The Official NFL Combine Thread (Feb. 24 - March 1)
|6 years ago||'09 #302|
$39,837 | 882
INDIANAPOLIS -- Auburn quarterback Cam Newton might be second-guessing his decision to throw at the NFL scouting combine.
I was among a small group of Pro Football Writers a.ssociation members allowed to watch Sunday afternoon's session at Lucas Oil Stadium.
Newton was off target throughout, frequently overthrowing receivers. But it should be noted quarterbacks work with unfamiliar receivers at the combine. They run at different speeds and break varying routes.
That's why a lot of agents advise their quarterbacks -- as was the case with Missouri quarterback Blaine Gabbert -- not to throw at the combine and save those drills for campus workouts with receivers they know.
Newton completed 11 of his 21 throws.
His ball sailed on 10-yard outs, 15-yard ins and fly patterns. He was pinpoint on all three of his 12-yard hooks, and completed two of three Z-outs.
The performance was markedly different than the one Newton delivered two weeks ago for a media workout in San Diego.
After watching that display, retired quarterback and ESPN analyst Trent Dilfer remarked "The ceiling is so astronomically high for this player, Cam Newton, that the scouts, the GMs, the coaches are really going to be slobbering about the prospects of having him on their team."
Will Sunday's performance hurt Newton's draft stock or turn off a team such as the Buffalo Bills from drafting him third overall? Not by itself. He will need to rebound at his pro day March 8.
Quarterbacks who dazzled Sunday include Arkansas' Ryan Mallett and Washington's Jake Locker. They threw in the early session I didn't attend, but those who witnessed were particularly impressed with Mallett's accuracy.
|6 years ago||'04 #303|
$31,686 | 9
thats scary strength tho
the thing is technique with that so i take those numbers with a grain of salt but still impressive since its a record
|6 years ago||'09 #305|
$39,837 | 882
|6 years ago||'09 #306|
$39,837 | 882
INDIANAPOLIS -- In anticipation of Cam Newton's workout Sunday, reporters were calling the 2011 scouting combine "Cam-bine 2011."
Newton completed only 11 of his 21 throws Sunday, but with Newton you have to go behind the numbers to determine where he fits in the draft.
Like last year, this is considered a defensive-line dominated draft, but Newton showed enough potential to be considered at No. 1. If Newton does well in his interviews with the top teams in the draft, he could be the story on draft day in New York.
Here is what we learned Sunday:
1. Newton is the real deal: Newton doesn't use much of his legs when he throws the football, but his arm is so naturally strong he can throw 50 to 60 yards with ease. There are no throws he can't make. He reminds me a lot of a young Steve McNair. Newton is 6-foot-5, 248 pounds and ran an official time of 4.59 seconds in his 40-yard dash Sunday. The team that drafts him can probably expect a completion percentage of 54 in his first year and plenty of big plays. He doesn't do well throwing to his left, but a lot of young quarterbacks have that problem in their first couple of pro years. Ben Roethlisberger, who compares to Newton a lot, had that problem in his first couple of years. Newton was 1-for-3 on short out passes and missed all three of his passes on deep throws down the left sideline. He also missed three short out passes to his right. But Newton can rifle accurate turn-in passes and his post-corner routes are exceptional. If you are Carolina and Buffalo, he's the type of quarterback you can build around as long as you have good coaching and patience. His arm is stronger and more natural than Steve Young's.
2. Mallett wins first major passing competition: Arkansas quarterback Ryan Mallett put on an impressive show with the first group of quarterbacks, edging out University of Washington quarterback Jake Locker, who bounced back nicely from a subpar Senior Bowl. Mallett's strong arm was on display Sunday. On deep seam routes, he was flawless. His fastball delivery on out passes was impressive. Though he struggled with turn-in passes to his left, he was perfect on four throws to his right on post corners and showed great touch on his deep passes. Locker had two unofficial 40 times of 4.52, which would have made him the fourth-fastest quarterback in the combine since 1999. Officially, he was given a 4.59, but everyone knew he could run. The best part of Sunday for Locker was how consistently he was throwing the ball. He didn't make back-to-back bad throws in any of the drills, which was a plus. He was natural on slant routes and 12-yard curls were impressive. His ease in throwing post-corner routes showed first-round potential. Missouri's Blaine Gabbert elected not to throw, but he ran a 4.62 40. Nevada's Colin Kaepernick looked good on short and intermediate throws, but he had one of the worst days of all the quarterbacks on long passes because of bad footwork. Florida State's Christian Ponder was a little more impressive than TCU's Andy Dalton.
