Archive for February, 2013

The fourth and final day is probably the most exciting to watch on television.  Maybe not exciting, but it is where the best athletes are and the fastest 40 times usually happen. The defensive backs can really help or hurt their draft stock because it gives a chance for scouts to see them one on one. Many a defensive back has flashed elite speed and athleticism at the Combine and helped raise their stock. This year is no different. The 2013 class is loaded with talent and besides the defensive line group may be the most talented top to bottom in the whole draft.

Below are some notes and thoughts on some of the performances on Day 4 of the Combine:

Defensive Backs

– There is plenty to talk about in this group so I will do a winners and losers column for the defensive backs.

Winners

Tyrann Mathieu, LSU– The 5’9 186 pound ball hawk needed to come out and show that he has kept himself in shape after being out of football for an entire season. While Mathieu didn’t blow anyone away in the weight room, he did run a 4.5 40 yard dash and was excellent in his field drills. His character issues are many, as he has multiple incidents with marijuana and was kicked off the team at LSU last year. But there is no denying his talent and he will aren’t a later round pick by some team willing to overlook his transgressions.

David Amerson, NC State– Amerson is coming off a year where his stats and production were down and he needed a solid Combine in order to get back the momentum of his stellar junior year. He stands 6’2 and weighs 205 pounds. Amerson has unbelievable physical tools and showed that with a 4.44 40 yard dash and 15 reps on the bench. He isn’t the most explosive athlete, but fits into a cover 2 scheme well with his size and quickness.

Dee Milliner, Alabama- All Milliner did was come out and run one of the fastest 40 times of any DB at 4.37 seconds and firmly secure himself as the top defensive back in the draft. Milliner possesses good size at 6′ 200 pounds and has good coverage skills and long speed. Milliner will be a top 6 pick in the draft.

Washington's Desmond Trufant

Washington’s Desmond Trufant

Desmond Trufant, Washington- The definition of SWAG, Trufant plays with emotion that is unmatched by any player. He had a great Senior Bowl week and capitalized at the Combine. He ran a 4.38 40 yard dash an showed great foot work in his on field drills. Trufant has the lineage as two of his brothers’ play in the league as well. He has great size at 6′ 190 pounds and plays really aggressive. I think with some other players that fell out of favor with scouts during the day, Trufant moved himself up and is currently the number two corner on my board.

Shamarko Thomas, Syracuse- More than likely the best example of speed and strength at the Combine this year, Thomas is a physical specimen. He only stands 5’9 but he weighs 215 pounds and runs a 4.42 40. Ad 28 reps on the bend and exceptional vertical and broad jump numbers and you have one of the best safety prospects to come out of the Combine. The knock on him is his height and lateral quickness and he needs to show in his pro day that he can do well in field drills. Look for him to move up draft boards.

Darius Slay, Mississippi State– When you run the fastest 40 time at 4.36 seconds you are going to turn some heads. Now scouts and GMs will have to go back to his film and see if Slay can translate that speed to the field. Slay has good size at 6’1 190 pounds, but he is a little on the skinny side. The fast times are everything but Slay proved his point. That makes him a winner. His film shows an aggressive player that doesn’t have the best foot quickness.

Robert Alford, SE Louisiana- Small school guys really showed out at the Combine, but Alford might have capitalized the most. He ran a 4.39 40 yard dash and had more reps at the bench, 17, than I would have thought. He is not the biggest corner in the draft at 5’10 188 pounds, but he plays with good aggression and has good punch when jamming at the line. Alford has great return skills and played great at the Senior Bowl. With this effort and his film and all star games, I have Alford firmly graded in the second round.

Losers

Johnthan Banks, Mississippi State- No player hurt his stock more than Banks in my opinion. It is harsh but true. So many corner prospects ran in the 4.4 range in the 40 yard dash. But Banks ran a 4.61 and looked very non explosive in his jumps and field drills. It may not crush his draft stock, but he took a hit.  Scouts will now go back to the film and see how many times his speed factored in to getting beat. The good thing Banks has going for him is that he is 6’2 and 185 pounds and could move to safety. He also has a Pro Day left to make this situation better. He once was the second corner in a lot of minds, but he is sliding out of some peoples top five now.

