Eric Ebron (TE North Carolina)
As players step up to the measuring tape and on to the scale at the scouting combine, it's worth discussing why we even measure players anymore.
Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson lacks what NFL teams consider ideal height, and he just won a Super Bowl. We talked about former Philadelphia quarterback Donovan McNabb's hand size for his entire career—a career that was long and included numerous NFC Championship Games. Hall of Fame-caliber receiver Jerry Rice (generally considered the best receiver of all time) ran a 4.71 40-yard dash.
Why not just throw the measurements out?
The reason teams still descend upon Indianapolis and the reason the media is still covering this event with all-time fervor is because those players (and others who seem to break the mold) are simply exceptions to the rule.
For every prospect that overcomes deficiencies to become an elite NFL player, dozens more don't. That's why teams give preference in the draft to players who have top-notch physical tools yet might have little-to-no polish to their game.
In this draft, that might be someone like Dri Archer (RB Kent State) or Kelvin Benjamin (WR Florida State), as the NFL still believes in the "Planet Theory" often ascribed to former NFL head coach Bill Parcells: There are only so many men this big, this strong and this fast on the entire planet—draft those guys.
Coverage of the combine drills starts Saturday on NFL Network and NFL.com. However, you can follow along each day with Bleacher Report, as we keep you abreast of what's ahead and what transpires each day. Matt Miller, Mike Freeman and Matt Bowen will all be covering the event and are great follows on Twitter.
For More Preview Combine Reading
- Position-by-Position Combine Primer (Michael Schottey)
- Inside the Drills and Tests (Bowen)
- Burning Questions Heading into the Combine (Ty Schalter)
- Official Invite List (National Scouting)
Day 2 Highlights
MANZIEL – 5’11 and ¾, 207 with 9 7/8 hands. BRIDGEWATER – 6’2 1/8, 214 with 9 ¼ hands. BORTLES – 6’5, 232 with 9 3/8 hands.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) February 21, 2014
"I play with a lot of heart, I play with a lot of passion, I feel like I play I like I'm 10 feet tall." - Johnny Manziel at the Combine— NFL on ESPN (@ESPNNFL) February 21, 2014
Tom Coughlin told reporters at the combine that he has agreed to a one-year contract extension with the Giants. #NYG— Ralph Vacchiano (@RVacchianoNYDN) February 21, 2014
McCarron on pro QB comp for himself. "The last time I made a comment like that I got criticized." Then says "Tom Brady."— Will Brinson (@WillBrinson) February 21, 2014
Day 3 Schedule
Arriving in Indianapolis on Saturday: Group 10 (Defensive Backs); Group 11 (Defensive Backs)
Available for Interview on Saturday: Group 7 (Defensive Linemen); Group 8 (Defensive Linemen); Group 9 (Linebackers)
Psychological Testing/Bench Press: Group 4 (Quarterbacks, Receivers); Group 5 (Quarterbacks, Receivers); Group 6 (Running Backs)
On-Field Workout, Departure: Group 1 (Offensive Linemen, Specialists); Group 2 (Offensive Linemen); Group 3 (Tight Ends)
The last positional groupings arrive in Indianapolis on Saturday, and that includes a number of top defensive backs that teams are very excited to get to know. Darqueze Dennard (CB Michigan State), Calvin Pryor (FS Louisville), Justin Gilbert (CB Oklahoma State) and Ha Ha Clinton-Dix (FS Alabama) highlight the list.
On the first day, it's really only orientation and meeting some teams, so we will need to wait to see those guys work out.
We do get to see our first group of workout warriors and NFL hopefuls as specialists, offensive linemen and tight ends start their workout. For the tight ends, the field could separate between on-the-line (Y) tight ends and joker/slot tight ends. A player like Eric Ebron (TE North Carolina) or Jace Amaro (TE Texas Tech) may not have a lot of blocking ability, but a great day showcasing their athleticism could solidify their stock with teams.
For linemen, the combine can start to pigeonhole prospects into positional groupings that have been far more ambiguous until now. Everyone wants to be a left tackle—it's where the big bucks are—but the inability to reach edge-rushers with enough lateral athleticism (three-cone drill is a good measuring stick of that) can doom left and right tackles alike.
Don't forget, too, that the positional drills excite teams far more than the athleticism tests. Small-school linemen like Billy Turner (OT North Dakota State) or Dakota Dozier (OG Furman) can force teams to take a second look at them by performing well on a level playing field next to their bigger-school peers.
This is also the day the quarterbacks will take the Wonderlic Test. While those scores will not be released to the public (nor should they be), it's something teams look at as they hand the reins of their franchise over to an early 20-something.
Saturday also marks the day many in the media leave town as the NFL looks to finish up the availability of many of the prospects. So, as you follow your favorite media on Twitter, be on the lookout for plenty of airport pictures and forlorn pictures of Lucas Oil Stadium.
More importantly, look forward to more great coverage from Bleacher Report as the workouts continue until Tuesday.