To raise draft grades, these six need to ace exams

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — For those general managers, coaches and scouts who believe the most important part of the NFL Scouting Combine is the player workouts, the big days are coming up.
Tight ends and offensive linemen work out on Saturday. Quarterbacks, running backs and wide receivers will display their skills on Sunday. Defensive linemen and linebackers will be on the field Monday. The defensive backs will then take the stage on Tuesday.
Although some players will choose to bypass the drills here — opting to work out at their pro days — many NFL personnel men feel that’s a mistake.
"If you get a chance to compete, then compete," 49ers G.M. Scot McCloughan said. "It doesn’t matter if it’s dominoes, the Senior Bowl or coming here. My personal feeling is you can’t hurt yourself; you can only help yourself."
Here are some players who can help themselves in workouts:
 

Mississippi QB Jevan Snead

His mission: Show he can throw accurately and make good decisions.
The skinny: Snead was a top prospect heading into the ’09 season, but a disappointing performance and some questionable decision-making in games has caused his stock to fall.

Oregon RB LeGarrette Blount

His mission: Prove he has top speed.
The skinny: Scouts don’t have much recent information on Blount, who was suspended for most of the ’09 season and had only 22 carries for 82 yards and two touchdowns.

Oklahoma State WR Dez Bryant

His mission: Show deep speed.
The skinny: Bryant is the top wideout on a lot of teams’ draft boards, but he missed the ’09 season because of a suspension and scouts question his speed. "If he doesn’t run well, he’s probably going to slide," an AFC college scouting director said.

Oklahoma TE Jermaine Gresham

His mission: Prove he has regained his agility and speed after missing the ’09 season with a knee injury.
The skinny: Gresham and Arizona’s Rob Gronkowski are considered the top two tight ends. Gronkowsi, who also missed the ’09 season (back surgery), has decided to wait until his pro day to work out. Gresham could gain an edge with a good workout.

Alabama ILB Rolando McClain and Florida ILB Brandon Spikes

Their mission: Burn the scouts’ stopwatches.
The skinny: Both players are considered instinctive defenders, but teams would like them to show improved speed.

 
This story appears in Feb. 26’s edition of Sporting News Today. If you are not receiving Sporting News Today, the only daily digital sports newspaper, sign up today.
 
Senior writer Dennis Dillon covers the NFL for Sporting News. E-mail him at ddillon@sportingnews.com.
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — For those general managers, coaches and scouts who believe the most important part of the NFL Scouting Combine is the player workouts, the big days are coming up.
Tight ends and offensive linemen work out on Saturday. Quarterbacks, running backs and wide receivers will display their skills on Sunday. Defensive linemen and linebackers will be on the field Monday. The defensive backs will then take the stage on Tuesday.
Although some players will choose to bypass the drills here — opting to work out at their pro days — many NFL personnel men feel that’s a mistake.
"If you get a chance to compete, then compete," 49ers G.M. Scot McCloughan said. "It doesn’t matter if it’s dominoes, the Senior Bowl or coming here. My personal feeling is you can’t hurt yourself; you can only help yourself."
Here are some players who can help themselves in workouts:
 

Mississippi QB Jevan Snead

His mission: Show he can throw accurately and make good decisions.
The skinny: Snead was a top prospect heading into the ’09 season, but a disappointing performance and some questionable decision-making in games has caused his stock to fall.

Oregon RB LeGarrette Blount

His mission: Prove he has top speed.
The skinny: Scouts don’t have much recent information on Blount, who was suspended for most of the ’09 season and had only 22 carries for 82 yards and two touchdowns.

Oklahoma State WR Dez Bryant

His mission: Show deep speed.
The skinny: Bryant is the top wideout on a lot of teams’ draft boards, but he missed the ’09 season because of a suspension and scouts question his speed. "If he doesn’t run well, he’s probably going to slide," an AFC college scouting director said.

Oklahoma TE Jermaine Gresham

His mission: Prove he has regained his agility and speed after missing the ’09 season with a knee injury.
The skinny: Gresham and Arizona’s Rob Gronkowski are considered the top two tight ends. Gronkowsi, who also missed the ’09 season (back surgery), has decided to wait until his pro day to work out. Gresham could gain an edge with a good workout.

Alabama ILB Rolando McClain and Florida ILB Brandon Spikes

Their mission: Burn the scouts’ stopwatches.
The skinny: Both players are considered instinctive defenders, but teams would like them to show improved speed.

 
This story appears in Feb. 26’s edition of Sporting News Today. If you are not receiving Sporting News Today, the only daily digital sports newspaper, sign up today.
 
Senior writer Dennis Dillon covers the NFL for Sporting News. E-mail him at ddillon@sportingnews.com.

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