Five storylines at the NFL Combine

JOHN KRYK, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:38 PM ET

INDIANAPOLIS - The five top storylines at this year's NFL Scouting Combine, which goes Thursday through Tuesday at Lucas Oil Stadium:

1) Will the Colts sign Andrew Luck this weekend?

The NFL announced this week that there is nothing preventing the Indianapolis Colts from signing the player they intend to select No. 1 in April's entry draft as soon as this Friday.

Colts owner Jim Irsay showed during Super Bowl week exactly how much of a distraction he likes to be when hundreds of NFL media come to town.

Nothing would surprise us less than if Irsay signed Luck, the Stanford quarterback prodigy and Peyton Manning's heir apparent.

2) How does Robert Griffin III fare in team meetings?

While Luck seemingly is the de facto first overall pick for the Colts, Griffin could turn a lot more heads of teams picking high in the first round if he demonstrates one vital skill at the Combine.

No one doubts that RG3 is a super-talented quarterback, with accuracy, zip on his throws, and rare athleticism at 6-foot-2, 220 pounds. That won't be enough, however.

"After you evaluate him as an athlete with arm strength and footwork and all the rest, I think the meetings are critical," says Mike Mayock of the NFL Network.

Teams will grill him to find out precisely how and why he makes the on-field decisions he does -- or doesn't.

"What I don't like about him is he waits for routes to develop before he throws the football," Mayock says. "In other words, he lacks anticipation, and because of that he throws late in the coverage and makes mistakes."

3) Is Trent Richardson the real deal at running back?

Yes, he was a superstar at national champion Alabama. Yes, he was a Heisman Trophy contender. Yes, he looked like a man playing against boys a lot of the time.

But is Richardson really all that? Is he really, as Mayock asserts, the best back to come out of college since Adrian Peterson in 2007 -- one who can rush for 100 yards a game straight out of the gate?

"I believe he is (that kind of back)," Mayock says. "I don't say that very often ... I think his height, width, speed, toughness all constitute a pretty solid pick."

4) How do the big wide receivers fare in the speed drills?

It's not just Justin Blackmon of Oklahoma State -- everybody's top wide receiver -- who can do himself a lot of favours by putting up fast times in the 40-yard dash.

There are a bunch of tall, "big-body" wideouts this year, and pretty much all of them after Blackmon have to show whether they have separation speed to be good at the NFL level.

Examples include Notre Dame's Michael Floyd and South Carolina's Alshon Jeffery. Baylor's Kendall Wright and LSU's Rueben Randle are known burners who could see their draft stocks rise with sub-4.4 40s.

5) Will everybody's No. 1 inside linebacker, Luke Kuechly, start getting the big biz buzz he's earned?

The likely high first-rounder was a monster at Boston College, averaging a whopping 16 tackles per game last fall -- an NCAA record -- in leading the nation with a mind-boggling 191 tackles.

And it was no fluke. In three seasons at BC, Kuechly amassed 532 tackles.

"He's never been hurt," Mayock says. "He's got no significant injuries. He's clean off the field, intelligent. He's got great instincts, and he's a better athlete than people think."

One stigma some attach to Kuechly is that he's slow. Mayock disagrees. If Kuechly can run impressive times in the 40, his stock might shoot even higher.


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