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Category:NFL Draft
Posted on: February 21, 2012 2:28 pm
 

Stephen Garcia fighting odds to reach NFL dream

Former South Carolina quarterback Stephen Garcia wasn't among the 300-plus prospects invited to this week's Scouting Combine, but he is still working hard to convince scouts to give him a shot at the NFL.

Garcia participated in the Battle of Florida all-star game and took part in one of the regional scouting combines that were set up this year. He's waiting to hear if he'll be selected for a "super regional combine" scheduled for March 30 at Ford Field in Detroit.

It has been a long road for Garcia, a one-time prized recruit who was kicked off the South Carolina team last year for drinking alcohol when he was given a no tolerance policy from coach Steve Spurrier following five previous suspensions.

However, Spurrier is allowing Garcia to participate in South Carolina's March 28 pro day, and the quarterback said he's committed to proving to NFL teams that he does not have a problem with alcohol.

"I want to meet with the NFL and prove that I'm not an alcoholic," Garcia told Scout.com's Aaron Wilson. "I've learned from my mistakes."

"I've learned how immature I really was. I just didn't know exactly how important everything was until after I made all of those mistakes. I was trying to be like every other college kid, but you can't do that as a starting quarterback

Garcia is the 26th-rated quarterback available in April's draft by NFLDraftScout.com, and is currently viewed as unlikely to be drafted. However, he could sign as a priority free agent and get that opportunity to prove himself in an NFL camp.

Posted on: February 20, 2012 4:03 pm
Edited on: February 20, 2012 9:14 pm
 

RG3 pushes pro day in front of Luck's

Robert Griffin III has moved his pro day up to March 21, one day before Andrew Luck's pro day, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter. The move avoids a conflict for NFL scouts, who can now take in both workouts.

The change might benefit teammates more than Luck and Griffin III, who are the top two rated players by NFLDraftScout.com. With Stanford and Baylor both boasting several draftable players, scouts won't have to choose which workout to attend.

Luck and Griffin will both be in Indianapolis this week for the Scouting Combine. While they will interview with teams and take part in measurements and the media sessions, both may choose to skip the throwing sessions. Many top quarterback prospects choose to wait until their personal pro days, when they can work out on their home turf and with their own receivers.

UPDATE: Griffin said he is looking forward to talking to executives, will run the 40-yard dash and take part in drills at the Combine, but will not take part in throwing drills.
Posted on: February 20, 2012 12:44 pm
Edited on: February 20, 2012 3:02 pm
 

Blackmon to 'do it all' at Combine; Fleener won't

NFL scouts will get the opportunity to see Oklahoma State's Justin Blackmon, who most rated as the elite wide receiver in the 2012 draft, participate fully in this week's Scouting Combine.

NFLDraftScout.com has learned that a high ankle sprain will keep another potential first round pass-catcher from doing the same, however. 

Albert Breer of NFL.com reports that Blackmon plans to "do it all" in Indianapolis this week and even predicts that he'll be timed between 4.4 and 4.5 seconds when he runs the 40-yard dash. Despite Blackmon dominating the competition at the collegiate level, including winning back to back Biletnikof Awards as the nation's elite receiver, scouts have reservations about his straight-line speed. Blackmon, in fact, has been routinely estimated as a receiver with 4.55-4.60 speed by area scouts who have scouted him numerous times in person. A perceived lack of top-end speed is the one physical characteristic Blackmon would appear to be lacking when compared to receivers taken in the top six in recent years like A.J. Green, Julio Jones and Calvin Johnson. Scouts also have some reservations about Blackmon's decision-making off the field, in large part due to an arrest for driving while under the influence of alcohol in October, 2010. Blackmon was just 20 years old at the time.

While scouts will get some of their biggest questions answered about arguably the elite non-QB skill-position talent in the draft at the Combine, they'll have to wait until Stanford's March 22 Pro Day to see Coby Fleener, NFLDraftScout.com's top-rated senior tight end, perform athletic drills. Considering that some guy named Luck is expected to throw that day as well as the presence of two first round caliber offensive linemen (OG David DeCastro, OT Jonathan Martin) also among those expected to be on hand for the workout, there should be plenty of decision-makers in Palo Alto for the workout.  

