What NFL prospects do at the NFL Scouting Combine is sometimes just as important as what they accomplished on the field during their college careers, as their futures hinge on how they perform on the big stage.
In recent years, we've seen some players' stocks rise at the combine while others have seen their stocks fall following poor performances.
So, who's opening some eyes this year in Indianapolis?
Let's find out.
Tavon Austin, WR
Former West Virginia wide receiver Tavon Austin posted an official 4.34 40-yard dash time and could be a fit for multiple NFL teams in the first round of the upcoming draft.
He already made it known that he thinks he's the best all-around player in the draft (h/t USA Today), and he's certainly putting that statement to the test at the combine.
NFL.com senior analyst Gil Brandt was certainly impressed by Austin at the combine.
Gil Brandt @Gil_Brandt
Biggest winner at #NFLCombine: Tavon Austin. Really helped himself with his 40 and on-field work. Class of his group. http://t.co/KNajhVrHJa2013-2-24 15:54:08
Austin recorded 114 receptions for nearly 1,300 yards and 12 touchdowns as a Mountaineer last season, but that's not all he did. He also scored touchdowns on both a kickoff and punt return and rushed for 643 yards and three touchdowns, averaging 8.9 yards per carry.
As one of the most dynamic playmakers at the combine, Austin should be a first-round pick come April.
Tyler Eifert, TE
If a tight end is going to be taken in the first round, it's going to be Tyler Eifert of Notre Dame.
Aside from running clean routes and scoring five touchdowns last season, Eifert has caught the attention of multiple scouts and writers at the combine, including Matt Bowen of the Chicago Tribune and ESPN's Todd McShay.
Matt Bowen @MattBowen41
Is the TE position a possibility for #Bears at No.20? Solid workout for Notre Dame's Tyler Eifert today with a 40 time in the 4.6 range.2013-2-23 23:28:31
Todd McShay @McShay13
ND TE Tyler Eifert having a really strong showing so far.2013-2-23 18:54:12
Eifert was tops at his position in every category, according to NFL.com, most notably finishing the three-cone drill in 6.92 seconds and posting a 4.68 40-yard dash time.
Among the tight end class, Eifert has all the skills to be a first-round pick—it's just a matter of if an NFL team feels it's necessary to spend a high pick on a tight end.
Cordarrelle Patterson, WR
Former Tennessee wideout Cordarrelle Patterson was a top performer in both the vertical and broad jump and also posted a solid 40 time, which is impressive for his 6'2", 216-pound frame.
Bleacher Report draft expert Matt Miller tweets about Patterson at the combine:
Matt Miller @nfldraftscout
4.37 for Cordarrelle Patterson. That's amazing for his height and weight. Top 10 player.2013-2-24 16:36:01
Similar to Tavon Austin, Patterson is a dynamic receiver who can do a lot for a football team.
Aside from his 778 yards and five touchdowns through the air, he scored on both punt and kickoff returns and averaged 12.3 YPC and scored three touchdowns on the ground.
Not only is Patterson displaying speed at the combine, but he's also showing his leaping abilities, which only adds to his long-running list of threats on the field, especially for his size.
With a slew of NFL teams needing wide receivers in the draft, I think Patterson assured himself of a top-half first-round selection.
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