The combine has wrapped up and if you've been following along on Twitter, @InTheBleachers, then you know that I do enjoy the whole ordeal in Indianapolis. It seems other people know that I feel this way and have decided, unprompted mind you, to send questions that are all about the combine and draft.
Simply put, I love him.
I know he did not test so great in terms of explosion, only jumping 9'8", but when I watch him play I see everything that I want in a safety. He loves contact, has shown some solid range and he fills the void coming down into the alley like a guy who knows what he is doing. The angles that he takes and the punishment that he delivers upon arrival are what a safety is supposed to be doing on the field.
If you are looking for a real G at the safety spot, the type of dude that makes you yell, "Get down or lay down," at the television when receivers cross the middle, then this is your guy. He has a great feel for the game and is definitely a first-round safety.
@InTheBleachers Archer from Kent State had an unreal 40 time. At his size, does it matter for his NFL prospects?— KilroyFSU (@KilroyFSU) February 28, 2014
Does it matter?
Basically, it is the most important thing that matters for a guy like Dri Archer. No one picks undersized slow players. Being small and slow has little utility in the NFL. However, if you are small and extremely fast, then you can make plays at the next level.
Archer certainly fits that mold and some team is going to draft him, the same way someone picked Trindon Holliday, Darren Sproles and other speed guys who were smaller than the NFL ideal. Sub-5'8" ballplayers always can use speed on their side, and Archer has it.
@InTheBleachers Do you like to shotgun beers after work— Not Danny Ford (@1981tigers1981) February 28, 2014
Not as much as I used to. Mostly because shotgunning beers makes a mess and it has been too cold outside for that. Summertime is more shotgun season here so, it should pick up going forward.
@InTheBleachers who is a good outside rush linebacker that will be available in the 2nd or 3rd rounds— Colonel Simmons (@DonDelarente) February 28, 2014
This is a long list of guys that will be around during that time, so here we go: Trent Murphy from Stanford, Morgan Breslin from USC, Kyle Van Noy from BYU, Jeremiah Attaochu from Georgia Tech, Marcus Smith from Louisville and Ronald Powell from Florida.
This type of player is becoming a fixture on the collegiate scene, especially in the sense that we are seeing players enter the league with experience doing everything the position entails. Each of the guys listed played as a 3-4 hybrid linebacker in college and they understand everything the position entails. Personally, I think Murphy and Smith are the best choices, although I do love Van Noy's feel for the game.
@InTheBleachers A lot of the combine drills/tests seem silly. Are there any that are good indicators of future performance in the NFL?— Patti Jones (@DrPattiJones) February 28, 2014
Honestly, I think there are a lot of indicators of ability and likely success in certain respects. However, as you point out Patti, they do seem silly and I think because the combine is on television people just get to watch all this stuff that makes little sense to many. Every drill has a purpose and although they are not all explained particularly well, the scouts and football folks watching actually do know the purpose they serve.
With the basic drills that every position works, people are watching for explosion, stamina and checking to see how bodies move. Then, when you get into position specifics, the drills are taking every movement and reaction that players have during the game and trying to simulate that on the field in Indy.
Regardless of the position the goal is be a fluid athlete who changes directions well, demonstrates clear balance and can sink the hips instead of bending at the waist. You also see little things like can receivers catch the ball the first time with hands, instead of body or double catches. You get to watch how defensive backs transition from a backpedal to a sprint and whether he stays in his box, uses a T-step or a foot replacement in order to get back downhill.
There are a lot of little things and if you know what you are looking for you'll find it. For coaches and scouts, watching those individual drills, matched up against what the players actually do on the field in the corresponding situations, is a big deal.