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    The Official 2008 NFL Combine Thread

    Thought we could create a thread for all combine-related discussion.

    NFL.com has put up its profiles for all players invited to the combine, I would encourage you to check some of those out. The player analysis provided by NFL Draft Scout is some pretty intriguing information.

    NFL Events: Combine Participants


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    Re: The Official 2008 NFL Combine Thread

    Names to watch at the NFL combine
    By Matt Pitzer, USA TODAY

    Some players will leave the NFL scouting combine with skyrocketing stock, while others will see their value go the way of Enron.

    There's nearly always a dark horse who turns in such a stellar workout that he vaults himself into the draft's top 10.

    Some names to watch as the two-month draft drama builds:

    Sizzling 40-yard dash times have become legendary at the combine — expect plenty more talk about them this year. But a quick 40 is not the only thing that can move a player up or down this week. Individual workouts, interviews and physicals also play a big role.

    Here is a group of players who could grab headlines, for better or for worse.

    • T Sam Baker, Southern California. It would seem a four-year starting left tackle for a perennial power with a pro-style offense would be a no-brainer pick. But teams want elite potential in the first round, and Baker probably will not test well enough to earn that label.

    • DT Kentwan Balmer, North Carolina. His dominant senior season was surprising in light of his forgettable first three years; teams hope to sit down with Balmer, hoping to determine which player they will be drafting.

    • DE Tommy Blake, Texas Christian. He is one of this year's biggest mysteries. At his best, he is an elite pass rusher. But he was overweight at the East-West Shrine Game and has a host of off-field questions to answer to avoid being an afterthought.

    • DT Sedrick Ellis, Southern California. If he continues his postseason surge as a disruptive force in the interior line, you will hear him talked about ahead of LSU's Glenn Dorsey, long considered this year's top defensive tackle.

    • QB Joe Flacco, Delaware. No longer under the radar, Flacco will try to solidify his rise into the early rounds of the draft by impressing again with his arm strength and decision-making.

    • WR Dexter Jackson, Appalachian State. One darling of the Mountaineers' upset of Michigan last year, Jackson hopes to continue his momentum after jumping on a late invite to the Senior Bowl. He is showing he is not just a system player and should post a phenomenal 40 time, even if his potential is limited as a slot receiver.

    • DT Dre Moore, Maryland. He would be a solid second-round pick if he always played up to his potential. Instead, bet on several teams using interviews to grill him about his inconsistent effort.

    • WR Kevin Robinson, Utah State. Don't count on an eye-popping 40, though a good time would help his case as this year's explosive return threat. A punt return for a TD at the East-West Shrine Game didn't hurt the overlooked playmaker.

    • CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Tennessee State. His last name should look familiar, and so does his game. He showed the same aggressive play and ballhawking skills at the Senior Bowl that cousin Antonio Cromartie did in leading the NFL with 10 interceptions in 2007.

    • FB Owen Schmitt, West Virginia. More of a pure tough guy than Brian Leonard, Schmitt is this year's all-around fullback threat — part runner, part blocker, part third-down receiver.

    • WR Jerome Simpson, Coastal Carolina. Simpson already has had a strong postseason and is turning into this year's favorite small-school wide receiver, following Marques Colston and Jacoby Jones the past two seasons. A good workout would only enhance his reputation.

    • DT Pat Sims, Auburn. By the end of last season, he was playing as well as Dorsey. This will be his chance to calm teams' concerns about why he quit the team briefly in 2005.

    • RB Kevin Smith, Central Florida. Smith fell 61 yards shy of Barry Sanders' NCAA single-season rushing record, but he is hurt by a crowded running back class. A strong 40 time would earn him more buzz.

    • RB Jonathan Stewart, Oregon. The race is on to be the No. 2 back, and Stewart could inch ahead of fellow juniors Rashard Mendenhall and Felix Jones, depending on who opts to work out in Indianapolis.

