It’s that time of year again when the who’s who of the National Football League get together in the middle of Indiana to put future employees through rigorous tests and determine their merit.
In reality, it’s really a chance for coaches and scouts to get together and see how far these ex-college athletes are willing to go.
We’ve included heights and weights, because, uh, it’s the combine and they make a big deal about it. Who were the top performers of the combine so far?
Scouts drooling over…
Donald Brown - RB, Connecticut – 5’10”, 210 lbs – It’s hard to say anything bad about UConn’s RB. He ranked high in all the tests and he had an extremely productive season, toting the rock for over 2,000 yards at 5.7 ypc.
It was the first year they really called on him (nearly 200 more carries than in either of the previous two years) and it was against Big East competition, but he looks like a solid prospect. It’s true.
Brian Robiskie – WR, Ohio State – 6’3”, 209 lbs – The best news for Robo is that he is as big as we thought, faster than we thought, and can catch everything thrown his way (except those early season Pryor passes; I went there).
Unlike the magical shrinking Michael Crabtree, Robo measured in at his expected height and ran a respectable 4.5 forty. His dad is the Falcons’ WR coach and a strong combine is pushing him into the second and, dare I say, first rounds.
Darrius Heyward-Bey – WR, Maryland - 6’2”, 206 lbs – The perfect workout warrior who never tore up the ACC, but was consistently good, averaging around 700 yards in each of three seasons. He came out and burned a 4.3 forty when everyone was complaining about a ‘slow track’. While not an elite WR, he’s fighting with Robo for draft position.
Pat White – QB, West Virginia – 6’0” 197 lbs – Could he, really? No. Pat White won’t be drafted with teams dreaming “franchise QB”, but he’s helping prove that he can actually throw a football.
He has no one else to thank but Rich Rodriguez for making him a QB, but has no one else to blame but Rich Rodriguez for never letting him be a real QB. White came out and made NFL scouts rethink his position, for about 30 minutes.
Hey, at least they showed up…
Beanie Wells - RB, Ohio State– 6’1” 235 lbs - Beanie didn’t crack the 4.4’s and was in the high 4.5’s by the official clock, but it could have been the result of numerous cracks at the long jump prior to the dash.
Does it really matter? No. Unless Beanie was cracking Darren McFadden’s time or waddling behind Mike Hart’s time, it wasn’t going to make a big difference. His tendency to avoid hits after gains and his durability are priorities No. 1 and No. 2.
Knowshon Moreno – RB, Georgia – 5’11” 217 lbs - Could he really be taken off the board before Wells? Moreno did no service to the SEC, clocking in the mid 4.6’s officially. Still, there’s a lot to like about Moreno including his ability to jump right back up after absorbing hits. A healthy Beanie Wells > Moreno, but teams might play the odds on this one.
Brian Hoyer - QB, Michigan State – Hoyer is proving that he’s not a great quarterback and he’s not a bad quarterback. He’s just there, and it’s helping him move up. Anyone remember Drew Stanton? In my eyes, Todd Boeckman is an equal or greater prospect, and could have wowed the scouts with size and ability in a combine setting. A real game? Both QB’s scare me.
Mark Sanchez – QB, USC - 6’2” 227 lbs - The Golden Boy from Southern Cal didn’t displace Matt Stafford as the No. 1 QB in the draft, and Stafford didn’t even throw a football. Sanchez was erratic and struggled at times. But, Sanchez is still a USC quarterback and will more than likely go first round. He can thank the Matt Cassell-USC QB connection for goodwill.
Maybe they shouldn’t have made the trip…
Derrick Williams – WR, Penn State– 6’0” 194 lbs - What happens when a supposedly fast receiver runs slow and can’t catch footballs? My take is that it doesn’t make him a fast receiver. Ask D Will. He’s always been a little overrated since being the No. 1 recruit in the nation, but he’s been an impact player for Penn State from time to time.
Andre Smith – OT, Alabama – 6’4” 332 lbs - What happens when a possible No. 1 pick shows up to the combine out of shape and then leaves when things aren't going his way, all this after being suspended his final game?
It means he won’t be a No. 1 pick and will make less money. In the scheme of things, does it matter? It’s the combine so everything is multiplied by !!eleventy11.