Commentary

Georgia Bulldogs: NFL combine primer

Updated: February 23, 2012, 1:24 PM ET
By David Ching | DawgNation

Orson CharlesDale Zanine/US PresswireGeorgia's Orson Charles is ranked No. 1 among tight ends at the NFL combine for big-play ability, and No. 2 for his separation skills.
The Georgia Bulldogs once again rank among the best-represented college teams at the NFL Scouting Combine, which started Wednesday in Indianapolis.

Eight Georgia players -- offensive linemen Justin Anderson, Cordy Glenn and Ben Jones, cornerback Brandon Boykin, punter Drew Butler, tight end Orson Charles, defensive lineman DeAngelo Tyson and kicker Blair Walsh -- received invitations to participate in the weeklong event, which the NFL stages each year to evaluate the nation's top college players who are eligible for the league's upcoming draft.

Georgia ties Miami for second on the list of schools with the most players present, trailing only BCS champion Alabama's nine.

Not only are most of the eight Bulldogs probable draft selections, they rank among the top prospects at their respective positions. Glenn, Charles and Boykin are the headliners of the bunch.

ESPN Scouts Inc. ranks Glenn as the No. 29 overall prospect and the No. 2 guard, Charles as the No. 49 overall prospect and No. 3 tight end and Boykin as the No. 57 overall player and No. 7 cornerback.

[+] EnlargeBlair Walsh
Josh D. Weiss/US PresswireBlair Walsh and fellow kickers arrived early in Indianapolis and will be the first to be evaluated, starting Friday.
And they are not alone among Bulldogs who rank in the top three players at their positions. Butler is the No. 1 punter in the ESPN position rankings, while Jones is the No. 2 center and Walsh the No. 2 kicker.

Now they can either reinforce their draft status or damage it with their performances in front of the hundreds of NFL coaches, scouts, player personnel directors and league execs gathered in Indianapolis.

The league breaks the combine schedule into four-day segments by position group in order to fit in 300-plus NFL hopefuls for a battery of medical and psychological evaluations, team interviews, position drills and testing in drills such as the 40-yard dash and bench press.

Two-thirds of Georgia's invitees arrived Wednesday in Indianapolis as part of the first groups: offensive linemen (Anderson, Glenn and Jones), tight ends (Charles) and special teamers (Butler and Walsh).

The kickers will be the first to work out in the position and skill drills -- the combine activities that receive perhaps the greatest amount of scrutiny -- starting Friday, followed by the offensive linemen and tight ends Saturday.

Thanks in large part to the intrigue surrounding the draft prospects of quarterbacks Andrew Luck of Stanford and Robert Griffin III of Baylor, the most-watched groups of players -- quarterbacks, wideouts and running backs -- arrive today. Those players will work out Sunday.

Tyson and the other defensive linemen and linebackers will arrive Friday in Indianapolis and work out Monday.

Finally, Boykin and the defensive backs will arrive Saturday and work out Tuesday.

Several Georgia players appeared in postseason all-star games, with those game-week practices against other standouts bolstering their draft stock.

Boykin and Glenn, in particular, seemed to catch scouts' eyes with their performances during Senior Bowl practices -- a game in which they competed alongside former Georgia teammates Butler and Jones.

Walsh, Tyson and fullback Bruce Figgins also participated in the East-West Shrine Game alongside other senior draft prospects.

Georgia's draft-eligible players also will have their March 5 pro day and individual workouts during which they can impress pro scouts, but the combine is traditionally the place to be seen by the greatest number of NFL eyes.

The league attempts to invite to the combine all of the players most likely to be selected in the draft in order to compare their skills head to head against other players at their positions.

The league invited eight Georgia players to last year's combine, as well, with five of them -- receiver A.J. Green, outside linebacker Justin Houston, linebacker Akeem Dent, offensive lineman Clint Boling and fullback Shaun Chapas -- eventually getting picked in the draft.

David Ching covers University of Georgia sports for DawgNation. He can be reached at davidchingespn@gmail.com.