The hype machine around the 2015 NFL Draft is about to shift into overdrive. Though none of the top NFL prospects will play any meaningful football games in the months to come, their valuations in teams’ minds can and will still fluctuate dramatically in the lead up to draft day. Below is a quick look at which players stand to gain the most from strong performances in the combine and interviews with interested teams.
Leading Oregon to the National Championship game wasn’t enough for Mariota to top the list of 2015 NFL prospects, or even crack the top 3 according to most rankings. Mariota was playing in one of the most efficient offensive systems in college football history, and that’s hurting his valuation. An eye-popping showing at the combine would serve as an important reminder this is not just a systems player, this is an elite talent capable of playing for and leading any team.
While his on-field abilities are well-document, former Washington cornerback Marcus Peters hurt his draft ranking dramatically by being dismissed from his team in November of this past season. The fourth-year college player was said to have difficulty with his coaches, and according to a former scout, the question of his behavior has him off the boards of at least three NFL teams.
If Peters can make an impression on teams in their interviews with him, and allay fears that he would be a problem in the locker room, he could still go high in the draft as one of the most talented cornerback prospects in the nation.
Experts are already linking the running back Gurley to the Indianapolis Colts, who are fourth-favorites to win it all next season according to early 2016 NFL Futures. Fans will want more than just an impressive college resume if the Colts are going to spend another high draft pick on a running back. So Gurley could ensure he is taken in the first round by creating a bit of positive buzz for himself with some impressive combine splits.