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Inside draft position: 10 key combine battles
By Chad Reuter
The Sports Xchange/CBSSports.com
Feb. 23, 2011Tell Chad your opinion!
From a player's perspective, the NFL Scouting Combine is all about separating from the competition.
Beyond running the fastest 40-yard dash or throwing up the most reps of 225 pounds on the bench press, it's up to each prospect to do something to separate himself from players at his position who have similar draft value in the minds of the NFL's 32 decision-makers.
Coaches and scouts view game film as the single-best tool for player evaluation. But because prospects play different schedules against widely varying levels of competition, teams cannot only rely on tape when trying to project players to the next level.
Relative athleticism is an important part of the equation when deciding between two nearly equally productive, durable and coachable players.
This year's draft class has several very close positional races that could be decided by combine workout numbers, interviews and physical and psychological evaluation.
Here are a few of those battles to watch this week:
Brandon Harris (Miami, Fla.) vs. Jimmy Smith (Colorado) vs. Aaron Williams (Texas)
Smith has the inside track behind Patrick Peterson (LSU) and Prince Amukamara (Nebraska) because of his size, length and aggression in run support. But Williams is similar in stature, and although Harris will measure 1-2 inches shorter than the two 6-footers, he's likely to be the fastest of the three. He's capable of making plays against ball carriers on the outside.
Scouts also want to see the prospects make plays on the ball in position drills.
Top-rated defensive end:
Da'Quan Bowers (Clemson) vs. Robert Quinn (North Carolina)
Quinn's medical issue (surgery on benign spinal tumor in high school) aside, both players have top-five talent but must display the athleticism necessary to be feared pass rushers in the NFL.
Bowers needs to be fast and agile in testing to get rid of the "not explosive" label, while Quinn looks to refresh teams' memory of his prowess chasing quarterbacks after sitting out all of the 2010 season due to NCAA suspension for accepting benefits from an agent.
First-round offensive guards:
Rodney Hudson (Florida State) vs. Mike Pouncey (Florida) vs. Danny Watkins (Baylor)
In most drafts, one or two interior offensive linemen go in the first round, so this battle could change the way draft Thursday plays out.
Pouncey played guard and center like brother Maurkice, but must prove he is as tough and competitive. Watkins will turn 27 next fall, but could be the top guard taken if he proves the athleticism to also start at tackle, as he did for two seasons at Baylor. Hudson's smallish frame turns some scouts off, or leads them to grade him as a center, but testing better than expected at about 300 pounds could tip the scales in his direction.
Second-tier 3-4 outside linebacker:
Sam Acho (Texas) vs. Jeremy Beal (Oklahoma) vs. Brooks Reed (Arizona) vs. Jabaal Sheard (Pittsburgh)
Teams using 3-4 schemes looking for pass rush help in the late first or second round may be evaluating these four college defensive ends.
Acho's strength and character will endear him to some teams, and an excellent combine could really push him up boards. Reed's pass-rush moves, long hair, and hustle will remind scouts of Green Bay star OLB Clay Matthews III, but he'll need to show his athleticism before making the comparison truly valid.
After an unimpressive Senior Bowl week, Beal really needs a big combine to have any chance at being a second-round pick. Sheard had a shoulder injury that prevented him from participating in Pitt's bowl game, as well as the Senior Bowl, but teams hope he'll be able to perform linebacker drills to see his fluidity in space.
Top offensive tackles:
Anthony Castonzo (Boston College) vs. Derek Sherrod (Mississippi State) vs. Tyron Smith (Southern Cal) vs. Nate Solder (Colorado)
The top spot among offensive tackle rankings has been fluid for a full year because these top four all have had moments in which they look exceptional -- and all have looked very ordinary. Testing could help determine the ranking order, but team and scheme preference might still dictate that five teams could rank them five different ways.
To earn the top grade on NFL teams' final draft boards, Castonzo needs to look like a left tackle in agility testing and pass-protection drills, Smith must come in over 300 pounds -- he played last season at around 285 -- and meet high expectations in testing, while both Sherrod and Solder need to prove stronger and more flexible than expected.
