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Names to know for the Combine

Combine stories are coming fast and furious, and one of my favorite pre-Combine features are the "players to watch" posts that are popping up around the internets this week. Having spent the wee small hours of a sleepless morning perusing such stories, I thought it might be worth a short post here culling some of the players that might be of interest to the St. Louis Rams

If the Rams end up looking for a QB sometime after the first round, these names might be worth watching. The few QBs that do end up throwing will have lots of opportunity to get their names into the hype machine since the big names...and Dan LaFevour will not be throwing this week. 

Jarrett Brown, West Virginia, 6'3" 219 lbs - The writers over at the National Football Post are really high on this guy, ranking him just behind Bradford and Clausen on their QB board. Here's the feature quote:

Brown is a big, strong-armed kid who has the physical skill set needed to make all the throws at the next level. What gets him in trouble is when he’s asked to decipher information from the pocket and quickly go through his progressions. However, with no defenders on the field during throwing sessions, expect him to look impressive spinning the football on all areas of the field, showcasing good zip in the intermediate pass game and a nice touch down the field on bucket throws.

Hmm, sounds a little like Keith Null, with the pro's arm and problems reading and reacting. 

Jevan Snead, Mississippi, 6'3" 215 lbs - A preseason candidate for the first round, Snead was expected to have a much better season than he did last year. The Kyle Boller comparisons scare me. Here's Mocking the Draft on Snead's Combine outlook:

No one is questioning his raw tools, which he’ll put on display. If he’s on rhythm in passing drills, don’t be shocked if Snead gets himself into the first three rounds.

Wide Receiver
Maybe this isn't as desperate of a need as we once thought, though the Rams still need to find some talent for their group. It will be interesting to see who is available in the second round versus what other players are available with that pick. 

Arrelious Benn, Illinois, 6'2" 220 lbs - Everyone knows Benn, but could the Combine put his name into late first round consideration? MTD thinks so...

With Demaryius Thomas out with an injury, Benn can show he’s fast and has good hands. A good combine for the plus-size receiver could push him ahead of not only Thomas, but a player like Damian Williams whose size is average.

Defensive End
At the risk of being unpopular, I'd personally like to see the Rams make getting a real pass rushing threat at DE the top priority for their defensive line. With a draft deep with DL talent, that second round pick might be the place to do it, but, like I said, given the talent available, a third round pick might surprise us all. 

Greg Hardy, Mississippi, 6'4" 279 lbs - Without injuries this guy would have been in the conversation for a top 20 pick, but he's never finished a full season of college ball. The medial evaluation and interview process could do a lot for his draft stock. 

Alex Carrington, Arkansas State, 6'4" 284 lbs - If Tim Tebow hadn't dominated Senior Bowl coverage, this guy might have become a household name. His strength isn't the pass rush, though he could be enough of a presence opposite Chris Long to let the former second overall pick really shine in that department. Of course, the Combine workouts might help him establish himself in that department too. He'd be a steal in the third round, but more national exposure might put him into the second. 

Corey Wootton, Northwestern, 6'6" 280 lbs - For Wooten the Combine's the chance to get his draft stock back to first round levels, but with so much talent available this year, the Rams can hope he's  there when pick #33 rolls around. An injury (against Mizzou in the '08 Alamo Bowl) put his status for 2009 into question. Wooten would be a perfect fit for Spagnuolo's system that features ends playing inside too.  

We'll have more names to know prior to the Combine's Thursday start. I really didn't intend for this to get so focused on just three positions. Must be that time of year.