After watching every minute of live coverage of the NFL Scouting Combine on the NFL Network this past week, it is time to transfer the 30 hours of live programming in to what transpired in Indianapolis.
Despite having anywhere from one-to-two months to prepare and, in some cases, almost a year, there were a startling number of athletes not able to participate in each activity or drill for their specific position group. Imagine going to a major job interview and begging to sit on the sideline for the last half of it? That was the reality of what occurred, so now it is back to the drawing board for each NFL team to tinker with their draft board according to their observations.
For the players, they now are aware of what their weaknesses were compared to their peers, so they have roughly four-to-six weeks before their pro day at each college to show that they have improved.
We are going to address the top 50 things that we learned over the experience known as the NFL Scouting Combine,
The media coverage was intense, understandably so at the press conferences. The player that seemed to have the most difficult time in his appearance on the podium was Ryan Mallett, the Arkansas quarterback.
A nasty rumor had surfaced that Mallett had some sort of drug-related problem. He thought he could make the question go away by replying that he was going to cover that situation with any specific team that wanted to ask him about it behind closed doors.
Naturally, that was all the press needed to hear. They repeated the question or tried their best to rephrase it at least three times in the short session. Mallett tried to maintain his composure, but clearly he was not able to cope with the harassment. Frustrated, he simply left the session by saying "thanks guys" and walked off the podium. Probably not what his agent and publicist had in mind.
With all of the hours that the NFL Network devoted to the NFL Scouting Combine, there was very little time left to check out any other network. As a result, the comments shared here are a result of what was broadcast over the NFL Network.
It was mentioned on air that some coaches need a break over the span of the entire combine and so they go back to their hotel rooms and watch from there. The only problem with that idea is that the amount of coverage devoted to each athlete is not the same. There will be a much higher percentage of time spent discussing the stars and very little time given to the little guys.
If you are supposed to be taking times on each defensive back, it is probably not the best idea to try to do that from your hotel room, because you will be missing out on quite a few lesser names that might be Day 3 draft material.
For the record, if you happen to be a Rich Eisen fan, he ran a 6.18 40. Yes, we stayed until the bitter end.
Shiloh Keo was one of the major underdog stories coming in to the combine. All the safety from Idaho did was hustle all over the field on every drill. He showed great feet and if a play called for him to make an all-out dive for the ball, he went for it with 100-percent commitment.
Mike Mayock and Deion Sanders were both singing his praises, and Sanders promised to put in some calls to NFL general managers that are friends of his to make sure they were fully aware of Keo and what he brings to the table.
Keo might have a reasonably good shot to be a special teamer as a rookie. He gave the appearance that he was ready to run through a brick wall for whatever team was ready to draft him. Keo demonstrated his physical skills by posting the fastest time in the 20-yard shuttle, beating all of the blue chippers in attendance.
Julio Jones put on an amazing show. During the wide receivers group drills, Jones wound up with the best broad jump in the group. He competed in all activities for the receivers and didn't show any major limp or pain. It was revealed after the receivers were done that Jones did everything with a broken bone in his foot. He will have a screw inserted and he will need roughly eight weeks to recover.
The wide receivers that won the various drill activities were:
40-yard dash: Edmond Gates (Abilene Christian)
Vertical jump: Jonathan Baldwin (Pittsburgh)
Three-cone drill: Jeff Maehl (Oregon)
20-yard shuttle: Austin Pettis (Boise State)
Broad jump: Julio Jones (Alabama)
60-yard shuttle: Jeff Maehl (Oregon)
Bench press: Greg Little (North Carolina)
Of the various wide receivers invited to the combine, here is the list of those that were not able to complete all of the drills or tests, for a variety of reasons. They have the chance to make up for what they missed out on at their schools' pro days. If they aren't ready to go then, it will probably hurt their stock.
Did not fully participate: Titus Young, Tandon Doss and Edmond Gates.
Because Julio Jones performed so well injured, it makes you question the toughness of the rest of the combine invitees who decided to pass or sit out certain drills.
You just know that general managers are moving Julio Jones up on their draft boards, while the guys that decided to sit out are probably going in the opposite direction. We realize that some players were coming off of surgeries and that is obviously a valid excuse.
