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Carusillo’s NFL Combine watch list

Who has the most to prove?

NCAA Football: Orange Bowl-Michigan vs Florida State
Cook breaking tackles.
Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

It’s important to watch every prospect at the combine because you never know what athlete could be the steal of the draft. The list below consists of prospects who, in my opinion, have the most to prove. Whether it’s a big name athlete trying to solidify first-round status; or a small name trying to boost his draft stock to the early half of the draft, the combine plays a crucial role in the prospect’s stocks.

Who can solidify their first-round pick status:

Jabrill Peppers, Linebacker, 6’1” and 205 pounds:

Is Peppers a box-safety or outside linebacker? He has all the physical tools you want in a freak athlete, but what position holds his highest ceiling? He needs to test well at the combine to solidify his mid first-round grade.

Christian McCaffrey, running back, 6’0” and 200 pounds:

Testing well at the combine will be vital for McCaffrey. The Swiss Army knife is a good combine performance away from cementing his first-round status.

Garett Bolles, OT, 6’5” and 300 pounds:

Bolles is flying up draft big boards. He’s on the fence of being a first or second-round pick, but if he tests well, he could find himself in the late first round. (Dolphins?)

Mitch Trubisky, QB, 6’3” and 220 pounds

Deshaun Watson, QB, 6’3” and 215 pounds

Mike Williams, WR, 6’3” and 225 pounds:

If Williams runs well, he likely won’t make it past Tennessee (fifth overall) but if he has a poor combine, his stock could fall. Occasional drops and top-end speed remain question marks.

John Ross, WR, 5’11” and 190 pounds

Zach Cunningham, LB, 6’4” and 230 pounds:

Fellow Phinsider draft analyst Josh Houtz broke down Cunningham in a professional fashion. I have not scouted defense yet but after seeing Houtz’s work, I can agree most Dolphins fans should pound the table for Cunningham at this point. Houtz can rave about Cunningham’s abilities if there are any readers on here who are skeptical of Cunningham as a serious consideration for Miami.

Marlon Humphrey, CB, 6’1” and 196 pounds:

Humphrey’s stock is all over the first-round. I’d like to see him test well and fortify his early first-round status. There are questions about his ability to track the ball.

first-round status. There are questions about his ability to track the ball.

Sidney Jones, CB, 6’1” and 181 pounds

Tre’Davious White, CB, 6’0” and 197 pounds

Teez Tabor, CB, 6’0” and 201 pounds; Quncy Wilson, CB, 6’1” and 213 pounds:

I’m interested to see how both UF corners test at the combine. There have been whispers that they lack top-end speed. While both are expected to be first round picks, they can make a push for top 15 selections.

Takkarist McKinley, DE, 6’2” and 265 pounds

Those who can revive their lost draft stock:

Cam Robinson, OT, 6’6” and 310 pounds:

Remember when Cam Robinson was considered the best tackle in this draft? Now he isn’t even considered a first-round pick. He needs to have an outstanding performance to rekindle his stock.

Derek Barnett, DE, 6’3” and 265 pounds:

Once considered a top-ten pick, Barnett now is falling into the late first round. Is he fast enough? Is he explosive enough? Quick twitched enough? This combine could make or break him.

Charles Harris, DE, 6’3” and 260 pounds

Carl Lawson, DE, 6’2” and 263 pounds

Malik McDowell, DL, 6’6” and 276 pounds:

Like Barnett, McDowell was highly coveted but turned in a subpar, injury-riddled year.

Tim Williams, DE, 6’4” and 252 pounds; Ryan Anderson, OLB, 6’2” and 253 pounds:

The outside edge rushers for Alabama have seen their stock fall into an unknown territory, with mocks projecting all over the place. Can they both assure at least second-round status?

Desmond King, CB/S, 5’11” and 203 pounds:

Top-end speed and lack of length are concerns for King, who is recommended to play safety rather than cornerback at the next level. He needs to run well at the combine.

Jourdan Lewis, CB, 5’11” and 186 pounds

Cameron Sutton, CB, 5’11” and 185 pounds

Those who can boost their stock into a first round pick:

DeShone Kizer, QB, 6’4” and 230 pounds:

No one knows exactly where he will be drafted, but he has all the physical and athletic tools you want in a quarterback. Why can’t he seem to put it all together? He doesn’t deserve a first-round selection, but teams have reached on less talented quarterbacks before.

Patrick Mahomes, QB, 6’3” and 230 pounds:

He’s the most unorthodox quarterback in the draft, but he’ll make highlight plays. The concern is, can he learn that every play doesn’t need to be a highlight play? He needs a lot of coaching on technique, but his stock continues to rise. There’s no telling what a desperate team may do when it comes to a quarterback.

