8 a.m. ET: By the end of the day, NFL draft pundits will be wearing old gold and blue because West Virginia prospects will be taking center stage at Day 4 of the combine.
Quarterbacks, wide receivers and running backs will be running through the NFL scouting combine gauntlet (or inferno) today, and three of the most hyped prospects in that group are Mountaineers quarterback Geno Smith and wide receivers Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey. All three players should test well and shine in positional drills.
Because California wide receiver Keenan Allen is sitting out, Austin will be the first player to run the 40-yard dash at 9 a.m. The small, shifty wide receiver says he recently ran a 4.29 40-yard dash, but players have a tendency of slowing down considerably once they hit Indianapolis.
Bailey may not be quite as fast or agile as Austin, but he’s a bigger player who will shine in positional drills, especially when he’s displaying his route-running skills. Bailey will likely want to take passes from Smith in those drills — the two have been teammates since high school.
Without a top-tier running quarterback, it might be important for Smith to time well in the 40 to set himself apart from the Ryan Nassibs, Tyler Wilsons and Mike Glennons of the draft.
Among other players to watch on Day 4 of the combine are Oklahoma State running back Joseph Randle, Oregon running back Kenjon Barner and UNC running back Giovani Bernard. All could time very well in the 40 and 3-cone agility drill.
Tennessee wide receivers Cordarrelle Patterson and Justin Hunter are among the most athletic in this class, but Texas wide receiver Marquise Goodwin has the best shot to break Chris Johnson’s combine record 4.24 second 40. Michigan “wide receiver” Denard Robinson might be the player I’ll be watching most closely. He’ll have to display some top-notch speed and agility to be considered more than just a project with so many great wideouts in this draft.
So tune in here all day for all the latest times, news and analysis. If yesterday was any indication, we could see some record breaking times turned in by the skill position players.
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