A.J. Green and Julio Jones appear to be the clear-cut top tier of the wide receiver class. Both should go in the first round, unless Jones' broken foot takes longer to heal or he has a setback in his rehab. A.J. Green dropped some passes, but his performance throughout the year is well documented on game tape.
Jonathan Baldwin looked solid and Edmond Gates also showed strong physical talents.
Jeff Maehl helped himself by winning several drills and that quickness will help him as he attempts to crack a NFL roster.
As high as Mike Mayock had been on Titus Young, it was hard to evaluate him in the combine, as he was forced to sit out a number of drills. Hopefully he will recover for his pro day. Mayock had been raving about Young at the Senior Bowl.
San Diego State wide receiver Vincent Brown ran a very slow 40 at 4.71, slow for his position. He is a good route runner and he will need to be to become useful in the NFL. With that speed, he is not going to be pulling away from many defensive secondaries.
Out of the various offensive linemen drills that were conducted, here were the combine winners:
40-yard dash: Jason Kelce (Cincinnati)
Broad jump: Jarriel King (South Carolina)
Vertical jump: Daniel Kilgore (Appalachian State)
Three-cone drill: Jason Kelce (Cincinnati)
Bench press: Ryan Bartholomew (Syracuse)
20-yard shuttle: Jason Kelce (Cincinnati)
It could have been renamed the Jason Kelce show, as he won three of the five events. Interestingly enough, none of the projected first-round tackles won any event or drill.
The following are the offensive linemen who had to sit out at least one of the combine drills for a variety of reasons: Will Rackley, Tyron Smith, Justin Boren, James Carpenter, Ben Igalana, Gabe Carimi and Orlando Franklin.
As Tyron Smith was the one underclassmen projected to be first-round material, the combine has to be considered a disappointment for him. He did not have the benefit of any All-Star game to play in, and after missing most of the combine drills, it is basically "all or nothing" that he performs well at the USC pro day.
The offensive linemen showed some reasonable speed, strength and mobility in their various tests, especially when you consider the size of these behemoths.
For projected first-round linemen Anthony Castonzo, Gabe Carimi and Nate Solder, the combine was more-or-less status quo. Nate Solder ran well in drills for his size, but he came up short on the bench press, so he still needs to do some more work in the weight room: 21 reps at 225 pounds on the bench is not that many for a guy as big as Solder.
Watched Castonzo's press conference and he appears anxious to get his NFL career started.
One of the negatives for the offensive linemen was Derek Sherrod, who has gone from 305 to 321 since the college season ended. Looks like he might need to hire a nutritionist before his pro day.
By winning three drills, Jason Kelce helped himself out with a strong combine showing.
Quarterback group drill winners:
Broad jump: Cam Newton (Auburn)
40-yard dash: Tyrod Taylor (Virginia Tech)
Vertical jump: Josh Portis (California of Pennsylvania)
Three-cone drill: Jake Locker (Washington)
20-yard shuttle: Christian Ponder (Florida State)
Ryan Mallet was involved in the passing drills, but sat out the running drills, as he did not participate in the 40-yard dash, the shuttle runs or the three-cone drill. That would be the exact opposite of Blaine Gabbert, who ran but didn't throw. Maybe if you put both of them together you could come up with one good quarterback.
Some quarterbacks threw a lot more than others. If you look at all of the drills that called for some passing, the quarterbacks who were asked to help out were throwing the ball upwards of 200 passes per day.
Jake Locker helped himself with a good showing at the combine. He used his athletic skills to score well in the drills. He handled the press conferences with the maturity you would expect him to have, considering that he opted to stay in school for his senior year.
Cam Newton dealt with the "entertainer-and-icon" fiasco by reading a prepared statement to the media. So much for heartfelt remorse or regret, as the sincerity issue was seriously questioned. Newton did display his physical talents, but he did not impress that well with his throwing efforts.
Colin Kaepernick showed his physical skills by running a 4.53-second 40, but he still needs work on his passing game. Adjusting to the NFL offenses will make him a project QB, so falling to Round 3 or 4 is still a possibility. For his part, Kaepernick wasn't satisfied with how he fared in his agility drills.
Christian Ponder had a strong overall combine workout and he is expected to be a Day 2 draft pick.
Blaine Gabbert's decision to not throw the football means that he has to have a solid pro day at Missouri. If for some reason he gets hurt or has a bad day, he will regret the decision not to throw at Indianapolis.
