NFL Scouting Combine: A Glance Ahead

As you may know, the NFL scouting combine officially started today and it's now the moment when each prospect that attends gets poked and prodded by scouts. The Cardinals staff will attend and will most likely have their sights set on the defensive ends/linebackers that attend. If you're unfamiliar with the combine, here's a quick rundown:

Over three hundred participants will attend the NFL Combine to put their skills on the line in an intense four-day job interview. Top executives, player personnel departments, coaching staffs, and medical personnel from all of the NFL's 32 teams will be attending as well. From there, they evaluate each potential draftee and determine whether or not they will make a push to select that player in April's draft. As you can likely see, the combine can be a valuable but stressfull experience for a young player. During their time there, the players must perform numerous drills to help scouts evaluate their skills. The most common drills consist of the 40-yard dash, bench press, and the vertical jump. The combine will last for a little less then a week, and each day will feature a different positional groups completing drills. At the end, the players and teams pack it up and wait two months for draft day.

Here's the schedule for the combine:

Saturday, Feb 27th  Sunday, Feb 28th Monday, Mar 1st Tuesday, Mar 2nd
Group 1 - OL,Specialists Group 4 - QB, WR Group 7 - DL Group 10 - DB
Group 2 - OL Group 5 - QB, WR Group 8 - DL Group 11 - DB
Group 3 - TE Group 6 - RB Group 9 - LB

Those are just the days that the players complete the position drills. Today through Friday, players will be arriving, conducting interviews, and completing exams. More after the jump...

NFL Network will be providing extensive coverage as they do every year. ESPN should also be attending. The best piece of news is that our very own SBNation will be at hand. Several of our writers from other teams' blogs were able to attend so we should be getting some great feedback from them.

Now let's take a look at some potential draft picks that will be attending the combine:

Jerry Hughes, DE, Texas Christian

Hughes has the size to be a force in the NFL at 6'2-255 pounds. He can blow up a backfield and shouldn't have a problem transitioning to a 3-4 defense. His stock has risen, so the chances the Cardinals nab him seem slim.

Sergio Kindle, OLB, Texas

Another huge speciman - Kindle - could fall at the lap of the Cardinals. He has the abilities to both pressure opposing quarterbacks and stop the run. He was the leader of a very good Texas defense but needs to improve on coverage.

Ricky Sapp, OLB, Clemson

Sapp would be an excellent pick for the Cardinals. With Bertrand Berryretiring and Chike Okeaformost-likely lost to FA, the Cardinals have a glaring hole at OLB. Sapp has a freakish frame with ridiculous speed. He's fast enough to play cornerback, but has the strength to line up as a defensive end.

Carlos Dunlap, DE, Florida

Although his stock his slipped, Dunlap has the potential to be a monster in the NFL. He has the size of Calais Campbell, and is versatile enough to make an immediate impact. He'd be a gamble but is worth watching at the combine.

Trevard Lindley, CB, Kentucky

Here's a potential 2nd round pick that could fall the Cardinals way. The draft won't be filled with half as many 1st round cornerbacks as we saw last year, and Lindley is at the top of the class of DBs. He's a very good tackler that doesn't shy away from contact. He'd compliment DRC very well.

Bruce Campbell, OT, Maryland

I really can't picture the Cardinals taking an offensive lineman with their first pick, but if they do, Campbell should be up for consideration. He only has 17 NFL starts but the combine should highlight his abilities.

Charles Brown, OT, USC

Brown has the talents that would fit in well with the Cardinals offensive line. We've seen that bigger isn't always better. Brown doesn't have the prototypical size but compensates with great speed, footwork, and zone blocking.

We'll be sure to have more coverage once the combine gets completely under way. Will you be watching the combine? What are you looking forward to the most?

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