AP NEWS

Five local college football players take their big shot at NFL Combine

March 2, 2017

The NFL Combine kicked off on Wednesday and will run through Monday, making these next few days important to the five players from Inland Northwest colleges who received an invite.

The annual event consists of physical and psychological testing of the 330 players NFL teams most expect to select during the draft on April 27-29. It is also a chance for players to meet with teams, who will use those meetings make sure there are no character or fit issues.

Idaho punter Austin Rehkow has already had his weigh-in and medical examinations and will work out Thursday and Friday. Eastern Washington wide receivers Cooper Kupp and Kendrick Bourne, along with Washington State wide receiver Gabe Marks, will follow the same schedule but delayed by one day.

WSU safety Shalom Luani will do his medical examination on Saturday, then work out on Sunday and Monday.

The NFL Scouting Combine is the best chance remaining for these players to significantly improve their draft position. Some players will show themselves much faster than scouts originally thought, or show that a few months of dedicated heavy lifting have turned them into much stronger players.

Former WSU safety Deone Bucannon, for example, was selected in the first round of the 2014 NFL draft thanks in large part his 4.49-second 40-yard-dash time and 19 bench press repetitions, along with a 36 1/2-inch vertical jump that was among the best of all the defensive backs tested.

Others will see their draft stock plummet when they show up out of shape or if chronic injuries are revealed during the medical examinations. Consider University of Washington running back Chris Polk, who many believed would be selected in the early rounds of the 2012 NFL draft but went undrafted when a potentially degenerative shoulder condition was discovered.

We will discover a lot about the five Inland Northest players over the coming days. Here’s what we know now, and what we are hoping to find out.