Sizeable IE presence at NFL scouting combine

The 2008 NFL Scouting Combine, which is currently going on in Indianapolis, has quite a local presence, as five athletes from Inland Empire schools will be strutting their stuff for NFL scouts.

Some, like USC defensive tackle Sedrick Ellis (Chino) and Boise State offensive tackle Ryan Clady (Eisenhower) look to be guaranteed first-round picks and in the case of Ellis, maybe even a top 10 selection. However, this week at the RCA Dome might be more important for the likes of USC cornerback Terrell Thomas (Rancho Cucamonga), Hawaii wide receiver Ryan Grice-Mullen (Rialto) and Oregon State kicker Alexis Serna (Miller).

Thomas, a two-year starter for the Trojans, is projected as a borderline first-day pick (Round 2 or 3), and is looking to prove that the nagging injuries that were part of his USC career are out of the picture. Grice-Mullen, who starred in the wide-open, June-Jones led Hawaii attack, looks to prove that he’s more than a system WR while Serna, the Lou Groza Award winner for best kicker in 2005, is hoping to prove that he’s worth taking a late-round flier on despite playing a position that is very rarely drafted.

All in all, it should make for an interesting week.

While I’m on the subject of the NFL, Thomas will likely become the 4th Baseline League defensive back to make the league in the last two years, joining Alta Loma’s Eric Weddle (San Diego, 2nd round), Rancho Cucamonga’s Gerald Alexander (Detroit, 2nd round) and Upland’s Tyron Brackenridge (Kansas City, free agent) in the league. Oregon’s Patrick Chung, a Rancho Cucamonga graduate, looked to be another Baseline NFL DB when he declared for the draft in January, but he reconsidered and will be spending 2008 with the Ducks.

Even without Chung, four NFL DBs from one six-team league in two years is pretty crazy. Makes you wonder what’s in the water along Foothill Ave…

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