2009 NFL Scouting Combine: Take Six

S and G SportsContributor IMarch 3, 2009

As the 2009 NFL Scouting Combine has come to a close, here are S & G Sports’ six biggest takeaways.


No Show = No Dough

The Combine for many was a chance to prove yourself of being an NFL talent, unless of course your name was Alabama LT Andre Smith or Texas Tech WR Michael Crabtree. Both of these players had been expected by many to flex their talent at the Combine and cement their names in the Top five of this year’s NFL Draft. 

In the case of Smith, we have not seen nor heard much from Smith since the SEC Title Game.  He was suspended for the Sugar Bowl by Head Coach Nick Saban and after weighing in at the Combine, he announced that he was out of shape to workout and left for training in Atlanta. 

Who does this guy think he is exactly? Smith has kissed off millions with his foolishness, now adding more reasons for GMs to pass on him in the Draft. 

Crabtree found out about his stress fracture in Indy and after measuring in at 6’1’’ as opposed to 6’3’’ as advertised, might need to prepare for a longer than expected wait for his name to be called. 

Pitt RB LeSean McCoy opted not to work out because he had the flu, a move that may push him out of the first round, where he was expected to be drafted by Arizona. While at some times this is not their fault, in the case of Crabtree it leaves us with one question: are these guys really who we thought they were?

Where is the Glamour???


Lack of Quarterback Standout

Perhaps the most watched and publicized events at any given combine are the QB workouts.  People want to see how the arm looks, how the passes are thrown, and how the scouts respond to the workout. It seems every year one QB stands above the rest and is the subject of the sports world conversation. 

Last year, the buzz swirled around Boston College product Matt Ryan. He performed masterfully, and donned the Falcon jersey in the Top Five of the Draft. 

Jay Cutler, a relatively unknown kid from Vandy prior to the 2005 Combine, had a great week and was Denver’s first pick in the draft.  This year, we waited to see who the stand out would be. And we’re still waiting...

Pat White put up some good numbers here sporadically, while ‘big names’ Sanchez and Stafford performed better in their interviews than they did working out. Not sure if GMs will be willing to shell out $60 million+ for a nice chat and sporadic performance. Maybe all is quiet in preparation for next year.


A DB’s Worst Nightmare

Fans were treated to a WR clinic during the playoffs as Arizona megastar Larry Fitzgerald single-handedly dominated any CB in his way, carrying his Cardinals to an unlikely date in the Super Bowl. 

With that in mind, scouts are looking hard for those who have that explosive play-making ability. However, it is tough to project wide receivers to the NFL because there is little to no press coverage in college ball. 

Hence, all the more emphasis is placed on precise footwork in drills, catching with the hands, and solid 40 times.

Maryland’s Darrius Heyward-Bey and Ole Miss’s Mike Wallace took note, turning in low 4.3 40 times, that will elevate their draft stock. Heyward-Bey’s combine has cemented himself as a first round selection.

Ohio State’s Brian Robiskie son of Falcons WR Coach Terry Robiskie showed off the knowledge he gleaned from his old man, wowing scouts in his sub 4.4 40 times and impressive body control in drills.

Be prepared for a year with several wide receivers being drafted in the first round.


A Recipe WR’s Love

Speed Speed Speed.  Speed KILLS.  You can be a lame duck ‘on field’ player and still get into the first round by running a superb 40.  All athletes aspiring to be in the NFL know this.  And if you play a ‘fast’ position such as a defensive back, you eat, breathe, and live speed.  We would expect these ‘speed’ positions to run the best 40 times. 

You might even think that these men would be some the greatest 40 sprinters on the globe.  You would assume right? 

That is why you should never assume.  Who would have ever expected that as a collective whole, the defensive backs ran the slowest times in the history of the Combine?  In the past two Combines, the collective average for the DBs’ 40 was a 4.53. 

That was the AVERAGE. Easily 3-5 men ran 4.4s and below.  This year, no one really expected the Combine to be a first round DB extravaganza, but come on guys. Nine DBs and an average of a 4.64?  Hat tipped to Chris Clemons.  At least he seemed to try.


Will the Real No. 1 Please Stand Up?

The NFL Scouting Combine left us with more questions than it did answers. Experts galore have long been raving about the rocket arm of Georgia QB Matthew Stafford and all but ready for Crabtree to be selected by Seattle. 

Wake Forest LB Aaron Curry has made his presence known and earned himself a certain top 10 selection. Question: There is no doubt as to there being talent this year, but is there a true No. 1? Can the Detroit Lions, currently on the clock, honestly be settled about their No. 1 selection for this year?

It is tough to say. 

While many are certain on Stafford, remember this is the same Detroit Lions who passed on RB Rashard Mendenhall last year, opting for BC OT Gosder Cherilus, a pick that was widely unexpected given the Lions atrocious ground game.

Case in point, at about 12 noon on Apr. 25, be prepared for a surprise for the first selection to be read off by NFL Commissioner Roger Goddell.


High Cost of Living: Injury

Part of playing high level football is experiencing unfortunate events. That’s reality for ya. Contracts get terminated, players collide with media, and fans berate a team for a poor performance (ahem, Philly). High profile players get injured in the midst of a career-defining week.

One slip of the foot, and you can kiss the first-round and millions of dollars goodbye.  That may be the story of the ’09 Combine, when a gray haired Todd McShay analyzes this week a decade down the road.

Rey Maualuga, the great LB from SC (who isn’t a great LB from SC?) injured his hammy during a workout. Michael Crabtree, the big headline of this year’s Combine, hurt his foot and backed out of the workouts, possibly costing himself a Top-Five slot and a large stack of dough.