The jumping-off point for the 2013 NFL season, the annual scouting combine, features a celebrated leaper and a much-scrutinized leap of faith among the more than 300 players who will be evaluated by the league's scouts, coaches and executives.
The leaper is Texas receiver Marquise Goodwin, who finished 10th in the long jump at the London Olympics, and the leap of faith is Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o, whose stellar college career was marred by a poor performance in the Bowl Championship Series title game and a bizarre hoax involving a make-believe dead girlfriend.
Te'o, in particular, figures to draw a crowd of reporters that will test the capacity of the makeshift media center at Lucas Oil Stadium, where the six-day event takes place. The combine gets underway Thursday with measurements and medical examinations of offensive linemen and special-teams players.
The distinguishing characteristic of this draft class could be that there are relatively few dazzling stars, especially at quarterback, which probably will have teams trying to trade out of the top 10 spots in hopes of getting value later.
Draft expert Mike Mayock of the NFL Network said that he doesn't see as many "difference makers" at the top of the draft as in recent years but that "we probably have better depth than we've had in the last 10 years."
In each of the last two years, four quarterbacks were selected in the opening round. And the offensive rookie of the year finalist last season was Seattle's Russell Wilson, a third-round pick in 2012.
By Mayock's thinking, there are a "whole lot of holes in the quarterback class," one that features West Virginia's Geno Smith, USC's Matt Barkley and Tennessee's Tyler Bray, the only underclassman at the position invited to the combine.
Star power is in short supply at NFL combine
Chicago Tribune | Feb 21