Pac-12 intrigue at NFL combine

February, 21, 2012
2/21/12
4:00
PM ET
The Pac-12 will send 45 players to the NFL combine, which starts Wednesday in Indianapolis.

You can see the complete list of invitees here. And here's the schedule -- things don't really start rolling until Thursday.

There are plenty of subplots for the Pac-12 players on hand.
  • Arizona quarterback Nick Foles is among a handful of quarterbacks vying to be the third quarterback off the board after Stanford's Andrew Luck and Baylor's Robert Griffin. And, by the way, you might want to toss Arizona State quarterback Brock Osweiler into the mix there, too.
  • Arizona State cornerback Omar Bolden, who sat out the entire 2011 season, will try to prove his knee is 100 percent.
  • Will Arizona State linebacker Vontaze Burfict be able to rehabilitate his image, both with a strong performance and convincing interview? The scuttlebutt for him since the start of the season has been almost entirely negative, with the latest being this: He's a "fake tough guy." Even worse than rumors like that is the more measurable claim that he may show up out of shape.
  • Oregon cornerback Cliff Harris, who essentially missed the entire season due to suspension, will need to show some newfound maturity. And he'll need to test well to distract from the challenge he may face producing that.
  • Oregon running back LaMichael James could substantially boost his stock will an impressive 40-yard dash, which would prove he has elite speed and offset size concerns.
  • The same could be said for Washington running back Chris Polk, whose biggest knock is an apparent lack of top-end speed.
  • Oregon quarterback Darron Thomas, a surprise early entry into the draft, will get a chance to prove he's worthy.
  • Washington defensive tackle Alameda Ta'amu entered the 2011 season looking like a potential first-round pick, but his stock slid with a lackluster season. He also didn't impress during Senior Bowl practices. But 330 pound DTs are hard to find, particularly ones as athletic as Ta'amu. A good combine could get him back on the first-day radar.
  • Receivers Chris Owusu of Stanford and James Rodgers of Oregon State also need to overcome health issues. Rodgers needs to show his quickness is back after major knee surgery. Owusu will need to address issues with multiple concussions.
  • A guy the Pac-12 blog is curious about: Cal linebacker Mychal Kendricks. The conference defensive player of the year seems like a guy who might surprise folks and push into the early rounds.
  • The Pac-12 is sending a strong group of offensive linemen into the combine, with USC's Matt Kalil and the Stanford tandem of Jonathan Martin and David DeCastro likely first-round picks. But what about the other seven guys? Who might step up and generate some buzz? Perhaps Cal's Mitchell Schwartz?

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