NFL Draft Countdown's Combine review
Just thought everyone might like to see what one website's thoughts were on the different performances at the combine. I, of course highlighted positions Bill Bill and Co. might be looking to address now that the first week of FA is just about over and Jerry has finally brought out the wallet $$
2005 Scouting Combine Review
President, NFL Draft Countdown
In the past week over 330 top prospects congregated in Indianapolis, IN at the RCA Dome to work out and test in front of countless scouts, coaches and pro decision makers at the 2005 Scouting Combine. The following is my review of the event and a look at some of the players who helped and hurt their stock.
The two top players at this position chose not to work out but they did run with Aaron Rodgers of California clocking a 4.71 and Alex Smith of Utah a 4.75 which is more than enough. The bigger story however was Rodgers checking in at a legitimate 6-2, alleviating concerns about his height and keeping him in the hunt for the #1 overall pick. Perhaps the biggest star of the week however was Adrian McPherson (pictured right), formally of Florida St., who ran a 4.69 despite pulling a quad during the run and shining in the positional drills. Jason Campbell of Auburn may have hurt himself by opting not to run or workout while Andrew Walter of Arizona St. is still recovering from shoulder surgery and will show his wares at a later date. As for the other top senior quarterbacks, Charlie Frye of Akron, Kyle Orton of Purdue, and David Greene of Georgia, each held their own but none really stepped out from the pack. A sleeper prospect also emerged in the form of Josh Haldi of Northern Illinois, who was invited to simply do some grunt throwing work but may have earned himself a shot in a pro camp. And finally, Matt Jones of Arkansas worked out with the signal callers even though he will likely project to another position at the next level and amazed everyone by clocking a 4.39 time in the forty and may have helped himself more than anyone else in attendance.
The biggest news out of this years proceedings, both good and bad, came from this position. On the plus side Ronnie Brown (pictured right) of Auburn wowed those in attendance by choosing to workout and then blazing a 4.44 at 233 lbs. With Cedric Benson of Texas choosing not to take part don't be surprised if Brown passes him on most boards and Benson now has a lot of ground to make up. Another Auburn runner, Cadillac Williams, also took part and came through with a nice 4.45 time of his own, possibly ensuring himself a spot in the top ten. As for the bad news, Maurice Clarett of Ohio St., who was making a positive impression by showing up in great shape and doing well in interviews, ran a horrid 4.8 and may drop to the latter rounds unless he can vastly improve on that time in future workouts. It sounds like Clarett was simply too focused on looking like a body builder and didn't stress speed training enough, which would explain how he ran so much slower than he did a year ago. Others who were also impressive were J.J. Arrington of California, Eric Shelton of Louisville, Darren Sproles of Kansas St., and Kay-Jay Harris of West Virginia. In addition to Benson others who chose not to run were Marion Barber of Minnesota, Frank Gore of Miami (FL), and Vernand Morency of Oklahoma St. Joining Clarett among the big losers are T.A. McLendon of North Carolina St. who ran a poor time of 4.71, Lionel Gates of Louisville, who only managed to run a 4.68, Walter Reyes of Syracuse who clocked a 4.66 and Anthony Davis of Wisconsin who measured only a little over 5-6. One of the more intriguing players at this position is Brandon Jacobs of Southern Illinois, who checked in at 269 pounds and ran an astounding 4.59.
The big story at this position was Mike Williams of USC opting to run after earlier saying he would wait until his private workout. Williams, who was not really prepared to take part, ran a solid 4.59 and while this isn't a great time it was about what most expected and won't hurt his stock. In fact, because he sucked it up and ran he actually gained a lot of brownie points in most peoples eyes. At wide receiver speed was the key with Jerome Mathis of Hampton (pictured right) running one of the fastest times in the history of the Combine, Courtney Roby of Indiana checking in at 4.33 and Troy Williamson of South Carolina at 4.38, possibly vaulting him into the Top 20 overall. Others who helped themselves were a trio of Sooners, Mark Clayton, Mark Bradley and Brandon Jones of Oklahoma, Reggie Brown of Georgia, Chris Henry of West Virginia, Vincent Jackson of Northern Colorado, and sleeper LeRon McCoy of Indiana (PA) who ran a 4.40. Roscoe Parrish of Miami (FL) also helped himself by running well but more importantly answering questions about his height by measuring about 5-9 1/2. Now for the bad news and some of the guys who really hurt themselves by running poorly include Steve Savoy of Utah, Charles Frederick of Washington, Howard Gilmore of Norfolk St., and Chad Owens of Hawaii. A guy who also really needed to impress but failed to was Larry Brackins of Pearl River C.C., who was only able to run a 4.66 and did not stand out. And finally, even though he did not run or workout Braylon Edwards of Michigan was impressive in interviews and in the bench press.
