Tag:Combine
Posted on: December 10, 2010 12:14 pm
 

OLB Reed, CB Marsh flying up board

With the FBS regular season coming to a close many scouts are finally getting a break from the road. As such, I've been able to catch up with them and get the names of some of the country's hottest rising prospects.

I have several other contacts that I'll be speaking with this weekend and want to do some film work, myself, before finalizing the article.

Here are two players, however, that numerous scouts have touted highly over just the past 24 hours who, because they play in the West, I'm familiar with already.

I've previously mentioned Arizona pass rusher Brooks Reed as a player rising up draft boards, but after speaking to scouts this week it is clear that I've still been underrating him. Reed's statistics are good (44 tackles, 9.5 tackles for loss, 6.5 sacks) but his production would be even gaudier if he operated as a strongside linebacker, as 4-3 teams are projecting him to be at the pro level. Reed, 6-3 and 262 pounds, earned First Team All Pac-10 honors this year lining up as a defensive end for the Wildcats. He's shown the ability to rush the passer from the stand-up position, as well as from the three-point stance.

There are two elements to Reed's game that scouts are particularly intrigued by -- his nonstop motor and surprising fluidity. Many "undersized" collegiate defensive ends lack the flexibility to make the transition to a true outside linebacker role. This is precisely the area where scouts believe Reed will impress, as his agility and short area burst are expected to make him one of most impressive athletes during workouts.

Utah State cornerback Curtis Marsh is another example of a player skyrocketing up draft boards. A former running back, the 6-1, 195 pound Marsh entered the season barely a blip on scouts' radar. He's steadily risen up charts this season, however, finishing second in the WAC with 15 passes broken up and improving game by game.

Marsh was particularly impressive in the season finale against Boise State's Titus Young, a wideout that some scouts believe is the No. 1 senior at the position and certainly among the nation's fastest. Marsh helped limit Young to four receptions for a season-low 34 yards.

Scouts tell me that strong performances from Reed and Marsh in post-season all-star games could ultimately push both into the Top 100.


Posted on: December 9, 2010 1:08 pm
 

Guilty or not Johnson-Koulianos' NFL shot dead?

A week ago Iowa wide receiver Derrell Johnson-Koulianos was viewed as a legitimate middle round prospect by NFL scouts.

That may have ended yesterday, however, as he appeared in court for the first time to hear the potential 7 1/2 years of jail time he faces after being arrested on multiple drug charges Tuesday.

It is important to note that Johnson-Koulianos is not being charged with selling drugs as has been reported elsewhere. He is, however, being charged with keeping a drug house as well as possession of marijuana, cocaine and a variety of legal pain medication and muscle-relaxers for which he did not have a prescription. Johnson-Koulianos reportedly was tested for marijuana and cocaine and came up positive for both.

In the court of law, Johnson-Koulianos is, of course, innocent until proven guilty. In the eyes of most NFL teams, however, the charges alone against him could eliminate any chance he'll play for their team. Obviously if he were to be found guilty and had to serve any jail time, his chances would drop even further.

Despite the fact that players are drafted every year after testing positive at the Combine for failed drug tests, teams are highly sensitive to players with drug charges. Actual charges tend to generate more public outcry, after all, especially for narcotics like cocaine. 

DJK as he is affectionally called by fans and those close to the Iowa program enjoyed a stellar career for the Hawkeyes. A First Team All Big-Ten selection this season with 46 receptions for 745 yards and 10 touchdowns, he leaves Iowa as their career record-holder in catches (173) and yardage (2,616). Johnson-Koulianos is also a standout kick returner with two touchdown returns over his career, including one against Minnesota in what appears to have been his final collegiate game - and perhaps the final organized football game of his career.
Posted on: October 7, 2010 3:52 pm
Edited on: October 7, 2010 3:59 pm
 

Herzlich has broken hand

Boston College outside linebacker Mark Herzlich broke a bone in his left hand during Tuesday's practice, but is expected to play in Saturday's game against North Carolina State, according to multiple reports.

The Boston Herald reports that Herzlich practiced today (Thursday) but with his hand heavily wrapped.

The blog posting at the Herald focuses on the sprained left ankle of freshman quarterback Chase Rettig that may make him unavailable against the Wolfpack, but in the eyes of NFL scouts, Herzlich's injury is very much more newsworthy.

A broken hand may not seem like a big story, but NFL teams will be wary that Herzlich's recovery from Ewing's Sarcoma (a rare form of bone cancer) may leave him vulnerable to further injuries.

This concern could be magnified with Herzlich's new injury, especially considering that Herzlich broke his right foot during routine drills prior to the start of the season.

For obvious reasons, Herzlich is likely to be the most heavily scrutinized player during the medical testing at this year's Scouting Combine.

Posted on: August 18, 2010 3:36 pm
Edited on: August 18, 2010 3:47 pm
 

Pats give OG Simmons a chance, despite clubfoot

With Pro Bowler Logan Mankins holding out and the Nick Kaczur's back a potential season-long issue, the Patriots were in the market for an offensive guard.