3. Green vs. Jones: Coming into the combine, it seemed to be a foregone conclusion A.J. Green of Georgia was the No. 1 receiver. However, the best receiver on the field during Sunday's drills was Julio Jones of Alabama. Jones had unofficial 40 times of 4.43 and 4.39 and he seemed to explode into his routes faster than Green, who had unofficial 40 times of 4.48 and 4.51. Unfortunately, Pitt wide receiver Jonathan Baldwin didn't have the great combine everyone expected. He ran a 4.52 40 and fell down during one of the receiving drills. What became clear Sunday was it's a two-receiver race at the top between Green and Jones. If Jones doesn't go ahead of Green, he won't slip too many spots. He's 6-2¾, weighs 220 pounds and can run in the high 4.3s. That's a raw talent.
4. RB class lacks speed: The 2011 class of running backs doesn't run very fast. Alabama's Mark Ingram trimmed down to 215 pounds but had unofficial 40 times of 4.58 and 4.61. Illinois' Mikel Leshoure, one of the top three backs in the draft, did a little better at 4.56. But most of the top backs didn't run very fast. Virginia Tech's Ryan Williams had times of 4.55 and 4.59. Oklahoma State's Kendall Hunter maintained his second-round rating with a 4.47. Oklahoma's DeMarco Murray helped his stock with a 4.45. But there isn't much explosiveness among this group of runners. Ingram still has a good chance of going to Miami in the middle of the first round, but overall, the running back crop is far from scintillating.
5. Peterson's lofty pursuits: Since 1999, 14 cornerbacks who ran 4.39 or better in the combine have been selected in the first round. However, none went higher than No. 5. Patrick Peterson of LSU plans to change that. Peterson confirmed he was clocked at 4.2 at LSU last spring. The last 40 he ran was a 4.29. He hopes to run before the conclusion of the combine. Here's the difference: None of those 14 cornerbacks has Peterson's body. Peterson is 6-foot, 219 pounds and hopes to emulate the game of Charles Woodson. "I don't want to be the next Charles Woodson, but I pattern myself after Charles Woodson," he said. DeAngelo Hall is the only one of the 14 first-round cornerbacks who ran at the combine with 4.39 speed or better and weighed more than 200 pounds. He was 202 pounds at the 2004 scouting combine and ran a 4.34 40. Terence Newman of the Cowboys ran a 4.37 in 2003 combine and was the fifth pick in that draft. Champ Bailey posted a 4.28 and was the seventh pick in 1999. What Peterson does this week and in April might be historic.
John Clayton, a recipient of the Pro Football Hall of Fame's McCann Award for distinguished reporting, is a senior writer for ESPN.com.
|6 years ago||'09 #307|
$39,837 | 882
Top 40-yard dashes
1. Tyrod Taylor, Virginia Tech (4.51)
2. Colin Kaepernick, Nevada (4.53)
T3. Jake Locker, Washington (4.59)
T3. Cam Newton, Auburn (4.59)
T5. Blaine Gabbert, Missouri (4.62)
T6. Josh Portis, California (PA) (4.62)
Top broad jumps
T1. Cam Newton (10-6)
T1. Josh Portis (10-6)
T1. Tyrod Taylor (10-6)
T4. Blaine Gabbert (10-0)
T4. Jake Locker (10-0)
Top vertical jumps
1. Josh Portis (40)
2. Tyrod Taylor (37.5)
T3. Jake Locker (35)
T3. Cam Newton (35)
5. Christian Ponder, Florida State (34)
Top 3-cone drills
1. Jake Locker (6.77)
2. Tyrod Taylor (6.78)
T3. Ryan Colburn, Fresno State (6.84)
T3. Blaine Gabbert (6.84)
T3. Josh Portis (6.94)
Top short shuttles
T1. Christian Ponder (4.09)
T1. Tyrod Taylor (4.09)
T3. Jake Locker (4.12)
T3. Josh Portis (4.12)
T3. Scott Tolzien, Wisconsin (4.12)
T3. T.J. Yates, North Carolina (4.12)
Top 40-yard dashes
T1. Edmund Gates, Abilene Christian (4.37)
T1. Ricardo Lockette, Fort Valley State (4.37)
3. Julio Jones, Alabama (4.39)
T4. Torrey Smith, Maryland (4.43)
T4. Leonard Hankerson, Miami (FL) (4.43)
Top broad jumps
1. Julio Jones (11-3)
2. Edmund Gates (10-11)
3. Andre Holmes, Hillsdale (10-10)
T4. Jonathan Baldwin, Pittsburgh (10-9)
T4. Greg Little, North Carolina (10-9)
T4. Jamar Newsome, Central Florida (10-9)
Top vertical jumps
1. Jonathan Baldwin (42)
