Rounding Up the Latest Buzz Entering NFL Combine Workouts for Friday
The NFL Scouting Combine is upon us, and this year's crop of prospects has already begun to filter through the process.
We have already had weigh-ins for offensive linemen and tight ends, but the real drama begins with the quarterbacks taking to the scale today. What's the latest buzz as we plow through Day 2 of the combine?
Click through to find out.
Johnny Manziel's Stock Is on Fire
Where will Johnny Manziel land?
The former Texas A&M quarterback is the most polarizing player at the top of this draft, and the combine weigh-in could be critical to his future destination.
To his credit, Manziel says he will clock in shorter than his listed height in college, per NFL.com's Chase Goodbread:
He's listed at 6-1 on the Texas A&M roster, but won't measure that, he said.
"I'm going to measure 6 feet -- I'm 72 inches on the dot," Manziel said. "If they want to try to jump on my shoulders and squish me down, it's not going to be any less than that."
Like every other measurable at the combine -- and even some of the immeasurables -- there are no secrets. Manziel coming up an inch shorter than his TAMU listing was going to come out in Indianapolis, anyway. Now, perhaps, it won't be quite as big a story that he's admitted to a phantom inch.
For his sake, hopefully he only loses one inch.
UPDATE: February 21
At the combine, Manziel officially measured in at 5'11.75", 207 pounds with 9.875" hands, per ESPN's Adam Schefter.
The size concerns might not matter, though. Reports of his draft stock are glowing as of late, with the likes of Jim Harbaugh praising him.
The Houston Texans reportedly like Manziel as their potential top pick too, according to Russ Lande of Sports on Earth (h/t Ryan Wilson of CBSSports.com). Will his measurements halt the Johnny Football train?
An Unexpected Dig for Jadeveon Clowney
There is plenty of talk of quarterbacks at the top of the draft, but South Carolina's Jadeveon Clowney is still very much in play for the top pick.
His buzz heading into the combine should concern strictly how well he will perform in the drills and events, but he got a bit of an unexpected burn this week.
His college head coach, Steve Spurrier, made some waves yesterday when discussing Clowney. Spurrier didn't exactly give Clowney a ringing endorsement, at least in terms of his work ethic, via NFL.com's Mike Huguenin:
Spurrier said on NFL Network's "NFL AM" that Clowney's work habits were "pretty good" and "OK," saying they didn't compare to those of former Gamecocks stars Marcus Lattimore, Stephon Gilmore and Melvin Ingram. But each time Spurrier dinged the work habits, he also praised Clowney, saying "when the ball is snapped, yeah, he's got something no one else has" and "when the ball is snapped, he's got an explosion like you've never seen before."
NFL Media draft analyst Mike Mayock on Tuesday questioned Clowney's mental makeup. But Mayock also said Clowney has "the physical makeup to be the best player the draft."
Of course, it might not matter if Clowney huffs and puffs if he blows the combine away. He is arguably the most naturally talented physical specimen in the draft.
Perhaps he skated by on physical prowess during college, but he still looked the part of a top draft pick on tape. Putting on a show during the combine will only solidify his spot at the top.
Teddy Bridgewater Found a Weight Room
The biggest knock on Teddy Bridgewater heading into the combine has nothing to do with how well he plays the game. It's not even a height issue.
For some reason, some scouts think Bridgewater is too skinny, as if weight rooms and food didn't exist.
UPDATE: February 21
At the combine, Bridgewater officially measured in at 6’2.125", 214 pounds with 9.25" hands, per ESPN's Adam Schefter.
Well, it seems Bridgewater found somewhere to work out, and he doesn't appear to be on a diet. In a recent video of Bridgewater training, it looks like he's bulked up quite a bit, via Bleacher Report's Jake Silver.
Not that it would have likely made a huge dent in his draft stock, but a healthy weight will dispel any concerns about being too thin.
Blake Bortles' Quest Begins
What will the Houston Texans do with the first pick?
This is silly season when it comes to draft news and speculation, but Blake Bortles is reportedly in play for the Texans at the top of the draft, per Russ Lande of Sports on Earth (via Ryan Wilson of CBSSports.com).
Bortles begins his quest for the top pick in the draft Friday with the quarterback weigh-ins. Unlike his better-known rivals, Johnny Manziel and Teddy Bridgewater, there aren't questions about Bortles' size or weight.
To add intrigue, Bortles has decided to throw at the combine, unlike some of his contemporaries. It's a risky decision that has garnered praise from around the league, one that could help him climb Mount Prospect if he performs well.
Eric Ebron's Bold Prediction
Perhaps the most eyebrow-raising moment of Day 1 came from North Carolina tight end Eric Ebron, who predicted he would run a rather swift 40-yard dash, per CBS Sports' Rob Rang:
North Carolina tight end Eric Ebron (6-foot-4, 250 pounds) isn't as imposing as some of the other gifted prospects at the position but he expects to run fast. How fast? Ebron wouldn't specify his goals but cited a conversation with former teammate Giovanni Bernard as an indicator of his plans for the 40-yard dash. "I'm going to run faster than [Bernard] did, let's put it that way."
Bernard, at 5-foot-9, 202 pounds was clocked at 4.50 seconds in Indianapolis a season ago. Should Ebron beat the Cincinnati Bengals' time, it would be the fastest 40-yard dash run by a tight end of similar size, production and success against top-notch competition at the combine since Vernon Davis was clocked at 4.38 seconds back in 2006.
Running anywhere near Davis' time would be huge for the big tight end. He is already the top prospect in the draft, with apologies to Texas Tech's Jace Amaro, and a great combine could nudge him into the top 10 in the draft.