The man they picked up, former Oklahoma standout Brian Simmons, is as surprising a choice as there could be.

You see Simmons, a 6-4, 315 pound former defensive tackle who played in 42 games for the Sooners at left and right guard, has a clubfoot. He wasn't invited to the Combine and despite plenty of hype surrounding him, wasn't drafted. As his mother explained in an sad email used by David Ubben on ESPN's Big 12 blog , her son's clubfoot had landed him on the NFL reject list.

A clubfoot, according to WebMD , is a deformity that occurs in the tendons of the foot prior to birth. The tendons force the foot to turn downward and inward towards the other foot. It may result in the foot, especially after the heel, being smaller than the other foot. To correct the issue, the foot is often broken and placed in a cast to re-shape it.

According to Brandon George's article in the Dallas Morning News, Simmons wears a size 17.5 shoe on his left foot and a size 16 on his right.

George's article, written in August of 2007, notes that Simmons has had his right foot broken and re-set a staggering 16 times during surgeries.

With thousands of prospects to grade, NFL teams rely on sharing medical information. It is one of the primary reasons for the development of the Scouting Combine as we now know it. By being placed on the reject list, Simmons had virtually no shot at getting as much as a workout from an NFL team despite the fact that other professional athletes, including Hall of Famer Troy Aikman, have beaten clubfoot to enjoy productive careers.

Simmons was an often-used backup for much of his career, but a knee injury robbed him of five games during his senior campaign -- the only year in which he started at Oklahoma. Playing next to Trent Williams for much of the time, Simmons' athleticism and balance stands out on film. He proved at his Pro Day (the official Oklahoma Pro Day March 9, not Sam Bradford's throwing session March 29) that he was a legitimate draftable athlete at guard -- especially considering the relatively weak crop of talent that was available this year. Simmons measured in at 6-4 1/4, 315 pounds and ran the 40-yard dash between 5.19-5.26. He was timed at 4.75 in the short shuttle, 7.61 in the 3-cone and posted a 28" vertical jump and a 8-10" broad jump. I was disappointed, if not surprised, when Simmons wasn't drafted or immediately signed as a high priority free agent.

Fortunately for Simmons (and potentially the Patriots), New England elected to roll the dice Sunday and gave the former Sooner a shot.

I, for one, will be rooting for him.

Posted on: August 16, 2010 11:23 pm
Edited on: August 16, 2010 11:42 pm
 

Giants' WR Cruz steals rookie spotlight on MNF

For all of the talk about high profile rookies leading up the Gotham showdown between the New York Jets and New York Giants for tonight's Monday Night Football game, it was an undrafted wide receiver that stole the show.

Victor Cruz, an undrafted receiver from the University of Massachusetts, caught six passes for 145 yards and three touchdowns against Rex Ryan's Jets that, along with Eli Manning's gash , made the opening of the New Meadowlands Stadium memorable.

It wasn't just that Cruz was productive. It was the spectacular fashion with which he did so that will be catching the attention of every NFL team.

Cruz's first touchdown -- an eye-popping one-handed grab over tight coverage supplied by Jets' cornerback Dwight Lowery -- went for 64 yards. Only moments later, he caught his second score from Giants' backup Jim Sorgi. This one went for 34 yards. Not finished yet, Cruz caught his third touchdown in less than nine minutes of game-time with a 5-yard toss from Rhett Bomar.

Cruz, who was not invited to the Combine despite earning First-Team All-CAA honors in 2009,  has been impressive throughout training camp. He quickly moved up the UMass receiving records list, catching all but one of his 131 passes for 1,958 yards and 11 touchdowns in his final two seasons. Ironically enough, Cruz entered the game not even the most hyped of the UMass rookies. The Jets, of course, spent their second round pick on Massachusetts' offensive lineman Vladimir DuCassse. DuCasse is expected to win the starting left guard position for the Jets.

As ESPN analyst Mike Tirico noted during the telecast, Cruz's big game was historic -- it was the first time a receiver caught three touchdowns in a game since some guy named Terrell Owens accomplished the feat for the 49ers in 1998.

As for the so-called star rookies...

Jets' first round pick Kyle Wilson was largely invisible, finishing with only one tackle. The Giants' first round pick, Jason Pierre Paul, flashed his burst and good flexibility in recording his first NFL sack, but also showed the poor football instincts and relative weakness at the point of attack that had led some scouts to rank him as the most overrated prospect heading into last April's draft.






Posted on: August 16, 2010 12:17 pm
 

Tebow's first game as predictable as it comes

There are times when I really do try to not mention a certain quarterback wearing the No. 15.

In explaining the hoopla to a few family members who don't care about football I realized that unless Tim Tebow truly revolutionizes the game, he'll never be able to match his hype. John Elway, who was the best all-around quarterback I've ever seen, couldn't live up to the expectations some are placing on Tebow.

