Monday, February 25, 2008

NFL Combine Rockets and Rocks

I've spent a good portion of the last three days watching or catching up on the NFL Combine. This was difficult at times, especially since it was a busy weekend, unless you count my epic fail at trying to see No Country For Old Men with SayHey and his lady on Saturday night. The times, presses and jumps are interesting, but days like today I'm more interested in the positional drills.

Dustin Keller, TE, Purdue
I don't know if any offensive skill position player helped themselves more then Dustin Keller did. I know so many say, oh the combine means nothing, well this kid went from fighting for maybe the number two to number three tight end taken to solidifying the number 2 spot, and maybe even taking the number one.

Dexter Jackson, WR, Appalachian State
He has the second fastest 40 time right now, just behind Darren McFadden, with a 4.37. The dude is lightning quick, had a solid Senior Bowl, and now with a very impressive combine is starting to slowly creep his way up the boards. Before the combine, he may have been a fifth to sixth round guy. I think he may have worked himself into the fourth, MAYBE even the third if some team is really in love with him.

Bryan Kehl, OLB, BYU
There's a lot of interest in Kehl, who seems to have immense physical talents. He was one of the top performers for the linebackers at the 40 and the bench press, and did fairly well in the other timed drills as well. What helped him the most though may have been his instinctive reactions during the linebacker drills. Yes, he went to a Mormon school so he is older (24) but that tells me he won't be doing anything stupid to jeopardize himself or the team.

Cliff Avril, DE/OLB, Purdue
Purdue was dominating the combine these last few days. Keller was the star attraction of the tight ends and Avril became the star attraction of the defensive ends. He ran a 4.5 40, at 250 plus pounds, phe-nominal. I believe he placed as a "top performer" in every statistical category they had for the defensive linemen. Add that with the showing of Keller and Purdue linebacker Stanford Keglar and Purdue had an impressive Combine.

Jeremy Zuttah, OG/T, Rutgers
This guy came out of nowhere and showed that there was someone blocking for Ray Rice. He's 6'3" 303lbs and ran a 4.99 40, had 35 reps at 225lbs, and was near the top of every other drill they had. If anyone helped their draft position the most during the combine so far, it may be Zuttah, the kid is a man-child.

Mike Hart, RB, Michigan
Mike Hart has fought hard to prove to people to overlook his size and stature and just look at his football playing ability, which is bigger then he is. This combine though didn't help him, running a somewhat slow 40 (4.67) and not blowing anyone away with any other drills. I still think he's going to make a believer out of the NFL, this just may have cost him some money his first few years in the league.

Pedro Sosa, OT, Rutgers
Sadly the same can't be said for Pedro Sosa from Rutgers. He's taller then Zuttah, but is lighter and ran a 5.5 40 which doesn't help him at all, specially when you have Chris Long coming off the end. I don't know what happened but he just didn't do his best this weekend at the combine. He was looking before at a fifth to sixth round selection, now he'll be lucky to get drafted at all.

Barry Richardson, OT, Clemson
I'm a huge fan of Barry Richardson, I look at his game tape and I'm impressed with his durability and dependability. Running a slow 40 (5.47) and having a low bench count (24) isn't going to help you, especially in a tackle rich draft like this. In a draft where we could see as many as seven tackles taken in the first round, this may have moved him from the second to somewhere in the third to fourth rounds.

Andre Woodson, QB, Kentucky
Woodson didn't compete this weekend, and I'm in agreement with, he really needed to, at least in some fashion. He has already begun to slip down the slope of draft boards across the NFL before the combine, this no-show has not helped matters at all. Chad Henne, Joe Flacco and Josh Johnson all came out and solidified themselves as late first round second round draft picks, the bottom line is Woodson didn't.

Adarius Bowman, WR, Oklahoma State
Adarius Bowman was heavily hyped the last few years, but this disappointing season has him in a bit of a free fall down draft boards. There were rumors that last year he was a possible first round pick if he ran in the 4.4s. Well, this year he ran a 4.69, probably moving his draft selection into the early to mid parts of day two. When others are already surpassing you, he had to make some kind of noise, sadly this was not the kind of noise he needed to make.

-Chris Johnson surprised everyone it appears with his speed, I think even moving above Felix Jones on some boards.

-Mario Manningham probably hurt his chances of being the first wide receiver taken in the draft. He had a middle of the pack 40, and folks are starting to watch film and seeing all those dropped balls.

-Not sure about Matt Ryan's choice not to throw, it's nice to work with receivers you know, but show the ability to throw the ball accurately to anyone is a bigger plus.

-Josh Johnson continues to raise eyebrows, mine included. The kids athletic ability is damn near off the charts.

-I think I have Chris Long above Vernon Gholston at this point because of two things. One, he has the family genes of a NFL Hall of Famer. Two, I never saw Chris Long crushed by another team in a big game like I saw LSU do to Vernon Gholston.

1 comment:

SayHey Kid said...

McPherson put up some great numbers at the combine as well. Listened to Riggens yesterday and he made a good point, which supported your earlier draft prediction. That being, the Cowboys doing whatever it takes to land him on draft day.