Tight end drill winners:
40-yard dash: Rob Housler (Florida Atlantic)
Broad jump: Virgil Green (Nevada)
Vertical jump: Virgil Green (Nevada)
20-yard shuttle: Jordan Cameron (USC)
60-yard shuttle: Jordan Cameron (USC)
Three-cone drill: Jordan Cameron (USC)
Bench press: (tied) Luke Stocker (Tennessee) and Charlie Gantt (Michigan State)
Kyle Rudolph, expected to be the first tight end drafted this year, was still recovering from his hamstring injury, so he did not participate. He was able to conduct all of his team interviews, however, and he was probably checked out by a number of individual team doctors to see how well he has recovered from the surgery.
Other tight ends who were not able to fully participate included: Weslye Saunders and Daniel Hardy. Saunders was just able to get invited to the combines at the last second, and then promptly re-aggravated an old foot injury, which forced him to sit out. His stock had to plummet as a result.
Mike Mayock's top-five tight ends are Kyle Rudolph, D.J, Williams, Lance Kendricks, Luke Stocker and Weslye Saunders. We already detailed that Rudolph and Saunders were injured, so they didn't perform.
Out of Williams, Kendricks and Stocker, they all had some decent moments but nobody really was able to distinguish themselves as the strongest No. 2 option to Rudolph. Stocker did a nice job in the weight room as he had a solid bench press showing.
Charlie Gantt of Michigan State showed very good hands and Virgil Green of Nevada showed that he was a physically-talented athlete.
Running back drill winners
40-yard dash: Da'Rel Scott (Maryland)
Fastest 10-yard split: Mark Ingram (Alabama)
Vertical jump: Anthony Allen (Georgia Tech)
Bench press: Anthony Sherman (Connecticut)
Broad jump: Jordan Todman (Connecticut)
20-yard shuttle: Roy Helu (Nebraska)
60-yard shuttle: Roy Helu (Nebraska)
Three-cone drill: Graig Cooper (Miami Florida)
Note: the running backs results have not been readily available, so some of these winners are based off of partial returns. The NFL Network ticker only posted results for two of the running back skill tests.
Running backs who did not fully participate in all of the skill tests or drills were: Noel Devine, Stanley Havili, Armando Allen, Taiwan Jones, Daniel Thomas and Balil Powell.
Mark Ingram of Alabama was considered to be the best running back in the draft coming in to the combine. He will leave it the same way. He didn't embarrass himself in anything, but by coming up with the fastest 10-yard split time in the 40-yard dash, he may have actually helped himself even more with that result.
The fastest running backs in the 40 were: Da'Rel Scott (Maryland), Mario Fannin (Auburn), Jordan Todman (Connecticut), Derrick Locke (Kentucky) and DeMarco Murray (Oklahoma).
Other backs who provided a solid combine showing were Dion Lewis (Pitt) and Ryan Williams (Virginia Tech).
Out of the entire diminutive running back group, one interesting note to pass along was the lack of blazing speed from Jacquizz Rodgers. His 40 time of 4.64 might be sufficient to drop him down to Day 3 of the draft.
Results from the defensive lineman drills:
Bench press (combine-record 49 reps): Stephen Paea (Oregon State)
Vertical jump: Dontay Moch (Nevada)
40-yard dash: Dontay Moch (Nevada)
Broad jump: Dontay Moch (Nevada)
Three-cone drill: Sam Acho (Texas)
The list of defensive linemen who did not participate in every drill or test is fairly long. Here they are:
Pierre Allen, Da'Quan Bowers, Cam Heyward, Karl Klug, Kentrell Lockett, Kenrick Ellis, Stephen Paea, Greg Romeus, Sealver Siliga, Adrian Taylor, Marcell Dareus, Lawrence Guy, Jabaal Sheard and Ian Williams.
The first observation was that, as big as this class of defensive linemen truly is, they continue to impress with how fast they are and how smoothly they can get up and down the field carrying all of that weight.
J.J. Watt showed great quickness in the -three-cone drill. He was generally impressive in his performance.
Da'Quan Bowers was limited and couldn't participate in all drills, as was the case for Marcell Dareus. What Dareus did show was the ability to run and he looked like he was explosive enough to warrant strong top 10 consideration.
