Aaron Ross on Tarell Brown's injury; prospect asked to contemplate reincarnation
— Texas CBs Aaron Ross and Tarell Brown are projected first-day draft picks. Ross has a slight leg up on Brown, but Brown is a player to watch. Brown played with a break in his foot between his toes as a senior, an injury that didn't receive much attention.
"Having a broken toe, it's hard to come out of your plant," Ross said of his teammate, whom he says is healthy and will participate in drills at the Combine.
— N.C. State CB A.J. Davis had a great quote about the oddest psychological-test question he's been asked at the Combine. Here it was, according to Davis: " 'If you had to come back as an animal, what would you be?' I was like, 'I don't want to come back as an animal — I want to come back as a human being!' "
Calvin Johnson has the respect of his opponents...
N.C. State CB A.J. Davis faced Calvin Johnson in college, and he thinks highly of the Georgia Tech standout.
"Calvin Johnson is the best player I've faced in my life," Davis said. "He doesn't miss a down, and he does everything."
That's what stands out to me as much as anything about Johnson: No one questions his effort, and the guys who've played him make quick note of that. Miami (Fla.) S Brandon Meriweather spoke of Johnson's "heart" when interviewed at the Senior Bowl.
NFL draft boats heavy-hitters at the top
After three days of watching the prospects parade in front of us and handle their business, I have to say I've come away very impressed with the way the top guys carry themselves. Of course, there's a lot more to football than that, most obviously the physical element, but I'm quite certain that Alan Branch, for example, wouldn't be considered a top-10 pick if he couldn't get it done between the white lines.
To a man, nearly all of the kids that we've projected to be the first off the board acquitted themselves extremely well, specifically Branch, Calvin Johnson, Adrian Peterson, Brady Quinn, JaMarcus Russell and Joe Thomas. Generally, it was tough not to be impressed with their maturity, charisma and comfort in their own skin. Even Russell, who was clearly less comfortable than the others in the spotlight, drew arguably the biggest laugh of the week when asked how big he was when he started playing football at the age of 6. He pointed to a below-average sized reporter to the side of the podium.
It's clearly not the most important factor in determining your pick, but given the size of the investment at that level, it certainly doesn't hurt.
Quotes from the Combine
Well, it's our last day here at the Combine, and it started out with a glitch in the internet that had the room grumbling with unhappy journalists. It's bad enough that some people trying to fly out of here are being told by airlines that they may not be able to leave until Tuesday, but to not have internet to file stories and check flight status...well, let's just say the NFL people had to deal with a bit of griping. Anyways, Leon Hall and Marcus McCauley have done pressers so far, and Wilky and Neubie are gathering quotes, but I thought I'd share with you some bites I picked up while working on some features here.
Herm Edwards on what it takes to be a good quarterback in the NFL:
"In our league it's real simple for quarterbacks: Do they make the plays on third down? How good are they in the two minute situation? And can they handle the game, not turn the ball over? That's what happens in our league. When you break it all down the good ones can do that, the good ones make the plays on third down. That's the most important throw in our league, it keeps the drive alive, it keeps the chains moving. Two minute, because a lot of games are won in the two minute (drill) at half or the end of the game."
Colts GM Bill Polian on how coverage of the NFL draft has expanded:
"I said a number of times...we have the ultimate reality show. Reality shows are welcomed by the public, aren't rehearsed or contrived in any way, it's right out there for everyone to see. It's obvious that that appeals to the public if you look at the ratings. As information technology expands, there's more information that can be gleamed."
Notre Dame QB Brady Quinn discussing which aspect of his game coach Charlie Weis helped the most:
"Probably the mental aspects of the game. When he got me I was a sophomore in college, a guy who I think at that point in time still wasn't able to get over that I just threw a pick, you gotta come back and throw a touchdown now. Having that short term memory. I talked about that all year, but it's hard for a quarterback to get over and say it doesn't bother them after they throw a pick or throw an incompletion or go three and out. And that slowly evolved throughout my time where I tried to let nothing affect me and you try to have that calm even keel."
Akron OG Andy Alleman on the difference between playing defensive tackle and offensive guard:
"On the defensive side of the ball you have one of two things: B gap or C gap. Offensive side of the ball you have to read defenses, you have to understand blitz packages, you have to understand line stunts, line games. It's a very controlled aggression. You're not just firing off the ball, finding the ball carrier. It's something where it's a fine-tuned thing, it's a technical thing. But still at the end of the day the pluses I like for it is you know the snap count, you can fire off the ball, you know where the play is going, you know everything the defense doesnt. So I think that's the big transition. ... It's a lot harder and I have a lot of respect for defensive tackles, especially the interior line. You have to take on double teams, get off a block and tackle somebody who's 220 who runs a 4.4 so I mean, it's a lot easier when you're a part of the double team instead of trying to split a double team."