Zeke Motta, Notre Dame

Zeke Motta, Notre Dame

Zeke Motta, Notre Dame- I knew Motta wasn’t going to be fast because watching him on film he is not asked to do much man coverage. But I did not expect to see a 4.83 out of him in the 40 and I definitely expected more than 11 reps on the bench press. Motta has limited athletic ability but is a grinder on the field. He has good quickness but he hurt himself with this Combine performance. Needs a better Pro Day or he could fall out of the middle rounds into 7th round, free agent territory.

Marc Anthony, California- One of the best corners at the Senior Bowl, Anthony did not capitalize on this Combine performance. He turned in a 4.63 second 40 yard dash and showed very average vertical and broad jump numbers. Anthony has a chance to be a good player, but his long speed is now in question. While Anthony ran a slow time, he does show very good man to man foot skills in coverage.

Aaron Hester, UCLA- Combine results: 4.62 40 yard dash, 29 inch vertical, 9’3 inch broad jump, 7.26 cone drills. These are numbers that would be average for a tight end, not what is needed at corner back. It is one thing to lack long speed like what is timed in the 40 yard dash. It is another problem to have a lack of athletic burst and explosion in all the other drills. Hester will struggle with his lack of physical skills in the NFL. Has a long road ahead to make it.

Superlatives

Fastest 40- Darius Slay, Mississippi State- 4.36 seconds

Slowest 40- Zeke Motta, Notre Dame- 4.83 seconds

Most Bench Reps- Shamarko Thomas, Syracuse- 28 reps

Least Bench Reps- 2 tied at 4 reps

Highest Vert- 5 tied at 40.5 inches

Lowest Vert- Aaron Hester, UCLA-29.0 inches

Funniest moment of the Combine you ask… that was undoubtedly Shamarko Thomas face planting at the end of his 40… here is a picture of it…

thomasfall

 

The offensive players have headed out of town, except for the “throwing quarterbacks” that is. It is time to watch some real athleticism shine on the field as the defensive players take the main stage to finish out the Combine week. On Monday the defensive line and linebackers took to the field to run 40’s and see who could do well in cone and positional drills. There was not a lack of story lines as perhaps one of the biggest was with Manti Te’o and how he would run and perform under all the scrutiny he has faced.

What this group lacks in proven talent on the field overall, it makes up for with raw potential and a bunch of physical specimens that showed so many of us why they have scouts drooling in anticipation. So many of these players are going to be drafted off of pure speculation that they will turn out to be stars in the near future.

Below I have highlighted some of the top performances, and worst, during the Monday festivities.

Defensive Line

 

– Disclaimer… this is by far the deepest group in the draft. There are way too many good performances and prospects to mention all in one recap, so I will hit a few of the main stories that came out of Indy…

SMU's Margus Hunt

SMU’s Margus Hunt

– This is the year of the RAW defensive ends it seems as two players, BYU’s Ziggy Ansah and SMU’s Margus Hunt, really took the Combine by storm. Ansah is 6’5 271 lbs. and runs a 4.63 40 yard dash. Not only does he have great edge rusher speed but he looked really solid in the pass coverage drills that so many NFL teams are looking for now in hybrid OLB/DE. There is no doubt a long way to go for Ansah before he becomes a Pro Bowl caliber player, but if the right team drafts him and brings him along the way the 49ers brought Aldon Smith along, he will develop into a sack machine. Hunt on the other hand seems to project as a J.J. Watt type of 3-4 defensive end. Almost a player that has good enough pass rush speed and length to play a defensive end in a 4-3 but fits best as a 5 technique. Hunt is a great story and hasn’t been playing football, like Ansah, for that that long. Hunt had a tough Senior Bowl but the 6’8 277 lb. former track and field star is a freak of nature and his speed, 4.6 40 yard dash, and his 38 reps at bench press really show a player that could have an enormous ceiling. In no way do I think that Hunt is where he needs to be yet, but if he falls to the second round, it is worth a pick and with his numbers he might even be in the late first round conversation.

-Of the top draft picks in this group not many solidified their first round grades as did Dion Jordan of Oregon and Barkevious Mingo of LSU. Both players are hybrid rush ends and will more than likely play from a two point stance, a la Clay Matthews III does for Green Bay. Jordan is 6’6 248 lbs. while Mingo is a little bit on the slight side at 6’4 241 lbs. I thought Jordan had the best day of all the rush linebackers as he ran a 4.60 and had explosive cone and agility drills. Not only that but he had great field work and shows a natural habit in coverage. Jordan might have put himself in the top five and a solid top 10 pick for sure. Mingo has a wide range of grades from many different analysts and I am not a fan of how little strength he plays with, but there is no debating his athletic ability. Mingo ran a 4.58 40 yard dash and had some of the best jump numbers. Like Jordan, Mingo did great in the open field coverage drills that all hybrid players went through. I don’t think Mingo will go as high as Jordan does but he is not getting out of the first round.

