Six Arizona State football players are just days, others hours, away from the most intense times of their young lives. These players will be pushed both physically and mentally. They will be poked, prodded and questioned in ways they’ve never imagined.
Below is the list of former Sun Devils and some of the questions each faces entering the NFL Combine here in Indianapolis.
BROCK OSWEILER (quarterback): Osweiler, who decided to leave ASU after his junior year, is an intriguing prospect for many scouts and talent evaluators because of his size (6’7), quick release and accuracy up the field. One of the biggest knocks against him is his lack of experience (only 15 career starts in Tempe). He will also need to prove he can handle being under center as he worked exclusively out of the shotgun in former coach Dennis Erickson’s offense.
VONTAZE BURFICT (inside linebacker): What needs to be said that hasn’t been said, already? There may be no greater wildcard in Indy than the 6’3, 250-pound heat-seeking missile who ultimately turned out to be more trouble than he was worth at ASU. A lightening rod of controversy both on and off the field, Burfict will be grilled by coaches and scouts about everything from his short temper to the fact many feel he didn’t show much, if any, improvement after bursting onto the scene as a true freshman in 2009. One insider told me Wednesday Burfict’s agent may consider not allowing him to speak to the media on Saturday, because he may not be able to handle the certain barrage of tough questions the media wants answered about his roller-coaster seasons at ASU.
GERELL ROBINSON (wide receiver): Former Chandler Hamilton High star who blossomed into one of the best receivers in the Pac-12 in 2011 after struggling to live up to his Top 20 billing at Hamilton. Robinson chose ASU over Oregon, USC, Florida, Nebraska, and a host of other national powers. One thing scouts will monitor closely is his speed and route-running as many believe he will struggle getting off the line in press coverage at the next level. They will also want to know where Robinson’s production was his first three years ( combined 574 yards, five touchdowns) after what he did last year (1397 yards, seven touchdowns).
GARTH GERHART (center): The anchor of the Devils offensive line this past season, Gerhart likely has a good idea what to expect here in Indianapolis after seeing his older brother (Vikings running back) Toby go through it two years ago. May project Gerhart to be a late-round pick simply because he lacks size (6’1, 301) and has the tendency to get pushed around at the point of attack by bigger interior linemen.
OMAR BOLDEN (cornerback): Former freshman All-American and All-Pac-10 performer who’s string of bad luck due to injuries cost him his entire senior season this past fall after tearing his ACL in spring drills. One NFL agent told me earlier this week Bolden is the type of player, if healthy, who can have a long and prosperous pro career because of his cover skills and ability to play the run. He can also return kicks which adds even greater value to his resume. Bolden is somewhat small (5’10, 195) and he must prove this weekend he’s injury-free as teams begin to put together their draft boards.
JAMAAR JARRETT (defensive end): Tall, rangy player who finished second on the Devils in sacks last season with 4.5. Will need to show NFL personnel a quick burst in his individual workouts and the ability to shed blockers. Could be a late-round pick because he has the type of frame to add weight and strength to get a serious look by a team willing to be patient and let him develop over the next couple years.