T2. Torrey Smith, (41)
T2. Terrence Turner, Indiana (41)
4. Greg Little (40.5)
T5. Edmund Gates (40)
T5. Al Robinson, SMU (40)
Top 3-cone drills
1. Jeff Maehl, Oregon (6.42)
2. Dane Sanzenbacher, Ohio State (6.46)
3. Terrence Toliver, LSU (6.48)
4. Cecil Shorts, Mount Union (6.50)
5. Marshall Williams, Wake Forest (6.61)
Top Short shuttles
1. Austin Pettis, Boise State (3.88)
2. Jeff Maehl (3.94)
3. Dane Sanzenbacher (3.97)
4. Terrence Toliver (4.03)
5. Cecil Shorts (4.07)
Top 40-yard dashes
1. Da'Rel Scott, Maryland (4.34)
2. Mario Fannin, Auburn (4.38)
T3. Derrick Locke, Kentucky (4.40)
T3. Jordan Todman, Connecticut (4.40)
5. Demarco Murray, Oklahoma (4.41)
Top vertical jumps
1. Anthony Allen, Georgia Tech (41.5)
2. Ryan Williams, Virginia Tech (40)
T3. Mikel Leshoure, Illinois (38)
T3. Jordan Todman (38)
T5. Mario Fannin (37.5)
T5. Derrick Locke (37.5)
Top broad jumps
1. Jordan Todman (10-6)
2. Demarco Murray (10-4)
3. Ryan Williams (10-3)
T4. Kendall Hunter, Oklahoma State (10-2)
T4. Mikel Leshoure (10-2)
Top 3-cone drills
1. Graig Cooper, Miami (FL) (6.66)
2. Roy Helu, Nebraska (6.67)
3. Kendall Hunter (6.74)
4. Stevan Ridley, LSU (6.78)
5. Anthony Allen, Georgia Tech (6.79)
Top short shuttles
1. Roy Helu, Nebraska (4.01)
2. Graig Cooper (4.03)
3. Anthony Allen (4.06)
4. Delone Carter, Syracuse (4.07)
5. Damian Berry, Miami (FL) (4.12)
|6 years ago||'09 #308|
$39,837 | 882
Newton's struggles lead QB news
Todd McShay and Kevin Weidl
There are more questions to be answered regarding the top quarterbacks in the 2011 class than in most years. How they come off the board will have little to do with how they performed inside Lucas Oil Stadium on Sunday, but there was still valuable scouting formation to be taken from the workout sessions.
For starters, the 2011 class is one of the most competitive, athletic and fast groups to come through Indianapolis in several years. The only prospect who elected not to throw was Missouri's Blaine Gabbert, and even he elected to participate in the running and jumping portions of the workout. In the end, seven quarterbacks ran the 40-yard dash in 4.65 seconds or faster.
The most anticipated workout of the entire combine was that of Auburn's Cam Newton, who tied for the best broad jump among quarterbacks and finished in the top five in the vertical jump and 40-yard dash. Things didn't go as well for Newton during passing drills, though.
Newton did show very good touch on vertical throws and was accurate for the most part on post-corner routes. He was far too erratic on short-to-intermediate throws, though, failing to get back in his drops quickly enough and struggling with timing. Newton appeared to become frustrated figuring out when to get the ball out and he failed to throw to spots as receivers were breaking.
Some of that can be chalked up to throwing to unfamiliar receivers and struggling to adjust to the differences in speed from one receiver to the next, but that issue can't be blamed for the three out routes Newton competely sailed over the heads of receivers.
Newton has clearly worked on his footwork and improving his balance when transferring his weight from back to front, and we do expect to see more consistent drops and anticipation when he throws to his own receivers in a scripted throwing session at Auburn's March 8 pro day. But even with a good performance in that workout where Newton comes off the board -- likely within the top 12 overall picks -- will have much more to do with how he interviews and what teams find out as they investigate his character and mental makeup.
We've heard wide-ranging opinions on Newton's intangibles while talking to NFL types this week in Indianapolis, but overall he does not appear to be helping his cause much.
Gabbert's athleticism shines
There was some grumbling from veteran scouts about Gabbert's decision not to throw, but in the end it will have no effect on his draft stock. Remember, eight of the last 12 quarterbacks drafted in the first round have opted out of combine passing drills.
