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Combine Day 2 Recap: QB's, WR's, RB's Take Podium


INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Thursday at Lucas Oil Stadium was only half of the expected circus, as Jameis Winston's media session was moved to Friday. Marcus Mariota did take the podium, along with the majority of quarterbacks, receivers and running backs.

Titans Online had Mariota covered, but here are other notable prospects that met with reporters on Thursday.

Brett Hundley, QB (UCLA)

Hundley is currently one of two quarterbacks that several draft analysts have as the third-ranked quarterback in this year's draft. The Scouting Combine marks the first time GMs and scouts will get to see him since the season ended.

The UCLA quarterback declined his invitation to the Senior Bowl as he was still recovering from shoulder and elbow ailments, but said he looks forward to displaying his talents this week.

"That's the one thing here is that you get to compete against the best," Hundley said. "Being able to throw to some of the best receivers, being able to run against the best quarterbacks, broad jump, vertical….everything. You get to display a lot."

The 6-foot-3, 226-pound Hundley called himself an overall quarterback on and off the field, with the ability to lead a team and make the most of his opportunities. Unlike Mariota, he said critics of his game fuel him to get better and prove them wrong.

The consensus within media and NFL scouts is that the 2015 quarterback class is a thin one, something Hundley disputed at the podium.

"Myself, Jameis, Mariota, Petty, (Garrett) Grayson, all of us make up a great quarterback class," he said. "Not only myself, but we are all ready to show the nation that we are better than people put us out to be."

Hundley, who finished his UCLA career with 9,971 passing yards, 75 touchdowns and 25 interceptions, said growing up he admired Donovan McNabb, who has served as a mentor to him throughout the draft process. The former Bruins QB said he doesn't feel pressure having to go from a spread offense in college to a pro-style offense in the NFL.

Bryce Petty, QB (Baylor)

The former Baylor Bear is the other quarterback competing to be the next player taken after Winston and Mariota. Like Hundley and Mariota, Petty is also going through the transition of playing under center and calling a play in the huddle.

He began his presser by discussing the value of playing for Ken Whisenhunt at the Senior Bowl.

"It was great for me," he said. "Before that I had no idea what to expect for even what a play call was. Coach Whisenhunt and his staff were great and exceptional to learn under. You don't know things until you live it out. The Senior Bowl was great for me to get my feet wet."

Until the Senior Bowl, Petty had only used a signal system with Baylor in terms of play calling. Petty says he has plenty of strengths to make up for his lack of experience in a pro style system.

"You're going to get a guy that's passionate about football who loves to learn and absorb. To me, that's hard to find," he said. "For me it's a great opportunity to talk with teams and I look forward to being on a team who is going to love me. I'm going to give them all I've got."

Petty threw for 3,855 yards, 29 touchdowns and seven interceptions in 2014.

Todd Gurley, RB (Georgia)

Gurley is the highest profile prospect that will not be working out at the Combine. Few question that he is the most talented back in the draft. Some say his ability is rare and projects to be an elite NFL running back.

The bigger story with Gurley is his knee. He tore his ACL against Auburn in November, prematurely ending his season and putting his draft ranking in question. Many analysts believe Gurley is still the top running back in the draft, saying his combination of size, strength and ability are too good to pass up.

Gurley said his progress from the ACL injury has been smooth, and positive medicals at the combine might give teams confidence that he's worth the risk.

The former Bulldog rushed for over 130 yards in five of the six games he played in prior to the injury, which hasn't diminished the expectations he has for himself.

"I'm not here to be number five overall or a second round pick," he said. "I'm here to be the best …I want to be a freak of nature."

Gurley said he doesn't have a timetable for his return, and the patience of taking things slow is the most challenging part right now.

"You're happy for the guys out there competing, but at the end of the day you want to see yourself competing with those guys," he said. "That's what the combine is all about."

Melvin Gordon, RB (Wisconsin)

Gurley's knee injury opens the door for Gordon to be the top running back taken in the draft. Like Gurley, Gordon is out to prove that he's a first-round talent worthy of the investment.

"There's a lot of running backs out here trying to break that trend," he said. "We've been trying to show all year that we're capable of going in the first round. That's been our goal and hopefully we can achieve that."

Gordon made headlines this season after he ran for 408 yards against Nebraska in mid-November, setting a new single-game NCAA record. The former Badger led the nation with 2,587 rushing yards in 2014, more than 500 yards clear of Coleman, whose 2,036 yards placed second. Gordon finished his college career with 251 rushing yards and three touchdowns in the Outback Bowl against Auburn

ESPN's Mel Kiper currently has Gordon ranked as his top running back in the class.


Sammie Coates, WR (Auburn)**

Coates is arguably one of the best athletes at the combine and a top candidate to run the fastest 40-yard dash. The wideout from Auburn is built like a rock, having measured in at 6-1 and 212 pounds.

His challenge at the professional level will be to prove he's not just a deep threat, making his workouts at the combine even more important. Scouts want too see him run a full route tree. The gauntlet drill will be another important test for Coates, who is knocked for making easy drops that he attributed to "a lack of focus."

In 2014, Coates caught 34 passes for 741 yards and four touchdowns as a junior before deciding to forgo his senior season and enter the NFL Draft.

Coates played for the South Team at the Senior Bowl.

DeVante Parker, WR (Louisville)

Much of the receivers talk has focused on Amari Cooper and Kevin White, but DeVante Parker wants his name in the mix for the top receiver off the board.

"You know I'm a competitor," he said. "Those are two good guys in front of me, but I'm a very good competitor. It's all about going against each other and making each other better."

The former Cardinal had modest numbers in 2014 – 43 receptions for 855 yards and five touchdowns – but he was measured in at 6-3, 209 pounds.

"I bring the ability to high-point the ball, break tackles and get yards after the catch," Parker said.

Parker recorded double-digit touchdowns as a sophomore and junior, catching 10 touchdowns and 12 touchdowns in those years, respectively.

What's on Tap Friday: Winston, Cooper, DL, LB

Winston and Alabama wide receiver Amari Cooper are expected to meet with the media, along with a majority of linebackers and defensive linemen.

Workouts also get underway Friday with the offensive linemen, tight ends and special team players taking the field at Lucas Oil Stadium. Quarterbacks and skill players will go through psychological testing, bench press and more team interviews.


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