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more combine/draft stuff


The 1st Round Pick
Jul 16, 2009
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The Senior Bowl gave players such as USC free safety Taylor Mays, Michigan defensive end Brandon Graham, Idaho guard Mike Iupati and others a chance to improve their first-round draft stock.

Starting Wednesday, 329 candidates for the 2010 NFL draft will arrive in Indianapolis for the 32-team scouting combine, but underclassmen will receive the main attention. Thanks to a deep group of underclassmen, the 2010 draft class is considered to be one of the richest in years.

As many as 20 underclassmen could be selected in the first round, and more than a dozen others could fill the second round. Because more athletes are expected to work out and run at the combine than in past years, the results from Friday through next Tuesday could determine where players will go in this year's draft.

Here are the five main storylines for the combine:

1. Colt McCoy's place in the draft: Because they are recovering from injuries, Sam Bradford of Oklahoma and Jimmy Clausen of Notre Dame won't work out at the combine, but they will be present for important physicals. That clears the way for McCoy of Texas to gain ground on them by throwing the football. The knock on McCoy is his arm strength; despite his accuracy, he is considered a second- or third-rounder because he doesn't wow scouts with his throwing. Wisely, McCoy said he will throw and work out. A good workout could open eyes for first-round consideration.

There is some debate that Dan LeFevour of Central Michigan might have moved ahead of McCoy on some teams' boards after the good work he did during the Senior Bowl. A year ago, Mark Sanchez solidified his first-round status by throwing at the combine, even though he wasn't perfect. Tony Pike of Cincinnati and Tim Tebow of Florida also will be interesting to follow. Pike didn't hurt himself at the Senior Bowl, while Tebow hurt his stock because he showed a flawed throwing delivery. Tebow is working on refining his game and will not throw until the Gators' pro day on March 17.

Overall, it's an interesting class of quarterbacks. As many as nine could go in the first four rounds. Jevan Snead of Mississippi could use a good throwing performance to change perceptions that he made a mistake by turning pro too early. Accuracy was a problem in his final season in college.

2. Competition between DTs Ndamukong Suh and Gerald McCoy at the top of the draft: Suh is putting pressure on every player considered near the top of the draft. Although the Nebraska star has been considered the top pick for more than a month, he says he will work out and try to put on a show at the combine. That could pressure McCoy and Tennessee safety Eric Berry to work out as well.

Suh is a freak. Some consider him to be the best defensive tackle prospect since Warren Sapp. The St. Louis Rams could take Suh with the first pick, and there is some thought that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers would consider trading up from No. 3 to grab him.

Drafting defensive tackles among the top five picks usually leads to disappointment; the last great one drafted that early was Cortez Kennedy (Seahawks) in 1990. But defensive tackle is considered the best position in this draft. As many as 13 defensive tackles could come off the board in the first four rounds, and at least five could go in the first round. Dan Williams of Tennessee, Jared Odrick of Penn State and Brian Price of UCLA all could be pressed to work out to secure first-round spots.

Another interesting sight will be the weigh-in for Terrence Cody of Alabama. Cody disappointed scouts at the Senior Bowl by weighing in at 370 pounds, but he solidified his second-round status by having good workouts.

3. Mays' 40 time: Mays' 40-yard dash time could be a huge story.


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