– Two of my biggest disappointing players on the day were Damontre Moore of Texas A&M and Bjoern Werner of Florida State. First I have to say that I just thought Werner would have better numbers than a 4.83 40 time and better jump numbers. His field work is good, but he just doesn’t wow me with athleticism  I know he was highly productive, but I expect more out of a top ten defensive lineman. That being said, he plays with such a high motor and plays much faster with pads on, to bring up an old cliché. I like his potential, just not as high as he is slotted to go. On the other hand, I have been critical of Moore throughout. I see a player on film that is weak in the upper body and sometimes doesn’t translate his natural ability to his game tape. Moore ran a 4.95 40 and did 12 reps, absolutely terrible numbers no matter how you look at it. So what it means for Moore now is that he has to light it up at his pro day or he will see himself tumble out of the first round like DaQuan Bowers did two years ago.

– Quick notes… Brandon Williams of Missouri Western State continues his great post season with another solid showing here at the Combine. Williams had 38 reps on the bench and showed better than average athleticism in drills and running tests. After a great Senior Bowl, Williams has put himself firmly in second round talks as a possible nose guard in the NFL… Another Division II player who has had a great post season is Harding’s Ty Powell. Powell is an undersized defensive end at 6’2 248 lbs. that right now looks to project as a 3-4 middle backer in the NFL. He certainly helped himself by running a 4.64 40 and benign 28 reps, while doing great in all the linebacker field drills. I think this kid can be a steal in the later rounds and could make a team on special teams and add quality depth… another smaller defensive end that tested well was Auburn’s Corey Lemonier. He ran well with a 4.6 40 and showed great footwork in drills. Lemonier had an off year last year but watch out for him to make an impact in the pass rush for a team next year. He is just too athletic not to get a chance, like Powell, in the middle rounds.

Superlatives

Fastest 40- 3 tied- 4.53 seconds

Slowest 40- Kwame Gaethers, Georgia- 5.40 seconds

Most Bench Reps- 2 tied- 38 reps

Least Bench Reps- Damontre Moore, Texas A&M- 12 reps

Highest Vert- Trevardo Williams, UCONN- 38.0 inches

Lowest Vert- T.J. Barnes, Georgia Tech- 22.0 inches

Linebackers 

US PRESSWIRE Sports

Jaime Collins of Southern Miss

– Probably the most physically gifted player in this group was Jaime Collins of Southern Miss, 6’3.5 and 250 lbs. A lot of scouts had his rated high on their list, not 1st round or anything, but listed in a lot of top five or ten lists. However, Collins sent scouts and NFL personnel people back to their film rooms to study where his athleticism translates to their scheme. Collins ran a 4.64 40 yard dash, vertical jumped 41.5 inches, and broad jumped almost out of the building with a measurement of 11.5 feet. His field work showed the athlete that he tests as, explosive and fast with great closing speed. Collins made some people perk up to his stock that is for certain. Collins had a highly productive career and racked up a ton of tackles for loss and sacks, but played for a bad team. He will see his stock rise in the coming month leading to the draft.

-Georgia’s Cornelius Washington, 6’4 265 lbs., opened eyes when he ran a 4.55 40 yard dash, had 36 reps on the bench, and vertical jumped 39 inches. Also add a 10’8 broad jump to it as well. Washington showed that fast twitch athleticism that you look for in a rush outside backer, but he never lived up to the hype at Georgia. All aspects are there expect for why he did not produce at the level he tests out as. So his interviews and the scouts analysis of film in the next month are going to be huge to his draft status.

