How Will the 2009 Class of Oregon Ducks Do at the NFL Scouting Combine?
With the NFL Scouting Combine about a week away it is time to look at which Ducks are going to attend and which players stock will rise and which will fall. I think as an overall group, the Ducks will show why they were a top team last season and why they were one of the most athletically gifted teams in the country.
I am not going to speculate on the physical and mental tests of the Combine because I don't know enough about the players or the tests themselves. The tests I will focus in on will be the 40-yard dash, Bench Press, Vertical Jump, Broad Jump, 20-yard shuttle, three-cone drill, and the 60-yard shuttle.
Jarius Byrd - CB/S - 6' 205. - Projected second-third Round Pick
Although Byrd was a corner, he is being projected as a safety in the NFL. Byrd is very athletic and will put up good numbers in most tests he takes. I feel he will do well in the bench press, vertical jump, broad jump, and the 20-yard shuttle.
The two tests I am not sure of the results are the 40-yard dash and the three cone drill. I feel that Byrd's 40 time will be somewhere in the 4.5 to 4.6 second range.
He has excellent agility and is very good in coverage, but he has been beat deep by faster receivers at times. I feel the second to third-round projection is accurate and has the possibility of moving up with a good 40 time. His punt returning ability can possibly give him a boost in the eyes of some scouts.
Max Unger - C/OT - 6'5" 300. - Projected second-third Round Pick
Unger is one of the tougher people to project out of this group. He is a very athletic linemen, but I have seen scouts question which offensive line position is best for him.
I feel Unger will have very impressive individual position drills, as well as the 40-yard dash, agility and jumping drills. He should post one of the best 40-yard dash times for offensive linemen.
The major weakness I see is with the bench press. In the senior bowl practices, some scouts were questioning his ability to block powerful defensive tackles. Because of the Oregon running scheme, I think Unger may not be a fit for some NFL teams, but any zone blocking scheme would be a good fit for his talents.
As they say you can't teach speed, so I expect Unger's stock will rise after more time with the weights and after he likely improves his bench before his workout on campus later in the process.
Patrick Chung - S - 6' 210. - Projected third-fourth Round Pick
Patrick Chung will be a very interesting prospect for scouts to watch at the combine. As a 21-year-old fifth-year senior, Chung has the experience of players much older than him, while he is as young as players leaving after their third year.
Any player that can start for four years in the Pac-10 and start college as a 16-year-old, is a very special person and athlete.
Chung should put up good strength numbers and should do well in all of the other tests. I feel if Chung works on his coverage skills and keeps tackling as well as in college, his draft stock will be on the rise.
Jeremiah Johnson - RB - 5'10" 200. - Projected third-fourth Round Pick
Being one of the top senior running backs this year, Jeremiah will receive a lot of looks by scouts. The major concern that I see coming up in the combine will be his size. I am betting he will be somewhere around 5'8-1/2" about 190.
There will definitely be a spot on a roster for him, but I think his lack of size unfortunately will keep his stock the same or maybe drop it some.
He should post very well in agility and jumping tests. His 40 yard dash should be on par, since his knee injury should be completely healed. The bench press may hurt his some, but shouldn't be too much of a factor.
I hope I am wrong about this one, since I really enjoyed watching him play in college, but size really does matter in the NFL.
Fenuki Tupou - OT - 6'6" 330. - Projected third-fourth Round Pick
Fenuki Tupou has a lot of positives going into the combine. He started getting a reputation as one of the best pass blocking tackles in the country and has outstanding strength. He also has the physical size that the NFL likes in an offensive tackle.
The question I have is with Tupou's speed and agility. I think because of Oregon scheme, any offensive linemen that is in the program has good agility. With his size he probably won't be one of the best in agility, but should post solid numbers.
I have a feeling his 40-yard dash time will not be one of the fastest and may keep his stock even with where it is now.
Ra'Shon Harris - DT - 6'5" 300. - Projected seventh or Undrafted
Ra'Shon Harris is an interesting player to look at for the combine. He had a very solid career at Oregon and definitely has the size to play in the NFL. I definitely think a team will give him a shot in the NFL, but I am not sure how he will do at the combine. I am not sure if he will stand out in any of the tests and the combine.
I feel he will have an average combine in the speed, agility and jumping tests. He will have good strength tests, but I am not sure if the bench press will distinguish him much from other defensive tackles. I think the combine will keep Ra'Shon's stock the same and may hurt his stock some.
Jaison Williams - WR - 6'5" 242. - Projected seventh or Undrafted
As many Duck fans know, J. Will has as much physical talent as any WR in the country. Trust me, if you haven't seen him in person, he is definitely 6'5" 240. I project him to have an amazing combine and show the scouts he is being overlooked.
All the speed, agility and jumping tests should be no problem for Williams and the scouts I feel will take notice. He was clocked at a 4.61 electric timed 40-yard dash and if he can get that down into the 4.5's he will turn some heads.
The work Jaison Williams put in on blocking over the last off season showed on the field and could really help him find a spot on a roster. Again his hands have to be a major question, but I am confident that in a new setting and being able to focus on football only, he has a great chance to send his stock soaring after the combine.
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