The rest of the workout went well for Gabbert, who ran the 40 in 4.62 and posted a 10-foot broad jump. Speed, mobility and athleticism are among the least important traits when evaluating a quaterback, but Gabbert is clearly in the upper echelon in those categories and an underrated athlete for a 6-foot-4, 234-pound prospect. He will throw for scouts March 17 at Missouri's pro day.
Mallett, Ponder throw well
Ryan Mallett (Arkansas) and Christian Ponder turned in the best passing performances of the day. Mallett's has the strongest arm in the class, and despite a delivery that looks smooth and easy, the ball explodes out of his hand. He threw with velocity but also showed good touch and anticipation on timing throws.
Ponder is continuing to build momentum after a strong Senior Bowl week and is shaking off the frustration of an injury-riddled senior season. His accuracy on quick-hitting passes and out routes was impressive, and he did the best job of any quarterback leading receivers on fade routes. Keep in mind, though, that the combine did not test Ponder's weakness in terms of maintaining accuracy when dealing with pressure.
Taylor shows athleticism, struggles passing
Virginia Tech's Tyrod Taylor had the fastest 40 time among quaterbacks at 4.51 and tied for the best broad jump at 10-foot-6, but he looked timid throwing the ball and had one of the most underwhelming passing performances of the day.
Taylor seemed nervous and appeared to aim the ball rather than driving through and letting it fly. He is determined to be a quarterback in the NFL, but the team that drafts him is likely to put Taylor in a versatile role while he develops. He has the build (6-0, 217) and athleticism to make a transition to wide receiver. His 40 time would have ranked in the top third among wide receivers and his broad jump would have been ninth among wideouts.
Jones steals show at WR
Todd McShay and Kevin Weidl
Alabama's Julio Jones was the star of the show Sunday among the wide receivers, putting on one of the best shows we've seen at the position in recent years. At nearly 6-3 and 220 pounds, Jones posted a 38-inch vertical jump, and his 11-foot-3 broad jump is the best for a wide receiver since Jerome Simpson (Bengals) in 2008. His workout won't erase the concerns Jones' film raises about consistency and it won't push him past A.J. Green (Georgia) to the top of the class, but Jones did close the gap a bit and perhaps got himself into the top 10 overall.
Green was not quite as good as Jones but still had a good day. Green's 34.5-inch vertical equals the average at the position over the last three years, his 10-6 broad jump is adequate and his 4.5-second 40-yard dash is solid for a prospect his size. He did drop a couple balls during the gauntlet drill, but he showed off his elite ball skills when tracking deep passes.
Abilene Christian's Edmund Gates was the small-school star of the day, running an unofficial 4.35 in the 40 and posting a 10-11 broad jump. He showed off the explosiveness and quickness that allow him to stretch the field, and as a former basketball player, he brings pure athleticism to the table. Gates was a bit tight getting in and out of breaks, but we won't be surprised if he moves into the Day 2 discussion.
Meanwhile, Kentucky's Randall Cobb (4.46) and Miami's Leonard Hankerson (4.43) ran quicker 40 times than anticipated. Cobb is a very polished route runner and added some speed to his repertoire, while Hankerson might have begun changing the perception that he is simply a sure-handed possession receiver.
Finally, Maryland's Torrey Smith looked good as expected with a 4.43 in the 40, a 41-inch vertical and 10-6 broad jump, but he is still raw as a pass-catcher. Smith looked raw in his route running and is still figuring how to catch the ball with his hands away from his frame. He let the ball get to his body at times, resulting in some drops.
Top RBs hold steady
When the running backs took the field, all eyes were on Alabama's Mark Ingram, the only prospect in the class with a first-round grade. It would be easy to look at his 4.63 in the 40 and say he didn't have a great day, but because the three-year average for the position is 4.59 and Ingram posted a 10-yard split below the three-year average of 1.63, it would also be incorrect.
In fact, none of our top three backs -- Ingram, Ryan Williams (Virginia Tech), Mikel Leshoure (Illinois) -- finished with a 40 time among the top 10 at the position. All three will remain atop our rankings, which should tell you something about the importance of the 40 when evaluating running backs.
Our fourth-rated running back, Kansas State's Daniel Thomas, did not work out because of a hamstring injury suffered several weeks ago. Thomas is expected to work out during the Wildcats' March 15 pro day showcase.
Vereen leads smaller backs
California's Shane Vereen had a monster day, running the 40 in 4.48, posting a 34-inch vertical jump and putting up 25 repetitions on the 225-pound bench press. Vereen is an instinctive back on tape and shows good skills in the passing game, but we haven't seen the kind of explosiveness on film that Vereen displayed Sunday. It's time to go back to the film room and see if we missed anything during our previous evaluation.
