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Five players with the most to prove at the NFL Scouting Combine

The NFL Scouting Combine is not the be-all, end-all of the draft season. Teams that prioritize Combine production over on-field work sometimes pay the price, most famously when the Eagles took Boston College defensive end Mike Mamula with the No. 7 pick of the 1995 NFL Draft based on his astounding workout.

Three of the next five defensive linemen taken in that first round became Pro Bowlers, including eventual Bronco Luther Elliss and future Hall of Famer Warren Sapp.

But the Combine can answer questions, allowing prospects to solidify themselves as early draft picks. It can also reveal them, especially if workouts are unexpectedly poor or a player is unexpectedly heavy or shorter than expected.

Here are five players who have the most to prove in Indianapolis:


Washington cornerback Byron Murphy is adored by many in the analytics crowd. LSU's Greedy Williams tantalizes because his top-level play evokes memories of fellow Tigers product Patrick Peterson, but he sometimes appears to shy away from contact against the run.

The film on Baker is excellent; he was a lockdown cornerback who did not allow a touchdown last season. Baker also allowed a 40.2 passer rating (per the NFL scale) on passes thrown in his direction last year. But at 5-foot-11 and 185 pounds, he doesn't match other cornerbacks in size and bulk.


Murray's athleticism offers the chance for him to register some eye-popping speed and quickness numbers. His accuracy, velocity and outstanding ball placement should allow him to do well in the on-field drills, if he opts to participate in it.

His measurements and interviews will play a larger role in determining his draft spot. If he checks in at 5-foot-9 and 7/8 inches -- as Oklahoma assistant athletic director Mike Houck said Murray measured prior to the 2018 season -- he is in the Russell Wilson range. At the 2012 Combine, Wilson's height was 5-foot-10 and 5/8 inches.

But Murray's weight and frame could be more important. Oklahoma listed him at 195 pounds last year. To go back to the Wilson comparison, he was 204 pounds at the 2012 Combine. If Murray checks in at below that weight, there will be concerns. If he has added enough bulk to get to 200 pounds -- and maintains his speed, as he could show during the 40-yard dash, he could answer many questions.

If Murray's weight remains at 195 pounds and he checks in at just three-quarters of an inch below Wilson, is that a deal-breaker? Or will teams take a longer look at the Heisman winner?


One of the standouts of Senior Bowl week, the 6-foot-5, 249-pounder consistently plucked passes out of the air with his 10-3/8-inch hands. But he was not incredibly productive at Utah State, finishing with just three touchdowns and 801 yards on 68 receptions during the last two seasons.

A good showing at the Combine, when stacked on his work in Mobile last month, could put him into the second tier of a deep tight-end class, which would likely secure a Day 2 draft spot.


While Singletary's raw production is impressive, questions linger about how he averaged just 3.9 yards per carry against Power Five competition after becoming FAU's top running back in 2016, compared with 6.4 yards per attempt against all other opponents. Is the 5-foot-9, 200-pound running back a product of feasting on outmanned opponents?

Still, there are plenty of examples of running backs making the leap despite similar resumes, including another FAU product, Alfred Morris. Morris, who played in the BCS days, averaged 3.5 yards per carry against BCS foes, compared with 5.1 yard per attempt against all other teams and just completed his seventh NFL season, which includes three 1,000-yard campaigns.

Singletary is 19 pounds lighter and an inch shorter than Morris was at the 2012 Combine, but has more speed. It would come as no surprise if Singletary has a similar career.


Ximines finished the 2018 season with 12 sacks, and while he feasted against Group of Five competition, he also notched a season-high two sacks against Virginia Tech, the only Power Five school on the Monarchs' schedule last year.

The 6-foot-4 Ximines was not the best edge rusher at this year's Senior Bowl; Mississippi State's Montez Sweat had that distinction after dominating in team periods and one-on-one pass-rush drills. But at 241 pounds and with a 78 1/8-inch wingspan, Ximines could do well in speed and quickness drills and the vertical jump. He has the chance to cement himself as a second-round pick.

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