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Discussion in 'Draft Zone' started by cowboyjoe, Feb 20, 2009.

  1. cowboyjoe

    cowboyjoe Well-Known Member

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    Crabtree doesn’t quite measure up
    Posted: February 20th, 2009 | Staff | Tags: Mark Sanchez, Matthew Stafford, Michael Crabtree

    When the official combine measurements came in on Friday for the running backs, quarterbacks and wide receivers, there was one height that stood out from the rest. Or should we say, stood below the rest?

    Texas Tech wideout Michael Crabtree, who was listed by his school at 6-foot-3, measured nearly two inches below that at 6-1 3/8. That, by far, was the biggest differential in height of those measured over the last two days.

    Other top prospects who came up short included both top quarterbacks, Georgia’s Matthew Stafford and USC’s Mark Sanchez, who both came in at 6-foot-2, an inch below their listed heights.

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    Day 2 recap from Indianapolis
    Posted: February 20th, 2009 | Frank Tadych | Tags: 2009 NFL Scouting Combine

    Day 2 of the 2009 NFL Scouting Combine was a whirlwind. Around 20 coaches and executives, including six first-year head coaches, hit the media center to hold news conferences. The NFL hopefuls created their own buzz among the media, including several top prospects at quarterback, running back and wide receiver.

    49ers head coach Mike Singletary is looking for competition at QB, and the team is involved in re-working the contract of Alex Smith, who wants another shot at starting.

    Staying with the 49ers, GM Scot McCloughan indicated the team would like to add a “big back” in the 215- to 230-pound range to complement Frank Gore and share the workload in San Francisco.

    USC QB Mark Sanchez will throw this weekend, while Georgia QB Matthew Stafford will not. Stafford, however, recognizes the similarities between himself and Bobby Layne. Sanchez told reporters he’s ready for the NFL.

    The Titans will meet with the agent for free agent QB Kerry Collins this weekend, and are in negotiations to bring back backup QB Chris Simms, as well. Coach Jeff Fisher has also met recently with the team’s other quarterback, Vince Young.

    Alabama OT Andre Smith announced he will not work out at the combine. Pittsburgh RB LeSean McCoy said he will participate despite being noticeably sick.

    Tampa Bay GM Mark Dominik and coach Raheem Morris also spoke. Dominik divulged that the Bucs would like to bring four QBs to training camp. When asked if the Bucs starter is on the current roster — between Luke McCown, Brian Griese and Josh Johnson — Dominik said all three are capable of starting.

    Texas Tech’s Louis Vasquez dominated the OL bench press. All of the combine results can be found on the top performer’s page.
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    Premier prospects all over the media room
    Posted: February 20th, 2009 | Jason Feller | Tags: Chris Wells, Knowshon Moreno, Michael Crabtree, NFL Combine

    With Friday being the day quarterbacks, receivers and running backs played “Meet the Press,” there was quite a bit of activity in the media room.

    Several high-profile players spoke at the same time and many got lost in the shuffle sitting at secondary tables.

    Here is an update of what some of the most prominent prospects had to say:

    Texas Tech WR Michael Crabtree, who is recovering from an ankle injury, explained his decision not to participate in drills. “I just started running about four or five weeks ago. I felt I need more time to practice.”
    Ohio State’s Chris ‘Beanie’ Wells revealed why he decided to forgo his senior season. “I felt as if I’d done all I could do at Ohio State University. The guys I felt most comfortable and close with were leaving, so that was a huge factor.”
    North Carolina’s Hakeem Nicks descibed his incredible one-handed catch against West Virginia in the Meineke Car Care Bowl. He caught the pass with his left hand and took the ball around his back, while spinning. “I catch a lot of crazy passes, but I don’t think I can top that one. … I’ve watched it a couple of times and it kind of shocked me, but I’m a receiver and that’s my job to catch the ball.”