Other diminutive backs had good showings as well. Pittsburgh's Dion Lewis, Oregon State's Jacquizz Rodgers, Syracuse's Delone Carter and Kentucky's Derrick Locke all showed good balance and lateral explosiveness when bouncing to the outside and then cutting upfield during position-specific drills.
Big guys up and down
Ingram, Williams and Johnny White (North Carolina) all stood out during running back drills, running with great balance and lateral agility. White has plenty of experience as a pass-catcher and it shows on film, but for Ingram and Williams the combine offered a chance to prove their skills in that area and they passed the test.
On the flip side, Damien Berry (Miami), Matt Asiata (Utah) and John Clay (Wisconsin) struggled during the same drills. Berry looked lost at times and was not explosive out of his cuts, leaving teams wondering if he'll be a high-rep guy after watching him butcher the three-cone drill. Clay and Asiata had their stiff hips exposed during-change-of-direction drills, with Clay faring a little better. Both struggled to plant their outside foot and explode back inside. Leshoure, on the other hand, looked quick and fluid for his size.
Under the radar
Roy Helu (Nebraska) ran the short shuttle in 4.01 and Graig Cooper Miami (Fla.) in 4.03, the fastest times in the past six years. Helu also had a top-five finish in the three-cone drill and ran the sixth-fastest 40 time of time his group with a 4.42.
In all, 15 running backs completed the short shuttle in 4.2 seconds or less after just six went that low in 2010. In fact, Anthony Allen's third-best time of 4.06 this year tied the best mark in last year's class. Allen also had a a 41.5 vertical, tied for the best since 2006.
|6 years ago||'09 #309|
$39,837 | 882
Record day for Paea
Defensive linemen and linebackers took part in the bench press test on Sunday and Oregon State DT Stephen Paea set a combine record with 49 reps, besting the previous record of 45 most recently accomplished by guard Mitch Petrus last year.
Top DL bench presses
1. Stephen Paea (49)
2. DT Marvin Austin, North Carolina (38)
3. DE Bruce Miller, Central Florida (35)
T4. DT Adrian Taylor, Oklahoma (34)
T4. DE J.J. Watt, Wisconsin (34)
Top LB bench presses
1. Ross Homan, Ohio State (32)
2. Justin Houston, Georgia (30)
3. Mark Herzlich, Boston College (29)
4. Brian Rolle, Ohio State (28)
5. Orie Lemon, Oklahoma State (27)
|6 years ago||'09 #316|
$39,837 | 882
Von Miller is doing his part to get in the conversation for the No. 2 overall pick by Denver.
There was a lot of chatter in Indianapolis in the past few days that the pass rusher from Texas A&M could force his way into Denver’s debate with a strong combine performance. He might have accomplished it.
Miller ran a stunning 4.46 40-yard dash Monday at his combine workout. He stood out at the Senior Bowl last month, and now he is shining at the combine.
Denver has greater needs on the defensive line and will likely look there, but if Miller keeps impressing, Denver might have to take notice.
Miller is considered a perfect fit for San Diego. But the Chargers have no way of getting him at No. 18. The only way San Diego could get to Miller is through a trade. Now that he ran this fast time, San Diego, which has extra picks in the second and third rounds, will have to go all the way up to No. 5, at least, to hope to get a crack at the fast-rising Miller.
Last edited by ReggieA; 02-28-2011 at 10:46 PM..
|6 years ago||'09 #317|
$39,837 | 882
[pic - click to view]
INDIANAPOLIS -- Some have been suspicious about the Buffalo Bills' interest in using their third overall draft choice on Auburn quarterback Cam Newton.
Multiple outlets have reported general manager Buddy Nix is infatuated with the Heisman Trophy winner. Nobody within the organization has dismissed those reports. Instead, their comments reinforce the idea.
That's why thoughts of a smokescreen waft about when considering, gee, the Bills have been a little too forthcoming in their curiosity of Newton, even though head coach Chan Gailey already has stated his allegiance to quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick and the roster has so many holes.
Could the Bills' interest in Newton be subterfuge? Have those stories been planted?
It's possible, but I don't think so.
In the hour I spent Thursday listening to Nix and Gailey talk about their team and their valuable No. 3 draft choice, Newton questions were the most prevalent.
Nix and Gailey delivered the impression there's legitimate interest in drafting Newton if -- over the course of the next two months -- they evaluate him as a franchise quarterback and he's still there after the Carolina Panthers and Denver Broncos select.
As someone who has covered boxing for two decades and sat in Don King's living room, I've developed what I would consider an acute ability to detect -- what's the polite phraseology? -- deceptiveness. My tolerance for it is slight.