And let's be clear, Tim Tebow is no John Elway.

Like many of you, I've intently watched Tebow for the past four years light up NCAA defenses with a brand of leadership, toughness, power running and passing just consistent enough to keep opponents in check.

I'm kicking myself this morning for not writing a Tebow Preview post yesterday prior to Denver's preseason game at Cincinnati.

Sure, it is easy to sound like a know-it-all after the fact, but was Tebow's up and down premiere really that surprising?

You tell me -- what wasn't predictable about last night?

Consider that:

  • One could see Tebow's nervous energy on the Denver sideline as the game went on and he knew his time was coming.
  • Once on the field, Tebow was loudly booed (amidst some cheers) by the Ohio crowd. Surprise, surprise that Buckeye and Bearcat fans remembered Tebow's impact in the 2007 BCS Championship Game (41-14) and 2010 Sugar Bowl (51-24) throttlings, respectively, of their beloved teams. 
  • Tebow's best throw was a 40-yard bomb to wideout Matt Willis. Though the ball wasn't perfectly placed -- it would have hit Willis in the helmet had it not bounced off of both hands first -- it was thrown with enough trajectory and speed to allow the receiver to catch and run away from the cornerback. It should have been a 60 yard touchdown. Tebow's deep ball prowess was among his most impressive traits I noticed when scouting him during his Pro Day workout and the Senior Bowl .
  • Once pressured, Tebow reverted back to the long wind-up delivery that we'd seen throughout his four years at Florida. By dropping the ball to his hip like he'd done hundreds of times with the Gators, Tebow had the ball knocked free when hit by a Cincinnati blitz. Bengal pass rusher Frostee Rucker picked up the ball and ran for an apparent touchdown. Replay ruled that Tebow's arm was going forward and the defensive touchdown was wiped away, but this was precisely what scouts were concerned about . Even when the ball wasn't knocked away during his wind-up, Bengal pass defenders still got a half-step advantage in breaking to the ball. Again, for all of the talk about Tebow's smoother throwing motion following the season, did anyone really believe the tutoring in a controlled situation would take over for his instincts and muscle memory once back in an actual game?
  • Finally, was anyone surprised that Tebow was able to score on the game's final play? Trailing 33-17, the last timed play of the game wasn't going to have any bearing on the final outcome. The players giving their all on this play would be the ones whose jobs were on the line or simply the most competitive on the field. Tebow's competitive fire is as impressive as any player I've ever scouted and he's a load as a runner (as his SEC-record 57 rushing touchdowns can attest) so it was quite predictable to see him take off from the 7-yard line and bowl over a defender (Bengals safety Kyries Hebert) on his way to the endzone. Even Cincinnati quarterback Carson Palmer wasn't surprised with the outcome. As he told reporters following the game, "It was one of those things where you knew he was going to score on the last play of the game, either run it in or throw it in there," Palmer said. "He's such a competitor. I've been a big fan of his ever since he started at Florida. He's one of the greatest college football players."
Now, the day after the game, sports analysts everywhere are micro-analyzing Tebow's performance. Some are surprised he didn't fall on his face, completely. Others, buying into Tebow-mania, are surely certain that his last-play touchdown forecasts immediate NFL success.

And I guess that mixed reaction is the most predictable of all.
Posted on: June 12, 2010 10:14 am
This entry has been removed by the administrator.

Post Deleted by Administrator

This message has been removed by the administrator.

Posted on: April 19, 2010 7:41 pm
 

ASU WR McGaha helps cause in late workout

Arizona State wide receiver Chris McGaha may have improved his stock with a late workout Monday. The former all-Pac-10 receiver had been unable to workout for scouts at the Combine and Arizona State's Pro Day March 26 due to a strained hamstring.

With teams focusing on their draft board, a scout from the Buffalo Bills was on hand to record McGaha's times and circulate the results to the rest of the NFL clubs through the APT system.

According to a source with knowledge of the situation, McGaha measured in at 6-1, 199 pounds and was timed at 4.52 seconds in the 40-yard dash -- an impressive time considering McGaha is known more for his sticky hands and savvy route-running and the fact that the workout was done on grass. Most impressive about McGaha's speed was his time over the first 20 yards (2.54). Only one receiver tested at the Combine was clocked faster over the first 20 yards and that was Clemson's Jacoby Ford, whose hand-held time in the 40-yard dash, according to records provided to me by a league source, was 4.24 seconds.

McGaha's slowing over the final 20 yards could have been a result of his only recent recovery from the hamstring injury. He's only recently been able to prepare fully for this workout.

McGaha was also impressive in the short shuttle (4.10) and 3-cone drills (6.75).

Though he was not able to perform in the timed drills at the Combine, McGaha did impress scouts with his explosiveness in the vertical jump (40"), broad jump (10'2) and bench press (19 reps).

McGaha, who recently underwent Lasik surgery to improve his vision, caught 56 passes for 673 yards and 4 TDs in 2009.

He was not asked to catch passes during today's session.


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