– One of the best performances was put up by Florida’s Jon Bostic, 6’1 245 lbs. The lack of elite athleticism at the inside linebacker position might help Bostic move himself up some draft boards, especially after the performance he put up in Indy. Bostic ran a 4.61, with 22 bench reps, and solid field work in drills. The biggest boost to Bostic might be the poor performances of Notre Dame’s Manti Te’o and LSU’s Kevin Minter. Both players ran 4.82 and 4.81 40 times, respectively  Not to mention that neither player looked very fluid in drill work. Bostic didn’t have the most productive season, but he did play at a very high level in a very talented conference. Either way, Bostic used a solid Combine coupled with the lack of top inside linebacker talent and made scouts notice his worth going forward to the draft.

– Virginia Tech’s Bruce Taylor was probably the most disappointing linebacker in this group. Virginia Tech usually has very fast athletes on defense and most of them test very well. However, Taylor was the only linebacker to run above a 5.0 40 when he clocked a 5.01 time. He then went on to have really below average results in the jumps and cone drills. A lot more was expected out of Taylor and he definitely hurt himself with this Combine performance.

– Few Quick Notes…Sio Moore and Trevardo Williams (who worked with the DL) of UCONN lit up the Combine. Both players had great Senior Bowls and have really raised their draft status as the weeks have gone by this off season… A.J. Klein of Iowa State had an injury during field drills, but that was after he posted a 4.66 40 yard dash time and 20 reps on the bench. Klein is a tackling machine and has strong on and off the field character…Zaviar Gooden of Missouri is a physical freak that runs and jumps like a defensive back. His 40 times and jump numbers will help raise awareness to his film. Knocks on him include durability concerns and size issues as he is only 6’1 234 lbs.

Superlatives

Fastest 40- Zavier Gooden, Missouri – 4.47 seconds

Slowest 40- Bruce Taylor, Virginia Tech- 5.01 seconds

Most Bench Reps- Cornelius Washington, Georgia 36 reps

Least Bench Reps- DeVonte Holloman, South Carolina- 15 reps

Highest Vert-Jaime Collins, Southern Miss.- 41.5 inches

Lowest Vert- Khaseem Greene, Rutgers- 30.0 inches

screen_shot_2013-02-25_at_8.06.13_am.0_standard_352.0I was privileged to write an article on one of the biggest topics of the off season, the NFL Combine. I compiled a list of standouts and duds from the Combine and wrote an article for FootballNation.com that you can find below.

http://www.footballnation.com/content/2013-nfl-combine-5-winners-and-losers/21582/

 

Feel free to view it, share it with friends, and comment. I appreciate all the support.

The second day of on the field drills brought us much more excitement and showing of athleticism  This is marked as a day where prospects can raise or lower their stocks depending on 40 times and agility in position drills. Like I said yesterday, the 40 time might not be the end all be all, but it is an important piece to the puzzle. A solid time will send scouts back to the tape to study a player and see just what they may be missing. The same can be said for a player who does not fare well in the drills.

There was a lot to be said about the three groups that worked out on Day 2 and below are some notes and observations on each.

Quarterbacks

Quarterback Tyler Bray

Quarterback Tyler Bray

– Tyler Bray of Tennessee came in to this process with a lot of question marks about his character and athleticism. From all reports, Bray interviewed extremely well and actually tested well in drills. He isn’t the fastest guy in the group with a 5.05 40 time, but he is plenty quick and agile for the pocket passer he is. The one question that Bray did not have coming in was the arm talent. Bray has the strongest arm in the draft and displays good touch on deep balls. He threw extremely well during the drills and it will be interesting to see how much he raises his stock in this process being that there is a weak talent pool at quarterback in my mind.

– Speaking of the talent pool, Geno Smith of West Virginia did nothing in particular to raise or lower his stock. Being that he was widely considered the #1 prospect in the group, that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Smith has a beautiful deep ball and can make all the throws you ask of him. Where he struggled was with accuracy on the day. Couple that with decision making lapses and it is an issue you see on film occasionally. One reason I am not overly worried is that throwing in the drills here in Indy is not always going to be a good view of the QB’s accuracy, as wide receivers run vastly different routes from rep to rep. Smith needs to capitalize on his pro day to stay in the top 10 consideration, or teams will start looking to trades and free agents to fill quarterback concerns.

– I don’t have a crystal ball, but I don’t see any way that Marqueis Gray of Minnesota or Collin Klein of Kansas State can play quarterback at the NFL level. I hate to say it, but I believe it.  Both have issues throwing accurately and with strength. Both players are athletic as can be and could add value if they switch positions. Gray is open to doing what it takes to make an NFL team in 2013, while Klein seems to be interested only in making it one way and that is at quarterback.

