In line for an NFL combine boost

Players who could solidify or really see their stock jump at the NFL combine this week

Originally Published: February 23, 2011
By Mel Kiper Jr. |
Smith/LittleUS PresswireAldon Smith is looking to raise his profile; Greg Little is looking to regain his.

Even as much as it's become more of an NFL gathering for all kinds of talk rather than a pure prospect-based evaluation period, stock still moves up and down quickly at the NFL combine. For the prospects, as much as it gets downplayed, those forty times seem to live forever. Guys can increase their strength to a great degree over the next few years, but that 225-lb bench press total is another thing we always remember.

With that in mind, here's a look at prospects I think have the most to gain this week, notabloy from a performance standpoint. I tried to focus mainly on the upper half of the draft, because to discuss the possible 7th-round grades that could jump to the middle-rounds, and vice versa, is pretty endless. That said, I also threw in some guys who could move way up. For most of these guys, there's still a chance to jump because there are still questions to answer, both about them, and about their peers. So here are guys looking to solidify a first-round grade, and others trying to make a leap.

Solidify a grade

Robert Quinn, DE, North Carolina
For a guy that's still considered a lock for the top half of the first round, Quinn still needs to show scouts something. After sitting out his junior season, he has some great tape, but nothing recent and while the explosiveness jumps off the tape, will he show rust? If Quinn shows well, it'll be proof that he was working hard all year and not taking the fact that he was once a possible No. 1 overall pick for granted.

Mel Kiper Jr.

Football analyst