    • QB André Woodson, Kentucky. His stock is in free fall, and he needs a strong showing to remind scouts why they got excited about him in the first place.

    Injury watch

    The extensive physicals players endure at the combine can be as important as anything they do on the field. Here are a few who can expect to be examined especially closely.

    • LB Beau Bell, UNLV. His knee injury from the Senior Bowl will get a close look as Bell already was sliding because of doubts about how well his game translates to the NFL, even though he dominated the Mountain West Conference.

    • WR Early Doucet, LSU. At his best, he can be as good as any wide receiver in this class. But a groin injury ruined his senior year, and a hamstring problem knocked him out of the Senior Bowl.

    • LB Tavares Gooden, Miami (Fla.). The latest in a long line of physically imposing Hurricanes linebackers, he faces questions about a hip injury from the Senior Bowl.

    • CB Jack Ikegwuonu, Wisconsin. After blowing out his knee in late January, Ikegwuonu — once considered a possible first-round pick — hopes to follow the Willis McGahee and Antonio Cromartie model of being drafted high coming off a serious injury.

    • WR Limas Sweed, Texas. Like Doucet, Sweed at full strength can be brilliant; his problem is a wrist injury that required season-ending surgery in October and flared up again at the Senior Bowl.

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    Re: The Official 2008 NFL Combine Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick View Post
    WR Kevin Robinson, Utah State. Don't count on an eye-popping 40, though a good time would help his case as this year's explosive return threat. A punt return for a TD at the East-West Shrine Game didn't hurt the overlooked playmaker.
    As I've noted before, he's a guy I'm really keeping my eye on. Could be the best pure KR/PR in the draft.

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    Re: The Official 2008 NFL Combine Thread

    From the ESPN blog "Hashmarks"...

    Jake Long, who was listed at 6-7, 331 on the Michigan roster, was measured at 6-7, 313 pounds this morning. He talked about the fact that he had only two penalties during his four-year career with the Wolverines. He had a holding call his redshirt freshman season and had a false start this past year.

    Long only gave up two sacks during his career. He said one came against Michigan State four years ago and one came against Ohio State's Vernon Gholston, who is one of the top players at the combine.

    Asked about his penalty-free play, Long basically said he was an effective cheater. He said he always keeps his hands inside so that officials can't see him when he's holding. Since there's a good chance the Raiders will draft him, I'm not sure this is something he should be discussing publicly.

    Long played his first two years at right tackle before moving to the left side for his junior and senior seasons. He said the greatest honor he's received was being elected captain his final two seasons.

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    Re: The Official 2008 NFL Combine Thread

    Hey Nick, is it true that he only gave up two sacks his entire career? The reason I'm asking is that, iirc, it's been posted on ClanRam that Gholston scorched him for THREE sacks in the last Ohio State/Michigan game. Somebody's fibbing here somewhere.

    WHAT SAY YE?

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    Re: The Official 2008 NFL Combine Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by RAMarkable View Post
    Hey Nick, is it true that he only gave up two sacks his entire career? The reason I'm asking is that, iirc, it's been posted on ClanRam that Gholston scorched him for THREE sacks in the last Ohio State/Michigan game. Somebody's fibbing here somewhere.

    WHAT SAY YE?
    Excellent question!

    Who's right......ESPN or the Long haters?

    I know Gholston had a great game against UM, but it would seem only the one sack was against Long.
    "Before the gates of excellence the high gods have placed sweat; long is the road thereto and rough and steep at first; but when the heights are reached, then there is ease, though grievously hard in the winning." --- Hesiod

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    Re: The Official 2008 NFL Combine Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by RAMarkable View Post
    Hey Nick, is it true that he only gave up two sacks his entire career? The reason I'm asking is that, iirc, it's been posted on ClanRam that Gholston scorched him for THREE sacks in the last Ohio State/Michigan game. Somebody's fibbing here somewhere.