No. 3 quarterback:
Jake Locker (Washington) vs. Ryan Mallett (Arkansas) vs. Christian Ponder (Florida State)
Unfortunately, most top quarterback prospects decide not to throw at the combine because they prefer to pass to familiar receivers in their scripted pro day. However, the second-tier prospects could really help themselves with a strong performance.
Locker has the most to gain by throwing and needs to make up ground after a lackluster career and Senior Bowl week. Mallett's ability to sling the ball is much less in doubt than his agility, so solid testing there, as well as in interviews, could have his stock on the rise. And a strong medical check could satisfy teams' worries about Ponder's throwing (right) arm, which underwent multiple surgeries over the past two years.
Second-tier running backs:
Kendall Hunter (Oklahoma State) vs. DeMarco Murray (Oklahoma) vs. Jacquizz Rodgers (Oregon State) vs. Daniel Thomas (Kansas State) vs. Shane Vereen (Cal)
There is an absolute logjam of running backs with second- and third-round value. The group ranges in size from diminutive but tough 'Quizz Rodgers (5-7, 190) to big Daniel Thomas (6-2, 225), and the other three are all legitimate rushing/receiving threats who may only be separated by team preference.
Any back exceeding expectations with a hot 40-yard dash (as well as the 10- and 20-yard splits) or agility tests could break away from the rest of the group and follow likely first-rounders Mark Ingram and Mikel LeShoure off the draft board.
No. 1 safety:
Quinton Carter (Oklahoma) vs. DeAndre McDaniel (Clemson) vs. Rahim Moore (UCLA)
Moore was considered the favorite to be the first safety picked this season, but scouts aren't sure he has the instincts or tackling ability to be a first-round pick.
If the bigger, stronger Carter and/or McDaniel can prove nearly as fast and agile as Moore, or display exceptional hands in drills, they cannot only close the gap but surpass the former Bruin on teams' boards.
No. 1 wide receiver:
A.J. Green (Georgia) vs. Julio Jones (Alabama)
Comparisons between these two receivers have been hot and heavy since Green returned from suspension in October. Green's superior agility and big-play ability wowed scouts over the past three years, but Jones' physicality may give him an advantage over the lanky Bulldog at the next level.
If there is little difference between the two receivers in the various tests, Jones' size could push him over the top (if teams can put aside his occasional drops).
First-round wide receivers (pick No. 22-32 range):
Jon Baldwin (Pittsburgh) vs. Leonard Hankerson (Miami, Fla.) vs. Torrey Smith (Maryland)
Baldwin and Hankerson are the sort of tall or big-bodied receivers teams seem to covet late in the first (Dwayne Bowe, Kenny Britt, Michael Jenkins). A better-than-expected 40-yard dash time, or even excellent work in the gauntlet or other receiving drills, could help them gain comparisons to Britt or Jenkins, and not second-round disappointments Dwayne Jarrett, Malcolm Kelly and Limas Sweed.
Smith's after-the-catch ability challenges defenses in other ways, but without the size to match Baldwin and Hankerson -- he's expected to measure around 6-foot, 205 pounds -- he needs to prove he can separate from NFL corners with exceptional speed and short area quickness. Thus his agility tests, not just his 40-yard dash time, must be top-notch to earn a first-round slot.
A couple of interesting weigh-in tidbits...
USC OT Tyron Smith
-Came in at 6'5" and 307 lbs, higher than his listed 280.
-Scouts had to love his 36 3/8" arms & 11 inch hands, may have taken the lead to be the first tackle taken though there could be some questions as to whether he can keep that weight on during the season.
Villanova OL Ben Ijalana
-Measured in at 6'3" and 317 lbs with 36 inch arms
-Good size for a right tackle in the league, still could be looked at inside at guard; he's had a lot of buzz since the start of the offseason as a guy who could be in that late first round early second round range
TCU OL Marcus Cannon
-Word is he weighed in at 358 lbs, whereas rumors had him in the 375 lbs range at times during the season.
