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Dan in Lafayette

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Aug 1, 1997
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Lafayette, LA

Illinois RB Mendenhall runs into spotlight at combine

Don Banks / Sports Illustrated

A heaping helping of notes and quotes that remained in my notebook after a four-day stay at the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis, an event that seems to grow exponentially larger each and every February ...

• One longtime league personnel evaluator I know had an insightful comparison about the rise up the draft board that is projected for Illinois running back Rashard Mendenhall this spring.

"He reminds me so much of Amobi Okoye last year,'' said the personnel man. "At the beginning of the process, we didn't really know much about either one of them, other than they were really young. [Okoye was 19 at last year's combine, Mendenhall is 20.] Then you watch some film, and you go from thinking of them as a first-day pick to a first-round pick. Then you get to the combine, get a chance to talk to them, and now it's first half of the first round. Then they have great workouts, and you realize they're top 10 picks. The same thing that happened with Okoye is happening with Mendenhall.'' Full Story – SI

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