PFW: Scouting Combine Preview (Part 1 – The Cynic)

Discussion in 'Draft Zone' started by WoodysGirl, Feb 20, 2008.

  1. WoodysGirl

    WoodysGirl U.N.I.T.Y Staff Member

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    Scouting Combine Preview (Part 1 – The Cynic)

    And so we embark on that annual trek to Indianapolis’ RCA Dome to partake in the most publicized aspect of the scouting process. Yes, throw away the coaches tape and scouting reports. Throw it all away, because all that stuff these guys did during their college careers, on the field, against other players, teams, offenses and defenses, doesn’t matter. What does matter now is how fast they run in shorts and track shoes.

    I’m not concerned with the fact that Andre Woodson seemingly lacks confidence or that he gets sacked once roughly every 14 pass attempts, I want to know how fast he can run a 20-yard shuttle. I want to see him throw a fade pattern, well, against no one in particular.

    I love Tashard Choice and would jump on him in the third round, but I want to see how fast he runs a 40-yard dash. I know he lacked breakaway speed when I watched him on tape, but if he runs in the 4.4’s, I’ll disregard everything I’ve watched up until now.

    Ah, the gauntlet drill. There’s something I can finally hang my hat on. I mean, what better way to evaluate receivers than to have them streak horizontally across the field and catch passes. It’s flawless. You know, except for the part where two years ago, Marques Colston literally dropped half his passes. It’s a good thing we took that into consideration. I wonder what ever happened to that guy.

    Anyway, there’s just so much useful information at the Combine, I’ll be sure to adjust my draft board accordingly. I mean sure, most of these guys have played three to four years of college ball (except for Texas TE Jermichael Finley – a redshirt sophomore), but that’s not enough for me. I need to see how they perform in a dome, in shorts and a tee shirt, performing the most fundamental drills. I wasn’t sold on Brian Brohm before, but man can he throw a nice spiral.

    I wonder if he can also throw the ball 40-yards, from his butt, through the goal post…

    Posted by Billy Wellner on February 18, 2008 1:04 PM | Permalink | Comments (3)

  2. WoodysGirl

    WoodysGirl U.N.I.T.Y Staff Member

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    Quick pre-Combine thoughts
    Once again, the RCA Dome this week will be a zoo of draft-eligible players, agents, NFL people and ... pre-teen cheerleaders. Seriously. The convention center, which is a massive place, will hold several events simultaneously, including some kind of cheerleading thing.

    It's a sight, for sure. But the meat and potatoes of what is gleaned there goes on behind the scenes, in the weight room, on the playing surface, in the doctors' examining rooms and in the interview sessions the teams hold.

    In fact, more so than 40-times and three-cone drills, you can argue that the most important tests are the ones run by the medical people and the player interviews conducted by the teams. You either canplay or you can't; teams pretty much know that based on the hours of tape they have already and will continue to pore over up through April. But they don't often know exactly what is in the heads, and bodies, of players they plan to invest a lot of money in.

    So here are a few players whose medical conditions and characters will be most highly scrutinized in Indy:


    Wisconsin CB Jack Ikegwuono's offseason knee injury will cost him a lot of money. In a CB class that's devoid of a knock-down, sure-thing No. 1 prospect, he could have slipped into the first-round range. Now hurt, he'll be lucky to be a first-day pick with much of his rookie season possibly wiped out. Can agent Drew Rosenhaus pull another Willis McGahee act?

    Texas WR Limas Sweed has everything you want in a receiver, but his wrist injury cost him seven games this season and caused him to pull out of the Senior Bowl mid-week. Again, receiver is a position without a clear-cut leader, but one likely will emerge by this time next week. Sweed could do well by showing up and putting teams' doctors at ease with a sound physical.