    WHAT SAY YE?
    I'm pretty Long has only given up the two sacks in his college career. Gholston had three against Michigan, but I believe some came against right tackle Stephen Schilling.

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    Re: The Official 2008 NFL Combine Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick View Post
    I'm pretty Long has only given up the two sacks in his college career. Gholston had three against Michigan, but I believe some came against right tackle Stephen Schilling.
    But it's not possible that some Long haters jumped to a premature conclusion.......is it?
    "Before the gates of excellence the high gods have placed sweat; long is the road thereto and rough and steep at first; but when the heights are reached, then there is ease, though grievously hard in the winning." --- Hesiod

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    Re: The Official 2008 NFL Combine Thread

    Indy confidential: Dorsey not coming, big-name FAs dwindle
    By Edgar Thompson | Thursday, February 21, 2008, 02:04 PM
    Updated at 4:40 p.m.

    It looks like LSU DT Glenn Dorsey won’t be making it to the scouting combine because of a death in the family.

    The news surfaced minutes ago and removes one of the top five picks in the draft from the mix this week.

    It wasn’t long ago that Dorsey was everyone’s No. 1 pick. That’s changed in recent weeks, with Boston College QB Matt Ryan replacing him as the guy many draft gurus think the Dolphins should take.

    Dorsey remains No. 2 the Mel Kiper Jr.’s “Big Board,” behind Arkansas RB Darren McFadden.

    There are some questions about Dorsey’s durability after an injury plagued senior season. But no one questions that the 6-foot-2, 292-pound Dorsey dominates when he’s healthy.

    Just ask Ohio State. Dorsey ransacked the Buckeyes O-line in the national title game.

    But many NFL people at the combine have said today the best thing about this week is the thorough medical examinations each player undergoes. Not sure how Dorsey and his agent will handle that. …

    One thing interesting to keep an eye on is what big name players will do this week.

    McFadden is deciding tonight whether he’ll run this week or wait until his pro day and individual workouts.

    It’s still unknown whether QBs Matt Ryan or Brian Brohm will participate in the throwing drills.

    A player, or his agent, figure a top 10 pick potentially has more to lose than gain by putting himself on the line in Indianapolis. During individuals workouts or pro days, players can perform in familiar surrounding, without the combine pressure.

    Some NFL people frown on players skipping out, while others are indifferent.

    “I’d like to see everybody throw,” said new Redskins coach Jim Zorn, a former NFL QB and longtime QB coach.

    Bills coach Dick Jauron said, “I’m not sure he has a whole lot to lose either by being here. We love to see them do the drills. But I really don’t have a strong opinion one way or the other.”
    Obviously you can't fault Dorsey for putting his family first in this situation, but man, talk about a guy that really would have benefited from being at the combine. There are two significant things Dorsey could have put to bed this weekend - (1) he could have fended off USC's Sedrick Ellis, who after a dominating Senior Bowl performance is gaining on Dorsey, and (2) he could have done away with those injury red flags by showing up healthy and being prodded by NFL teams. Turns out he'll be doing neither. The LSU Pro Day just became a bit more important....


    EDIT: It seems that Dorsey will be available for medical examinations and team interviews, according to this write-up. That's good news.
    Last edited by Nick; -02-22-2008 at 03:35 AM.

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    Re: The Official 2008 NFL Combine Thread

    Scott Wright's Combine blog is up on his website, and he already has an entry made regarding Jake Long's weigh in...

    Just saw some footage of Michigan OT Jake Long weighing in and one word comes to mind: IMPRESSIVE.
    See the rest of his comments at NFL Draft Countdown!

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    Re: The Official 2008 NFL Combine Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick View Post
    I'm pretty Long has only given up the two sacks in his college career. Gholston had three against Michigan, but I believe some came against right tackle Stephen Schilling.
    Right, and I assume this speaks volumes for both of them. Long simply didn't give up sacks or penalties, and Gholston was one of two in four years to register a sack against him.

