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February 27, 2008

Which players are climbing charts?

We asked NFL scout and draft partner Frank Coyle of draftinsiders.com to pick the 10 players who helped themselves most at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis. Here is his list:

10. Jake Long, Michigan
Position: OT
Coyle Position Ranking Before Combine: First
The top offensive lineman in this year's class solidified a top 5-10 selection. He came in at 6-7 and 313 pounds, and did a combine best (thus far) 37 reps @ 225 lbs. He ran a 5.17 and 5.27.
9. Justin King, Penn State
Position: CB
Coyle Position Ranking Before Combine: Ninth
This athletic junior corner had the type of workout an underclassman must produce to be an early draft selection. He ran a low 4.33 time, looked sharp in the agility drills and did 14 repetitions of 225 pounds.
8. Vernon Gholston, Ohio State
Position: DE
Coyle Position Ranking Before Combine: Third
Gholston had one of the strongest showings at the combine. He ran an outstanding 4.67 time at 266 lbs. He also tied Jake Long with 37 reps for the most reps at the event. He added a good 35.5" vertical leap, which probably guarantees him a top-eight selection.
7. Trevor Laws, Notre Dame
Position: DT
Coyle Position Ranking Before Combine: 10th
Explosive tackle continued his terrific postseason following a strong week at the Senior Bowl. He ran 5.08 and 5.09 times and did 35 reps in the lifting. He performed very well in the agility drills and is the one shining light in a dismal ND football season.
6. Devin Thomas, Michigan State
Position: WR
Coyle Position Ranking Before Combine: 11th
This underclassman had a monster workout. He ran two low 4.3 times - including a 4.32 sprint. He is an explosive receiver at almost 6-2 and 215 pounds. On top of that, he also has kickoff return skills.
5. Dexter Jackson, Appalachian State
Position: WR
Coyle Position Ranking Before Combine: Unranked
This small-college standout ran an impressive 4.27 hand-held, not electronic. He gets to top speed quickly, and has the hands to make big plays.
4. Dustin Keller, Purdue
Position: TE
Coyle Position Ranking Before Combine: Seventh
Keller is an athletic, smaller tight end who we had on our top 100 board prior to the Combine. He had a huge workout likely the most impressive showing on Day 1. He ran 4.53 and 4.54 times in the 40. He had an exceptional 38" vertical leap with a solid 26 reps @ 225 lbs. Keller displayed sure hands and the ability to adjust to the ball. Despite already being in our top 100, he could move up further following the Combine.
3. Chris Johnson, East Carolina
Position: RB
Coyle Position Ranking Before Combine: Seventh
This extremely quick all-purpose back ran the fastest sprint at the NFL Combine. He ran a blazing 4.24 time with a 35-inch vertical leap and a 10'10" broad jump. He also looked good in the agility and pass catching drills, which may elevate him to a top-50 ranking. He ranks behind a few juniors at the position, but he is the highest-rated senior tailback.
2. Antoine Cason, Arizona
Position: CB
Coyle Position Ranking Before Combine: Fourth
Cason may have been the senior prospect with the most to prove at this event. There were questions about his speed prior to the combine, but he answered his critics. Cason had a strong overall workout, including a 4.49 sprint time. He did 20 reps in the bench press, posted a 35.5-inch vertical leap and a 10'8" broad jump. That effort probably guarantees him a first-round grade.
1. Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Tennessee State
Position: CB
Coyle Position Ranking Before Combine: Sixth
The rising star of the postseason had another big performance on the heels of a terrific Senior Bowl week. He continued his stellar postseason with a blazing 4.33 time, 17 reps in the lifting and a fine 38.5-inch vertical leap. His workout at the Combine could push him into the first round.

Frank Coyle is a nationally known NFL scout who publishes Draft Insiders' Digest and www.draftinsiders.com. In it's 16th season, Draft Insiders' Digest is dedicated to year-round coverage of NFL and NCAA Football. He covers the NFL Draft and free agency extensively with a veteran scouting staff that provides insightful and unique information on players and team potential in the coming seasons. Draft Insiders' Digest is an extensive publication that produces 15 issues throughout the year and a Draft Yearbook with over 450 in-depth scouting reports.

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