Superlatives

Fastest 40 yard dash- Geno Smith, West Virginia- 4.59 seconds

Slowest 40 yard dash- Landry Jones, Oklahoma- 5.11 seconds

Highest Vertical Jump- E.J. Manuel, Florida State- 34 inches

Lowest Vertical Jump- Mike Glennon, NC State- 26.5 inches

Running Backs

– I don’t think any running backs really stood out as first round talents, at least not one that had the film resume to back up numbers in the Combine. There were some great times in the drills as we saw with Auburn’s Onterrio McCalebb running a 4.34 40 yard dash. However, McCalebb weighs less than most wide receivers and will struggle against punishment of NFL defenders. Eddie Lacy of Alabama did not work out and I think if he tests well at his pro day he will have the best chance of being a 1st round pick. But this is a class that is tremendously talented with 2nd to 5th round depth, just not an elite talent that is a lock for the first round.

Running Back Knile Davis

Running Back Knile Davis

– One name who tore up the drills and will send a lot of scouts back to the film was Arkansas’ Knile Davis. Davis has the size and speed of an every down running back, measuring in at 6′ 227 lbs. What stood out the most during the session was that Davis ran a 4.37 40 yard dash and had great bench press numbers with 31 reps. Add that to his drill work on the field and his athletic numbers and you have first round measurable. However, Davis has major durability issues, missing a good portion of the 2012 season and parts of other seasons in his career. The beauty of what Davis did is that he sent the scouts and GM’s back to their cities and in search of more film study on his career. With more and more starting running backs coming after round 2 in the draft, Davis might have helped himself add value in round 3-4 range instead of the late round grades he carried into the day.

– Two players that have had great post seasons before the combine at the Senior Bowl, added to their momentum with solid days on Sunday. Jonathan Franklin of UCLA and Mike James of Miami both had solid days not just in testing but in the running back drills. James is the bigger and stronger back at 220 lbs but still has very good speed and athleticism.  James ran a 4.53 in his 40 and that is a solid time for a player with his vision and agility. He isn’t a home run hitter, but is an every down back in the NFL. He catches the ball well and has great fluid movement skills as a runner. Franklin is another back who can catch the ball and tote the rock in a variety of ways. While he is not as big as James, weighing only 195 lbs., he is a little faster and more athletic than James. With so much value in this year’s draft class in the later rounds, Franklin could be a steal. He adds a lot of value to the running game.

-You looking for the next Alfred Morris of the Washington Redskins, a late round steal who came out of nowhere? Look no further than Vanderbilt’s Zac Stacy. Stacy is a strong legged, short field burst type of runner. He will thrive in a zone scheme where he can use his tremendous vision to find the holes and penetrate defenses. Stacy doesn’t have the long speed, as he ran a 4.55 40 yard dash, but he is strong and quick footed with exceptional work ethic and leadership qualities. I think he could be a steal anywhere after the 5th round.

Superlatives

Fastest 40 yard dash-Onterrio McCalebb, Auburn- 4.34 seconds

Slowest 40 yard dash- Zach Boren, Ohio State- 5.00 seconds

Most Bench Reps- Tommy Bohanon, Wake Forest- 36 reps

Least Bench Reps- 4 way tie at 15 reps

Highest Vertical Jump- Christine Michael, Texas A&M- 43.0 inches

Lowest Vertical jump- Juwan Jamison, Rutgers- 29 inches

Fastest Pro Agility- Christine Michael, Texas A&M- 4.02 seconds

Slowest Pro Agility- Mike James, Miami- 4.62 seconds

Wide Receivers

Wide Receiver Ryan Swope

Wide Receiver Ryan Swope

– As expected from this group, there was some speed on display during the 40 yard dash and drill periods. Perhaps the biggest eye opener of the day, speed wise, was Texas A&M’s Ryan Swope with a 4.34 in the 40 yard dash. Swope is a 6′ 206 pound burner who adds great quickness to his game. However, he did struggle with drops on the day. His 40 time tied with Tavon Austin of West Virginia, who continues to rise up draft boards and into the 1st round conversation. Austin is not only fast but extremely quick, added to the fact that he was very productive throughout his career. The fastest time on the day was a 4.27 by Texas’ Marquise Goodwin and it was expected, as he is an Olympic athlete in track and field. His biggest questions going forward will be can his speed translate to the football field, as he only caught 27 balls his senior year. Either way, his speed and return skills will warrant a long hard look starting in the middle rounds.