    Sounds like win/win, to me.

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    Re: The Official 2008 NFL Combine Thread

    Hey, just a question for those of you who are more in tune with the prospects then me. But if perchance, we end up with Long... Thats a giantic salary at #2, do we drop or trade OP?

    Also if we do one of these things with OP, how much of a cap hit do we take on him?

    Thanks to whoever can respond.

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    Re: The Official 2008 NFL Combine Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by itsguud View Post
    Hey, just a question for those of you who are more in tune with the prospects then me. But if perchance, we end up with Long... Thats a giantic salary at #2, do we drop or trade OP?

    Also if we do one of these things with OP, how much of a cap hit do we take on him?

    Thanks to whoever can respond.
    Just my opinion, but I'd say neither. Long is battling for Barron's spot right now, not Pace's.
    "Before the gates of excellence the high gods have placed sweat; long is the road thereto and rough and steep at first; but when the heights are reached, then there is ease, though grievously hard in the winning." --- Hesiod

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    Re: The Official 2008 NFL Combine Thread

    McFadden to face tough questions in Indy
    By Jason Cole, Yahoo! Sports
    Feb 21, 1:45 pm EST

    INDIANAPOLIS – Judging by the reaction of two NFL head coaches, Arkansas running back Darren McFadden figures to have a very long weekend answering questions from coaches, scouts and executives at the league’s annual scouting combine.

    And if he doesn’t impress the right people, he could have a longer-than-expected wait come NFL draft weekend on April 26-27.

    McFadden, widely regarded as the best back in this year’s draft class, has raised some serious concerns among NFL people with his off-field behavior. That includes at least two reported altercations – the first occurring at a nightclub in Little Rock in July 2006 believed to have resulted in surgery on his left big toe; the second allegedly following an argument at a piano bar in Little Rock early last month.

    There were also reports by The Morning News in Springdale, Ark., and KARK-TV in Little Rock in late December regarding allegations that an agent helped McFadden buy a Cadillac Escalade. KARK retracted its report the following day and apologized to the agent, Mike Conley Sr. The university investigated the allegations and ultimately determined there was no wrongdoing, allowing McFadden to play in The Cotton Bowl against Missouri.

    “There’s going to be some stuff that comes out on that kid, I’m telling you,” one NFL head coach said. “Just watch. People are going to project him going way up here (among the first two or three picks) and then you going to hear about his behavior and then about this and that and whatever.”

    Said another head coach: “He’s the best skill-position player in the draft, by far. But he has issues. He’s going to get a lot of questions from people, a lot of eyeballing to make sure he’s being straight with people and that they can trust him.”

    McFadden will be under tight scrutiny because if he is one of the top three picks, he could get a contract with well over $20 million in guarantee money. Last year, No. 1 overall pick JaMarcus Russell reportedly received $29 million in guarantees and another $3 million in easily-obtainable bonus from the Oakland Raiders. Projecting increases in the pool for rookie players, the first player selected this season could get more than $31 million in guarantees.

    “What that means is that not only do you have to be right with taking that player, but he better not have any issues,” one of the coaches said. “You take a guy with some problems and then he slips up, you’re going to hear about it for a long time.”

    McFadden was a Heisman Trophy finalist in each of the past two years and joined former University of Texas running back Ricky Williams as the only two-time winners of the Doak Walker Award as college football’s top back. He rushed for a school-record 1,829 yards and 16 touchdowns last season. He broke the mark of 1,647 yards rushing he set in 2006.

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    Re: The Official 2008 NFL Combine Thread

    From Rotoworld...

    Michigan OT Jake Long repped 225 lbs 37 times during Friday's bench press drill, the most among offensive linemen at the Combine.

    Long, who measured in at 6'7/313 on Thursday, showed he's been putting in a lot of weight room time recently. He'll likely run the 40 in the low 5s.

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