NFL Scouting Combine 2011: Offensive Line and Tight End Recap

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NFL Scouting Combine 2011: Offensive Line and Tight End Recap
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NFL Draft101 is providing a Scouting Combine Live Chat (11 am - 2 pm daily), but we will also recap the day's biggest stories as well.  Here is the buzz from the offensive line and tight ends workouts:

The story of the day off the field was Ryan Mallett's difficulties in his media interview.  The focus of the questions was heavily on drug use rumors and his inability to answer the questions and/or move beyond those questions proved a challenge. 

On the defensive from the get go, Mallett eventually appeared to struggled with softballs such as "What do you say to people who say you are not accurate?" 

His response, "7,000 plus yards and 60 touchdowns in two seasons; that's how I respond to that."

Poise under pressure is a key criteria at the quarterback position, and Mallet's performance in the media room has not aided his cause as he needs to display a look as if he has the charisma and leadership skills to lead an NFL team.  Hopefully, he answered questions better when meeting one-on-one with teams.

On the field, the day lacked a true breakout performer.  Nevada tight end Virgil Green created buzz early with a 42.5" vertical (second best TE vertical in history of the combine) and 10'10" broad jump but began to level off with a good but not great 4.64 40.  His performance in the drills was more solid than stellar as he showed natural hands but looked tightly wound and displayed raw route running. 

Elsa/Getty Images

Here is a look at the rest of the performers in today's workouts. 

 

Offensive Line:

 

Winners:
OG/C Rodney Hudson - Showed surprising strength on the bench press, putting up 27 reps and followed it up with a strong performance in the drills.  He was a natural moving down the line, showing quick feet and excellent lateral agility. 

C Ryan Bartholomew -  Showcased excellent athleticism by winning the bench press with 34 reps and running a 4.97 40.  More importantly, he followed up those feats with stellar work in the drills in which he stayed low, showed natural knee bend and quick feet.

OT Jarriel King - Like Bartholomew, King aced the physical tests running a 5.09 40 (fifth) and jumping 9'6" and backed it up with a strong performance in the drills, showing fluid hips and quick feet.  Has mid to late-round left tackle ability.

OT Anthony Castonzo - Answered questions about his strength, putting up 28 bench reps then followed it up by showing excellent technique, balance and footwork in the drills. 

OT Derek Sherrod - Did not wow in any of the physical tests but stood out in the drills.  Plays with a wide base and moves well laterally.  Equally proficient on the right and left side.

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OT Derek Newton - Had not heard a lot about Newton entering the day but consistently stood out during the drills as I repeatedly asked myself who No. 35 was.  Has good burst and explosion, natural knee bender and displayed a solid base.  Someone whom I will be scrambling to find tape on in the coming weeks.

 

Losers:

OT Tyron Smith - One of the most athletic tackles in this year's draft, Smith entered the week as "The" breakout candidate in an offensive tackle class lacking an elite prospect.  Despite the positive buzz and a strong showing in the bench press (29 reps), Smith did not participate in today's workout with his recovery from a knee injury being given as a reason.  Health comes first, but he missed an opportunity to pull away from a crowded pack of tackles.

OG/OT Marcus Cannon - After becoming the first player to pleasantly surprise by weighing in at just 358 pounds, Cannon got off to a good start with a 33 bench reps and a 5.26 40 but fell flat in the drills.  Showed limited range and lateral agility and was consistently slow off the line.

OG Zach Hurd - Was stiff and slow throughout his workout.  A heavy-legged waist bender with limited lateral agility.

OT Lee Ziemba -  Was exposed for his lack of athleticism.  Looked stiff and slow in the drills.  Needs to learn to bend his knees better.

Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

OG/OT Jason Pinkston - Not a natural bender who was consistently high out of his stance and displayed slow feet throughout the workout.  May struggle to play tackle at the next level.

OG/C Mike Pouncey - Did not stand out as the No. 1 guard/center prospect as expected.  Showed merely average lateral agility and was more solid than outstanding today. 


Tight End Quick Hits:

 

Winners:


Rob Housler - The buzz entering the day was about Virgil Green, but at the end of the day, the tight end people were scrambling to find tape on Housler.  The undersized tight end weighed in at a surprising 248 pounds and did not seem to skip a beat from the added weight.  Led all tight ends in the 40 with a 4.55.  Followed it up by excelling in the drills, showing a nice combination of balance, agility and hands.

Jordan Cameron - Cameron is a former basketball player and wide receiver with excellent measurables (6'5", 4.59 40, 37.5 vertical).  Did a tremendous job tracking the ball and catching the ball away from his body in the drills.

Julius Thomas - Like Cameron, he is a former basketball player still learning the position who is blessed with excellent physical tools.  Good size at 6'5", 245 pounds who was fluid in the drills displaying natural hands.

 

Losers:

Luke Stocker - Was not surprised when he ran a pedestrian 4.79 in the 40 but was dumbfounded by his struggles catching the football after watching him catch everything in sight at the Senior Bowl.

Weslye Saunders - Missed his senior season after being ruled ineligible by the NCAA and had to fight to regain eligibility for the combine and draft due to a paperwork snafu only to have his workout cut short by a broken bone in his foot that was discovered during the medical check.  If the injury requires surgery, he faces the prospect of entering the draft without a workout or game tape in over a year.

Charles Clay - Ran reasonably well, but the FB/TE tweener did not appear to be a natural route runner and struggled with his hands at times.

 

Chris Maier is Senior Editor for NFLDraft101.com.  He can be reached at cmaier@nfldraft101.com.  Follow me on Twitter: nfldraft101

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