Indianapolis, IN—The NFL Scouting Combine officially kicked off today, and we are bringing you live updates and analysis on all the comings and goings live from Lucas Oil Stadium.
Today marked the arrival of offensive linemen, tight ends, workout quarterbacks and special teams players. The notable players in attendance were Matt Kalil (USC), Jonathan Martin (Stanford) and Riley Reiff (Iowa), as well as NFL head coaches Rex Ryan and Jim Schwartz.
The Peyton Manning Question
There isn't a street corner in Indianapolis that isn't dominated by pictures or talk of Peyton Manning. Everywhere you turn there is some reference to the legacy of No. 18. The big questions of the day focused on the health and status of Manning, as well as the teams that may be interested in the future Hall of Famer.
The Cleveland Browns, Washington Redskins, Miami Dolphins, Indianapolis Colts and New York Jets coaches were all asked about Manning today, but none provided much insight on their feelings regarding Manning as an option in 2012.
The best sound bites came from new Colts general manager Ryan Grigson, who said the Colts have not seen Manning throw and have no updates on his health, and from new Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin, who said the team will "look for a leader at the position, regardless of age."
Manning is already dominating the news circuit in Indianapolis.
Is Andrew Luck Elite?
If Peyton Manning didn't dominate the press conferences today, Andrew Luck did. The Stanford quarterback was the subject of many questions throughout the day.
Former Stanford coach, and now San Francisco 49ers head man, Jim Harbaugh simply said Luck is "very good," leaving it at that. He did elaborate in saying he did not look forward to having to face Luck at the pro level, and that the quarterback is one of the "top five people I've worked with all-time."
High praise for the prospective No. 1 overall pick.
Other teams, like the Cleveland Browns and head coach Pat Shurmur, spoke very highly of Luck's ability as a passer. But Shurmur wouldn't apply the "can't-miss" tag to Luck as a prospect, saying it was too dangerous a label to place on any player coming out of college.
While Luck's status may vary from team to team, the simple fact is the Indianapolis Colts love his ability and potential.
Rex Ryan Apologizes
The most surreal scene of the day was an oddly contrite Rex Ryan. The New York Jets' head coach made a famous proclamation at the Combine last season, saying his Jets would win the Super Bowl. As you probably already know, they didn't, and Rex acknowledged his comments were stupid and hurt the team—his words, not mine.
Ryan said the emphasis in 2012 was on the team, and not individuals. He also said the Jets have the best cornerbacks in the NFL and would look to add playmakers on offense.
When asked about new offensive coordinator Tony Sparano, Ryan said he was taken by Sparano when they first met because he was the first coach who gave him the vibe that "he thought he was tougher than me."
Matt Kalil Beefs Up
USC offensive tackle Matt Kalil played at a reported 285 lbs during his college days, but he weighed in at a stocky 306 lbs today. That's a big jump for the lean and linear Kalil, and a step in the right direction according to NFL scouts.
Kalil impressed not only in the weigh-in portion of the day, but also during the media session. He was funny, open and an easy interview compared to his counterparts at the offensive tackle position.
He could see himself drafted anywhere between picks No. 2 and No. 6 at the worst.