You can usually tell if a guy is a good football player at any level just by watching him play. This week's NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis is going to be loaded with good college football players, all auditioning for the chance to be drafted and go on to become good NFL players. As scouts and analysts look closer and dig deeper, questions arise about things like a player's attitude, his fit in terms of need and scheme and the actual impact they'll have every Sunday.
These are players who need to impress at the Combine in order to improve or sustain their current draft projections, largely due to those questions.
5 Players Who Need to Impress at the 2016 NFL Scouting Combine
Joey Bosa, DE, Ohio State
Everybody loves Bosa. He looks the part. He's physical. He's athletic. He has also had a couple of issues — both on the field and off of it — that might have teams questioning whether or not he is talented enough to be worth the risk of being a top-five pick. Is he the sort of player who changes the fortunes of the Titans or Browns? Or is he just a solid contributor who will help out moving forward. Bosa needs to put on a show at the Combine to solidify his status as a serious candidate to be the No. 1 overall pick in late April.
Carson Wentz, QB, North Dakota State
Wentz is the flavor of the month, and it's time to produce. Scouts and analysts are swooning over his size, athleticism and maturity, but all of that can go away quickly if you lay an egg at the Combine — ask Teddy Bridgewater. We know Wentz is a winner, but we also know those wins came at the FCS level against inferior competition. Wentz will need to have noticeably more zip and accuracy on his passes than most of the other quarterbacks and be comparable in agility drills if he wants to solidly himself as the top quarterback prospect.
Noah Spence, DE, Eastern Kentucky
Spence might be the most talented player available in the 2016 NFL Draft, but there's a reason he's at Eastern Kentucky. He needs to convince NFL personnel that his drug issues are behind him and come off as a mature guy who will fit into any locker room. He also needs to dominate in his position drills. Drafting Spence is a risk, and he must convince scouts that he's a risk worth taking.
Derrick Henry, RB, Alabama
Sure, Henry won the Heisman and looked dominant throughout the season. He also looked one-dimensional at times. There is a stigma attached to Alabama running backs right now, thanks to a string of disappointing or average performances at the NFL level by his Tide predecessors. Henry needs to do what he can at the Combine to show off agility and pass-catching ability that we haven't seen much of from him during his career at Alabama. It could be the difference between him being the second or sixth running back taken off the board.
Ronnie Stanley, OT, Notre Dame
Everyone has Laremy Tunsil at the top tackle and possible top overall pick. The reason that Stanley's name does not occupy that line in most mocks is technique. He's a superior athlete with more upside than Tunsil, but needs to show improvement — both in his footwork and use of hands — to present himself as a better option than Tunsil on draft day. If he shows noticeable improvement during position drills and dominates workouts like expected, he could create quite the dilemma for the Tennessee Titans, who are currently on the clock. Otherwise, there's a chance he's falls outside the top five — maybe even the top 10.