The smaller size of Dontay Moch and Sam Acho allowed them to blow away the competition in the various running drills. They probably should be considered as linebackers rather than defensive linemen. But both Moch and Acho demonstrated their quickness and speed that will make them attractive choices for teams that feel they are a fit for a specific role on defense or special teams.
Stephen Paea put on a masterful performance in the bench press. Still rehabbing from the knee injury he suffered at the Senior Bowl, Paea managed to put on an all-time combine record for the bench press with 49 reps. He will be the exception to the rule that most bench press winners don't wind up making an impact as a player in the NFL.
Linebacker drill and test winners:
40-yard dash: Martez Wilson (Illinois)
Three-cone drill: Von Miller (Texas A&M)
Bench press: Ross Homan (Ohio State)
Broad jump: Von Miller (Texas A&M)
Vertical jump: Justin Houston (Georgia)
20-yard shuttle: Nick Bellore (Central Michigan)
60-yard shuttle: Von Miller (Texas A&M)
Here are the linebackers who were forced to sit out one-or-more drills or group tests at the combine:
Akeem Dent, Kelvin Sheppard, Derrell Smith, Nate Irving, Casey Matthews, Bruce Carter, Quan Sturdivant, Brian Rolle and Martez Wilson.
Von Miller is a beast. He just explodes on every drill. He was running through the pictured drill so fast that he got his feet tangled up in one of the bags. Even though it got bumped further than the others, he continued to run in and out of the misplaced bags at a furious pace. You can see from his chiseled arms that he is a workout warrior. Not much body fat here.
For somebody who is about 270 pounds, Justin Houston may be one more example that really big men can still play linebacker. He showed great physical skills in almost every competition and scored at the top or near the top in every one except for the shuttle runs. He certainly helped to cement his first-round stature.
Akeem Ayers was also able to come up with a strong combine showing, as did Martez Wilson. Both of these underclassmen linebackers did a solid job and will go somewhere between the first-to-second rounds of the draft.
The biggest casualty of this unit was Casey Matthews who hurt his shoulder on the bench press and was forced to sit out everything else. We are awaiting further word as to the extent of the shoulder injury, but this setback may ultimately hurt his draft stock and cause him to fall down even further.
Winners of the defensive backs drills and tests:
40-yard dash: DeMarcus Van Dyke (Miami Florida)
Three-cone drill: Buster Skrine (Tennessee Chattanooga)
Bench press: Da'Norris Searcy (North Carolina)
Broad jump: Cortez Allen (Citadel)
Vertical jump: Curtis Brown (Texas)
20-yard shuttle: Shiloh Keo (Idaho)
60-yard shuttle: Buster Skrine (Tennessee Chattanooga)
Secondary members who were not able to participate in all of the drills or tests for the unit were: Johnny Patrick, Andrew McGee, DeAndre McDaniel, Deunta Williams, Ras-I Dowling, Devon Torrence, Shareece Wright, Chris Culliver, Brandon Hogan, Chris Rucker, Kendrick Burney, Chimdi Chekwa, Will Hill, Chykie Brown and Mario Butler.
Ras-I Dowling pulled up with a hamstring issue in his 40-yard dash, and was basically done from that point on. Such a shame to end your biggest interview in your life just like that. What is an even bigger shame is that Rowling started out great. Even though he had to pull up five-yards early in the 40 due to his hamstring, he wound up with a time of 4.46. That is moving!
Pictured here is the catch of the week in my personal opinion, made by Curtis Brown of Texas. In this drill, Brown had to turn his back to the QB and, while sprinting downfield, had to turn and react to the ball. He jumped up and caught the back end of the football. Just a beautiful catch and he consistently showed strong skills on the ball during the day. This has to have elevated his draft stock.
Speed to burn was the mantra of the defensive secondary invitees to the combine. From Buster Skrines running the fastest three-cone drill, to the 40-yard dash times, it was clear that the track stars were in the secondary. Consider some of these 40-yard sprint times: DeMarcus Van Dyke (Miami Florida) 4.28; Patrick Peterson (LSU) 4.34; Chimdi Chekwa (Ohio State) 4.40; Chris Culliver (South Carolina) 4.40; Prince Amukamara (Nebraska) 4.43; Joe Lefeged (Rutgers) 4.43.