And I've found Nix and Gailey to be two of the most genuine men I've dealt with in the NFL. They're not liars. They'll withhold information before they spread a falsehood.
In fact, the Bills have been more likely to telegraph their intentions than misdirect them.
At last year's owners meetings in Orlando, Gailey sat across the table from me and said he wanted to draft one of those "quick-as-a-cat water bugs that are running backs-slash-receivers that might give you a little bit of a punch on the field, maybe make a big play."
Shame on everybody -- me included -- for a.ssuming Gailey meant they would draft a scatback somewhere in the second or third round. After all, they had 1,000-yard backs Fred Jackson and Marshawn Lynch.
They took Clemson running back C.J. Spiller ninth overall.
Twice in the past four months, Bills owner Ralph Wilson has declared a desire to upgrade at quarterback.
Wilson told a.ssociated Press reporter John Wawrow in October that finding a new quarterback was the team's top priority. Fitzpatrick hadn't become a fan favorite at that point and went on to throw for 3,000 yards and 23 touchdowns in 13 games.
But this month Wilson reiterated the importance of finding a quarterback in an interview with Fanhouse columnist Thomas George.
"Buddy, the scouts, the coaches, they are working," Wilson told George. "I know it's not going to be an instant turnaround. I think it will take two or three years to have a playoff team -- and that's if we get a quarterback.''
It also should be noted Fitzpatrick is entering the final year of his contract. If the Bills don't draft a quarterback, then they almost will be forced to invest in Fitzpatrick. He will make a base salary of about $3.2 million next season, not exactly "you're our guy" money.
At the combine, Nix and Gailey gave even-tempered responses to multiple questions about Newton. Never once did they give any indication reporters were misguided in their line of questioning.
Would they directly tell a reporter he was sniffing in the wrong place? No, but after an hour you'd get a hint from two fellas who don't enjoy wasting their breath on repetitive questions.
All of that information gives me the strong impression they will draft a quarterback if they deem one worthy of the third pick. That would include Missouri's Blaine Gabbert, Washington's Jake Locker or Arkansas' Ryan Mallett, too.
The term "franchise quarterback" is an ambiguous one. The meaning could change depending on the person using it. So I asked Nix to tell me how he defines "franchise quarterback."
"A guy who can win for you for years," Nix said. "That, to me, is what that is. You get a lot of guys that will play good for you a year or two. But somebody that can be a 10-year guy to the point you don't have to worry about that position anymore" is a franchise quarterback.
Buffalo has myriad roster needs and affection for Fitzpatrick, but it can't win with him for the next decade. He falls more in the other category Nix mentioned, a guy who can hold down the position for a couple seasons.
Nix joked that any personnel executive who waits until he doesn't have a quarterback before he drafts his next one won't be the one making the pick. In other words, that GM would be fired before he got the opportunity, because his team wouldn't be winning.
The Bills don't intend to draft this early every spring and haven't had such a high pick in 26 years. If they want to snag a quarterback, then they have to view this as their best chance. Again, they need to identify someone worthy of the top pick first.
Why would Buffalo lie about its interest in drafting a quarterback?
I can think of two:
* Tempt teams that really want Newton or Gabbert to trade up to get him.
* Induce Carolina or Denver to draft a quarterback so another targeted player such as Clemson defensive end Da'Quan Bowers, Auburn defensive tackle Nick Fairley or Louisiana State cornerback Patrick Peterson falls to the Bills at No. 3.
On the first point, Nix seemed to shoot down that possibility when saying the Bills wouldn't be interested in trading the third pick unless the player they covet is gone once the Bills are on the clock. Nix noted he doesn't believe in moving down. That indicates the Bills will not shop the pick.
On the second point, it's a possibility. The overwhelming need for quarterbacks around the league could make another team twitchy. But any potential ruse would be rendered moot if Carolina chooses Newton. Denver has incumbent starter Kyle Orton and last year's 25th overall pick, Tim Tebow, on the roster.
"You want your spot to be worth something, or you want to get the guy you want," former New York Jets executive Pat Kirwan explained Sunday at the combine. Two years ago for NFL.com, Kirwan wrote a fascinating feature on the art of the smokescreen and a couple he helped pull off.
"Everyone does it to a certain extent. So what would be their motivation of doing it this year? Usually what drives the top part of the draft are quarterbacks. If Gabbert or Newton emerges as the clear-cut best quarterback, you could easily see a team saying 'We're going to take Gabbert' and see if you could get a team like the Washington Redskins to trade up there."
But not in February.
