Indiana football is going to have something to cheer about right before the summer shutdown of news. Indiana WR Cody Latimer has repeatedly been impressive with his workouts throughout the NFL combine season. Impressive enough that he's now broken into the first round in most recent draft projections for this coming Saturday. That may come as a surprise to some. Latimer finished at IU with second team All-Big Ten honors and here in Bloomington, we knew what he was. However, the NFL gurus all had him as a late round pick in initial season ending mocks.
Despite battling a foot injury, Latimer is likely the hottest stock in the draft as of now. Going from projected late round to back end of the first in just a few short months is impressive. At the combine he proved he was fast with a 4.44 40. Not necessarily blazing but still very fast. Then he put up 23 reps at 225# on the bench press to show he's a beast in the strength column. Latimer's big frame will allow him to compete strong against most NFL corners and if he can get to the league and build on his football skills, there's a chance for him to have a very long football career on Sundays.
A lot of comparisons to players in the league lead back to one guy several times over. Many think that he can have a similar impact and career as current Niners receiver Anquan Boldin. As NFL corners are getting bigger and stronger, teams are looking more and more to having larger and larger receivers. There are a bevy of mock drafts out there and from what I've been able to gather, the Seahawks seem to be the most likely landing place for this Hoosier. That would be a fantastic opportunity for Latimer as despite winning a Super Bowl, Seattle is thin in the pass catching category. He'd get to work with a fellow Big Ten guy in Russell Wilson at QB and the pressure wouldn't be too high for him to perform immediately.
Outside of Latimer, there are several other Hoosiers to watch out for. Kofi Hughes was actually considered the better pro prospect for Indiana heading into last season. However, taking a back seat to Latimer hurt his production some. Still, while lacking some polish, he proved to be just as big and strong as Latimer if only a few inches shorter. His 40 was a shade slower, but he's still drawn interest from the Bears, Bengals, Colts and Redskins. I don't think he'll hear his name called in the draft but I wouldn't be surprised to see a team take a runner on him as a priority free agent.
Speaking of priority free agents, Ted Bolser is also likely a guy that won't be drafted, but will definitely get some calls from some teams. He's right there on the fringe of being a projected 7th round pick, but he'd have to impress in some interviews with the team to be called. Still, he's going to get his shot this summer on a team and I would be surprised if he didn't make a roster somewhere. He's big, physical and reliable. Not something that is easy to come by these days.
Finally, you have Stephen Houston. Houston has recently been touted as one of the more underrated RB prospects in the draft and a potential sleeper pick for showing up in a pick where no one expected him. We've always been well aware of what he can do. The problem was always consistency. Still, he's an NFL ready back that can punish defenses in one cut. If he can harness some of his explosiveness, he could find a roster and stick.