The whole group seemed to just fly up and down the track.
Patrick Peterson had predicted he would run a 4.2 and while he wasn't able to reach that lofty goal, he did impress with his speed and overall athleticism. It is safe to say that Peterson and Amukamara have strengthened their first-round draft statuses with their combine showings.
One interesting side note to all of the player festivities was the cameras periodically showing the NFL head coaches in the house.
It should not have come as a surprise that the Harbaugh brothers would sit together. But what was interesting was that when John would be called away to some other part of the stadium, Jim would continue to sit with the other Baltimore Ravens coaches or scouts. It seems at this point in time that he is more comfortable with them than he is with his own personnel.
Also noted was New York Giants coach Tom Coughlin maintaining the exact seat for every day of the 40-yard dashes and timing each athlete on his own watch. It speaks to his discipline to be there for every player and to have his own routine down for timing every sprint.
At the conclusion of the defensive backs workout, Deion Sanders was asked for his overall impressions. He came away very impressed with the work of Brandon Harris from the University of Miami (Fla.).
Sanders also felt that Patrick Peterson continues to be the No. 1-overall cornerback in the draft, but noted that, due to his weight, he may eventually have to become a safety sometime down the road.
We already highlighted that Sanders had a strong feel for Shiloh Keo. He also felt that Prince Amukamara had a very nice combine showing and that there is a little bit of a competition going between the two top corners.
A trio of Nevada players made a very strong showing at the combine. They were Dontay Moch (defensive end/outside linebacker), Colin Kaepernick (QB) and Virgil Green (tight end). All three were superior athletes from a physical-skills view and excelled at the various drills.
This showing speaks volumes for the type of athlete that Nevada is cranking out for the NFL and will undoubtedly help their future recruiting efforts. It also will help to allow them to be more of a household name when you think about college talent coming in to the NFL.
Tyron Smith prepared for the combine by adding 22 pounds since the end of the college season, because he gave up fast food. He was in great shape, but unfortunately a knee injury prevented him from being part of the offensive linemen drills. He was hoping to hit 300 pounds and managed to get his weight up to 307.
The USC pro day is March 30th, so that leaves him with roughly four weeks to be in top shape to impress the NFL scouting personnel that come to watch him. If he is unable to go full out then, it may hurt his draft stock. Without any All-Star game appearances, it will fall back to watching him on tape for a partial evaluation.
The only activities he participated in were the team interviews and the bench press.
By holding off on doing any throwing at the combine, Blaine Gabbert is hoping that his agents' advice to hold off and throw at his pro day will be sufficient to have him drafted somewhere in the top 10 picks.
If Gabbert by any chance hurts himself in the weight room or pulls a muscle in his throwing arm, he will rue this decision. He is taking a clear gamble, but he feels confident in his decision.
He answered all questions about his strategy at the press conference, and he did not seem to waver in his conviction that his team felt this was the best way to go. It just seemed odd to see him standing around with all of the other quarterbacks in the drills, but not throwing with them.
We will see how this all pans out. For Gabbert and his agent, Tom Condon, they certainly hope it will be a positive result.
Coming in to the combine, Mike Mayock had singled out five North Carolina Tar Heels who were going to need a big combines due to either suspension or injury. The five players in question were defensive linemen Marvin Austin and Robert Quinn, wide receiver Greg Little, linebacker Bruce Carter and defensive back Deunta Williams.
Of the five, only Austin, Quinn and Little competed. Carter and Williams were not able to compete due to their injuries but did show up to conduct interviews with various NFL teams.
From a performance perspective, here is how they did at trying to shake off the rust from suspension.
Marvin Austin: ran a 4.90 in the 40-yard dash, benched 225-pounds 38 times and did a 9'4" broad jump.
Robert Quinn: ran a 4.70 in the 40-yard dash, benched 225-pounds 22 times and had a 9'8" broad jump.
Greg Little: ran a 4.53 in the 40-yard dash, benched 225-pounds 27 times and came up with a 10'9" in the broad jump.
As you can see from the numbers, the trio had a solid day. Quinn is looking like he could be a top five pick, while Austin appears to be a top Day 2 type of selection. How they did in the team interviews behind closed doors is something that we are not privy to, as you can be sure the NFL personnel were looking forward to quizzing all of the suspended players at length to get to the bottom of the issues.