"No one ever does this stuff until a week before the draft," Kirwan said. "Now is too early to sustain it, and gives too much time for someone who's interested to come up with another plan. Later is better."
The information adds up to Buffalo being legitimately interested in Newton as its future quarterback.
Last edited by ReggieA; 02-28-2011 at 10:45 PM..
|6 years ago||'09 #318|
$39,837 | 882
Mike Mayock of the NFL Network has become the official final word at the combine -- he’s the last guy at the podium after four days of interviews because he’s great at summarizing things.
I just listened to a tape of his talk, and pulled out some things I thought you’d find interesting. I’ll have his voice in a piece or two still to come as well.
* “The defensive line in general is phenomenal. I’ve got nine defensive ends with first-round grades. Typically 3.8 to four go in the first round.”
* He believes tight end is the weakest spot in the draft and that the safety class is below average. (Bad news for Texans, Jaguars and even Titans.)
* Patrick Peterson vs. Julio Jones was his favorite tape of the year to watch.
* He like the depth of the first couple rounds at offensive tackle and thinks there could be a plug-and-play guy at the spot who would be a fit for the Colts at No. 22.
* Ryan Mallett is a first-round talent he doesn’t think will get drafted in the first round.
* Oregon inside linebacker Casey Matthews is not explosive like his brother Clay, but he is instinctive and will play better than his measurables suggest.
Last edited by ReggieA; 02-28-2011 at 10:44 PM..
|6 years ago||'09 #319|
$39,837 | 882
Getting an actual nugget about an actual change from a team at this stage, especially given the upcoming shutdown, is a big deal.
Jim Wyatt got one out of reserved Titans general manager Mike Reinfeldt in this piece, just the sort of wrinkle that would have fit nicely in my piece from a few days ago about how scouts in Tennessee and Houston have to adjust to the desires of new coaches.
Under new defensive coordinator Jerry Gray and new defensive line coach Tracy Rocker, the Titans will be looking for defensive ends who are a bit different.
Writes Wyatt out of his conversation with Reinfeldt:
In previous years, the Titans had their ends play a lot of 9-technique, lined up wide and told to collapse the pocket. Under Gray, the Titans could play more of a 7-technique, lined up across from the offensive tackles or tight ends, placement that requires stout, run-stopper ends.
"It is still a work in progress," [Reinfeldt said]. "I think our scouts are pretty good at evaluating talent and evaluating a young man's ability to play in the NFL. At the same time they need to have a really good idea of the scheme we are running, what traits we are looking for and I think that is where the combine is good for us. It's a chance for both those guys to be together and I think the pre-draft meetings will be critical for that also."
It appears this is a good draft to be looking for such an end. The Titans could conceivably even trade down from No. 8 and land a first-round defensive end like North Carolina’s Robert Quinn, Cal’s Cameron Jordan or Iowa’s Adrian Clayborn.
All of them are bigger than Jason Babin, Dave Ball and Jacob Ford, smaller Titans ends who are not under contract for 2011. One of those prospects could look good working in combination with last year’s No. 1, Derrick Morgan, and William Hayes, two ends on the roster who are sturdier types. Morgan went on IR on Oct. 5 of his rookie season after blowing out a knee.
A bit later in the draft there are more guys who could be attractive given a desire to have more physical ends. Wisconsin’s J.J. Watt, Ohio State’s Cameron Heyward, Miami’s Allen Bailey and Mississippi State’s Pernell McPhee all have nice size and would likely be better equipped to line up tighter to the line of scrimmage and do more against the run.
Last edited by ReggieA; 02-28-2011 at 10:43 PM..
|6 years ago||'09 #320|
$39,837 | 882
INDIANAPOLIS -- The Denver Broncos have the No. 2 overall pick in the NFL draft. The Broncos were was last in the NFL in total defense and points allowed in 2010 and are expected to take a defensive player with the pick.
Denver has been examining the top defensive players at the NFL combine for the past several days. Here is a look at the players who could be considered with the choice:
Da'Quan Bowers, defensive end, Clemson
Known for: He is a pure pass-rusher and led the nation with 15.5 sacks in 2010.
Why he should be the pick: He would give Denver a dominant, classic defensive end and would form a good pass-rushing pair with Elvis Dumervil.
Why he shouldn’t be the pick: Bowers is not considered a sure thing. He had only one productive year of college football.
Deciding factor: Bowers, along with Nick Fairley and quarterbacks Cam Newton and Blaine Gabbert, could be taken by Carolina with the No. 1 pick. If he gets past Carolina, Bowers could be the choice in Denver. I think the Broncos will seriously consider taking Bowers, who reminds many of Julius Peppers. Peppers was the first pick taken by new Denver coach John Fox in Carolina.