There isn't much to say here with the top three prospects, Heath Miller, Alex Smith and Kevin Everett, sitting out. Of note though was Jerome Collins of Notre Dame (pictured right), a former linebacker who ran the fastest time of the group with a 4.66 and Joel Dreessen of Colorado St., an H-Back prospect who ran a 4.69. A guy who also helped himself was Tony Jackson of Iowa, who ran well and could be a bit of a sleeper. We will have to wait for the Pro Days to see how the top of this position ultimately shakes out.
The man widely considered to be the top player at this position, Alex Barron of Florida St., did not workout which left the door open for Khalif Barnes of Washington (pictured right) to continue his rise up the charts by clocking a 4.93, building on the momentum he established at the Senior Bowl. Don't be surprised if Barnes is the first or second offensive tackle drafted. The other standout was Jammal Brown of Oklahoma, who ran in the 5.06 range and may have solidified his position in the first round. One of the big disappointments however was Marcus Johnson of Ole Miss, who ran in the 5.60 range, thus casting serious doubts about his ability to play outside at tackle in the pros. Two sleepers in Michael Roos of Eastern Washington and Adam Kieft of Central Michigan continued their rise up draft boards and could end up going much higher than you may expect.
The mysterious behavior of Virginia's Elton Brown continued with him leaving the Combine without explanation after pulling out of the Senior Bowl last month at the final minute. His stock is definitely on the decline with teams very concerned about his motivation. Perhaps the best all-around performance was put forth by Evan Mathis of Alabama (pictured right), who ran 4.91 and put up 35 reps in the forty and he could now be among the first few players at his position to come off the board. The other big story here was Scott Young of B.Y.U., a former defensive tackle who had the top mark for bench reps with 43. Among other notables were C.J. Brooks of Maryland, who displayed his athleticism, and Logan Mankins of Fresno St. who ran a 5.10 in the forty.
The center position is as strong as it has been in years and pro personnel people came away very impressed with this group. The talented but troubled Richie Incognito of Nebraska (pictured right) was having a tremendous week before injuring his knee in drills. He had an MRI and the results came back negative, but the extent of the injury is still unknown leaving his status a bit up in the air. David Baas of Michigan continues to impress and showed off good strength and speed, possibly ensuring a 2nd round grade. One of the top sleepers in the Draft had a nice performance as well with Rob Hunt of North Dakota St. impressing. Perhaps the top player at the position though is Chris Spencer of Ole Miss, who did nothing but solidify his lofty grade. Ben Wilkerson of L.S.U. is still rehabbing his injury and will workout at a later date.
Perhaps one of the biggest surprises was that Erasmus James of Wisconsin (pictured right) opted to workout and while he didn't run great at only 4.81 he did show well in positional drills. At this position it is more about who did not work out that who did, with Dan Cody of Oklahoma, Chris Canty of Virginia, Trent Cole of Cincinnati, Jim Davis of Virginia Tech, George Gause of South Carolina, Shawne Merriman of Maryland, Ryan Riddle of California, Justin Tuck of Notre Dame and Marcus Spears of L.S.U. all opting out for one reason or another. Among those who were impressive were Johnathan Goddard of Marshall, who may move to linebacker at the next level, David McMillan of Kansas who ran a 4.55, and junior Jovon Haye of Vanderbilt who is emerging as a very interesting player to watch. Some who did not show well were Bill Swancutt of Oregon St., Simon Fraser of Ohio St., Mike Montgomery of Texas A&M, and Benard Thomas of Nebraska. One player to keep an eye on is Jonathan Welsh of Wisconsin, who ran real well but will likely have to shift to outside linebacker in the pros due to his lack of size and bulk.
