The NFL combine officially gets started Tuesday as draft hopefuls begin arriving in Indianapolis.
Over the next week, they'll be interviewed, weighed, measured and studied from every angle. We'll pore over how fast they can run 40 yards or how many times they can bench press 225 pounds. Some of you crazy people will even watch it on TV.
The Big Ten is sending 58 players to the combine this year, so the league will be front and center in many storylines. Here are some to watch closely:
The hunt for No. 1. The Big Ten hasn't had an overall No. 1 pick since Michigan's Jake Long in 2008. Could this be the year for another? Ohio State defensive end Joey Bosa has been mentioned as a possible top overall pick for a couple of years now. Bosa slipped all the way to No. 6 on Mel Kiper's latest Big Board released last week (because of all the football that has been played the past seven weeks?). But Bosa is an athletic freak who could turn heads at the combine, and his tape speaks for itself.
A first-round quarterback? The Big Ten hasn't produced a first-rounder at quarterback since Penn State's Kerry Collins in 1995. This looked like the year to change that, with a group of talented signal-callers in the league. But disappointing seasons by Ohio State's Cardale Jones and Penn State's Christian Hackenberg hurt their draft stock. Most mock drafts right now do not have a Big Ten quarterback in Round 1. But there is one Big Ten quarterback who will be very intriguing at the combine ...
And that's Michigan State's Connor Cook. He has a sparkling record and undoubtedly an NFL arm. But there continue to be whispers about his personality and leadership style. Cook is ready to put those doubts to rest this week, when his interviews with team personnel could be more important than anything he does physically.
Speaking of quarterbacks, Jones has a chance to climb back up draft boards after more scouts get a load of his physical tools, which are immense. The same could be said of Hackenberg, who struggled the past two years at Penn State but still has plenty of physical attributes NFL teams want. Indiana's Nate Sudfeld could also show scouts he more than just a system guy.
How many Buckeyes will go in Round 1? Lucas Oil Stadium, site of the combine, could look a little like the Horseshoe this week, as a stunning 14 Ohio State players will participate in the event. Several of them could wind up in the first round, including Bosa, offensive tackle Taylor Decker, linebacker Darron Lee, running back Ezekiel Elliott, cornerback Eli Apple, wide receiver Michael Thomas and safety Vonn Bell. Braxton Miller will be highly intriguing this week because of his insane physical gifts and newfound versatility. Could the Buckeyes break the all-time record of six first-rounders from one school, set by the 2004 Miami Hurricanes? Either way, it should be a banner draft for Ohio State, and you won't be able to watch much of the combine without seeing one of Urban Meyer's guys.
Who's the top Big Ten tackle? Ohio State's Decker is a clear first-rounder, but Michigan State's Jack Conklin battled him for All-Big Ten honors and other awards. Conklin is a great story as a guy who walked on to the Spartans. Indiana's Jason Spriggs did very well at the Senior Bowl and could continue to climb after showcasing his athleticism at the combine. All three could go on opening night; whose name will be called first?
What's up with Drew Ott? The Iowa defensive end got an invite to the combine but is still hopeful of receiving a medical hardship waiver and playing for the Hawkeyes this year. He's probably not physically able to do much at the combine at this point anyway. The Big Ten's academic and eligibility subcommittee is scheduled to meet this week in Chicago, so Ott could get some news on his waiver request before the combine begins.
What sleepers will emerge? The combine is always good for generating interest in players based on their workouts. Some guys I think could improve their stock include Illinois running back Josh Ferguson, Minnesota cornerback Eric Murray and Nebraska defensive tackles Maliek Collins and Vincent Valentine.