-One thing to watch this week is how well he moves at that weight. If he was really playing at 370+ this year, he moved pretty well for being that heavy.
Florida OL Mike Pouncey
-6'5" and 303 lbs w/ 32 1/4 inch arms
-Pretty standard and nearly exactly the same as his brother (not surprising). Will be interesting to see how he looks this week, since he opted against playing at the Senior Bowl. Does he emerge as a first round interior lineman, or settle into the 2nd-3rd round range?
Penn State OC Stefen Wisniewski
-Impressed by coming in bigger than expected at 6'3" and 313 lbs w/ 33" arms
-Some fans were concerned about a guy like Wis handling larger nose tackles at the next level, but that's a pretty good size for him and could ease the minds of those who play against a number of 3-4 defenses.
Some various combine weigh-in numbers and bench press results for OL...
Alabama RB Mark Ingram: 5'9" 215 lbs
Auburn QB Cam Newton: 6'5" 248 lbs
OSU RB Jacquizz Rodgers: 5'5"
Virginia Tech RB Ryan Williams: 5'9" 212 lbs
NC WR Greg Little: 6'2" 231 lbs
Alabama WR Julio Jones: 6'2" 220 lbs (9.75 in hands, bigger than Green's)
Georgia WR A.J. Green: 6'3" 211 lbs
Pittsburgh WR Jonathan Baldwin: 6'4" 223 lbs
Bench press results...
Will Rackley: 29 reps
John Moffitt: 23 reps
Kris O'Dowd: 31 reps
Lee Ziemba: 20 reps
Steve Wisniwski: 30 reps
Danny Watkins: 29 reps
Gabe Carimi: 29 reps
Anthony Castonzo: 28 reps
Nate Solder: 21 reps (continues a poor offseason for Solder)
Tyron Smith: 29 reps (locking up spot as new #1 tackle?)
Derek Sherrod: 23 reps
DeMarcus Love: 27 reps
Orlando Franklin: 26 reps
Marcus Gilbert: 30 reps
James Carpenter: 23 reps
Rodney Hudson: 27 reps
Joseph Barksdale: 29 reps
Ryan Bartholomew: 34 reps
Mike Pouncey apparently has chosen not to lift, feeling he'll be better prepared at his pro day. So far, Pouncey has dropped out of the Senior Bowl and now has chosen not to lift at the combine. Teams and scouts can't be very happy with either decision.
Some notes from NFL Draft Scout's Rob Rang and his blog about some of the interviews from big prospects at the Combine...
Quinn's answers could push him ahead of Bowers
Talent evaluators who have done the tape on defensive ends Robert Quinn and Da'Quan Bowers know that the former Tar Heel is the more explosive of the two pass rushers.
That fact is the primary reason why Quinn could leapfrog Bowers as the draft's top defensive end and potentially even the No. 1 pick in the draft.
There are two primary areas of concern with Quinn -- each of which he addressed in today's interview at the Combine.
The most important is his health.
As this excellent article by Andew Miller of the South Carolina Post and Courier explains, during his senior season in high school, Quinn underwent emergency surgery to deal with a brain tumor. The tumor, which was found to be benign, was causing Quinn headaches and even blackouts. It too close to Quinn's brain to be removed completely, so it remains a cause of concern for NFL teams.
Quinn, however, is not concerned. He takes a CT scan every six months now and finds himself "falling asleep" each inside the chamber when asked to do so. He also claims that he hasn't had a headache "since high school [following the surgery]," as well.
The other concern with Quinn, of course, is the fact that he, along with defensive tackle Marvin Austin and wide receiver Greg Little, was suspended for the entire 2010 season.
Scouts relayed to me that the UNC staff had told them Quinn was "supposed to be a very good kid" but some questioned whether the fact that Quinn is still viewed as a top prospect despite the suspension made him less concerned about the impact his suspension had on the Tar Heels' disappointing 2010 season.
