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NFL Combine 2015: The Underdogs

A rundown of which of the underdogs to watch as the NFL Combine gets going this week.

Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

If you're the type of guy that's into 40-yard dash porn, and listening to NFL Network commentators discuss at length how much someone can bench 225 pounds, then you're in luck, as the NFL Combine kicks off tomorrow in Indianapolis.

Over 300 players are separated into eleven groups, and the first four groups, which include placekickers, offensive lineman, tight ends, and other select special teamers, will make their way to Lucas Oil Stadium in the hopes of blowing scouts away in interviews, drills, and anything else that the media can get out of them.

(Keep in mind, this is all done in shorts, yet football is actually played in pads. Weird, I know.)

The Combine is noticeable for producing stars like Yamon FIgurs, who ran a 4.3 40, Vernon Ghoulston, Charles Rogers, and Akili Smith, guys that are now known for coming up prominently in Google searches featuring the phrase "NFL Combine busts".

While most of the hype at the Combine surrounds players from the Power 5, and will garner plenty of thinkpieces regarding Jameis Winston's forty-year-old man belly, there are plenty of Underdogs to keep an eye on during this week's combine.

Some notables:

  • Breshad Perriman (WR)- UCF- Thanks to a star-studded review by noted personnel man Gil Brandt and some NFL genes, Perriman has many mock draft fanatics in a tizzy with his stats, and his size (6'3, 214), but scouts still question his pass-catching abilities.
  • Bryan Bennett (QB)- Southeastern Louisiana- Similar to how many only know Ray J for his role in a Kardashian live action role play, Bennett is primarily known nationwide as Marcus Mariotta's former backup. He's got good size for a QB at 6'2, and put up some decent stats in an injury-plagued 2014 campaign, contributing to 33 touchdowns. Think Chip Kelly might take a shot at his old pupil?
  • Ali Marpet (OL)- Hobart. The guy has size (yes, this is a common thread) at 6'4, 310 and he's fast. Reports said he performed exceedingly well at the Senior Bowl, despite coming from Division III Hobart, which is a liberal arts college founded in 1822. If he's picked in May, he'd be the first Hobart alum since 1937 to be drafted and play in the NFL.
  • Christian Covington (DE)- Rice- This guy has been terrorizing Conference USA for the past few years, and faced a litany of double-teams this year before dislocating his left kneecap. He was able to power through offensive lines, but his health will be a concern to many teams. He bypassed a fifth year due to chatters about him possibly going in the first round.
  • Will Johnson (P)- Texas State. A punter? Why would I care about a punter, you ask? Well, I did find it interesting that almost half of the 13 specialists that were invited to the Combine were from non-Power 5 schools. I also could not find research that Texas State ever had a player invited to the Combine. Someone please prove me wrong on this. Anyway, Johnson set a few records during his time in San Marvelous, and was invited to a College All-Star game last month in Dallas-Fort Worth. He was 32/33 on extra points, and 70% on field goals in 2014, with a long of 49.

If anything, root for Johnson since kickers and punters (unless you're Adam Vinateri or Chris Kluwe) don't often get their chance in the spotlight, and well, since Texas State happens to be the alma mater of former President Lyndon Baines Johnson.