Quotable: “I think I can bring a lot of good things to the team. You can get a pass-rushing defensive end, a humble guy, a guy with great character, a guy who is going to work hard, a guy that is going to go about things the right way and a guy who is willing to compete with anyone anywhere.” -- Bowers
Marcell Dareus, defensive tackle, Alabama
Known for: He is a stout 4-3 defensive tackle who is coming from a winning program.
Why he should be the pick: Some scouts feel like he is more of sure thing than Fairley. He seems like he will be a productive player for 10-12 years.
Why he shouldn’t be the pick: He may not be the most spectacular player available and could potentially slip to the 5-6 range.
Deciding factor: If Denver decides to take a defensive tackle, it will come down to Dareus or Fairley. So, he must grade out higher on Denver’s board than Fairley.
Quotable: “I look at it like, if you go back in the history of watching football, before the game was started, it started up front. Some people were scared and backed up off the ball, but the real bulls stayed up front and played the game." -- Dareus
Nick Fairley, defensive tackle, Auburn
Known for: He was a dominant force for a national championship winner.
Why he should be the pick: Fairley has a chance to be the best player in the draft and would be an immediate impact player.
Why he shouldn’t be the pick: There are questions about Fairley’s ability to transition to the NFL and he may have the riskiest character of all the potential picks.
Deciding factor: If Denver falls in love with Fairley, he’ll be the pick. I think he’ll be one of the top players on Denver’s board. There’s a chance Denver will be too intrigued with his ability if he gets past Carolina.
Quotable: “Fairley is really a true three-technique and he is a disrupting guy nonstop throughout the game. He beats linemen all day, every game.” -- Broncos general manager Brian Xanders
Von Miller, linebacker, Texas A&M
Known for: He has the most potential of any player on the board and is a natural pass-rusher. His stock has been rising lately.
Why he should be the pick: He could possibly be a perennial All-Pro who could become the face of the franchise.
Why he shouldn’t be the pick: He might be available a few spots lower and he may not be the highest value pick.
Deciding factor: If Miller -- who owned the Senior Bowl -- blows away scouts at the combine and his pro day, he may be too tempting to pass up.
Quotable: “First and foremost, I’m going to be a great teammate. I’m a team guy. That’s how I play football. That’s how we were able to win the games that we won at Texas A&M. We didn’t have all the talent in the world, but we had a great team. We had great chemistry in the locker room. I’ll be a rookie, whatever those guys want me to do, I’ll be happy to do it. Just find my way, find my role. Whatever it takes to get on the field, that’s what I’ll do.” -- Miller
Patrick Peterson, cornerback, LSU
Known for: The big, strong, fast Peterson is considered one of the best cornerback prospects in years. He could be the next Champ Bailey.
Why he should be the pick: Peterson and Bailey, who just signed a four-year contract extension, would be one of the best cornerback tandems in the NFL right away.
Why he shouldn’t be the pick: Denver has greater needs on the defensive line. Taking Peterson wouldn’t help Denver’s most pressing issue.
Deciding factor: I think it would take a lot for Denver to take Peterson because of the reality of the team’s needs. The only way Peterson is the pick is if Denver decides he is far and away the best player on the board.
Quotable: “He is a great athlete and not only as a [defensive] player, but as a returner. He is special as a returner. He is a guy that can do a lot of different things for you. Athletically, he is as good as anybody in the draft. He can run and he has good size for a corner -- he is 205, 210 pounds. He has good size and is a guy that can make some big plays. I think especially at the cornerback position, you like those guys that can make those plays, because those are game-changers.” -- Broncos vice president John Elway
Robert Quinn, defensive end, North Carolina
Known for: He could be the best player on the board, but he missed the entire 2010 season because he accepted gifts from an agent.
Why he should be the pick: He may be the highest value pick. In five years, he could be dominant.
Why he shouldn’t be the pick: He is only 265 pounds and missed valuable playing time in 2010.
Deciding factor: It’s all in Quinn’s hands. If Quinn has an unbelievable combine and pro day, the Broncos may have no choice but to take him. Still, that may be a long shot.
Quotable: “I feel like I've got a never-ending motor. I feel like I'm the fastest guy on the field and I try not to let nobody's hands get on me. A weakness, a 6 technique within the tight end, sometimes my eyes get to going back and forward and [I] take a bad step that may hurt me. I try to do little things to make sure I take straight steps every time.” -- Quinn
Last edited by ReggieA; 02-28-2011 at 10:42 PM..