Quinn seemed surprised when asked if he cared about his suspension.
"I definitely cared," he said. "Watching the whole season, especially when UNC played LSU and I went down to support them, seeing our guys run on to the field, in the middle of the game I was about in tears in the stands. I made a selfish mistake and couldn't be out there..."
Newton, like Mallett, fails to answer tough Qs
Though he was unquestionably more poised in his responses, Auburn quarterback Cam Newton, like his SEC counterpart Ryan Mallett, elected not to answer questions about his past when taking questions from the media at the Combine Saturday.
Newton did admit to "mistakes" at Florida but wouldn't go into detail when pressed about them.
The willingness to admit he's made mistakes helped appease a mob of media ready to pounce after Mallett repeatedly brushed aside their questions about his past.
Newton has a personable demeanor about him that makes people like him. His charm helped him today win over some members despite the fact that his rumored violations could be every bit as serious to scouts as the ones circling Mallett, Weslye Saunders of South Carolina, and a host of North Carolina players, among others.
Having watched players dazzle the media over the years -- including quarterbacks Mark Sanchez and Matt Ryan -- and transfer that ability to skyrocket up draft boards during team interviews, I can greater understand the growing sentiment that Newton will wind up as the No. 1 pick in the draft.
Mallett only adds to storm with refusal
Arkansas quarterback Ryan Mallett repeatedly refused to answer questions about his alleged drug use -- at least for the organized media inside Lucas Oil Stadium.
His only responses to the questions were that his answers were between "he and NFL teams" and even insinuated that the reports had been planted.
Moments later, on Sirius NFL Radio with Chris Miller, Pat Kirwan and Howard Balzer, Mallett characterized the questions about him as "untrue."
If the allegations are untrue, Mallett could have saved himself a great deal of bad press simply by saying so to the organized media, as well.
Bowers missing opportunity by not working out
Clemson defensive end Da'Quan Bowers will not win himself fans among scouts with his decision to not work out at the Combine despite the fact that he characterized himself as "100%" and "willing to compete with anyone, any where" in his Q/A session with the media.
Bowers underwent surgery to repair a torn meniscsus in his right knee following the season and explained that he "wanted as much time to prepare for [the workouts] as others."
The reality is that despite leading the country with 15.5 sacks, scouts have questions about Bowers' burst.
Bowers benefitted from an aggressive Clemson defensive scheme which often utilized twists and stunts, freeing him up to rack up sacks while his defensive tackles absorbed blockers. Bowers, himself, acknowledged the play of his teammates who "did all of the dirty work."
By not working out here, Bowers risks losing some of the buzz his monster junior season had created. North Carolina's Robert Quinn and Missouri's Aldon Smith, in particular, are expected to work out exceptionally well and have each demonstrated a greater first step as pass rusher than Bowers.
Bowers' Pro Day is March 10.
From ESPN and Scouts Inc's Todd McShay...
Size a question for Fairley?
Todd McShay and Kevin Weidl
The deepest position group in the draft began the combine process Saturday and there was plenty of buzz surrounding some big-name defensive linemen.
• Auburn DT Nick Fairley, potentially the No. 1 overall pick, is surprisingly small. Listed at 6-5 and 300 pounds, Fairley checked in at 6-3 and 291 officially. Alabama's Marcell Dareus, the No. 2 defensive tackle on the board, is the same height and 28 pounds heavier. Not many teams are in love with sub-300-pound defensive tackles, and while Fairley is clearly light in order to run well, his frame isn't as long as expected and we wonder how much bulk he can safely add. This doesn't mean Fairley is free-falling or anything close, but it's something to consider as part of the evaluation process when comparing two different style players at the same position with nearly identical grades.
• Missouri DE Aldon Smith and Georgia DE/OLB Justin Houston were winners from Saturday's weigh-ins. Smith checked in at 6-4¼ and 263 pounds, but it was his freakishly long arms (35⅝ inches) that really turned heads. Houston showed off long arms of his own (34½) while checking in at an athletic-looking 6-2⅞ and 270 pounds, and his surprisingly big frame should help ease concerns for teams wondering about his ability to hold up as a traditional 4-3 defensive end.
