Beav trio get underway at NFL combine

THE NFL COMBINE begins Thursday in Indianapolis and for three Beavs – Stephen Paea, C Alex Linnenkohl and RB Jacquizz Rodgers – how they perform in testing and interviews over the next several days will help determine their future. Here's where they stand, according to some of the NFL Draft gurus, headed into the combine, plus more.

For those who get the NFL Network, the combine coverage begins at 4 p.m. PT on Thursday and runs through Tuesday, March 1.

Headed into the combine, Stephen Paea, despite a recent knee injury, is still forecast as a first round pick, or right on the edge of the first round, by several internet sites who cover the draft.

Mel Kiper of ESPN, however, and perhaps allowing to the injury, does not have Paea rated in his defensive tackle top five. Elsewhere, Paea is rated the No. 3 DT available behind Marcell Dareus of Alabama and Nick Fairley of Auburn by NFL Countdown, while NFL Draft Scout has him as the fourth best DT, and the No. 36 pick overall (4th in the second round).

The Sporting News sees Paea going with the No. 29 pick to the Chicago Bears in Round 1.

Paea, who had surgery a month ago to clean out cartilage after tearing his meniscus at the Senior Bowl, will not run at the combine but he is expected to lift, interview and do other testing.

Alex Linnenkohl is projected by Kiper as the fourth best center available. NFL Draft Countdown has him as the third best center prospect, behind Stefen Wisniewski of Penn State and Kristofer O'Dowd of USC. NFL Draft Scout projects him as the seventh best center prospect in the draft -- projecting Linnenkohl to go in the 6-7th rounds.

None of the three prognostications, however, forecast a center will be taken in the first round, and only one center is projected to be taken in the first two rounds according to NFL Draft Scout.

Linnenkohl, though, might play guard at the next level, as he did for much of the East-West Shrine Game.

Jacquizz Rodgers is forecast as between a third and seventh round pick by a number of draft sites.

Kiper does not list him among his top five. NFL Draft Countdown picks him as the 14th best running back available, behind Alabama's Mark Ingram (1), Eastern Washington's Taiwan Jones (7), Cal's Shane Vereen (8) and Miami's Graig Cooper (13) and not taken until the middle to later rounds. NFL Draft Scout sees him as the sixth best RB available, taken somewhere in the 2-3rd rounds.

Oregon State's Pro Day is mid-March, and all three are expected to perform again under the watchful eye of NFL scouts in Corvallis.

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