Sunday, February 25, 2007

NFL Combine

Last year I watched the combine while everybody on earth was watching the Olympics. I'd much rather watch the NFL future stars run, jump, and throw, instead of watching the worlds athletes run, jump, and swim.... or ice skate.

Stock rising:
- One name that jumps out at me is Arizona running back Chris Henry. The guy has a chiseled 230 pound body and ran a 4.33 40 yard dash. He might not catapult into the first round, but his physical size and speed can't be ignored. The NFL network did a good job saying that scouts will now bust out those Arizona tapes and do a double take and see if Chris Henry PLAYED at a 4.33 speed.
- Calvin Johnson solidified his top notch draft stock. The guy had no reason to work out, but his competitive juices started flowing when he saw his peers run. He grabbed an East Carolina Quarterbacks spikes and ran a sub 4.4 40 yard dash. He had nothing to gain, but everything to lose by running the 40, but he solidified his stock. I also liked the story how in a similar situation at his Georgia Tech pro day he worked out just so that scouts would come out and watch his TEAMMATES and give them some exposure to the scouts. Very unselfish act.
- Robert Meachem the wide receiver out of Tennessee also ran a fast 40, and did well in the "gauntlet" catching drill. You can always see receivers cheating by weaving down the line as opposed to running straight. Meachem looked very polished in the drill and when you combine that with his speed he might be a last 1st round pick now. I liked him in college at Tennessee and I can remember a game earlier in the year that he just took over.
- Drew Staunton from Michigan State has also got some press during some of the quarterback drills. He has thrown some good balls and you can't ignore the guys physical presence. He didn't have the best team at Michigan State but he played well last year. People think that as possibly the 3rd best quarterback, that Staunton could raise his stock in the way Jay Cutler did last year with good work outs.

Stock falling:
Teams are trying to get a good read on Troy Smith. I just see the guy in the drills with such focus and he's trying to do a good job. The thing that I wanted to point out is there was a camera shot where they showed Troy Smith standing next to Jemarcus Russell and Russell towering over him. Russell is about a half foot taller than Smith and he looked every bit of it. It was a terrible image for Smith as the TV shot had the two guys standing next to each other and Troy Smith looked like Jemarcus Russells little brother. If I were Troy Smiths agent I would be angry because that picture might cost Troy Smith millions of dollars.

- There was a running back from I believe Minnesota who's name escapes me right now. The kid got kicked out of school and showed up at the combine 15 pounds overweight and ran a 4.8 40. It almost reminds you of Maurice Clarett and we all remember how that story panned out. I'd be shocked if this guy gets drafted.

- I think Marshawn Lynch could have helped himself with a little bit faster 40 yard dash. We all know that he PLAYS with such speed but he didn't run the fastest 40. Dick Vermiel and Marshall Faulk were quick to point out that he seemed to wobble in his first 10-20 yards of the 40 which would tend to slow him down. The bright side of that is that he seemed to run with great balance, and ran like a football player as opposed to a track sprinter.

Take a closer look at:
Sydney Rice the Receiver from South Carolina. He might not have run the fastest 40 and he was only a sophomore but the guy had maturity and production from the position of receiver. He could be a 1st round pick and if he falls he could be a good receiver to pick up.

Deshawn Wynn the running back from Florida. He ran a 4.45 40 yard dash at 230 pounds. You have to like his size and the way he's put together. I still believe the league will like those bigger backs. You also have to remember that everybody is running these times on a flat surface with no pads. You would think a 230 pound guy in pads would tend to keep more of that speed, where these lighter receivers might be a little more slowed down in pads. You have to take notice of a guy like Wynn with that size and speed and who won a national championship

Best player:
If you have a worthy quarterback, they could be the best player in the draft but I'm not sure we have that. I'm not a big Jemarcus Russell fan, and I actually felt better about Brady Quinn last year. Adrian Peterson has to remind you of a Larry Johnson and he says he reminds himself of a Larry Johnson/LT. I'd tend to agree with Peterson in that he has the size of LJ, maybe a little less power, but probably more lateral movement. The best player overall or maybe the safest bet seems to be Calvin Johnson. The guy is 6'5, 239 pounds and an absolute burner and great guy. He has the size of a Plaxico Burress, but also runs with such grace. He sort of reminds you of Terrell Owens without the attitude.

I love hearing these player stories.
- The New York Giants apparently have a 480 wonderlac/personality test. In the past they asked Kevin Hardy what was the most bizarre question on the test. Hardy said that there was a question that asked, " do you like tall women?". Hardy said that he responded by crossing out the "t" so that it read, " I like ALL women".

- Dick Vermiel was talking about how the agents prep these players in these 15 minute interviews. Guys are taught to be honest about their past because teams now employ extensive background checks. He said that one player was being overly honest after his interview and came back into the room and told them, "Wait a minute, there is else something I have to tell you , I was kicked out of school for running into an old folks home. I went to a party and drank too much and crashed into an old folks home. Vermiel said that the player is still in the league playing today.

I love the meat head strength coach. When Brian Leonard from Rutgers came to do his bench press he said, " come on Soprano".

I really like listening to wisdown of Marshall Faulk and Dick Vermiel and the NFL draft analyst brings up very good points. They form a good team and I enjoy listening to them.

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