider to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at The Phinsider. You should read them.




Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.