Any player who is thought to be going somewhere between the first-to-second rounds is considered to be an impact type of player. Such is the case for two Illinios players who needed to come out with strong combine showings: linebacker Martez Wilson and defensive lineman Corey Liuget.
Martez Wilson truly had a strong combine and it wouldn't surprise me at all if he went to the Buffalo Bills as the 34th-overall pick in the second round. He ran a fast 40 with a time of 4.49, ripped off 23 reps in the bench press and had a broad jump of 10' 4" and a vertical jump of 36". These results prove how athletic and strong Wilson is. He is exactly the kind of athlete that the Bills have been missing at linebacker.
Corey Liuget just made it under the five-second barrier, turning in a 4.99-second 40-yard dash. He managed 27 reps on the bench press and had a 8' 6" broad jump and a 27.5" vertical jump. He demonstrated decent agility and strength. He is a project but definitely shows potential, so he should be satisfied with his combine results.
The debate over Ryan Kerrigan centers around where will he play. Is he a linebacker or is he a defensive end? Kerrigan had a solid season in disrupting plays in the backfield for losses and coming up with 12.5 sacks for the year.
At the combines, you could see how strong he was, as his arms are clearly chiseled. He demonstrated the strength with 31 reps in the bench press. He showed how athletic he was by running a 4.71 40-yard dash and coming up with a broad jump of 10' 2". His vertical jump of 33.5" was more evidence of his athletic skills.
Kerrigan should be in the Day 1 draft class, but what position will his team ask him to play? As long as he picked in the first round, he probably doesn't care that much. Good combine for Kerrigan.
Muhammad Wilkerson is a big dude. Going 6' 4" and 315 pounds, you realize it is going to be hard to move that frame for more than 20 yards at a crack. But there he was at the combine, running a 40-yard dash in under five seconds, coming in at 4.96. He wound up with 27 reps at the bench press. He made a broad jump of 8' 10" and a 26" vertical jump.
Based on the way he ran and the athleticism that he demonstrated, he has a very strong chance to be drafted in the top 25 of the first round. What he does between now and his pro day will either further cement that status or drop him down.
Sam Acho wrecked havoc on opposing offenses in 2010 by causing fumbles, making plays behind the line of scrimmage and coming up with sacks. He continued his impressive year with a strong showing at the combine.
Acho is 6'2" and weighs 262 pounds, yet still ran a fast 4.68 40-yard dash. He bench pressed 23 reps, had a vertical jump of 33.5 " and a broad jump of 9'4", showing his athletic prowess.
Acho is probably going to be moved to a linebacker at the next level, but with the way he moved through the drills and demonstrated his quickness, he should be fine in that capacity.
If you happened to catch just a small portion of the NFL Scouting Combine and saw flashing lights that were going around in the middle of certain players shirts, it was not because they were identified as aliens by the Fifth Colony. They were wearing a new performance-based shirt created by Under Armour.
The shirt has a hard-drive processor that is embedded in the shirt that can help to measure heart rate, breathing rate and other factors. The shirt sends out information via Blue Tooth technology that can measure speed, power and momentum.
One has to wonder how far technology like this will go. Maybe it can measure how confident a kicker is in trying a 47-yard field goal or how a player is coping with an injury suffered in a game.
Many players were spotted wearing the shirts at the combine and no doubt there will be additional information that comes out when they have analyzed all of their findings.
Top g-forces measured during the 40-yard dash: Prince Amukamara 10.73, Da'Rel Scott 10.61, Titus Young 10.22, Brandon Harris 9.68, Cam Newton 9.48, Mark Ingram 9.45, Jordan Todman 8.77 and Julio Jones 8.73.
For what it is worth, here are five different top 10 mock drafts that were shared with the viewing audience by NFL Network analysts. All of these are ranked in the order they presented them, from one to 10.
Michael Lombardi: Da'Quan Bowers, Robert Quinn, Cam Newton, Patrick Peterson, Nick Fairley, Von Miller, Aldon Smith, Prince Amukamara, Tyron Smith and Akeem Ayers.
Jim Mora Jr. : Da'Quan Bowers, Patrick Peterson, Cam Newton, A.J. Green, Von Miller, Nick Fairley, Blaine Gabbert, Marcell Dareus, Prince Amukamara and Jake Locker.
