The NFL Combine starts on the first day of March.
It remains one of the more fun events for football fans to take in during the offseason.
Highly touted draft prospects can showcase their abilities while potential diamonds in the rough try to get noticed.
It’s also our annual reminder of just how physically gifted some of these athletes are.
This upcoming NFL Draft is a crucial one for the Cleveland Browns.
After an underwhelming 2021, changes on the roster are needed.
Some of those roster modifications can be made via the draft.
Before the draft, however, front offices and coaching staffs must do their homework before, during, and after the combine.
Here here are a couple of names for Browns fans to keep an eye on next month.
1. Chris Olave, Wide Receiver, Ohio State
The Browns and Buckeyes, for obvious geographical reasons, have plenty of overlap between their fans.
Ohio State struggled plenty last season, but their receivers were a consistent bright spot.
Chris Olave especially shined last season in Columbus.
He posted career-high numbers and led the Big Ten conference in receiving touchdowns with 13.
At 6’1” he is not the tallest receiver.
However, he makes up for that with his quickness and polished route running.
Chris Olave will be drafted No. ___ overall pic.twitter.com/u4FDkOZNfX
— PFF Draft (@PFF_College) February 15, 2022
Quick balltracking sample, Chris Olave
Great concentration behind contact and over the shoulder. pic.twitter.com/hzZ4TpXiiB
— JetPack Galileo (@JetPackGalileo) February 14, 2022
Olave is a guy who can both make splash plays down the field and make short, tight, and contested catches to keep drives alive.
He’s exactly what Baker Mayfield should be wanting out of a receiver.
As mentioned, Ohio State boasted a talented receiving core last year.
Because of that, Olave’s targets were lower than expected as he shared the spotlight with Jaxon Smith-Njigba and Garrett Wilson.
The combine will be a good opportunity for fans to see how he stacks up physically with others.
2. Boye Mafe, Defensive End/Edge, Minnesota
This is a deep draft class in terms of edge rush talent.
With the future of Jadeveon Clowney in the air, this group should get some attention at the combine from Browns fans.
Enter Boye Mafe, who just finished rowing the boat at Minnesota with P.J. Fleck.
At 6’4”, 255-pounds, Mafe possesses the size to combat with offensive lineman.
Additionally, his lateral quickness and high motor compliment his excellent hand-work in the trenches.
Minnesota Edge Boye Mafe’s hands never stop working pic.twitter.com/sDrNJ971Hq
— Bobby Skinner (@BobbySkinner_) February 16, 2022
Minnesota EDGE Boye Mafe is a menace as a pass rusher. He has the length, burst and explosive power to develop into an even better pro than college player. I think he comes off the board early-Day 2. pic.twitter.com/b15KoTG3qs
— Todd McShay (@McShay13) February 14, 2022
Mafe has a knack for getting to the quarterback, finishing last season 6th in the Big Ten with seven sacks.
Minnesota EDGE Boye Mafe was killing OTs with the inside stab-outside chop/club all week at the Senior Bowl.
6-3, 255 pounds with 33 3/8-inch arms & was mentioned in Feldman's Freaks list with a 40+ inch vertical, sub 4.6 40-yard dash & sub 1.6 10-yard split. Very intriguing! pic.twitter.com/oqAT11msJk
— John Owning (@JohnOwning) February 10, 2022
Mafe added 50-pounds to his body from the start of his time with the Golden Gophers.
His combine numbers will be interesting to follow and he’s certainly a name Browns fans should keep an eye on.
3. Bubba Bolden, Safety, Miami
The safety position is an interesting one for Cleveland.
Strong safety in particular is concerning with Ronnie Harrison possibly out the door.
Grant Delpit will be back, but Joe Woods likes to deploy multiple safeties on the field at one time.
Bubba Bolden out of Miami (FL) stands out as a prospect who may still be around in the second or third round.
Bolden is someone who just makes plays when he’s on the field.
He led the ACC in forced fumbles with four in 2020 and finished his collegiate career with two interceptions.
#10 Bubba Bolden, Miami (10/12)
Draft Range: Day 3
Intriguing prospect with solid size, frame & athleticism, needs to show more consistency with his tackling/technique but has the size to cover TEs in the slot as well as a quick trigger to run through RBs in the backfield pic.twitter.com/SVzdW6mLjn
— MRCROCKPOT TPL (@mrcrockpot) February 15, 2022
The speed is there, but his strength and overall fundamentals need work.
Still, he’s an intriguing prospect and could provide solid depth at the safety position for Cleveland.
His ball-hawking skills should entice front offices with so many pass-heavy offenses in today’s NFL.