– In my mind, the most impressive physical specimen of the day was Tennessee Cordarrelle Patterson who measured in at 6’3 205 lbs. and was unbelievably athletic in all of his drills. He checked off all his boxes with the scouts, as he ran a great 40 time in 4.42 seconds and had great on the field drills. Couple those numbers with great jumping ability and unbelievable ball skills in the return game, and Patterson is a lock for the first round, possibly even for the San Diego Chargers at pick 11.

– Speaking of physical specimens, Rutgers Mark Harrison fits the bill of the big, tall, and athletic receiver that can stretch the field and beat press coverage. All of Harrison’s test numbers were very high with a 4.46 40 yard dash, 17 reps, and a 38.5 inch vertical. I will admit I have to do more film study on Harrison, but all the scouts and GM’s will be doing the same, as his good movement skills and great athleticism is worth looking into more as we get closer to draft day.

Superlatives

Fastest 40 yard dash-Marquise Goodwin, Texas- 4.27 seconds

Slowest 40 yard dash- T.J. Moe, Missouri- 4.74 seconds

Most Bench Reps- T.J. Moe, Missouri- 26 reps

Least Bench Reps- Darius Johnson, SMU- 6 reps

Highest Vertical Jump- 3 tied at 39.5 inches

Lowest Vertical jump- Cobi Hamilton, Arkansas- 29.5 inches

I am sorry for the delay on these notes. I will be hitting it fast and furious for the next few days. When you do this for a hobby and trying to make a serious blog and write articles as well, you have to find time for your family. I am caught up with the first two days of Combine workouts and I look forward to the next few days as well.

Day 1 saw the tight ends, offensive lineman, and even the specialists’ work out for us in the weight room and on the field. There were plenty of great numbers and interesting story lines. I am writing an article for FootballNation.com on the 5 winners and losers of the combine, so make sure to check back in for that tomorrow after the last drills and times are made official.

Of the first day participants, here are a few notes from Day 1 of the NFL Combine:

Tight Ends

Tight End Zach Eifert- Notre Dame

Tight End Zach Eifert- Notre Dame

– The top two tight ends since before the Combine have been Tyler Eifert of Notre Dame and Zach Ertz of Stanford. While neither player seemed to be a lock for the top 25 picks before the Combine, Eifert might have worked his way into consideration. Eifert ran well in drills and in his 40 while measuring in at a solid 6’6 250. Between Eifert and Ertz, it was apparent that the more athletic of the two was Eifert. I don’t believe Ertz hurt his draft stock by any means, but I thought he would run a little faster time and have a couple better numbers than what he put up.

– Three of the most impressive players of the day were Matt Furstenburg of Maryland, Chris Gragg of Arkansas, and Vance McDonald of Rice. All three players are not ranked in a lot of draft analyst’s top five lists but all of them performed well enough for people to notice them going forward. Now the scouts and general managers will go back to the film and see if the numbers correlate to production or if they don’t add up to on the field success.

– Two of the most intriguing prospects of the group in my mind are Colorado’s Nick Kasa and Michigan State’s Dion Sims. Kasa is a big, athletic prospect at 6’5 271 lbs. Kasa ran well with a 4.71 in the 40 and had 22 reps on the bench press. He has a lot of momentum because of a solid Senior Bowl week and I think he might have played himself into Round 4 consideration. Sims is an underclassman that has some character concerns (felony plea bargain in 2010) and might have done well for himself to stay in school another year, however he did perform well at the Combine and turned some heads with his athleticism for a man his size. He weighed in at 262 lbs. and stands 6’5. Sims is one of the better blocking tight ends in this class.

