The top players eligible for the 2018 NFL Draft will be poked and prodded, weighed and measured, questioned and quizzed and anything else the league’s 32 teams deem necessary to know during this week’s NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis.
Among those participating are San Diego State running back Rashaad Penny, cornerback Kameron Kelly, fullback Nick Bawden and tight end David Wells.
The Aztecs, Central Florida and Western Michigan all have four players at the combine, the most representation among non-Power Five schools. Ten Mountain West players have been invited to the combine, with Boise State’s two players second to the Aztecs’ four invitees.
Seven schools will be sending at least eight players, led by Alabama with 14.
Psychological testing, medical exams and individual team interviews are conducted during the week. Measurable drills, which include the 40-yard dash, bench press, vertical jump, broad jump, three-cone drill and shuttle run, will be conducted in position groups over a four-day period that begins Friday.
Fans can watch live on NFL.com/combine/live, beginning at 6 a.m. PT.
Here’s a glance at the four Aztecs who will be participating in the combine:
Rashaad Penny, RB, 5-11, 220
Draft projection: Second round
Outlook: His NFL.com profile strips away the excitement that Penny generated last season as one of the most dynamic players in school history. It includes lines like “has the desired NFL size for an every-down back,” “patient runner who is extremely effective at running defenders into trouble” and “arm tacklers won’t cut it.”
OK, so the website can’t get caught up in the emotion of a player who led the nation in rushing with a school-record 2,248 yards and 23 touchdowns and tied the FBS career record for kickoff returns for a touchdown (seven).
The NFL.com analysis also questions Penny’s top-end speed, calling him a “one-speed runner without a big burst gear to clear first- and second-level defenders cleanly” and adding that he “may not have the long speed to pull away from tacklers and hit big chunk runs.”
Aztecs fans could point to a dozen runs last season of 40 yards or more, or that no one can remember Penny being caught from behind.
It will be interesting to see what Penny’s 40 time is at the combine. SDSU coach Rocky Long never allowed players to race because of concerns that someone would unnecessarily pull a hamstring. The result? Twenty-some Aztecs players — Penny among them — all said they were the fastest on the team.
On-field workout: Friday
NFL Network coverage
On-field workout schedule:
Friday — Running backs, offensive lineman, kickers
Saturday — Quarterbacks, wide receivers, tight ends
Sunday — Linebackers and defensive lineman
Monday — Defensive backs
Live NFL Network coverage begins each day at 6 a.m. PT. Fans also can follow online at nfl.com/combine/live.