We are now less than two weeks away from the 2015 NFL Scouting Combine. As more than 300 prospects prepare to try and impress coaches and executives from all 32 NFL teams, those teams have to decide which prospects they want to meet privately with at the combine. Here is a look at 10 prospects the Bucs should meet with at the combine.
1. Jameis Winston - QB - FSU: Like most NFL Draft prospects, Winston will be well prepared for his interviews at the combine. It is important for the Bucs to try and break down that initial barrier in the 15 minutes they have to meet with Winston. The Bucs can also compare what is said at the combine to what is said when Winston visits their facility at some point over the next few months. What might be even more important than what Winston says is what the people around him during his time at Florida State say when the Bucs come calling.
2. Marcus Mariota - QB - Oregon: People tend to think the interviews at the combine are to get a better gauge for a player's personality and character, but it can also be used to check a player's football intelligence. With Mariota, I'd spend the entire 15 minutes with him at the board drawing up plays and explaining the reads on each. I'd want him giving me pre-snap reads, offensive line calls, and keys to read after the snap.
3. Todd Gurley - RB - Georgia: Most Bucs fans will see another running back after the Bucs selected Charles Sims last year in the 3rd round, but Gurley has the potential to be special. I'd obviously want an update on his torn ACL, but I'd also want to see if Gurley's character, personality, and determination are worth me betting a 2nd round pick on him over a position of more need for my team. Gurley has potential to be a star running back for a team willing to be patient with him.
4. Paul Dawson - MLB - TCU: Dawson has everything that I'm looking for on film from a middle linebacker. He's a big hitter and good in coverage. There have been rumors that Dawson is not "beloved" within the TCU program and not as committed as he should be. Dawson is the classic example of star talent with the potential of being a pain in the ass. Dawson's interview will be key at the combine.
5. D.J. Humphries - OT - Florida: Humphries is starting to get some nice buzz heading into the combine. NFL Network's Daniel Jeremiah says the athletic Humphries could end up as a 1st round pick. In a draft that lacks true left tackles who are athletic enough in pass protection, Humphries could see his stock continue to rise. The biggest concern with Humphries is the numerous injuries he had with the Gators.
6. Cedric Ogbuehi - OT - Texas A&M: Ogbuehi has been considered a 1st round pick since he almost entered last year's draft. Now, after tearing an ACL in his bowl game, Ogbuehi is trying to steady his stock from dropping too far. I'm not as high on Ogbuehi as others because I feel he's probably better and limited to right tackle. Being limited to right tackle and coming off of an ACL tear would likely drop Ogbuehi to the 3rd round on my board.
7. Stephone Anthony - MLB - Clemson: I think Anthony could test well at the combine. He's an athletic linebacker who shows good speed. With any linebacker, I'd want to meet with Anthony and see if he has the intense leadership I need to go with his athleticism.
8. Cameron Erving - OL - FSU: I think it's a coin flip as to whether Erving makes it to the Bucs pick in the 2nd round. Erving is the top center in this draft and has the versatility to play any spot along an offensive line. For the Bucs, it might also behoove them to ask a few questions to Erving about Jameis Winston in the huddle, and at the line of scrimmage. You never know what you could learn.
9. Anthony Chickillo - DE - Miami: I'm not anticipating Chickillo to blow away any NFL people with his numbers at the combine, and his film is not overly impressive either. With that said, Chickillo can win in the meeting rooms and give himself a shot in the NFL. There are some who claim Chickillo will be much better in the NFL if he is allowed to go get the quarterback as opposed to just holding up blockers like he was asked to do at Miami. If he ends up being a late round pick, Chickillo might provide valuable depth to a defensive line. Chickillo is also from the Tampa Bay area, which adds to the intrigue.
10. Justin Hardy - WR - East Carolina: You could put a number of receiver names in this place like Rashad Greene, Phillip Dorsett, Tyler Lockett, Jamison Crowder, Stefon Diggs, Nelson Agholor, etc. Hardy plays much bigger than his stature at 5'10'' and 190 lbs. I think Hardy could be extremely valuable as a mid round pick and slot receiver in the NFL. Hardy's excellent route running and ability to catch the ball with his hands away from his body could lead to him having a long career in the NFL.
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