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10 NFL draft prospects who can boost stock at combine

Sportsnaut logo Sportsnaut 2/17/2019 Jesse Reed, Sportsnaut
Kyler Murray in a suit and tie © Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

There are a total of 335 NFL draft prospects who have been invited to the 2019 NFL Scouting Combine. Each one of them is facing plenty of pressure, but some have a unique opportunity to really boost their draft stock.

Sure, everyone likes to say that the annual dog and pony show in Indianapolis shouldn’t really impact player evaluations much. But the reality is some players really do improve their stock every single year at the combine.

With that in mind, here’s a look at 10 players who can do just that when the combine starts on February 26.

Kyler Murray, quarterback, Oklahoma

a close up of a man in a red uniform holding a baseball bat © Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Obviously, the big thing everyone cannot wait to find out is exactly how tall Kyler Murray is. His college coach said a while back that he was just a shade under 5-foot-10 with socks on. We’ll find out soon enough. Height aside, it’s going to be fascinating to hear how teams react to their meetings with Murray, who recently gave a cringe-worthy interview and appears to have a helicopter dad who could be a problem.

Devin Singletary, running back, FAU

a baseball player throwing a ball © Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

Devin Singletary doesn’t look like a lead back because he’s just 5-foot-9 and 200 pounds. But his tape screams three-down running back, and there are some who think he could become the best of this year’s class when it’s all said and done. Long speed is no problem, and it’s going to be fascinating to see what time he posts in his 40. If Singletary shows up to the combine with some extra weight, posts a blazing 40 and wows in his explosion drills, he will certainly boost his already high stock.

Keelan Doss, wide receiver, UC Davis

© John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

Keelan Doss came seemingly out of nowhere and absolutely dominated when he got his chances at the Reese’s Senior Bowl in January. The Aggies star put up prolific numbers the past three seasons, racking up an astonishing 299 receptions for 3,744 yards and 26 touchdowns. Doss also has excellent size, at 6-foot-3 and 204 pounds. If he has a nice day on the track and impresses in interviews, the small-school star will continue to rocket up draft boards.

Hakeem Butler, wide receiver, Iowa State

a crowd of people watching a football ball © Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports

Teams in need of a big receiver who can excel in the red zone will be taking a long, hard look at Hakeem Butler. This 6-foot-6, 225-pound physical freak made a name for himself at Iowa State by regularly turning in highlight-reel catches (like this). A player most project as a second-rounder at this point, Butler could potentially vault into the bottom half of Round 1 if he turns in a banner performance — particularly showing off quickness and burst — at Lucas Oil Stadium.

T.J. Hockenson, tight end, Iowa

a group of baseball players standing on top of a field © Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

T.J. Hockenson is already seen by some as the top tight end prospect in the 2019 NFL Draft class. Many expect him to follow in the footsteps of George Kittle, who set the NFL on fire this past year, just two years removed from his final season at Iowa. Blessed with prototypical size at 6-foot-5 and 250 pounds, Hockenson is certainly in the “freak” category when it comes to physical traits. He’s also a devastating blocker and all-around tremendous tight end. If he has a combine like the one we saw last year from Mike Gesicki, he’ll give himself a legitimate chance to land in the top 15 of Round 1.

Charles Omenihu, defensive end, Texas

© Ben Queen-USA TODAY Sports

Wherever he gets drafted, Charles Omenihu is going to need some time to develop. He’s extremely raw and lacks polished technique. However, the potential to become a legitimate star is certainly there. We saw that potential blossom a bit during Senior Bowl week, as Omenihu was unblockable at times going against some very solid offensive linemen. A huge man, at 6-foot-5 and 274 pounds, Omenihu has a real chance to open more eyes if he lights up the track, shows strength and quickness and interviews well at the combine.

Khalen Saunders, defensive tackle, Western Illinois

a man wearing a helmet © Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

Likely, you’ve heard of Khalen Saunders, despite his small-school status. He made headlines nationally for his backflips and because he chose to attend the Senior Bowl instead of being there for the birth if his daughter. That decision paid off. Saunders was the talk of Mobile during practices, and then he showed up big during the Senior Bowl itself with a dynamic sack early. A strong showing on the bench, and during field drills, will only further boost Saunders’ draft stock.

Montez Sweat, EDGE, Mississippi State

a man smiling for the camera © Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

Already pretty much a lock to be selected in the first round this coming April, Montez Sweat has a chance to vault up into the top 10 with a strong showing at the combine. Tall, long and very quick off the ball, this 6-foot-6 edge-rusher is only going to get bigger in the coming years. He has room to grow, so to speak. It’s going to be fascinating to see what kind of freakish athleticism he has. Also, due to the fact that he projects as a 3-4 outside linebacker, his work on the field will be important to ace.

Rock Ya-Sin, cornerback, Temple

a crowd of people watching a baseball game © Derik Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

Cornerbacks who excel in press-man coverage are highly coveted. Rock Ya-Sin happens to be very good at it. He showed off his skills plenty during Senior Bowl week and was a ball hawk at Temple last year with two picks and 12 passes defensed. An extremely physical corner, Ya-Sin needs to show he has elite speed and quickness to prove he belongs in the top tier of cornerbacks in this year’s draft class.

Nasir Adderley, safety, Delaware

a man with a football ball on a baseball field © Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

Another small-school star with a chance to do big things at the NFL level, Nasir Adderley is a rangy safety with outstanding speed and a nose for the ball. He had four interceptions in 2018 at Delaware and came up with big play after big play in the Senior Bowl. The one thing that could hurt Adderley’s stock is that he’s undersized, at just 6-foot and 200 pounds. But if he can show off elite athleticism, he’ll almost certainly be the first FCS player selected in the 2019 NFL Draft.

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