Alvin Kamara, RB, 5’10” and 215 pounds

Zay Jones, WR, 6’1” and 197 pounds:

Is stock is scorching hot right now, and if he tests well at the combine, he’ll be a top 25 pick.

Juju Smith-Schuster, WR, 6’2” and 220 pounds

Haason Reddick, DE, 6’1” and 230 pounds

Jarrad Davis, LB, 6’2” and 238 pounds

Raekwon McMillan, ILB, 6’2” and 243 pounds

T.J. Watt, OLB, 6’5” and 243 pounds

The rest who can raise their stock by performing well:

Dan Feeney, OG, 6’4” and 305 pounds

Antonio Garcia, OT/OG, 6’7” and 302 pounds

Julie’n Davenport, OT, 6’7” and 315 pounds

Dion Dawkins, OT, 6’5” and 320 pounds

Nico Siragusa, OG, 6’5” and 330 pounds

Jerod Evans, QB, 6’3” and 238 pounds:

Evans struggles majorly with reads and check-downs, but he has some traits that translate well into the NFL. He’s not a blazer, but he’s quick and has a good arm.

Brad Kaaya, QB, 6’4” 215 and pounds

Davis Webb, QB, 6’5” and 230 pounds

Matt Dayes, RB, 5’9” and 203 pounds

Elijah Hood, RB, 6’0” and 220 pounds

Samaje Perine, RB, 5’10” and 230 pounds

Joe Williams, RB, 5’11” and 205 pounds:

Williams has questions he must answer about his desire and love for football after retiring and then returning. Keep an eye on his combine results, because on tape he is a physically gifted runner.

Curtis Samuel, RB, 5’11” and 197 pounds:

Samuel is an explosive, fast athlete, but lacks a definitive role. People are overhyping him or under-hyping him. I’m interested to see how he tests, but I think he’s mostly a scat-back.

Stacey Coley, WR, 6’1” and 195 pounds

Josh Reynolds, WR, 6’4” and 193 pounds:

Keep an eye on Josh Reynolds; he’s flying under the radar. Incredibly talented athlete, who isn’t the strongest, but has exceptional leaping ability. He made a few outstanding catches this past year.

Taywan Taylor, WR, 6’1’ and 195 pounds

Travin Dural, WR, 6’2” and 207 pounds; Malachi Dupre, WR, 6’4” and 197 pounds:

It wouldn’t be the first time LSU wide receivers came out of college underused before exploding in the NFL.

Adam Shaheen, TE, 6’6” and 277 pounds

Michael Roberts, TE, 6’5” and 270 pounds

Daeshon Hall, DE, 6’6” and 270 pounds

Trey Hendrickson, DE, 6’4” and 270 pounds

Dawuane Smoot, DE, 6’3” and 255 pounds

Deatrich Wise, DE, 6’5” and 271 pounds

Ben Boulware, ILB, 6’0” and 235 pounds

Kendall Beckwith, ILB, 6’3” and 247 pounds

Jalen Reeves-Maybin, OLB, 6’0” and 230 pounds

Duke Riley, OLB, 6’1” and 230 pounds

Chidobe Awuzie, CB, 6’0” and 205 pounds

Sojourn Shelton, CB, 5’9” and 168 pounds

Fabian Moreau, CB, 6’0” and 202 pounds

Obi Melifonwu, SS, 6’3” and 217 pounds:

Remember when Byron Jones stole the show at the combine in 2015? Melifonwu is this year’s version. Expect him to put on a show.

John Johnson, FS, 6’0” and 202 pounds

Justin Evans, SS, 6’1” and 200 pounds

Lorenzo Jerome, SS, 6’0” and 195 pounds:

A small-schooled athlete who could take scouts by surprise at the combine. It’ll be interesting to see him lined up against quality talent.

Marcus Williams, FS, 6’1” and 195 pounds

Cedric Thompson, S, 6’1” and 205 pounds

Marcus Maye, S, 6’0” and 216 pounds

Corn Elder, CB, 5’10” and 178 pounds:

Yes, he’s undersized. But he’s a phenomenal athlete who may run one of the fastest 40-times for a cornerback in this draft. It’s unjustified how he’s being stereotyped as only a slot corner in this draft — he won many battles against top talent this year with speed and instincts.

The combine begins with special teams, offensive lineman and running backs attending measurements and medical examinations on Wednesday, March 1, before beginning on-field workouts on Friday, March 3, per Kevin Nogle.