It never fails. Every year, at least one player puts on a show at the NFL Scouting Combine that changes the way scouts look at him (in a good way) and subsequently boosts his draft stock. Sometimes this happens during an interview, but more often than not, it happens during one of the drills. Scouts will see something in a player they hadn't seen before, causing some franchises to rework their entire draft boards because of it.
Here are five players who could very well flip every mock draft on its head in Indianapolis.
5 Players Who Could Impress During the 2016 NFL Scouting Combine
Christian Hackenberg, QB, Penn State
Hackenberg's college career was somewhat of a disappointment. Then again, it was always a nice story that the top-rated quarterback in his class was keeping his commitment to Penn State even in the face of the Jerry Sandusky scandal. Some might say the chips were always stacked against him, as he spent much of his time in college avoiding and taking hits - thanks in large part to patchwork offensive lines full of walk-ons. Be that as it may, Hackenberg has all of the physical tools to be an elite NFL signal-caller and has been groomed by quarterback whisperers since the day he stepped on campus at Penn State. Don't be shocked if he lights up the Combine with his right arm and blows away scouts and coaches in interviews to vault himself into the conversation as the top quarterback available.
Keyarris Garrett, WR, Tulsa
Once he got over the injuries in college, we saw what Garrett was able to do when healthy in 2015 - posting 96 catches for 1,588 yards and eight touchdowns. He will be the most physically imposing wide receiver at the Combine. This should give him a leg up to start things off. After that, he can help himself by posting a better 40-time than scouts are expecting. If he can do that and avoid dropping routine passes throughout his stay in Indy, Garrett could go from a late third-/early fourth-round prospect to someone who is talked about as having a good shot to hear his named called early on Day 2 of the draft.
Evan Boehm, C, Missouri
Boehm was a four-year starter on the Tiger offensive line at two different positions. He is an underrated athlete who, despite concerns about his build, is likely to post some comparatively competitive workout numbers to others at his position - especially in the shuttle run and bench press. If he does, look for his stock to skyrocket based on those scores as well as his interviews - where he'll truly shine. His high football IQ and maturity might be enough to boost him from a fifth-round projection into the third round as a projected starter for a franchise in desperate need of a pivot man.
Ben Braunecker, TE, Harvard
The only negative anyone can seem to find in his game is the fact that he played in the Ivy League. Braunecker is one of the better athletes at the position and looks the part of a tight end that could contribute immediately for a handful of teams. Stereotyping a bit, but we know he's smart based on where he attended college. That intelligence transfers to on the field, where he always seems to make correct decisions running routes as well as blocking. Toss in a pair of sure, soft hands and there is not much to dislike here. Look for his workouts to all but eliminate any concerns over what league he played in.
Maliek Collins, DT, Nebraska
It wasn't long ago that Collins was projected as a solid first-rounder in several mocks. A disappointing 2015 season, however, changed that. He was Nebraska's only serious threat in its front seven, and teams seemed to scheme around him - double-teaming Collins frequently. It appeared as though he plateaued with the departure of defensive guru Bo Pelini as his head coach. Thankfully, he has the athletic ability to post some decent numbers at the Combine, which should put him back into the conversation as a late second- or early third-rounder. He's a guy who hasn't come anywhere near reaching his full potential, and I expect at least one lucky team to take notice based on his Combine performance.