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2013 NFL Combine: Offensive players to watch

Tavon Austin could break combine records in change of direction drills like the 3-cone drill and shuttle.


Generally, mock drafts have focused on rebuilding the defense of the Jaguars during the 2013 offseason, despite the fact that the team finished with the third fewest points in the NFL. While that's likely the case, it's easy to find positions on offense that the Jaguars could improve.

Many of the first round offensive prospects make no sense for the Jaguars, but they will be important players to watch regardless as their performances will affect draft stocks and positioning:

Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia - Considered the best quarterback prospect in the 2013 NFL Draft by the majority, Smith sat out of the 2013 Senior Bowl and really didn't hurt himself considering no quarterback in particular stood out very much. However, his absence at the Senior Bowl puts a lot of pressure on the potential first overall pick to be very good in throwing drills where he can distance himself with a strong showing. With strong-armed players like Tyler Bray and Landry Jones there, Smith could also have a disappointing weekend if he isn't on point.

Tyler Bray, QB, Tennessee - As just mentioned, Bray has one of the biggest arms in this draft and the physical skill-set of a first round pick. While he didn't develop very quickly at Tennessee, he was slowly making progress in decision-making and accuracy before he elected to declare for the 2013 NFL Draft and forego his senior season. While there are questions about his maturity, a good showing in throwing drills could catapult him up draft boards.

Kenjon Barner, RB, Oregon - At 5-9, 188 pounds, Barner is expected to be one of the fastest players at the combine. While that sounds like a good thing, it's actually a lot of pressure for a player to perform because if he doesn't run as fast as many expect him to, it could be a big blow for the smaller running back.

Giovani Bernard, RB, North Carolina - There certainly isn't a consensus top running back in the 2013 NFL Draft, but Bernard has a lot of people's votes. Quick and decisive, Bernard has a good blend of power and shiftiness, but in the words of CBS Sports' Dane Brugler, he "lacks breakaway speed and can be caught from behind." That will make the 40-yard dash a big event for Bernard where he is projected by CBS Sports to finish with a 4.57.

Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia - While he's the player with perhaps the best change of direction and playmaking ability in the draft, nobody really knows what to expect from Austin in the 40-yard dash. He has been projected to finish anywhere from 4.28 to 4.50, but regardless, he should be a dominant force in the shuttle and 3-cone drills.

Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Tennessee - With news on Wednesday that California's Keenan Allen will sit out at the combine due to a knee injury, the top spot at receiver is all Patterson's to take if he can put up the huge numbers he's capable of. While a raw prospect with only one year of FBS-level football under his belt, he has the size, explosiveness and athleticism necessary to be a combine star.

Nick Kasa, TE, Colorado - Still very new to the tight end position after making the switch from defensive end, Kasa is one of the most intriguing players athletically and could show as much at the combine. During his week at the Senior Bowl, Kasa flashed his athleticism, but looked more comfortable as a blocker and is likely a long-term project; however, his workout numbers could warrant a draft pick.

Zach Ertz, TE, Stanford - Notre Dame's Tyler Eifert is still considered the top tight end by most, but there's a lot of steam picking up for Ertz. With similar size and athleticism, one of the two can stand out in Indianapolis and establish himself as the top tight end. Ertz, as the second ranked tight end on most rankings, would have to more gain by being the one to have a better showing of the two.

Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M - Really nobody cares if an offensive lineman can run 40 yards a tenth of a second faster than another offensive lineman. However, strong workout numbers can show the power and lower body strength necessary to be a top-flight lineman. Joeckel doesn't have much to prove, as he's considered by many to be the top prospect in the draft, but that will put the microscope on him as he will be expected to look the part.

Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan - One of the stars of the Senior Bowl, Fisher is a former tight end that has the footwork and athleticism to show for it. He has the potential to have a great combine and solidify himself as a top 16, possibly even top 10 selection.