    Georgia’s Knowshon Moreno divulged his childhood hero. “My favorite running back was Walter Payton. … I got to read his book when I was in high school. That’s when I fell in love with him.”
    Rutgers’ WR Kenny Britt shared his feelings on pets. “I don’t like cats because they got in my lunch bags and I don’t like dogs because I got bit.”
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    Offensive linemen off to a quick start
    Posted: February 20th, 2009 | Staff | Tags: NFL Combine

    I’ve been doing this combine thing for a long time now, and today I saw a first.

    In the halls of the Indiana Convention Center, where prospects get poked, prodded and interviewed behind closed doors, were several offensive linemen running 40-yard dashes and practicing their starts. Someone had even put tape down on the carpeted floors for this impromptu track meet.

    Imagine that, 300-pound men running down the halls in shorts and t-shirts, all in an effort to prepare for Saturday’s workouts in Lucas Oil Stadium.

    We’ll be showing those workouts in a live stream here on between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. ET. During that time we’ll be having five streams for you to choose from: NFL Network coverage, the 40-yard dash, jumps, shuttles and press conferences.

    Too bad we weren’t streaming from the halls of the convention center today.


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    A pair of prospects seeking the spotlight
    Posted: February 20th, 2009 | Jason Feller | Tags: Ian Johnson, Josh Freeman, NFL Combine

    One prospect is aiming to increase his visibility, another is looking to reestablish his, but both are using the platform of the combine to accomplish those goals.

    Josh Freeman, a rising quarterback prospect, is trying to gain more exposure after playing in relative anonymity at Kansas State.

    Boise State RB Ian Johnson, on the other hand, is attempting to regain some of the attention he received two years ago at the Fiesta Bowl.

    You might remember Johnson as the guy who scored a 2-point conversion on a Statue of Liberty play in overtime to stun Oklahoma. Or you may remember him as the guy who celebrated the touchdown by getting down on one knee and proposing to his cheerleader girlfriend on the field.

    Unfortunately, Johnson has not had as much publicity since that moment. He received dwindling carries in each of the past two seasons and despite honing his overall skill set, his reduced numbers caused him to steadily slide out of the national spotlight.

    At the combine, he is hoping to remind scouts and coaches who he is and show off his improved versatility and knowledge of the game.

    “The best thing is, I’ve got my foot in the door. People say ‘Oh, that’s Ian Johnson, I’m going to watch,’ and then when I run my 40, ‘Oh wow, maybe he is more than just a guy who proposed.’ When I bench press, they’re going to say, ‘Hey wow, he can get down on a knee, but he can also bench,’” Johnson said.

    “For me it’s a good opportunity to show what I really have.”

    As for Freeman, his goal is to take advantage of the combine’s large stage and make himself more recognizable.

    “I just want to get my name out there, show people who I am and what I’m about. Physically people know I’m a great quarterback, but not a lot of people know that I move as well as I move or that I throw like I throw,” said Freeman.

    “I want to get some exposure. Teams have seen me play, but they’ve never really seen me in person.”

    Both will have their chance to shine Sunday. See their drills on

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    Texans GM Smith responds to Robinson
    Posted: February 20th, 2009 | Frank Tadych | Tags: Dunta Robinson, Houston Texans, Michael Smith

    Versatility is the buzzword of the week
    Posted: February 20th, 2009 | Jason Feller | Tags: Derrick Williams, Jeremy Maclin, Thomas Dimitroff

    Prospects who can play multiple positions and fill a variety of roles have always carried extra value in the draft. Those qualities are becoming even more important as the game evolves.

    Jeremy Maclin and Derrick Williams have the kinds of versatile skills scouts are looking for this year. (Getty Images)
    The Patriots are known for putting a premium on guys that are able to line up anywhere on the field and with the recent proliferation of the ‘Wildcat’, more and more teams are making versatility a priority.

    Atlanta GM Thomas Dimitroff, who came from New England, talked about how the ‘Wildcat’ has made versatility a major plus at the skill positions.

    “To have versatility in this league is huge at many positions: offensive line, defensive line. But when you get that receiver/skill position guy, who has versatility to run it out of the backfield, to me that holds a whole different dimension,” Dimitroff noted.

    The increased focus on such dynamic dual-threat players could work in the favor of prospects like Missouri’s Jeremy Maclin and Penn State’s Derrick Williams.

