Combine Buzz

Discussion in 'Draft Zone' started by Natedawg44, Mar 1, 2006.

  1. Natedawg44

    Natedawg44 Active Member

    2,598 Messages
    0 Likes Received
    Allen, Cromartie perform damage controlBy Todd McShay
    Scouts Inc.

    The final day of this year's scouting combine was highlighted by the performances of two cornerbacks who suffered season-ending injuries in 2005 -- Tennessee's Jason Allen and Florida State's Antonio Cromartie. By posting impressive marks across the board and showing little rust in position drills, both Allen and Cromartie relieved much of the concern regarding their health.

    Allen, who missed the final six games of the season because of a hip injury, is actually a tweener corner/safety prospect. In addition to answering questions about his hip, Allen also displayed the ability to play the cornerback position in the NFL. He finished near the top of the defensive backs in the 40-yard dash, vertical jump (39½ inches), broad jump 10-11), short shuttle (3.81), long shuttle (11.17) and three-cone (6.75). Once considered a first-round lock, Allen has seen his stock decline dramatically, but the strong showing in Indy will at least get him back into the second-round mix.

    Cromartie entered this week as an even bigger enigma. Instead of returning to Florida State for his final season of eligibility, he elected to make the NFL leap, despite missing the entire 2005 season with a knee injury. NFL decision-makers were left with very little film to study and lots of stones unturned.

    Although it wasn't quite the exhibition he hoped for, Cromartie's showing at the combine has to be considered a success. Not only did he pass his physicals and look smooth during coverage drills, Cromartie (6-foot-2, 208 pounds) ran the 40-yard dash in 4.41 seconds and led all defensive backs with an 11-foot broad jump. It might not be enough to elevate him to the first round, but Cromartie will not last long in Round 2.

    Defensive backs
    Allen and Cromartie were certainly not the only defensive backs who ran well on Tuesday. The new surface inside the RCA Dome was set ablaze, as nine defensive backs ran sub-4.4's in the 40-yard dash. Clemson corner Tye Hill (4.30) edged out Florida WR Chad Jackson (4.32) to earn the distinction of being the fastest man at the combine.

    Cornerbacks Johnathan Joseph (South Carolina) and Tim Jennings (Georgia) and defensive back Michael Huff (Texas) turned in sub-4.35 times, while safety Daniel Bullocks (Nebraska), safety-returner Willie Andrews (Baylor), DB Antoine Bethea (Howard), DB Jason Allen (Tennessee) and CB Kelly Jennings (Miami) all finished in the 4.36-4.39 range. It's safe to say that prospects will no longer fear a slow track in Indy, which means the participation rate should continue to increase in coming years.

    The defensive backs were divided into two groups -- the first group worked out in the morning and the second in the afternoon. Of the 59 defensive backs in attendance this week, seven chose not to run. USC safety Darnell Bing did not run, but participated in the position drills -- both as a safety and linebacker. Virginia Tech's Jimmy Williams and Ohio State's Ashton Youboty were the most notable players who chose not to run. USC corner Justin Wyatt was medically excused.

    Bing checked in as the heaviest defensive back at 227 pounds, while Kelly Jennings (178 pounds) was the lightest. Tim Jennings (5-7¾) was the shortest defensive back in Indianapolis.

    Miami's Devin Hester is a late-Day 1 prospect because of his explosiveness in the return game, but he is a man without a true position. Hester ran the 40-yard dash (4.41 seconds) and worked out with the defensive backs, but he also worked out earlier in the week with the wide receivers. His marginal technique in both areas was obvious, which is the biggest reason I think he made a poor decision in leaving school early.

    Williams (6-2) checked in as the tallest defensive back at this year's combine. For most of the year, I've graded Williams as a cornerback and Huff as a safety, but my opinion of both is beginning to change, especially after watching Huff run the 40-yard dash in the 4.3s.

    While Huff's value continues to ascend, Williams has gone in the opposite direction. Williams has reportedly performed horribly in his interviews, seeming emotionally unstable. He admits to not being as sharp or consistent in 2005 as he was in 2004, but has been unable to give any logical explanation as to why. What seems to be bothering teams the most is Williams' apparent lack of discipline, competitiveness and mental toughness -- all three are critical to surviving as a cover corner in the NFL.

    The big question surrounding Nebraska safety Daniel Bullocks was his speed. After performing very well during the week of the Senior Bowl, Bullocks posted an impressive time in the 40-yard dash (4.38) on Tuesday. He is now one of the fastest rising players in the entire draft. Bullocks could come off the draft board in Round 2, just as his brother, Josh Bullocks (Saints), did last year.

