NFL Combine: Jadeveon Clowney and Johnny Manziel stars of Indy
By Paul Higham Twitter: @SkySportsPaulH. Last Updated: 25/02/14 1:52pm
Jadeveon Clowney runs the 40-yard dash during the 2014 NFL Combine
The Combine is the biggest NFL off-season event outside of the Draft, where teams get to see the top college prospects put through their paces to prove they have what it takes to thrive in the big league.
Two names have dominated, and continued to do so with their Combine performances, South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney and Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel are the big hits from the event in Indianapolis.
Send in the Clowney
Jadeveon Clowney gave a blistering insight into why he could be the very first name read out in the Draft with a blistering 40-yard dash time of 4.53 - almost a superhuman effort for a defensive lineman. His speed and pass rushing abilities are why he is expected by many to be heading to the Houston Texans with the No 1 pick. Clowney didn't perform all of the drills, and had a very modest bench press indeed, while his work ethic has been questioned by his own coaches in college, so teams will have been probing him as much mentally as physically during the Combine.
A top pass rusher is always up there near the top of any team's wish-list though, and Clowney is predicted by many to be a future dominant star at the position, so unless he gives all the wrong answers in interviews he won't be hanging around the green room at Radio City Music Hall for too long come Draft night.
The most exciting player in college football has unsurprisingly been the most vocal in the run-up to the Draft, even calling out the Texans to pick him at No 1 saying they would be making the mistake of a lifetime in passing on him. He, too, did not do all the drills at the Combine and is hoping to shine at his Pro Day but he also has a lot to prove about his character as well as his ability after a colourful college career to say the least.
He's undersized but makes some wonderful plays on the run outside of the pocket, and a certain Russell Wilson winning the Super Bowl has done him a huge favour. Having so many teams needing a QB also helps so even if character issues mean he is not even the first QB taken in the Draft he should be among the Top 10 at the very least.
The quarterback is the most important position in the league, so it only stands to reason that protecting your main man is also of huge importance - so step forward the offensive lineman - the 'Elephants on Parade' as they called it on NFL Network.
Texas A&M's Jake Matthews and Auburn's Greg Robinson figure to be the first two lineman taken in the Draft, with the Rams seemingly picking between those two with the No 2 overall pick. Michigan's Taylor Lewan made a big impression in Indy with his physical attributes.
With the NFL being a passing league, as many keep on saying, then grabbing an elite wide receiver becomes even more important and at this position the Combine sprints, drills and jumps are all relevant when looking at the men to grab the touchdown passes for you in the NFL.
Clemson wideout Sammy Watkins did his chances no harm at the Combine and looks to be NFL-ready, but Texas A&M giant Mike Evans made a huge impact - coming in at around six-foot-five with a huge reach but with lightning pace. NFL teams will be licking their lips at the thought of drafting the next Calvin Johnson, Julio Jones etc etc, so his stock has definitely risen thanks to Indy.