    Maclin was one of the best playmakers at the college level over the past two years, excelling as a receiver, rusher and returner. Maclin had 102 receptions for 1,260 yards and 13 receiving touchdowns for the Tigers. He had more than 1,500 yards from scrimmage.

    “Every time I touch the ball I look for the end zone. Whether it be receiving, running, kick return or punt returning, I look to change the game,” Maclin said.

    Williams played quarterback in high school and was utilized by the Nittany Lions in a variety of ways.

    One play he lined up in the backfield, the next he might swing out wide and then on third down he could slide into the slot. He also returned kicks and punts.

    Williams said his versatility allows him to fit into any scheme, “I can help a team out in many different ways. I think coaches like that. They see a player they can put inside, outside, in the backfield, at quarterback. I don’t think it’s just for the wildcat, it’s for regular offense too.”

    So while the league is far from going back to the old days where players played both ways, there is certainly a sense that being able to excel at more than one skill is becoming a significant advantage for prospects.

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    Texas Tech’s Vasquez dominates O-line bench press
    Posted: February 20th, 2009 | Staff | Tags: Juan Garcia, Louis Vasquez, NFL Combine, Travis Bright

    The first bench press results of the combine are in, and among the offensive linemen, there was Louis Vasquez and everyone else.

    The Texas Tech guard lifted the required 225 pounds 39 times, five more than BYU’s Travis Bright and Juan Garcia of Washington. It was the fifth most reps by an offensive lineman at the combine since 2000.

    The top 10:

    Player School Reps

    We’ll have all the top results of the bench press and all combine events on our top performer’s page as they come in over the next five days.

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    McCoy doesn’t let sickness get him down
    Posted: February 20th, 2009 | Jason Feller | Tags: 40-yard dash, LeSean McCoy, Pittsburgh Panthers

    No prospect wants to enter the combine feeling less than 100 percent. In fact, many prospects decline to participate in drills even when they are completely healthy, preferring to work out for scouts in the comfort of their own campuses on Pro Day. Alabama’s Andre Smith and Georgia’s Matthew Stafford, both potential top-5 picks, are two prospects not working out at the combine this year (see the Pro Day workout schedule).

    Pittsburgh’s LeSean McCoy has perhaps the best reason to skip the workout portion of the combine. He came down with the flu earlier this week and was noticeably struggling throughout his press conference.

    He paused to cough or sneeze several times and could barely get through a sentence without taking a deep breath or sniffling.

    Despite such an obvious excuse to bail out, he was steadfast in his decision to participate.

    “I don’t want to just blow anything off. Actually when I was flying out here, I kind of vomited on the plane, you know, embarrassing moment, but it’s something that happened. It’s life I guess, you are going to get sick sometimes,” McCoy shared sheepishly.

    “Some people said to back off, but I think that would be a cowardly move.”

    And so McCoy will move forward. While he will be unable to do the bench press after losing 10 pounds during the past few days, he plans on running the crucial 40-yard dash and doing the other drills.

    “I’m competitive. I see these other guys working and training, going out there and performing. A guy like me gets that itch, that burn, so I want to go out there and do the same thing,” said McCoy.

    Despite his obvious illness, McCoy was one of the most accommodating prospects so far, even staying longer to answer every reporter’s question.

    Regardless of how his drills turn out, he has made himself an easy player to root for this weekend.

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    Sanchez shows savvy in front of media
    Posted: February 20th, 2009 | Jason Feller | Tags: Detroit Lions, Mark Sanchez, USC

    It was easy to tell that Mark Sanchez is cool in front of the cameras.

    As the quarterback at USC, Sanchez received more media attention than most prospects and he flashed his charisma throughout his press conference.

    If he wasn’t selling his virtues to prospective teams, he was cracking a joke or thoughtfully explaining the offensive system he ran in college.

    Sanchez opened by explaining that, despite only one year as a full-time college starter, he was ready for the pros.

    “I think the experience I’ve had has been very valuable and the type of atmosphere I’ve played in. I’ve been in a big city, a large media market and we’ve played in the Rose Bowl, we’ve played in nationally televised games, and I’m ready for this league,” said Sanchez.

