Local contingent set to impress at combine
Many players already have arrived in Indianapolis for the NFL combine this week, and again, the state of Michigan will be well represented.
In addition to six players from Michigan State and three from Michigan, Central Michigan will have three players and Western Michigan one. There also are a few players with Michigan ties who played at out-of-state colleges.
The first wave of players arrived Tuesday, and kickers, offensive lineman and tight ends will address the media Wednesday. The bench press for these players starts Thursday, and the on-field testing is Friday. Players at other positions will continue their testing through Monday, which is when defensive backs will have a chance to showcase their skills.
Headlining the Michigan contingent are Spartans cornerback Trae Waynes and Wolverines wide receiver Devin Funchess, both of whom are projected first-round picks.
The 6-foot-1 Waynes is the top cornerback available, according to most analysts and likely will be selected in the top 20.
The 6-foot-5 Funchess is among the top of yet another loaded wide receiver class, and his ability to play receiver or tight end makes him an intriguing prospect for teams.
Even though the other local prospects might not have first-round potential, they can use the combine as a way to impress teams. In addition to running fast or performing well in other tests, the interviews with teams give players a chance to prove they have the mindset of a professional football player even if their skills still need time to develop.
Here's a look a few locals participating and their standing:
■Frank Clark: Teams will pelt the defensive end with questions about being dismissed from the team (domestic violence). The issue makes it harder for him to be drafted, but impressive physical testing would help.
■Jake Ryan: ESPN ranks him the No. 8 outside linebacker and No. 99 overall prospect. Running fast would help significantly.
■Kurtis Drummond: Likely a mid- to late-round pick, the 6-1 safety will try to prove he's closer to his 2013 tape than his 2014 tape.
■Taiwan Jones: The 6-2 Jones is the No. 6 inside linebacker prospect, according to ESPN, but he'll need to impress physically to go before Day 3.
■Jeremy Langford: He was a highly productive runner, but must run fast to stand out among a deep class of rushers. ESPN ranks him No. 9 among running backs and 100th overall.
■Tony Lippett: The 6-2 receiver (No. 19, ESPN) silenced some doubters at the Senior Bowl, but some teams still might look at him as a cornerback.
■Keith Mumphery: Likely a Day 3 pick or priority free agent, the receiver has to show top-level athleticism after lackluster production.
■Titus Davis: The 6-1 receiver (No. 30, ESPN) was highly productive with at least 740 yards and eight touchdowns in each of the last four seasons.
■Thomas Rawls: Analyst Mike Mayock believes the runing back (1,103 yards) is a fourth-round talent, but off-field issues and having one standout year could hurt.
■LT Walton: At 6-5 and 300 pounds, he has the build of an NFL defensive tackle, but needs to prove he has the athleticism to be drafted.
■Donald Celiscar: He had four interceptions and 21 pass break-ups, but the 5-11 cornerback has to prove he can play with talent better than the Mid-American Conference.
■Carl Davis, Iowa: The defensive tackle from Sterling Heights Stevenson was exceptional at the Senior Bowl, and a good performance this week could help him become a first-round pick.
■Kyle Brindza, Notre Dame: A Plymouth High product, he is ESPN's fourth-ranked kicker.
■Jake Fisher, Oregon: A Traverse City native, the 6-6 offensive tackle is ranked No. 12 by ESPN and a potential Day 2 pick.
■Josh Lambo, Texas A&M: Born in Lansing but raised in Chicago and Middleton, Wisconsin, he had a brief stint in pro soccer and is ESPN's No. 6 kicker.
Site: Wednesday-Monday, Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis
Position drills: Friday — Tight ends, offensive linemen, special teams. Saturday — Quarterbacks, running backs, wide receivers. Sunday — Defensive linemen, linebackers. Monday — Defensive backs