Last Thursday, all 32 NFL teams sent representatives to Tuscaloosa, Alabama, for the Crimson Tide’s pro day.
Similar scenes will unfold at Arkansas, Georgia, South Carolina and Vanderbilt this week as the rest of the SEC shows off their pro prospects.
But as we look ahead to next season and beyond, it’s fair to wonder which upcoming draft-eligible players will be the ones dazzling scouts at the NFL combine and pro days in 2018.
Here are a few notable players who could turn heads when its their turn to take part in the NFL’s so-called Underwear Olympics.
Georgia RB Nick Chubb: If last season’s 1,100 yards and 5 yards per carry were any indication, his recovery from that devastating knee injury he suffered against Tennessee is coming along well. And if he can return to his pre-injury form completely, he’ll be the talk of the combine with a 40-inch vertical and a sub 4.5-second 40-yard dash.
Alabama LB Rashaan Evans: Is he an inside linebacker, outside linebacker or defensive end? Does it matter? His athleticism defies his position. When Alabama tested its running backs, tight ends, linebackers and quarterbacks before last season, Evans reportedly clocked in with a high max velocity of of a speedy 20.5 miles per hour.
LSU RB Derrius Guice: He might not have Leonard Fournette’s size, but he isn’t backing down in terms of overall strength. Just watch the video he posted squatting 583 pounds this offseason. Pair that with the kind of speed that compiled an SEC-best 19 rushes of 10 yards or longer last season and you’re looking at an elite NFL prospect.
LSU CB Donte’ Jackson: We’re not going to get into the DBU debate here, but suffice it to say that LSU knows how to churn out athletic defensive backs. The next in line is half track star, half cornerback Jackson, who ran a 4.24-second 40-yard dash and clocked in at 6.66 seconds in the 60-meters.
Texas A&M WR Christian Kirk: As a senior in high school, he ran the 100-meter dash in an impressive 11.04 seconds. But put a football in his hands and you really see the speed. While he might not impress phyisically because he's shorter than 6 feet tall, his explosiveness is off the charts with a reported vertical jump in excess of 35 inches and production that make him the active leader in receptions of 20 yards or longer in the SEC (29).
South Carolina LB Skai Moore: We’ll have to wait and see how well Moore comes back from season-ending surgery. But if he’s anywhere near 100 percent, he could vie for the title of the most athletic linebacker in the country. While his somewhat slight frame (221 pounds) is a concern, his ability to run in the 4.4-second range in the 40-yard dash will be enough to make scouts wonder what he could do at the next level.
Alabama WR Calvin Ridley: Like his predecessor Amari Cooper, Ridley will make scouts overlook the fact that he’s not an Alshon Jeffery-type physical receiver. At 6-1, he is tall enough, and he reportedly ran a 4.35-second 40-yard dash prior to last season.
Auburn OL Braden Smith: His father played football and ran track at Kansas and appears to have assembled his son in a lab. Teammates call Smith "Drago," "The Terminator" and "The Hulk." The massive offensive lineman is 6-foot-6, 305 pounds, squats 600 pounds and can broad jump 9 feet, 10 inches.
Other notable players: Florida wide receiver Antonio Callaway, Florida defensive back Duke Dawson, Mississippi State linebacker Gerri Green, Ole Miss defensive end Marquis Haynes, LSU defensive end Arden Key, Alabama defensive lineman Da'Ron Payne and Georgia defensive back Dominick Sanders.