NFL combine 2013: Kennan Allen, Zach Ertz highlight local invitees

Kelley L Cox-US PRESSWIRE

Five players from Cal and four from Stanford will showcase their athletic and mental abilities at the biggest pre-draft event for the NFL. Find out who and when they might hear their names called.

The complete list of 333 invitees to the 2013 NFL Combine from Feb. 20-26 at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis has been announced, and a total of nine names from the Stanford-California rivalry are among them. There should be no shortage of intriguing storylines in Indianapolis and at least a couple of these players from the Bay Area should find themselves taken on Day 1 of the NFL draft.

Wide receiver Keenan Allen of California, an underclassman, is considered to be the top prospect at his position by many outlets and experts going into April's draft. NFL Draft Scout ranks Allen as the top wide receiver in the draft, and the 6'3, 210-pound wideout could solidify his first-round grade with a strong showing at the Combine, especially if he can display a quick 40-yard dash in addition to his big frame. Allen caught 61 passes for 737 yards and six touchdowns during his junior season for the Golden Bears.

Other Cal prospects invited to Indianapolis include running back C.J. Anderson, cornerback Marc Anthony, offensive lineman Brian Schwenke and defensive back Steve Williams.

Schwenke, 6'3 and 207 pounds, is the third-ranked center per NFL Draft Scout and could see his named called by the third round. The senior could push his stock even higher with a strong Combine. Cornerbacks Anthony and Williams are currently both ranked in the 20-25 range for their position by NFL Draft Scout and could find themselves jockeying position in the fifth-seventh rounds against each other.

Anderson, currently ranked 40th among running backs by NFL Draft Scout, needs an incredible Combine, or he will likely be undrafted.

It's going to be another strong class for the University of Stanford. After seeing the likes of Andrew Luck, Jonathan Martin, Toby Gerhart, Coby Fleener and many others go onto the next level in recent years, tight end Zach Ertz will be the headliner for the Cardinal at the 2013 NFL Draft.

Ertz, a 6'6, 252-pound underclassman, is the top ranked tight end by NFL Draft Scout and has a solid first-round grade at the moment. A strong showing in Indy could push him into the top 15 for any team looking to add a big-bodied tight end with excellent hands to its offense. Ertz caught 69 passes for 898 yards for the Cardinal in 2012.

Joining Ertz from Stanford are running back Stepfan Taylor, linebacker Chase Thomas and tight end Levine Toilolo.

The 6'7 Toilolo is not rated anywhere near as high as his teammate and position-mate Ertz, but he should hear his name called near the end of the draft or sign a deal as an undrafted free agent. Teams will love his size and a solid Combine would go a long way towards solidifying his name as a draft pick.

Taylor should have no problem hearing his name called in April. The 5'9, 216-pound senior was an integral part to Stanford's success over the last couple of years, though right now, he is projected to go in the fourth round. That could go up with a fast 40-yard dash in Indy.

Projected just ahead of that is the linebacker Thomas. Ranked as the sixth-best OLB currently by NFL Draft Scout, the 6'3, 251-pound senior could showcase strength, agility and speed at the Combine and make him a must-pick in the second round. It is a very strong class of OLB/DE's this year, and that's the only thing that could keep Thomas out of a higher draft pick, but a big day in Indianapolis could be the difference.

Either way, we know for certain that a significant number of players from the Bay Area are going to move on to the next level. The NFL Combine is just another step, and it begins on Feb. 20.

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