Jason LaCanfora: Da'Quan Bowers, Robert Quinn, Cam Newton, Patrick Peterson, Von Miller, Nick Fairley, Marcell Dareus, A.J. Green, Prince Amukamara and Blaine Gabbert.
Brian Billick: Patrick Peterson, Da'Quan Bowers, Marcell Dareus, A.J. Green, Von Miller, Nick Fairley, Prince Amukamara, Blaine Gabbert, Robert Quinn and Cam Newton.
Steve Mariucci: Da'Quan Bowers, Robert Quinn, Nick Fairley, A.J. Green, Blaine Gabbert, Marcell Dareus, Patrick Peterson, Von Miller, Prince Amukamara and Julio Jones.
Considering the various parts of the combine that we had exposure to, here is my overview on Cam Newton's combine experience:
Physical skills: He showed strong performance in broad jump with a 10' 6" leap. Ran the 40-yard dash in 4.59 seconds. Had a vertical jump of 35" and ran the 20-yard shuttle in 4.18 seconds.
Passing: One of the red-flag areas. Had a stretch of six incomplete passes. No other QB had that much difficulty in connecting with strange wide receivers. Clearly he performed better in a controlled environment like his media workout day. Expect better results at his pro day.
Media coverage: The entertainer-and-icon quote will haunt him for awhile. Trying to follow that up with the typed-out statement did little to sway popular opinion. Newton received plenty of air time and was even brought to sit down with the NFL Network staff at their makeshift studio. When it came time to answer questions at his press conference, he had a mixed review of flubbing some answers and ignoring others.
How did Newton do in the closed door interviews with the NFL teams? From most indications, it appears that he did not really help himself due to the poor passing grades. All it takes is one team that believes he can be a franchise QB for him to vault up there again. He will be subject to further examination and speculation.
Cam Jordan is the Cam that had the better combine. He stayed out of trouble and didn't raise any eyebrows.
Jordan ran a 4.71 in the 40-yard dash. In the weight room, he did 25 reps at 225 pounds. Jordan seemed to run with no major issues and looks like he is ready to take on a defensive end spot in the NFL now.
Those were the only results posted for Jordan as of now. Never did hear any explanation as to why he didn't participate in any other drills.
Scouts have to be happy with Jordan's dedication, as he dropped his 40 time from 4.85 to 4.71. That is a positive sign. You add that with his 35" arms and his big hands, and that is why he makes sense to go in the top 15.
Ryan Bartholomew, Syracuse offensive linemen, turned some heads with his showing at the combine. He ran a 4.9 in the 40-yard dash and came up with 34 reps at 225 pounds in the bench press, which led all offensive linemen. If you don't think his 40 time was very fast, you need to realize it was the second-fastest time for his group.
That strength and endurance no doubt will earn him a higher draft slot, so his hard work paid off.
Throughout college, everyone assumed that Nick Fairley measurements were accurate, listed at 6'5" and 300 pounds. When he arrived at the combine, he was measured at 6' 3" and 291 pounds. The drop in both height and weight means that isn't the only thing that is dropping, as his draft stock is starting to tumble.
Regarding the combine, Fairley ran a respectable 4.87. He had a vertical jump of 31" and a broad jump of 9' 5". He did not participate in the bench press. Hopefully he can do that at his pro day, but for now consider the combine results to be anywhere from mixed to a negative.
For a player that many had pegged as the potential No. 1-overall pick, it will be curious to see now where he does wind up getting drafted.
Justin Houston has pushed his weight up from the 250 range to 270. Despite gaining the extra weight, Houston had a very strong combine showing. Look at the overall performance numbers: He ran a 4.68 40-yard dash, which is great for a big guy. He did 30 reps at 225 on the bench press. Had a 36.5 " vertical jump and a very quick 11.46 in the 60-yard shuttle.
So now that the teams know how he can perform stacked up against his peers, the question is how well did he convince the various NFL teams that interviewed him that he is ready to give 100 percent on every play and try to become an elite linebacker.
If he is drafted north of 25 overall, it is because he answered all the questions to their satisfaction.
Greg McElroy is one of those players who impresses you with his intangible skills, but maybe not so much with the physical skills.