Ironically enough, Fleener suffered his ankle injury playing against Blackmon's Oklahoma State Cowboys January 3 in the Fiesta Bowl. The injury kept Fleener out of the Senior Bowl. According to a source close to the situation, Fleener has recovered suffiiciently from the injury but hasn't yet had an opportunity to prepare fully for the Combine-specific workouts. Though he won't be able to work out, Fleener will attend the Combine to participate in the medical testing and interview process.
Posted on: February 19, 2012 2:27 pm
Edited on: February 20, 2012 3:36 pm
 

Report: Tannehill to work out on campus March 29

NFL scouts will get the opportunity to scout Texas A&M's Ryan Tannehill Pro Day one week after the only two quarterbacks currently rated by NFLDraftScout.com ahead of him -- Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III -- are scheduled to hold their own

NFL.com's Gil Brandt reports that Tannehill will have an on-campus workout March 29

It will be the first time scouts have seen Tannehill since he guided the Aggies to a Meineke Bowl win over Northwestern December 31st. Tannehill suffered a foot injury while preparing for the Senior Bowl at IMG Football Academy in Bradenton, Florida. It was discovered that he had broken the fifth metatarsal. The injury and subsequent surgery in which a screw was inserted cost Tannehill the opportunity to compete in the Senior Bowl, next week's Scouting Combine or Texas A&M's initial Pro Day March 7.   

While Oklahoma State's Brandon Weeden and Michigan State's Kirk Cousins boosted their stock with strong efforts at the Senior Bowl, Texas A&M's Ryan Tannehill remains the most talented senior quarterback in the land and is likely to be the first one drafted.

Some believe Tannehill's obvious talent will be enough to land him in the first round. Others, including myself, are having a harder time envisioning a quarterback with only 19 collegiate starts at the position as being a first-round pick. While I don't include him in my mock draft, I do believe he's among the top 32 talents in this draft. 

     
Posted on: February 18, 2012 12:49 pm
 

NFL to open Combine gates for 250 fans

The NFL's ever-expanding marketing promotions have taken the next logical step and will be allowing 250 fans into the 2012 Scouting Combine. 
 
Fans interested in attending the quarterback and wide receiver position drills on Sunday, February 26 are asked to register at 1iota.com. Tickets are free but won't be issued on a first-come, first-served basis. Fans are encouraged to write a "short essay" on why they deserve to be among the lucky ones allowed into Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis to watch wide receivers run the 40-yard dash as well as quarterbacks and receivers performing their positional drills. Fans fortunate enough to be picked will also be given a raffle ticket, giving them a chance to win NFL Shop gift cards, a mini helmet signed by the Colts' Reggie Wayne and Joseph Addai and Under Armour swag bags. 

The Scouting Combine has historically been a secretive event in which only NFL personnel were allowed to attend. The media on hand to cover the event largely were contained in a few rooms to conduct scheduled interviews with players and league personnel. NFL Network cameras were allowed unprecedented access to the Combine several years ago, giving fans sitting at home better access to the proceedings than the media working just a room away. Beginning in 2007, a handful of media members were allowed to view the drills that the league is now opening up to fans. 

I have been fortunate enough to be among those allowed in for several of these workouts. I can tell you from experience that the inside of the stadium during these workouts is quite different from that of a game or even practice. While the players and a few coaches/scouts are down on the field, league personnel is generally scattered throughout the lower level seats and suites. The place is eerily quiet other than the occasional shouts of encouragement from players to each other. Media allowed into workouts were asked to be quiet when inside or be asked to leave. Cell phones and recording devices were banned from use. Fans will likely be asked to follow the same procedures.

The decision to open the Combine to fans is an interesting reversal. NFL spokesman Greg Aiello informed media at the Super Bowl that the NFL had no plans to allow fans into the Combine at that time.

For a list of all the prospects invited to this year's Combine, click here.
  

Posted on: February 18, 2012 11:37 am
 

Why wait? Kuechly doing everything at Combine

The unfortunate reality about the Scouting Combine is that too many of the elite prospects choose not to work out in Indianapolis but instead wait until their Pro Day. 

Boston College's Luke Kuechly -- the consensus top rated inside linebacker in the 2012 draft and reigning Butkus, Nagurski, Lombardi and LOTT Impact Trophy award winner -- told me that he certainly won't be passing up on the opportunity to compete. 

"Yes, I'll be doing everything at the Combine. I'm looking forward to it," Kuechy told me in a phone interview this week. 

Kuechly has been hard at work at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida preparing for the work out since shortly after his January 6 announcement that he'd be bypassing his senior season and heading to the NFL. 

Kuechly is one of 33 NFL hopefuls training in Bradenton. With him are several other potential first round prospects, including Georgia offensive lineman Cordy Glenn, Wisconsin offensive lineman Peter Konz and Rutgers wide receiver Mohamed Sanu.  Kuechly elected to attend IMG partially due to recommendations from two former BC standouts who trained there last year -- offensive tackle Anthony Castonzo (the Indianapolis Colts' first round pick last April) and outside linebacker Mark Herzlich (New York Giants).  