    TCU DE Tommy Blake isn't as much an injury concern as he is a stamina worry. After standout seasons as a sophomore and junior in the rush-end/linebacker mold of DeMarcus Ware, Blake missed most of the season with personal issues, ballooned up and was out of shape at the East-West Shrine game, though he played better than expected. So Blake will need to show he's in top form as well as answer teams' tough questions about his bipolar disorder.

    Which leads us to the interview list:

    Arkansas RB Darren McFadden has a big week coming up. Not only must he fend off doubters who say he's not timed-speed fast -- he is reportedly waffling over whether to run a 40 in Indy or at his Pro Day -- and that he has as many character questions as any top-10 prospect. With other high-character guys atop the draft such as Matt Ryan, Vernon Gholston, Chris Long and Glenn Dorsey, the decision to draft McFadden will be tough. Do you think the character-addled Falcons, who surely could use a running back, want a guy like this without thoroughly convincing themselves that he is not a bad dude?

    Indiana WR James Hardy has freakish tools and size and could help himself by interviewing well. People around the school say he has become a better, more responsible person, but others are not convinced. Hardy has the potential to be drafted very high, and some team will fall in love with his measurables, but he'll have to convince teams that he's not a knucklehead.

    Auburn DE Quentin Groves likely will end up on a lot of media lists for "players that helped themselves" with what should be a blazing 40-yard dash and some impressive workouts. The guy is a completely ridiculous athlete and exactly the kind of physical specimen that teams seek in a defensive end. But he's said to not be very mature or very hard-working and could need a drill-sergeant coach to kick his butt every day in practice to motivate him. Teams will find that out this week. Groves' stock probably won'tbe hurt based on his workouts, but his character questions could scare at least one potential employer away.

    Posted by Eric Edholm on February 18, 2008 7:08 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
  3. WoodysGirl

    WoodysGirl U.N.I.T.Y Staff Member

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    February 20, 2008

    Bill Polian reveals Combine blunder
    With the running around in shorts and t-shirt set to commence in only three days, it was interesting to hear Colts’ President Bill Polian’s take on the Scouting Combine.

    During an interview on ESPN radio, Polian suggested the Combine serves three purposes – medical, psychological, and the 40-yard dash. According to Polian, in addition to evaluating past injuries, the medical evaluations are consistently thorough enough to also reveal previously undetected life-threatening (presumably heart) ailments. Such may be true, as only recently (2005) was Virginia senior TE Jonathan Stupar diagnosed with Wolfe Parkinson White Syndrome, a previously undetected, but potentially fatal heart condition.

    Psychological evaluations include psychological and personality tests, the Wonderlic intelligence test, personal interviews, and of course, the dreaded chalkboard. No need to explain this one. A team has to filter the good apples from the rotten ones. I mean what team can afford to draft head cases (Jeremy Shockey, Chad Johnson, Terrell Owens, Michael Westbrook) and… (I don’t want to get sued for slander)… the like (Bob Sapp, Lawrence Phillips, Maurice Clarett, etc.).

    The 40-yard dash, of course, is a staple of the scouting process that as Polian revealed, can also lead to mistakes.

    When asked (and I’m paraphrasing here) to recall his most memorable Combine blunder (player he overlooked due to Combine performance), Polian evoked the name – Wes Welker. Ouch – and as an undrafted fee agent, Polian clearly wasn’t the only one to overlook the league’s reigning receptions champ.

    According to Polian, Welker’s 40-yard time did not fit within the team’s parameters, and like many he overlooked Welker’s production, toughness, and intelligence. So please people, as you watch the Combine over the next week or so, please bear Wes Welker in mind when salivating over the stopwatch. And much gratitude to Bill Polian, whose resume and draft history will never be questioned, for stepping out and characterizing the Combine so well.

    Posted by Billy Wellner on February 20, 2008 2:07 PM | Permalink | Comments (0
  4. trickblue

    trickblue Not Old School...Old Testament...

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    When will these "Underwear Olympic" doofuses realize that 40 times mean very little in the grand scheme of things in the NFL...

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