Defensive backs are working out at the 2013 NFL Combine today, and when they're done, a weekend full of sprints, drills and hype will come to a merciful conclusion. Despite the unnecessary amount of attention on the Combine these days, there's a good deal to be learned about how these players are perceived by the higher-end amateur scouting community - and there's no doubt that players can help or hurt themselves with their performances in Indianapolis.
Here are the names of five players that you'll see mocked to (or even above) the Buffalo Bills in the coming months that helped themselves immensely at this year's Combine (in no particular order):
Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Tennessee
Though he was not particularly impressive in drills, the raw Patterson is exactly the type of athlete that GM Buddy Nix has publicly advocated for in his next big receiver investment. The 6'2", 216-pound Patterson ran a 4.42-second 40-yard dash and had a 37-inch vertical jump and a 10'8" broad jump. He's big, he's fast and he's explosive, and in one season in the SEC, he made a lot of big plays despite suspect quarterback play. There is risk, but Patterson has great upside.
Ezekiel Ansah, DE, BYU
One could reasonably argue that Ansah, who has only been playing football since 2010, is the hottest name in the draft. The 6'5", 271-pound athlete ran a 4.63-second 40-yard dash and was impressive in field drills, even looking smooth and fluid while performing linebacker duties. Ansah is another very raw prospect, but with such unusual athleticism and unlimited potential, it's tough to imagine him falling out of the top half of the first round.
Dion Jordan, DE, Oregon
Then again, perhaps Oregon's Jordan is the hottest name in the draft following the Combine. At 6'6" and 248 pounds, Jordan ran a 4.60 and looked phenomenal in linebacker drills, lending credence to the idea that he's the most versatile defender available in this year's draft class. His numbers at Oregon were not impressive, but teams are enamored with not just his athleticism, but the fact that he's got ample experience dropping into coverage. In Mike Pettine's hybrid defense, Jordan could be a SAM linebacker that drops down to a pass-rushing end in sub packages.
Jarvis Jones, OLB, Georgia
Medical concerns are the main hurdle between Jones being a Top 5 pick and sliding a bit, and while he did not work out at the Combine, the fact that he's receiving positive reports about his spinal stenosis is encouraging. Jones will work out at Georgia's pro day, he'll test well athletically, and you'll start hearing his name considered within the first few picks - unless something else changes medically.
Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama
Reports surfaced during the Combine that Milliner would be working out despite having already put off surgery to repair a torn labrum for months, and by and large that decision appears to be a wise one. Milliner ran two sub-4.4 unofficial 40-yard dash times and looked fluid in drills; he'll easily be the first corner drafted and could be long gone by the time the Bills pick. Still, it's hard to imagine Nix not salivating at the idea of having two 6'0", 200-pound corners with 4.4 speed from the SEC, is it not?
Who else caught your eye at this year's Combine, Bills fans?