Superlatives

Fastest 40- Chris Gragg, Arkansas- 4.50 seconds

Slowest 40- Chris Pantale, Boston College- 4.99 seconds

Most Bench Reps- Vance McDonald, Rice- 31 reps

Least Bench Reps- D.C. Jefferson, Rutgers- 3 reps (note that he injured himself during the lift)

Highest Vert- Chris Gragg, Arkansas- 37.5 inches

Lowest Vert- tie between Zach Ertz, Stanford and Philip Lutzenkirchen, Auburn- 30.5 inches

Offensive Line

Offensive Lineman Terron Armstead- Arkansas Pine-Bluff

Offensive Lineman Terron Armstead- Arkansas Pine-Bluff

 

– The story of the day had to be the athleticism of the offensive tackles, highlighted by two players in particular, Oklahoma’s Lane Johnson and Arkansas Pine-Bluff’s Terron Armstead. Both players ran exceptionally good times for men their size, as Armstead posted the fastest time of the entire offensive lineman at 4.71 seconds. Johnson put up a valiant effort to clock in at 4.72 seconds, a very minuscule difference in times between him and Armstead. Armstead not only played exceptional at the East West Shrine game, but earned a late invite to the Senior Bowl and really opened eyes there with a good week. Johnson is an outstanding athlete who has a unique story that I have talked abouti n this blog before. Johnson was expected to come in and have good times, while Armstead definitely was a nice surprise Strength was a concern coming in for Armstead, but his 31 reps on the bench press is another box scouts can check off on his resume. While Johnson was always in the first round conversation, Armstead might have played his way into it as well. I don’t put too much stock into the 40 for OL but his game tape, all star performances and now the Combine really put him in the talks of being one of the best offensive tackles in the draft.

– Arguably the top guard and tackle coming into the Combine was Chance Warmack of Alabama and Luke Joeckel of Texas A&M. While neither player did anything to hurt their first round status, two players decided that they would try to close the gap between the top slots. Jonathan Cooper of North Carolina and Eric Fisher of Central Michigan both had stellar performances on the first day. Fisher has had a great post season as he was dominant at the Senior Bowl and looked very athletic and at ease in the on field drills. The gap between he and Joeckel is fast closing, and no longer is Joeckel the “lock” that he seemed to be as the top tackle taken. Watch for Fisher to move ahead of him in some analysts and scout’s eyes as we move forward Cooper of UNC showed some great strength and athleticism at the Combine and has scouts raving about his potential. It was a foregone conclusion that Warmack would be the first guard taken, more than likely to the Titans or Chargers. However, before he Combine and especially now that the players have worked out, more and more people are saying that Cooper has a chance to be the first guard off the board. Warmack was a little dinged up at the Combine and he will hopefully be healthy by his Pro Day, but Cooper definitely made a move up in a lot of peoples’ eyes.

– A player to watch out for as the draft nears is California’s Brian Schwenke. Schwenke had a great week at the Senior Bowl and is a gritty, smart, and tough center prospect. He displayed good strength with 31 reps on the bench and great athleticism for his size with a 4.99 40 and good on the field drill work. I think Schwenke has a great chance to be the second center prospect off the board sometime in the late 2nd to mid 3rd rounds. He also has some versatility in the fact that he practiced and held his own at guard during Senior Bowl week.

Superlatives

Tallest- Luke Marquardt, Azusa Pacific and Reid Fragel, Ohio State- 6’8

Heaviest and Longest Arms- D.J. Fluker, Alabama- 339 lbs. and 36.75 inch arms

Most Bench Reps- Eric Herman, Ohio- 36 reps

Fastest 40 and Highest Vert- Terron Armstead, Arkansas-Pinebluff- 4.71 seconds and 34.5 inch vert

Slowest 40 and Lowest Vert- Mark Jackson, Glenville State- 5.65 seconds and 20.5 inch vert

200px-NFL_CombineCheck out my article for FootballNation.com where I take a look at 5 potential first round players who will not be competing in most of the rills at the Combine. Please feel free to share the link and comment as many times as you like.

http://www.footballnation.com/content/5-potential-first-rounders-that-will-not-work-out-combine/21534/

 

Also, it was just reported that Jarvis Jones of Georgia will skip the Combine workouts and wait until his Pro Day. Jones is not rumored o be injured so this seems to be a case of a player who doesn’t feel that it could help his draft stock any.

My second article for Football Nation was published earlier. I was given an assignment to analyze where I thought the Houston Texans would look in free agency to help fill holes on the roster.

Top 5 Free Agent Needs for the Houston Texans

In the coming days I will be working on an article about the “top 5 winners and losers of the NFL combine” and another article on the “top 10 free agent running backs of 2013”. I will also be participating in a few live mock drafts online, acting as the Atlanta Falcons general manager in one of them. It is an exciting time.

More scouting reports to come tomorrow. Please click and share and view as much as you desire. I appreciate all the support.

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