Thursday, February 21, 2013
Four Big 12ers to watch at the combine
By David Ubben
The NFL scouting combine is about to heat up after officially beginning on Wednesday, but once the workouts are underway, here are a few players across the Big 12 who could turn heads and help themselves in the next few days. You can see the full list of Big 12 players in Indianapolis this week here.
Marquise Goodwin, WR, Texas: You don't need to look much further than Goodwin's 64-yard touchdown sprint in the Longhorns' Alamo Bowl win to know he was underutilized in Texas' offense throughout his career. You've got to get speedsters the ball in this league, and the Big 12's resident Olympian got it far too infrequently. Still, when you talk raw measurables and speed, not many guys are going to be able to match what Goodwin can do. The 5-foot-9, 177-pounder isn't exactly the prototype for size, but a creative coach or GM might find himself imagining all of the ways he could use Goodwin's skill set after seeing him up close at the combine. That's only going to help his stock.
Lane Johnson, OT, Oklahoma: Johnson is already turning heads with his physical skills, and that's what the combine is all about. Some mock drafts have him ascending into the first round, and by the end of the combine, it might be all of them. He had a solid career at Oklahoma, but when your road to the combine is as unorthodox as Johnson's, your skill set is likely to reflect that. When he's standing there, he just looks like a solid NFL tackle. Once he starts moving, it becomes easy to see and believe that he was a quarterback in junior college. He's very athletic for his position, and that's reason to believe he can grow into a special player at the next level.
Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia: It's one thing to see Austin's quickness and straight-line speed on tape. It's another to do so live. He can change direction and shift speeds unlike any player I've ever seen at the collegiate level, and there's a line of Big 12 defenders a mile long who I'm betting would agree. He doesn't sound like a first-round selection just yet, but don't be surprised if he sells a whole lot of people on his skills when he posts great numbers in quickness measures like the cone drill or hangs a sub-4.4 time in the 40-yard dash.
Arthur Brown, LB, Kansas State: Brown is undersized and that's why you don't see his name showing up near the first round despite crazy production the last two seasons in Manhattan. It's going to be tough for the 6-foot-1, 230-pounder's fantastic instincts, sure tackling and constant effort to show up in combine measurements, but when scouts see his speed and smoothness when changing direction, visions of that translating to great ball carrier pursuits won't be much of a leap. He has to post a great number in the 40, and if he does, he could get folks talking.