State prospects hope to make impact at NFL combine

FLOWERY BRANCH – Last season, Vic Beasley took his initial steps toward being the first player selected in the 2015 NFL Draft with ties from Georgia at the scouting combine.

The league’s event, which tries to measure a players athletic ability, starts on Tuesday and runs through next Tuesday at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.

Beasley, who’s from Adairsville and played at Clemson, was selected eighth overall by the Falcons last season.

Players from Georgia or with ties to the state, normally make an impact at the combine.

Last season, Georgia wide receiver Chris Conley was the combine star. He ran the 40-yard dash in 4.35 seconds, which was tied for third best among receivers. He had a 45-inch vertical, which was three inches better than any other receiver. His broad jump of 11-feet, 7-inches was better than the rest of the receivers by seven inches. Both the vertical jump and the broad jump were combine records for a wide receiver.

Conley went from a projected late-round pick to getting selected in the third-round by the Kansas City Chiefs.

In 2014, Georgia Southern running back Jerick McKinnon, of Sprayberry High, had a stellar combine showing that led to a third-round selection by the Minnesota Vikings.

There are several candidates to be this year’s combine star from Georgia. Here’s a look at the list of players with Georgia ties invited to the scouting combine:

STATE SCHOOLS

  • Sterling Bailey, defensive line, Georgia, East Hall High: Needs a strong combine showing to improve his draft status.
  • Leonard Floyd, linebacker, Georgia, Dodge County: Declared for draft after his junior season. Expected to be selected late in the first round.
  • Adam Gotsis, defensive tackle, Georgia Tech: Started the first nine games of the season before suffering a season-ending injury against Virginia. The Abbotsford, Australia, native finished off his senior season with 31 tackles, including five tackles for loss, a team-high three sacks and two fumble recoveries. He finished his Georgia Tech career with 110 tackles, including 69 solo, 27.5 for loss and 12.5 sacks, and two interceptions.
  • Ouayvon Hicks, fullback, Georgia, Pierce County: A solid blocker.
  • Jordan Jenkins, linebacker, Georgia, Harris County: “Everybody talks about Leonard Floyd, who’s a heck of a player, but man, that kid (Jenkins) is overlooked because of the position that he had to play for Georgia,” NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock said. “He’s going to be a better NFL player than a college player.”
  • Keith Marshall, running back, Georgia: Former five-star recruit wasn’t the same after suffering a knee injury in 2013.
  • Chris Mayes, nose tackle, Georgia, Spalding: He’s a big space-eater. He’ll be intriguing as a nose tackle for 3-4 teams.
  • Malcolm Mitchell, wide receiver, Georgia, Valdosta: Mitchell needs to run a good 40-yard dash time at the combine. “That’s one of the things that’s going to hurt or help him,” Mayock said. “But I think he’s a sure-handed receiver. He put up numbers in the SEC. I’m anxious to see what he runs.”
  • Dominique Robertson, offensive tackle, West Georgia: Played at Texas Tech before landing at West Georgia.
  • John Theus, tackle, Georgia: He played right and left tackle for the Bulldogs.
  • D.J. White, cornerback, Georgia Tech, Union Grove: He finished last season with 41 tackles, including 36 solo and two interceptions, eight pass break-ups while starting in 11 games. White, who is from McDonough, finished his career with 162 tackles, five forced fumbles and seven interceptions.

OTHER SCHOOLS

  • Vadal Alexander, offensive line, LSU, Buford: One of the top guard prospects in the draft.
  • Peyton Barber, running back, Auburn, Milton: Averaged 78.2 yards rushing per game for the Tigers last season.
  • Vonn Bell, safety, Ohio State, Ridgeland: He started in 15 games and played in 29 over three seasons.
  • Ronald Blair, defensive end, Appalachian State, Greene County: Sun Belt conference defensive player of the year.
  • Kenyan Drake, running back, Alabama, Hillgrove: Teams like his size and speed.
  • Jonathan Jones, defensive back, Auburn, Carrollton: Had a strong week at the Senior bowl
  • Ufomba Kamalu, defensive tackle, Miami, Starr’s Mill: He had 47 tackles for the Hurricanes last season.
  • Raphael Kirby, linebacker, Miami, Stephenson: Is coming off a knee injury suffered in October.
  • Will Monday, punter, Duke, Flowery Branch: He was the No. 1 punter in the nation coming out of high school.
  • Robert Nkemdiche, defensive tackle, Mississippi, Grayson: He has some explaining to do after his drug-related incident at a Buckhead hotel.
  • Sheldon Rankins, defensive tackle, Louisville, Eastside: Some are comparing Rankins to Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald.
  • DeMarcus Robinson, wide receiver, Florida, Peach County: His college career was marred by four suspensions over three years.
  • Terrance Smith, linebacker, Florida State, Southwest DeKalb: A three-year starter, who had a nagging ankle injury last season.
  • Shad Thornton, running back, N.C. State, Liberty County: He will have to explain his role in a hit-and-run arrest, a failed drug test and a misdemeanor assault on a women.
  • Stephen Weatherly, linebacker, Vanderbilt, Shiloh: Started all 12 games last season at outside linebacker. He goes into the combine at CBSports.com’s 34th ranked player and will need a strong showing to get drafted.

Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.

Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.

X