Every year, the NFL Scouting Combine sees players who weren't receiving much fanfare burst onto the scene with freakish performances in the annual underwear Olympics.
While bigger-name players like LB Bud Dupree, DE Vic Beasley, DE Dante Fowler and WR Kevin White did great at the combine, everyone already knew those guys would go in the first round of April's NFL draft.
The Bengals should be interested in all the aforementioned names, but here's a look at three guys who may not have been on Cincy's radar before putting on amazing combine performances.
Ali Marpet, OL, Hobart
The Bengals need to bolster their offensive-line depth, and they tend to take at least one pick in the latter rounds to develop into a future contributor. Clint Boling is the most recent example, and with the former fourth-round pick now hitting free agency, adding another guard in the draft would be ideal.
That's where 307-pound Ali Marpet comes in. At the combine, the Division III standout was the only offensive lineman to break the 5-second barrier in the 40-yard dash, running it in 4.98 seconds. He also posted the second-best times in the 3-cone drill (7.33 seconds) and 20-yard shuttle (4.47 seconds) before bench-pressing 225 pounds 30 times, the fifth-most among offensive linemen.
Marpet played Division III Football for the Hobart Statesmen, a small private college in Geneva, N.Y. The good news is he isn't just a workout warrior; Marpet had a great showing at the Senior Bowl in January. He also didn't allow a sack this past season, which is impressive at any level of football.
Chris Conley, WR, Georgia
Chris Conley was a bit of an unknown coming into the combine, but that changed quickly. He blew up in Indianapolis, posting a vertical jump of 45 inches and a broad jump of 11'7".
Both are the best marks ever for a wide receiver at the combine. Conley also ran a 4.35 40, which was the third-fastest time among wide receivers this year.
As of now, Conley is being projected as a seventh-round or even undrafted player by CBS Sports. His combine performance certainly enhanced his stock and will force scouts to go back to the tape and see if Conley was a better player than his 36-catch, 657-yard senior season suggests.
Oh, and the Bengals LOVE guys from Georgia.
Byron Jones, CB, UConn
Like Conley, Byron Jones is just trying to make sure he hears his name called during the draft. He certainly helped his cause by recording an insane 12'3" in his broad jump. The previous best was 11'7".
Jones then went on to hit 44.5" on the vertical jump, which was just shy of the record, too. That kind of athleticism will put him on the radar of more scouts and NFL minds than before, and Jones needs every stock boost he can get.
His performance came four weeks after he was cleared to workout following shoulder surgery for an injury that ended his season last October. He had eight career interceptions at UConn, but wasn't drawing a lot of NFL interest, even before his season-ending injury.
His combine performance could help him sneak into the latter part of the draft. The Bengals probably aren't going to draft a corner in the first three rounds this year, so a guy like Jones is worth monitoring in the latter rounds.