The Boston College product told me that he's primarily been working on speed and explosiveness drills in preparation for the Combine and is currently measuring in at 6-3 and 240 pounds. 

Kuechly currently ranks No. 19 overall on my personal player rankings for the 2012 draft. He seems an obvious candidate for the Philadelphia Eagles considering their woes at middle linebacker and is projected by Dane Brugler and I to be the Eagles' choice with the No. 15 overall pick.


    Luke Kuechly working the bags in preparation for the 2012 Scouting Combine. Photo courtesy of IMG  
Posted on: February 17, 2012 12:49 pm
 

Panthers plan private visit with LSU DT Brockers

Typically NFL teams wait until after the Combine and Pro Day workouts to schedule private visits with potential draft picks.

The Carolina Panthers, however, have already invited LSU defensive tackle Michael Brockers to visit their facility March 8, according to the redshirt sophomore's agent.

Albert Elias of Elias Sports Management announced the proposed meeting via his Twitter account.

Listed by LSU at 6-6, 306 pounds pounds, Brockers ranks among the elite talents in what has shaped up to be a strong defensive tackle class. Brockers is currently second among defensive tackles on NFLDraftScout.com's board (behind Penn State's Devon Still) and is our No. 13 overall rated prospect. He's among six defensive tackles NFLDraftScout.com currently projects as potential first round prospects -- the highest total from any position in the 2012 draft. I'm even higher on Brockers than my peers, ranking him 10th overall on my Big Board.

The Panthers finished 25th in the NFL last season by allowing an average of 130.8 rushing yards per game. Worse, they finished 30th in the league by allowing 18 touchdowns on the ground in 2011. Clearly, improving their run defense will be a priority for Carolina. Dane Brugler and I certainly think the fit in Carolina would be a good one. Each of us currently project the Panthers to select Brockers with their first round pick.   

Starting all 13 games in 2011, Brockers registered 54 tackles, including 10 tackles for loss. Though he only posted two sacks in 2011, some scouts believe LSU's speedy edge rushers simply got to the quarterback before Brockers could and that he'll ultimately prove an effective interior pass rusher in the NFL. Brockers also registered three passes broken up, an interception, a forced fumble and blocked a field goal attempt by Alabama in the BCS championship game.

Brockers only emerged as a full-time starter for the Tigers this past season but teams are enamored with his upside. He shows surprising flexibility for a man of his size, proving able to push interior linemen back with good power and pad level. Brockers, who signed with LSU as a very highly regarded defensive prospect, is a good athlete capable of chasing down ball-carriers. He is also blessed with long arms which help him break free from blocks quickly and present obstacles that quarterbacks and kickers have to avoid with the football. Scouts believe Brockers is just scratching the surface of his potential as he became increasingly effective as the season went on and was arguably the best player on the field in the national championship game.

Posted on: February 15, 2012 2:59 pm
Edited on: February 15, 2012 3:02 pm
 

Tannehill out of boot, will re-schedule Pro Day

While Oklahoma State's Brandon Weeden and Michigan State's Kirk Cousins boosted their stock with strong efforts at the Senior Bowl, Texas A&M's Ryan Tannehill remains the most talented senior quarterback in the land and is likely to be the first one drafted.

Some believe Tannehill's obvious talent will be enough to land him in the first round, joining redshirt juniors Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III as top 32 picks. Others, including myself, are having a harder time envisioning a quarterback who just 19 collegiate starts at the position as being a first round pick. While I don't include him in my mock draft, I do believe he's among the top 32 talents in this draft. 

Regardless of where he is ultimately drafted, Tannehill will have to first prove his health, as he underwent surgery recently to repair a broken foot suffered during passing drills at IMG Football Academy in Bradenton, Florida. The injury kept him out of the Senior Bowl and while ESPN's Pat Yasinkas is reporting that Tannehill is now out of the protective boot he was in, Tannehill won't be ready to work out for scouts at the Combine or Texas A&M's scheduled Pro Day March 7.

Yasinkas reports that Tannehill is planning to have a Pro Day "in late March" and asked the Aggie quarterback about his recovery timetable.

“We’ll come back and push it pretty hard,’’ Tannehill said. “I’m thinking I should be getting close to 100 percent by right after the combine and we’ll really jump into the on-field stuff then to make up for the time I missed and get ready for pro day.’’ 


 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com