TN players at the NFL scouting combine
Seven prospects who played college football in Tennessee are taking part in this week's NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis.
Why it matters: Success at the combine helps determine a prospect's draft position in April's NFL Draft. A blazing 40-yard dash or a strong showing on the bench press can mean millions of dollars.
- Players undergo medical testing, interview with NFL executives and perform athletic tests.
- The combine's key testing events began yesterday with wide receivers, tight ends and quarterbacks. The event has turned into a football spectacle, with journalists from across the country flying to Indianapolis and multiple cable networks broadcasting the tests live.
Between the lines: A pair of Memphis prospects headline the contingency from Tennessee schools.
- Undersized but lightning-quick wide receiver Calvin Austin III is catching the attention of evaluators. Just 5 feet, 8 inches tall, Austin is expected to be one of the fastest players in this year's draft. He ran a 4.32 40-yard dash yesterday.
- ESPN draft guru Mel Kiper Jr. was effusive in his praise of Austin on the "First Draft" podcast earlier this week, speculating that he could even be selected in the first round. "He's speed and he's consistency, and it's so rare to see that," Kiper said. "And he's tough. He's a football player with a track background."
- Austin's Tigers teammate, interior offensive lineman Dylan Parham, is also working out at the combine.
Meanwhile, four Tennessee Volunteers received invitations: defensive lineman Matthew Butler, wide receiver Velus Jones, offensive tackle Cade Mays and defensive back Alontae Taylor.
- Kiper called Butler a possible steal, saying, "when you watch the tape on this kid, really underrated."
Yes, but: The state prospect who has garnered the most pre-draft praise is Cole Strange, the offensive lineman from Tennessee-Chattanooga. Strange was chosen to play in last month's Senior Bowl all-star game.
As for Vanderbilt, no Commodores were invited to the combine this year.
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