• As an underclassman who did not get measured last spring and was suspended for the entire fall, North Carolina DE Robert Quinn needed to make a good impression more than most. Quinn looked good at 6-4 and 265 pounds, but he did not quite live up to expectations from a body-type standpoint. Three different scouts we spoke to said they were impressed with his frame and upper body but underwhelmed by the look of his lower half. In fact, one of those scouts described Quinn's lower body as a bit lean and knock-kneed.
Green gaining ground among TEs
Todd McShay and Kevin Weidl
A pair of notable tight ends did not work out on Saturday. No. 1 prospect Kyle Rudolph (Notre Dame) is still recovering from surgery on a season-ending hamstring injury, while Weslye Saunders (South Carolina) aggravated a foot injury that turned out to be a fracture and bowed out after the broad jump and vertical jump. However, there were plenty of notable performances to fill the void.
• Nevada's Virgil Green (6-3, 249) is undersized for a traditional tight end but plays much bigger than his size and did an outstanding job as an inline blocker at the college level. He won't be able to work inline as often in the NFL, but his tape and combine workout lead us to believe he can at least match up in certain situations. Green's vertical jump (42½ inches) was just an inch shy of the combine record at his position and his broad jump (10-10) is a combine record for tight ends.
Green also turned in the third-best 40-yard dash time (4.64 official) in his group, which shows he has the speed to stretch the middle of the field as a receiver. While Green does show a lot of promise as a developmental prospect, he will need work as a route runner. We also see a lot of tightness in his movements, especially in his upper body. He struggled to track the ball thrown over his shoulder. Green will need good coaching and a bit more time than most prospects to develop, but he's worth the investment in the middle rounds.
• Basketball players making the move to tight end is a continuing trend in the 2011 class, thanks to the late emergence of USC's Jordan Cameron and Portland State's Julius Thomas.
Neither is ready to contribute early in his career, but both displayed enough speed and athleticism to warrant Day 3 consideration as developmental projects. Jordan displayed more natural athleticism, turning in the second-fastest 40 time of the group (4.59). He also showcased fluid hips and good body control as a route runner while flashing the ability to make the tough catch away from his frame. Jordan's game tape is not nearly as impressive as his showings during the combine and at the East-West Shrine Game, but he clearly has the tools to be developed if he's willing to pay the price.
Thomas is also gifted but even more raw. He was a four-year contributor on the basketball team and did not walk on to the football squad until his senior season, so he has just one year of playing experience under his belt. The 6-5, 246-pounder ran well in the 40 (4.68 official) and showed enough natural athleticism and ball skills for a team to invest a late-round pick and a couple years of coaching.
• Wisconsin's Lance Kendricks is a good football player, but his lack of ideal measurables remains a concern as we project his potential role in the NFL. Kendricks is undersized (6-2⅞, 243), and while he is a tough, aggressive blocker on his college tape, he will obviously have some inline matchup limitations in the NFL. Kendricks is savvy as a route runner and his production was very good for the Badgers, but our tape study showed inconsistent ball skills and a lack of seam-stretching speed, both of which were evident during his workout Saturday. Kendricks dropped three passes during the gauntlet drill and he ran the eighth-best 40 among tight ends. Kendricks' stock is helped by the lack of quality options in this year's tight end crop, but we would have a hard time using a top-75 pick on a player with so many physical limitations.
• After a strong showing at the Senior Bowl, Marshall TE Lee Smith displayed a lack of top-end speed and athleticism at the combine. Smith showed off good inline blocking skills, savvy as an underneath route runner and strong hands in traffic during the Senior Bowl, but it's apparent on film that Smith's upside is limited by below-average top-end speed and athleticism. He helped confirm those assumptions during his underwhelming showing at the combine. His unofficial 40 time of 5.07 seconds is actually worse than anticipated and three-tenths slower than the three-year average for tight ends, and it will undoubtedly hurt his value come draft weekend.