    Asked about his strengths, Sanchez confidently rattled off a series of attributes and said he has “the whole package.” He also added, “I’m someone who’s prepared to make that city (that drafts me) my new home. L.A. doesn’t have a football team and wherever I go that’s going to be my new home.”

    Though Sanchez made clear he would love that new home to be in Detroit as the top overall pick, mock drafts have him landing at any number of places. (See where Sanchez is headed in Steve Wyche’s first mock draft).

    As such, Sanchez was asked the most popular question here at the combine: What teams he has or is going to speak to this week.

    Sanchez was more prepared to answer that question than any other prospect this week. He pulled out an index card with the name of every team he is talking to and revealed them one by one.

    He followed by saying he would speak to “a million more” in the combine interview sessions.

    “It’s like speed dating. There’s teams everywhere. They ring that ‘mah mah’ and you switch teams,” Sanchez said.

    Has Sanchez ever actually done speed dating? “Uh, no. My friend told me about it,” responded Sanchez with a faux guilty look, eliciting laughter from the throng of reporters.

    When the session turned serious again, Sanchez thoroughly explained why working in a pro-style offense at USC will help his transition to the pros due to his understanding of progressions and coverages.

    Even in the rare instance where Sanchez seemed uneasy, he recovered. In explaining how he will adjust to possibly going to a losing team like the Lions, he said, “It’s about working through being 5-2 and turning the season around and making things right.”

    Of course being 5-2 would be a great start for Detroit, so he then quickly added, “about turning around at 0-16.”

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    OT Smith will not work out at combine
    Posted: February 20th, 2009 | Scott Hanson | Tags: Andre Smith, NFL Scouting Combine

    OT Andre Smith, projected as a top-5 pick, announced before the bench press on Friday that he will not be working out at the combine. Smith said he will only work out at Alabama’s pro day on March 11.

    At a press conference on Thursday, Smith addressed questions about his weight gain and a team suspension that kept him from playing in the Sugar Bowl.’s Steve Wyche has Smith going second overall to St. Louis in his first mock draft. And the edit staff debated if Smith should go first overall to the Lions.

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    “We would like Kerry Collins back; he did a heck of a job for us last season,” Reinfeldt said. “If something happens that he didn’t, we’d need to protect ourselves.”

    Reinfeldt said the Titans are currently in negotiations with backup QB Chris Simms, and would like to bring him back regardless of whether Collins returns.

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    No combine for old men
    Posted: February 20th, 2009 | Vic Carucci | Tags: Dan Gronkowski, NFL Scouting Combine

    This is when you know you’re getting old.

    You’re standing inside the media work area of the NFL Scouting Combine and you turn around to see a familiar face. The face belongs to a prospect, but that’s not why you know him.

    “Hey, Danny,” I said to Dan Gronkowski, a tight end from the University of Maryland.

    My first instinct wasn’t to flip open my notebook, turn on my tape recorder and conduct an interview, as is the case with every other prospect I see here. My first instinct was to give him a hug. That’s how you react with someone who has been to your house as a youngster.

    Gronkowski attended grammar, junior high, and high school with my older daughter, Kristen. They were part of a group of friends that hung out together and were in Honor Society together at Williamsville North High School in suburban Buffalo, and graduated together.

    Now, Danny, who I watched play quarterback in high school, is regarded as a tight end worthy of draft consideration. He is 6-foot-6 and 255 pounds. He catches the ball well and is a solid blocker.

    Here’s something else to consider about Danny: He comes from a highly athletic family; his father played college football, two of his brothers are playing college football, including Rob, who went to grammar, junior high, and high school with my younger daughter, Lindsay, is currently a tight end at Arizona. Rob also has been to my house as a kid. And he, too, is going to be invited to the combine in a couple of years … if not sooner.

    By then, I’m going to feel really old.

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  2. cowboyjoe

    cowboyjoe Well-Known Member

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    i know the above is long, but i thought the ones that wanted to know whats going on at the combine and didnt get nfl network, could enjoy what i posted above, had lots of detailed info.

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