    Georgia's Greg Blue confirmed Wednesday what I've been saying for months now; his NFL future is at the outside linebacker position. Blue is a big hitter, but simply lacks the speed and change-of-direction skills to cover enough ground at the safety position. At 6-2, 216 pounds, Davis has the size potential to make the move up to weakside linebacker in the NFL, where his 4.7-speed is deemed far more acceptable.

    Ohio State safety Donte Whitner improved his value with a terrific all-around performance, which included an impressive 40-yard dash (4.4) and broad jump (11). Others who impressed in the afternoon session of defensive backs included Florida CB Dee Webb, who had a strong 40-yard dash (4.41), Maryland CB Gerrick McPhearson, who performed well in the 40-yard dash (4.42), broad jump (11-1) and vertical jump (41½), and Florida State free safety Pat Watkins who also posted solid numbers in the 40-yard dash (4.42), broad jump (10-9) and vertical jump (41).

    High expectations were met by outstanding results from a linebacker class that also benefited from the surface at the RCA dome. Of the 38 linebackers in attendance, only four opted out of running and four others were unable to run for medical reasons. Four linebackers ran sub-4.5s in the 40-yard dash. Stanford's Jon Alston led the linebackers (4.40), followed by UTEP's Thomas Howard (4.42), Louisville's Brandon Johnson (4.44) and Florida State's Ernie Sims (4.49).

    The biggest winners at the linebacker position were Alston and Virginia Tech OLB James Anderson. Alston is an undersized linebacker who might be moved to safety or nickel linebacker in the NFL. By working out so well at the combine -- broad jump (11-1) and three-cone (6.9) -- Alston proved he is fast and athletic enough to play multiple roles on defense.

    Anderson is a little bit bigger and stronger than Alston, which is why he grades out higher as a possible future starter at the weakside linebacker position In addition to his impressive 40-yard dash time (4.58), Anderson turned heads by finishing in the top two of all the linebackers in the vertical jump (41), three-cone (6.67) and short shuttle (4.07).

    Ohio State outside linebacker A.J. Hawk did not run as well as expected (4.61 and 4.59 in his two 40-yard dash attempts), but it shouldn't affect his draft stock much. Those are still very good times for a linebacker his size (6-1, 241 pounds), and he showed throughout position drills why he is considered the premiere linebacker prospect in this year's draft. Hawk showed impressive quickness and change-of-direction skills in the short shuttle (3.96) and three-cone (6.82). Hawk's vertical jump (40) also helped his cause.

    Iowa OLB Chad Greenway (6-2½, 242 pounds) was surprisingly weak on the bench press (225 pounds), with only 16 reps. He also ran the 40-yard dash in the 4.7s. On the positive side, Greenway was consistently one of the quickest and most technically sound linebackers during the position-specific drills. He also did some work with the defensive backs, which helped to prove his versatility. Regardless, Greenway entered the draft process as a top-15 prospect, but his poor workout scores could cause him to slip to the latter part of the first round.

    By bulking up to 231 pounds and still running as fast as he did at the combine, Sims solidified his position as a first-round pick. On top of his impressive time in the 40-yard dash, Sims also showed explosiveness in the vertical jump (41) and broad jump (10-5).

    Howard (6-3, 239 pounds) confirmed that he's one of the best athletes in this year's draft class with his excellent all-around combine workout. In addition to his blazing time in the 40-yard dash, Howard finished in the top of the linebacker heap in the broad jump (10-4) and short shuttle (4.13). However, his impressive performance still won't make up for his obvious deficiencies in terms of recognition skills and technique, which is why I still refuse to give Howard a first-round grade.

    On the flip side, Ryans did not finish among the top five linebackers in the 40-yard dash, vertical jump, short shuttle, long shuttle or three-cone drill. However, his instincts, toughness and tackling skills help make up for what he lacks in those areas. Despite his underwhelming combine performance, Ryans should still come off the board in the first round.

    Miami (Ohio) OLB Terna Nande was under a lot of pressure to perform in Indy this week and should feel good about what he accomplished. Nande is a late-round prospect who fell off the map a bit after missing five games with a lacerated liver he suffered against Kent State in 2005. He looked to be back in peak physical condition and impressed NFL brass with 41 reps on the bench press. Nande also did well in the 40-yard dash (4.51) and broad jump (10-4).

    LSU OLB Cameron Vaughn was the tallest linebacker of the group (6-3¾) and Alabama ILB Freddie Roach was the heaviest (257 pounds).