Solder leads strong OL group
Todd McShay and Kevin Weidl
The most disappointing aspect of the offensive line workouts was the absence of USC OT Tyron Smith, who is Scouts Inc.'s top-rated tackle prospect. Smith had a strong start to the combine, weighing in at 307 pounds (up from 285 in-season) and carrying the weight well. He also had 29 bench press reps at 225 pounds. The momentum ended when trainers found fluid in his knee and advised him to shut it down for the remainder of the weekend.
The fluid stems from a minor knee injury that Smith suffered late in the season and eventually had scoped in December. The good news is that Smith has already had the knee drained and is expected to make a full recovery in time to work out for NFL scouts at USC's pro day March 31.
• Colorado's Nate Solder, the No. 2 tackle on our board, stole the show Saturday. The 6-foot-8, 319-pounder displayed remarkable speed and explosiveness for a massive left tackle prospect. The 10-yard split is the most important part of the 40-yard dash when evaluating offensive linemen because it shows the initial burst and explosiveness that translates to their responsibilities in the trenches, and Solder had the top 10-yard split (1.62 seconds unofficial) among all offensive linemen and the fastest 40 (5.05) in the offensive tackle group.
Solder also proved his short-area explosiveness by turning in a broad jump of 9-foot-2, tops among all linemen, and he showed adequate flexibility and solid lateral agility during drills. There are some concerns about overall technique and natural knee-bend, but Solder showed enough athleticism and should improve with good coaching and hard work. Different teams will look for different skill sets at tackle, so Solder might not be the first or second tackle selected in the draft, but it's hard to imagine him slipping out of the top 20.
• Syracuse center Ryan Bartholomew capped a strong combine with a good performance Saturday. The 6-1, 302-pounder turned in strong times of 4.97 (official) in the 40-yard dash and 1.64 (unofficial) in his 10-yard split. Remember, Bartholomew also led all offensive linemen in the bench press test with 34 reps. He far exceeded expectations after our film study revealed some holes in terms of balance and lateral agility. Bartholomew has at least given scouts a reason to take another look at the tape and reconsider his standing.
• Miami guard Orlando Franklin quietly had a solid day, turning in an adequate 5.20 (official) in the 40 and showing good short-area quickness with a 1.72 (official) 10-yard split. At 6-5 and 316 pounds, he showed just average quickness during drills but did display good short-area lateral agility. He also looked balanced throughout and did a nice job staying low out of his stance during pulling drills. Franklin was clearly playing out of position at left tackle during the college season, but he has the strength and short-area capabilities to be a reliable starter on the inside at the next level.
• Boston College OT Anthony Castonzo, Florida OT Marcus Gilbert and Lehigh OG Will Rackley also helped their causes. Castonzo turned in an adequate 10-yard split (1.79 unofficial) while showing good flexibility and quick feet with his lateral slides. Gilbert turned in a subpar 40 time (5.43) but looked smooth during drills with short, compact movements that allowed him to stay in control and balanced. Rackley also opened eyes during drills, bending well at the knees, staying patient and balanced in his sets and showing good short-area lateral quickness.
• Arkansas OT Demarcus Love did not have the workout he was hoping for. Love labored to get to the corner and failed to get his hands on the rushing defender during the kick-step drill. An earlier drill that called for prospects to change direction in space exposed the stiffness in Love's hips and raised concerns about his ability to redirect effectively at the next level. Love's arms are long even by offensive tackle standards, but teams shouldn't feel comfortable asking him to protect their quarterback's blind side, and he may even be a better fit at guard.
Some unofficial 40-times...
A.J. Green: 4.48
Julio Jones: 4.43 & 4.39
Leonard Hankerson: 4.47 & 4.45
Great times for all around, but outstanding times for Jones and Hankerson. Rams fans may need to start really thinking about Jones not being there @ 14.
More unofficial numbers...