It is not a real strong year for this position and with two of the top players (Travis Johnson of Florida St. and Mike Patterson of USC) opting not to workout there was an opportunity for someone to emerge. That guy just may be Luis Castillo of Northwestern (pictured right), who ran a 4.79 at 303 lbs. and will see his stock rise. Others who were impressive include C.J. Mosley of Missouri, Sione Pouha of Utah, Jonathan Babineaux of Iowa and Darrell Shropshire of South Carolina. Some who did not impress were Anttaj Hawthorne of Wisconsin, who ran one of the slowest times at his position with a 5.25, as well as Larry Burt of Miami (OH) and Albert Means of Memphis, who were both entirely too slow even for big guys.
The trend of top players working out continued here with Derrick Johnson of Texas (pictured right) impressing by running a 4.54 and solidifying a top grade. A guy who has seen his stock soar since the Senior Bowl maintained that momentum as Demarcus Ware of Troy was very impressive. Kevin Burnett of Tennessee opted not to run but showed his athleticism along with Marques Harris of Southern Utah when the two got into a game of top this by doing a number of flips after their drills. Darryl Blackstock of Virginia continues to garner positive commentary and is a first round possibility while Jordan Beck of Cal-Poly really helped himself during his time in Indy. Among those who were not impressive include Cornelius Wortham of Alabama, who only ran a 4.76 and converted defensive end Clifford Dukes of Michigan St. who came in just under the 5.00 mark.
The main attraction here was Robert McCune of Louisville (pictured right), who is as impressive of a physical specimen as you will ever see and a true workout warrior. Teams couldn't help but have been impressed by the former Cardinal. Odell Thurman of Georgia did a nice job and kept his place among the top players at the position while Adam Seward of U.N.L.V. really impressed by clocking a 4.62 in the forty. A couple of the slowest guys at this position were Lofa Tatupu of USC at 4.79 and Martin Patterson of T.C.U., who ran a terrible 5.00.The guy widely considered to be the best player among the inside linebackers, Channing Crowder of Florida, opted not to run and will wait for his Pro Day workout.
The only way to sum up this position is speed, speed, and more speed. The highlight was Fabian Washington of Nebraska (pictured right), who some say ran the fastest time in the history of the Combine with a 4.25, beating the previous mark held by Deion Sanders. Look for his stock to soar. Carlos Rogers of Auburn solidified his spot in round one and could move up after clocking in the sub-4.4 range while others such as Chris McKenzie of Arizona St., Karl Paymah of Washingon St., and Darrent Williams of Oklahoma St. also ran in the 4.3's. One player who may also see his stock soar is sleeper Ronald Bartell of Howard, who showed he has some speed to go along with his size by running a 4.37. Among those who disappointed was Brandon Browner of Oregon St. who showed that he may lack the speed to play corner at the next level by running a 4.60. Abraham Elimimian of Hawaii only ran a 4.68 while two 2nd round prospects did not put up the type of times they had hoped for with Marlin Jackson of Michigan running a 4.59 and Eric Green of Virginia Tech a 4.55. The two guys regarded by most to be the cream of the crop at this position, Pac-Man Jones of West Virginia and Antrel Rolle of Miami (FL) opted not to workout.
Without a doubt the biggest news here was Thomas Davis of Georgia weighing in at 230 lbs. and only running a 4.65, which could lead to most considering him a linebacker prospect rather than safety. Two other top players, Brodney Pool of Oklahoma and Ernest Shazor of Michigan, opted not to work out while Josh Bullocks of Nebraska (pictured right) did a nice job and helped himself. Another player who increased his value was Gerald Sensabaugh of North Carolina, who wowed with his athleticism and should move up. A guy who performed much better than expected was Jerome Carter of Florida St., who was able to run a 4.51 while Sean Considine of Iowa was also impressive. Among those who had a rough go of it were Atcheson Conway of Bowie St., Aaron Francisco of B.Y.U. and Jamaal Brimmer of U.N.L.V. who all showed an extreme lack of speed.
Kickers / Punters
While this isn't a glamour position every year it seems as though one player emerges and this year that might be Reggie Hodges of Ball St. (pictured right), who apparently did a nice job in workouts and may have a shot to be drafted now. Of course the stars are still Mike Nugent of Ohio St. and Dustin Colquitt of Tennessee, who should both be Day One picks.