There is no doubt that McElroy is a winner and that he is very smart. How smart? Try a 48 on the Wonderlic exam, tying the score of Harvard graduate Ryan Fitzpatrick.
From a combine perspective, McElroy ran a slow 4.91 in the 40. His 33" vertical jump was OK, but his times in the three-cone drill and in the 20-yard shuttle were among the two or three slowest times of all the QBs in attendance.
The end result is that McElroy will probably be able to convince a team that he can come in and be a smart game manager, as long as he is not asked to carry a team for a long time. He will probably wind up being a great coach some day.
Christian Ponder cleaned up his act for the combine. He cut his hair and removed his beard or stubble for the combine. Apparently he was serious about wanting to put his best foot forward to impress the scouts.
Ponder was the winner of the QB shuttle drill. He threw the ball well and showed that he has no physical problems. You can be sure that team doctors of all interested teams had him checked out thoroughly.
Based on his good combine showing, along with what he did at the Senior Bowl, it is not out of the question that some team may want to trade up in to the late first round to grab him. If he is sitting there in the second round, his Senior Bowl coach Chan Gailey may want to grab him right then and there.
One of the bigger medical-condition mysteries of the ombines is the condition of Adrian Clayborn's right arm. Clayborn suffers from a condition called Erb's Palsy and, as a result, he suffered nerve damage to the right side of his body, along with a broken collarbone.
As a result, his left arm is bigger than his right arm and he lines up at the same spot on defense all the time. It is safe to say that NFL teams that are considering him are taking a long look at his condition and talking to him at length to understand what he can do and cannot do.
As an example, he chose not to participate in the bench press, further demonstrating his limitations. By all accounts he is in good shape and showed his athletic skills on the field. Team doctors will determine how strong and viable the right arm is. If he is truly limited because of it, it will mean teams will pass on him, as there are many more defensive line options in this draft class that have two strong arms.
One person who usually doesn't mince words is Mike Mayock, draft analyst at the NFL Network. Said Mayock: " J.J. Watt is the prototype for a five-technique defensive end". High praise indeed.
For any team looking to shore up their defensive line, Watt is ready to continue exploding offensive backfields the way that he did to the delight of Wisconsin Badgers fans.
Watt had a great combine. He ran a 4.84 in the 40. He did 34 reps at 225 on the bench press. He had a 37 " vertical jump and a 10' broad jump. If that wasn't enough, he turned in the second-fastest time for all defensive ends in both the three-cone drill and the 20-yard shuttle race.
Watt is guaranteed of a first day draft selection. Now we just sit back and find out who he will be playing for.
When Owen Marecic was timed in the 40-yard dash, he did it as part of the running backs, not the linebackers. We don't know if he was offered the chance to work out with both units, or if he was told by the combine committee that he had to pick one group to participate with.
Marecic chose the running backs. Not only did he do that, but he also chopped off his long hair in the back and came in with a short hair cut. If anybody knows what Marecic is capable of, it is Coach Harbaugh, and he will probably want to find a way to keep him right where he is now—in the Bay Area.
For the combine, the only results that I have seen posted anywhere are the following: he ran a 4.91 in the 40-yard dash and he had a vertical leap of 28.5 ". If any other results show up, we will come back and edit this slide to reflect the new numbers.
After having watched all 30 hours of the televised combine live, these were my impressions.
The guys that struck me with their physical skills were: Virgil Green, Julio Jones, Von Miller, Dontay Moch, J.J. Watt, Ryan Kerrigan, Edmond Gates, Buster Skrine, DeMarcus Van Dyke, Patrick Peterson and Justin Houston.
The players that showed the most heart were: Julio Jones, Mark Herzlich and Shiloh Keo.
Mike Mayock was asked for his final observations and he came up with this: " I was most impressed with the defensive linemen. Marcell Dareus looked great to awesome, Robert Quinn and Ryan Kerrigan looked great as well. I am also impressed with a number of the offensive linemen".
Deion Sanders reiterated how much he liked Shiloh Keo and that Patrick Peterson was still his No. 1 corner. He also said that Jimmy Smith didn't do that much to help himself.
Charles Davis said that to him the stars of the week were Dontay Moch and Julio Jones.
So there you have it: 30 hours of programming condensed down to 50 slides. Feel free to leave your comments or observations that were different than mine.