Greg Little: 4.56
Edmund Gates: 4.35
Jon Baldwin: 4.52
Vincent Brown: 4.69
Jerrel Jernigan: 4.51
As I'm watching today's draft combine coverage, some things stood out to me. This may suprise a few, but here are the low ball numbers for arguably the top 3 WR's in this years draft:
Julio Jones: 4.39
Jonathan Baldwin: 4.50
A.J. Green: 4.50
Julio's number really suprised me, and although teams still believe he's the #2 reciever in this years draft (which I fully understand). However due to his workout, he may move up the board a few spots. I believe this leaves Robert Quinn as the next best choice for us provided that Jones is gone when we pick at #14.
I don't wanna see Bradford throwing to Julio Jones...
that's all I have.
I really like Hankerson, I hope he is around in the second round if Jones is gone by 14.
Between Locker's down season, Mallet's alleged drug use and Newton's violations, I can't help thinking that I'm glad we drafted Bradford last year. Remember when some Rams fans were saying we should wait for the 2011 crop of quarterbacks?
Some Rotoworld tidbits about workouts today...
According to SI's Tony Pauline, North Carolina WR Greg Little has hurt his draft stock at the Combine by being "less than honest" in team interviews.
"And that's putting it nicely," writes Pauline. Another report suggested Little could fall out of the draft altogether. A former running back, Little is considered one of the draft's better run-after-catch wideouts. If he can get his head on straight, it might not be crazy to make Bucs WR Mike Williams comparisons. Williams dealt with similar character concerns last April.
Not surprised by Young's time, as I was skeptical of him getting into the 4.3 range ala DeSean Jackson a few years ago. Very good short area quickness, but doesn't have the same kind of deep speed.Quote:
Boise State WR Titus Young posted unofficial 40-yard dash times of 4.43 and 4.44 at the NFL Combine on Sunday.
Times nowhere near the 4.2s he predicted he'd run. Young is clearly one of the quicker players in this year's crop of receivers, but he didn't vault himself into the first-round conversation today like he could have. He needs to run in the 4.3s at his Pro Day if he wants to keep getting labeled as the next DeSean Jackson.
There have been a few reports I've seen that have said Smith has looked out of place when running anything but a go route. If that's the case, his forty time may be impressive but he's going to be asked to do more at the next level.Quote:
As expected, Maryland WR Torrey Smith ran a sub-4.4 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine on Sunday, posting an unofficial time of 4.37 on his first try.
He ran "only" a 4.46 on his second attempt, but it's clear he possesses game-breaking speed. He's been strongly linked to the Ravens at No. 26 in the draft, and would certainly add a jolt of energy to their aging and slow receiver corps.
Not very interested in Baldwin, personally, but a 4.52 for a 6'4" receiver doesn't seem too shabby to me. It's the character issues that I'm more concerned about.Quote:
Pittsburgh WR Jonathan Baldwin posted an impressive 42-inch vertical leap at the NFL Combine on Sunday, but ran a slower than expected 40-yard dash, registering an unofficial time of 4.52.
At 6-foot-4, 228 pounds Baldwin has excellent size, but he needed to post a better 40-time today to turn himself into a bonafide round-one sleeper. Dogged by character questions on and off the field, his Pro Day will be especially critical in solidifying his draft stock.
Sounds like Jones is simply blowing up the Combine, could go to Cleveland if Green is off the board or Washington at this point. That unofficial 4.39 was just outstanding for him.Quote:
After bettering A.J. Green by almost 1/10 of a second in the 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine on Sunday, Julio Jones' 38.5-inch vertical leap was also four inches better than Green's.
His incredible 11'3'' broad jump also bettered Green's by seven inches. It's unlikely Jones managed to vault Green as the top available receiver in this year's draft today, but he's beginning to look like he won't last beyond the first 10 picks on April 28. That would be bad news for the Rams, who in the words of Mike Mayock would "sprint" to the podium to select Jones at No. 14.
Come, come now my friend, there is a chance.