The Underwear Olympics, also known as the NFL Combine, kicks off Tuesday in Indianapolis, and six Horned Frogs will be strutting their stuff with the hope of answering questions- about their size, their speed, their health, and for one in particular, their character.
Trevone Boykin (QB): Boykin has quite possibly the hardest week ahead, as he will look to prove that not only is he not the guy who was sent home from San Antonio as a result of breaking curfew and ending up in an ugly fighting incident, but that he can play QB at the NFL level. It will be a tough road for Tre, who will have all eyes on him in passing drills and in the interview room. He will have a chance to prove he belongs and is expected to compete in all the normal skill position drills.
Best Case Scenario: Boykin reminds NFL Scouts and execs that he is the guy who befriended Abby Faber, took time to speak with OSU fans after a loss, and developed a sterling off the field reputation during his time at TCU. He shines in the passing drills- something he will have a chance to do, as most of the top rated passers tend to opt out, showing good velocity on his passes, the ability to make all the throws (including the touch passes), and the quickness and footwork that made him one of the most dangerous weapons in college football. A great showing sees him sky back towards the middle rounds, and he becomes a late third/early fourth round prospect at QB.
Worst Case Scenario: Boykin is unable to shake San Antonio, and scouts and execs find him to be a character risk. He struggles in the passing drills and is unable to establish himself as a legitimate QB prospect. But, despite the struggles as a passer, his elite athleticism still shines, and he changes course to enter the draft as a wide receiver. He is a late round pick who will be given some time to develop in his new, old, position.
Josh Doctson (WR): The best wide receiver in TCU history saw his stock drop somewhat due to a wrist injury suffered at Oklahoma State, and the once sure fire first rounder is now projected anywhere from the late first to mid-second round. Doc will need to show his wrist is fully healed and prove he is faster than most scouts see him to be, but still has a chance to elevate himself to the best WR in the class with a solid showing in Indy. With Baylor's Corey Coleman sure to be the fastest and Ole Miss' Laquon Treadwell likely to win measurables, Doctson will look to separate himself with route running, hand strength, and football IQ.
Best Case Scenario: Doc is widely considered a late first/early second round pick. I am going to go out on a limb and say he performs well enough to pass Coleman on the draft boards and secure his status as the second receiver picked and a first rounder.
Worst Case Scenario: There are only two things that can hurt Josh this week: one, that he's not fully healed from the wrist injury that cost him the last quarter of the season. Two, that he runs significantly slower than anticipated. Doctson is by no means a burner, but it's a bad rap that he's slow. I can't think of anything worse than watching Corey Coleman vault in front of him on the big boards, except that leading to Corey being drafted by the Bengals and having to watch Dalton throw to him for the foreseeable future.
Kolby Listenbee (WR): Listenbee is one to watch for one reason, speed, baby. But the Combine is hugely important for Kolby for what he can do outside of his blazing speed. No one doubts that he has some serious jets, in fact, there is some thought that he could break Chris Johnson's record 40 time of 4.24 seconds, cementing his status as a mid to late round selection.
Best Case Scenario: Clearly, the best hope for Kolby is breaking CJ's record, thus cementing himself as the fastest man in the league and earning him a million dollar bonus from Adidas. If he does prove to be that and does well with his route running and in the catching drills, he could catapult himself to a mid-round round pick, possibly as early as the second if the right team falls in love with him. If there is one thing the NFL loves, it's speed, and Listenbee has it in abundance.
Worst Case Scenario: Listenbee doesn't run nearly as well as anticipated, potentially due to not being completely healthy from the various injuries he fought through during the 2015 season, and after failing to convert in his best event, mediocre performances in the other drills cause him to fall off the map and into UDFA status.There are a lot of pretty fast guys with average height that show up in Indy each year; Kolby will need to be special in the 40 to separate himself from the pack elsewhere.
Halapoulivaati Vaitai (OT): At 6'6" and 315 pounds, the man Frog fans know as Big V has near ideal size to play on the offensive line in the pros. Rated as one of the top 25 tackles in the draft, Big V will look to impress in the strength drills, and prove he has the athleticism to play one of the most demanding positions in the game. A likely mid-rounder, Big V has a chance to show that his continued improvement each season is a harbinger of things to come.
Best Case Scenario: For Vaitai, much of his week will be based on size: his height, weight, and arm length will be scrutinized alongside his bench press reps and shuttle times. For V, whose 33 3/4" arms aren't ideal but far from a hinderance, 20 plus reps on the bench and a good 10 yard split could mean a difference of hundreds of thousands of dollars. Assuming he performs well in those drills, his size will certainly be a big draw. A good Combine could see him skyrocket into the third or fourth round.
Worst Case Scenario: If Vaitai doesn't measure up to expectations, both literally and figuratively, and has a poor showing in the strength portion of the events, he could see himself slide to the late rounds or possibly out of the draft all together. Somewhat inconsistent throughout his time at TCU, Vaitai will need to prove that he can handle the rigors of NFL games and be a consistent presence as an edge protector.
Derrick Kindred (FS): Outside of Boykin, Kindred may be the most interesting case among the TCU prospects. Undersized for a safety and without the elite speed of most backend defenders, Kindred has as much to prove as anyone in Indy. Having been training at Michael Johnson Performance since the Alamo Bowl, the hard hitting strong safety hopes to shave a few precious tenths of a second off of his 40 time and build on the cache he has earned after revealing he played through a broken shoulder this past season.
Best Case Scenario: If Kindred runs well, say in the 4.5 range, that could be enough to convince scouts to overlook the dreaded measurables and focus on his game tape, which boasts a litany of highlight plays and earth shattering hits. While most expect him to go undrafted, a quick time and good showing in the quickness and change of direction drills could boost him as high as a fifth rounder. Like most Patterson disciples, Kindred should shine in the film room and in interviews, which will certainly help his status among the other safeties in the class.
Worst Case Scenario: A poor 40 time could shatter his dreams and he falls out of the 4.5 range and into 4.6 territory, his Combine experience would basically be a bust. The other concern is of course the shoulder; while there was little risk of making the injury worse or causing long term damage, NFL docs will certainly put him through the ringer. All that being said, Kindred is going to impress people just as much, or more so, off the field, so I really think he hears his name called somewhere over the course of the seven rounds.
Jaden Oberkrom (K): Kickers are an unusual beast when it comes to the Combine, and thus, Jaden's path to the draft is a completely different animal from his Frog counterparts, as Sam detailed yesterday. I'm not exactly sure what Oberkrom has to do this week in Indy, other than just show people his game tape.
Best Case Scenario: Oberkrom shows up in Indy, proves he's not a total weirdo- just a normal weirdo kicker- and does what's expected of him. He outshines Robert Aguayo and some kicker needy team in the late rounds takes a chance on him, and he gets to hear his name called. And really, for Jaden, it's not critical that he get drafted. With his leg strength, accuracy, and absolute ice water veins, he's very likely to get several camp invites and the opportunity to choose his team might not be the worst thing in the world.
Worst Case Scenario: NFL teams find out he really is a super hero and that the LegaTron thing was more than just a nickname. Roger Goodell immediately outlaws bionic kicker legs and Jaden has to retire from football.
The NFL Combine begins Tuesday, with events televised Friday through Monday on NFL Network. QB and WR drills will take place Saturday morning, if you want to tune in to see Kolby try and become the NFL's fastest man.