    Missing in Action
    As a final note, Penn State's lack of participation in this year's combine is embarrassing. In what is being dubbed as the "Nittany Lion Boycott," DEs Tamba Hali and Matt Rice, QB/RB Michael Robinson and corners Alan Zemaitis and Anwar Phillips all steered clear of Indianapolis. Somebody is obviously giving these young men advice that is only hurting them.
  2. ThreeSportStar80

    ThreeSportStar80 Benched

    27,093 Messages
    0 Likes Received
    I'll be the first to admitt I didn't think he was this fast, but what' his pass defense skills like???
  3. jbsg02

    jbsg02 Active Member

    1,719 Messages
    0 Likes Received
    good read
  4. CrazyCowboy

    CrazyCowboy Well-Known Member

    32,235 Messages
    265 Likes Received
    Nice report on the combine...thanks
  5. Displaced Cowboy

    Displaced Cowboy Well-Known Member

    1,374 Messages
    120 Likes Received
    A lot of talk going on about this on the psu forums.

    As a PSU fan i think it is a disgrace. Hali is the only one who is even close to being able to pass on participating without catching much flack.

    I don't know what these guys are thinking or whose idea this was but it was pathetic.
  6. Dayton Cowboy

    Dayton Cowboy Active Member

    1,850 Messages
    1 Likes Received
    Didn't I read that AJ Hawk's 3.96 in the short shuttle was the fastest or really close to being one of the fastest among all players, including faster than most of the wide receivers there?

    Does anybody think that Bullocks could move over to FS? Or would Watkins be the better prospect considering that he's been playing FS? Bullocks was faster than most anticipated him being. But does he play as fast as he times in shorts?
  7. jbsg02

    jbsg02 Active Member

    1,719 Messages
    0 Likes Received
    I think Bullocks could easily move to FS
  8. PacoReloaded

    PacoReloaded New Member

    366 Messages
    0 Likes Received
    He's more of a SS than a FS although anyone is better in coverage than Williams is.
  9. PacoReloaded

    PacoReloaded New Member

    366 Messages
    0 Likes Received
    They have him listed as a mid-round safety.

    Safety | Senior | Nebraska
    Daniel BullocksHeight: 6-2 | Weight: 210 | 40-Time: 4.54

    Has good size and a solid frame...Very instinctive...Ballhawk with a nose for the interception...Physical and supports the run well...Has a knack for being around the action...Has good mobility and range...Solid tackler...Very productive...Plays the ball in the air well...Team leader and coach on the field...Three year starter.

    Has only average speed...Is not great in man coverage...Not very agile and does not change directions well...Lacks fluid hips...Doesn't recover well...Is not a big hitter...Probably doesn't have a lot of upside or potential and may be about as good as he will get...Might need to be in the right type of scheme to succeed.

    Twin brother Josh (who is younger by 1 minute) was a 2nd round pick of the New Orleans Saints in 2005...Player with solid measurables and top intangibles...Isn't quite the prospect his brother was a year ago but could start in the right situation.

    They have him listed as a mid-round safety.
  10. Tex

    Tex Active Member

    558 Messages
    34 Likes Received
  11. Rack Bauer

    Rack Bauer Federal Agent

    22,919 Messages
    1,018 Likes Received

  12. PacoReloaded

    PacoReloaded New Member

    366 Messages
    0 Likes Received
    That's funny.. that's the very same thing I say when I read your replies.
  13. Rack Bauer

    Rack Bauer Federal Agent

    22,919 Messages
    1,018 Likes Received

    *YAWN* X2
  14. Zimmy Lives

    Zimmy Lives Well-Known Member

    8,532 Messages
    3,499 Likes Received
    Hmmm...let me guess...your grandmother is better in coverage than Roy. :rolleyes:
  15. RCowboyFan

    RCowboyFan Active Member

    6,926 Messages
    1 Likes Received
    Nope, I think, some DB had 3.1 something in short shuttle. And several DBs had in those 3 ranges I think.
  16. WilmingtonHeel

    WilmingtonHeel Member

    910 Messages
    0 Likes Received
    Allen or Whitner in the 2nd round would be a good value pick
  17. InmanRoshi

    InmanRoshi Zone Scribe

    18,334 Messages
    79 Likes Received
    Bullocks has very good pass skills. I think he played nickel CB for Nebraska.
  18. Bob Sacamano

    Bob Sacamano Benched

    57,073 Messages
    2 Likes Received
    Bullocks is versatile, able to cover in the deep zone, and act like a 4th LB, and has man-to-man coverage experience, he could play FS
  19. Bob Sacamano

    Bob Sacamano Benched

    57,073 Messages
    2 Likes Received
    he's rising up the charts like his brother last year, he'll be a 1st day pick

Share This Page