Readers have been clamoring for a Combine Preview. I'll try to quench their thirst in a few ways.
First up, gambling on the Combine.
Sportsbook.com has posted odds on a variety of things (click here for full list). Here are The Banter's five best bets:
Warning: I am very optimistic that we will see some records broken. Athletes are getting stronger and faster, and this is a deep class. A record number of underclassmen will enter this draft too, making the talent level that much greater.
The Prop: Fastest 40 Time: 4.31 seconds
The Pick: Under -115
The Rationale: Four words - Jacoby Ford / Trindon Holliday. World-class sprinters.
The Prop: Player to Record the Faster 40 Yard Dash at the 2010 NFL Scouting Combine
-115 Dexter McCluster (Ole Miss)
-115 Golden Tate (Notre Dame)
The Pick: Dexter McCluster
The Rationale: Tate lacks top end speed which will hold him from being a very high draft pick (his hands are unquestioned). McCluster makes his money with speed and quickness. To me, this seems like easiest pick on the board.
The Prop: Most repetitions on the bench press (225 pounds): 38.5
The Pick: Over: -115
The Rationale: Every year since 2003, there has been at least one player to pop 39 or more. I'm counting on Idaho G Mike Iupati to deliver this year. He's from American Samoa. He's a beast.
The Prop: Will any offensive lineman run the 40 in under 5.02 seconds?
The Pick: Yes -110
The Rationale: Charles Brown (see below) or Jared Veldheer should get the job done.
The Prop: Player to Record More Reps on Bench Press at the 2010 NFL Scouting Combine
-110 Dan Williams
-120 Terrence Cody
The Pick: Dan Williams
The Rationale: This is what Terrence Cody looks like right now. [Side note: To find this image I googled "Terrence Cody" and only images of him playing showed up. So, I googled "Terrence Cody boobs" and struck pay dirt on the first image. I like this bet better already.]
Second, my three picks to surprise.
OLB Dekoda Watson, Florida State: Listed at 6-2, 226 lbs, he has a size 26(!!!) waist. Unreal.
OT Bruce Campbell, Maryland: Following in the ridiculous line of freak athletes coming from Maryland (Shawne Merriman, Vernon Davis), Campbell benches over 500 lbs.
OT Charles Brown, USC: A converted tight end, he might post the best 40 time of any offensive linemen. I'm sure he will be one of the most athletic too.
Thirdly, my five guys who will surprise over the next few days in Indy:
QB Jevan Snead, Ole Miss: He had an awful year after I had him going third overall in my "Way Too Early Mock Draft" article. He can make himself a lot of money here by throwing well since five of the top quarterbacks have chosen not to participate in the position drills.
WR Arrelious Benn, Illinois: One of the top 10 players of the 2007 recruiting class, Benn put up great numbers his first to years despite the fact he never had a dependable quarterback throwing to him. Reminds me of Sidney Rice.
WR Emmanuel Sanders, SMU: Extremely productive but unknown since he played at SMU. That will change when the watches start clicking this week.
CB Joe Haden, Florida: A phenomenal athlete, Haden was a four-year starter at quarterback in high school, set Maryland state records for passing yards (7,371) and touchdown passes (80). He figures to go in the top 10 regardless, but it will be fun to watch if he elects to participate.
S Larry Asante, Nebraska: Very fast, Asante hits like a linebacker but runs like a wideout.
Fourthly, a blast from the past: Nyan Boateng. A HUGE recruit when he graduated from Lincoln HS (NY; alma mater of Sebastian Telfair), he appeared in five games a true freshman at Florida. After some off-the-field issues and injury problems, he transferred to Cal where he had an up and down career. Boateng can get his name back on the NFL radar with a solid performance here.
Lastly, even if you don't care about the Combine (and if that's the case, why are you still reading this article?) root for this guy anyway: Stafon Johnson.