There were 333 former college football players invited to the NFL Combine later this month. You can see all the former SEC players participating here, but the SEC led the country with 79 invitees. The next highest conference was the ACC with 43. Quite a chasm, huh?
Essentially, everyone has something to prove at the combine, but here are six SEC with the most to prove, via NFL.com, and two didn’t play in the conference in 2012:
3. Jarvis Jones, OLB, Georgia
Area of concern: Medical history
Jones is undoubtedly one of the best defenders in this draft class, but his spinal stenosis diagnosis threatens to keep him off several draft boards across the league.
4. Marcus Lattimore, RB South Carolina
Areas of concern: Rehabilitation progress and injury history
Lattimore was regarded as the top running back in college football until a gruesome knee injury ended his junior season prematurely. This potentially could keep Lattimore on the sidelines for the early part of the 2013 season, which diminishes his stock in draft rooms across the league.
5. Tyler Bray, QB, Tennessee
Area of concern: Maturity
Bray is arguably the most gifted passer in the 2013 NFL Draft, but he is not considered one of the top quarterback prospects due to concerns about his character. Scouts are worried about his immaturity following several off-field incidents at Tennessee.
6. Tyrann Mathieu, CB, LSU
Area of concern: Drug issues
A year ago, Mathieu was one of the most dynamic playmakers in college football. He captivated the attention of NFL coaches and scouts with his game-changing skills as a defender and returner. However, a reported string of failed drug tests, which led to his shocking dismissal from the LSU football team prior to last season, has led to questions about Mathieu’s accountability and character.
7. Da’Rick Rogers, WR, Tennessee Tech
Areas of concern: Character issues and drug problems
There is no doubt that Rogers possesses the talent to be a star at the next level, but concerns about his character and decision making could prevent him from getting a solid shot.
8. Alec Ogletree, LB, Georgia
Areas of concern: Character and durability questions.
Ogletree is one of the most intriguing athletes in the draft. He possesses the size, speed, athleticism and instincts to develop into a disruptive defender as a pro. However, questions about Ogletree’s durability (missed six games in 2011 with a broken foot) and character (suspended for four games due to a violation of team rules) could affect his draft status, despite his exceptional talent.
I would also add Tennessee wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson to this list. Patterson has all the physical tools and tremendous upside, but he’s been criticized for not running crisp or proper routes. Patterson should be a combine warrior and improve his draft stock once he shows scouts he has the mental makeup to go along with his crazy physical gifts.
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