Tag:Combine
Posted on: April 19, 2010 1:47 pm
 

Failed drug test could knock McCoy out of draft

According to multiple reports, including this one by Fox's Jay Glazer and Alex Marvez, USC tight end Anthony McCoy and Georgia Tech running back Jonathan Dwyer each failed drug tests administered at the Combine.

Dwyer was found to have amphetamines in his system, something that may not have a negative impact on his draft stock due to the fact that many teams knew about his prescription for a pre-existing condition. Furthermore, he has not had any previous off-field problems at Georgia Tech.

The news is much darker, however, for McCoy, who tested positive for marijuana.

McCoy is considered one of the better all-around tight ends in the 2010 class. While he lacks the speed associated with today's hybrid receiving specialists, he's proven to be an effective short to intermediate yardage target and is perhaps this year's best blocker at the position.

McCoy, however, has struggled with discipline throughout his career at USC. He was suspended due to academic violations on multiple occasions, including twice his senior year. McCoy was suspended from the team before the season began and then again for the Emerald Bowl, what would have been his final game in a USC uniform.

On their own, McCoy's academic struggles wouldn't be enough to do more than raise a red flag for most teams. The failed drug test, however, when put in the context of his other issues, will certainly be enough to take him off many teams' boards... enough in fact that some scouts feel he could slip out of the draft entirely. 
Posted on: April 18, 2010 9:38 pm
 

WR Demaryius Thomas works out, doesn't run 40


Georgia Tech wide receiver Demaryius Thomas worked out for NFL scouts Sunday, but was unable to run any timed drills or complete the routes of a pro-style offense due to the fact that he's not yet fully recovered from surgery for a broken foot.

The 6-3 (1/4), 229 pound Thomas characterized his recovery from the broken fifth metatarsal as "90 percent healed" according to a report from the Atlanta Journal Constitution.

According to a source on hand for the workout, Thomas did not drop any passes during the hour-long workout, but wasn't able to answer some of the questions scouts had about his ability to acclimate to a pro-style offense. The source also characterized Thomas as running the drills at roughly "half speed."
 
Thomas caught 46 passes for 1,154 yards and 8 touchdowns last year for Georgia Tech, but did so primarily by running go-routes as a deep target in Paul Johnson's run-heavy, triple-option offense. '

Scouts were concerned about the fact that Thomas wasn't able to get timed in drills. While they would have liked to have seen his agility and straight-line speed firsthand, Thomas' speed is not questioned.

Thomas had been timed at 4.38 seconds in the 40-yard dash while training for the Combine at Athletes Performance. The workout was recorded and when it became apparent that Thomas would be unable to workout for scouts in Indianapolis, his agent, Todd France, sent out DVDs of the workout to all 32 NFL teams.

Thomas' rare combination of size and speed might be enough to convince a team to spend a first round pick on him Thursday. He has been invited to New York by the league and will be in attendance, according to the AJC's article.
Posted on: April 15, 2010 12:34 pm
Edited on: April 15, 2010 2:08 pm
 

Five mock-busters who could make the 1st Round

In a previous post I mentioned a few players that league sources are characterizing as overrated and could slip out of the first round entirely.

Just as important when predicting what will take place one week from today, however, is identifying players who have earned very little first round hype but could sneak in late.

There are several "bubble" players that could make the first round that I'm not discussing in this post -- Carlos Dunlap, Brian Price, Kareem Jackson, Golden Tate, some QB from Florida... You've seen them in first round mocks before and, perhaps, wouldn't be surprised if their names were called next Thursday.

This post is dedicated to the truer surprise names.

Among the biggest surprises over the past few years? Former East Carolina running back Chris Johnson, former Virginia Tech offensive tackle Duane Brown (both in 2008), former LSU wideout Craig Davis (2007), former NC State defensive tackle John McCargo (2006), former Ole Miss center Chris Spencer and former Fresno State guard Logan Mankins (both 2005).

Chris Johnson and Logan Mankins have since emerged as Pro Bowl talents for the Titans and Patriots, respectively. While Brown (Houston) and Spencer (Seattle) have developed into solid starters, Davis (San Diego) and McCargo (Buffalo) haven't met expectations.

According to scouts and front office executives throughout the league here are five players who could sneak into the 2010 first round and surprise many.

(Players listed alphabetically)

DL Tyson Alualu, California: An established force as a defensive end in the 3-4 and projecting nicely as a 4-3 defensive tackle, Alualu is scheme-versatile and a high-effort player. He lacks the athletic upside of some of the other defensive linemen of this class, but he's viewed as one of the safer players in the draft. The Steelers made a similar selection with Ziggy Hood last year.

RB Jahvid Best, California: Considering his explosiveness, Best should hardly be viewed as a surprise first round pick. However, his durability concerns are enough that most teams feel he'll be available in the second round. Considering the dramatic drop off in explosive running backs after Spiller and Best, however, a team looking for true big play potential from a 2010 rookie running back might have to gamble earlier than they'd like.

OT Vladimir Ducasse, Massachusetts: I expect there to be a run on offensive linemen in the first round similar to the one seen in 2007 -- when a league record eight offensive tackles were taken. If this were to occur, Ducasse, projected by most teams to go anywhere from 35-55, could sneak in late, just as Duane Brown did with the Houston Texans in 2008.

OLB Koa Misi, Utah: Roughly half of the NFL is now planning on operating primarily out of the 3-4 alignment. That fact makes established pass rushers like Misi ones to watch on draft day. Possessing an explosive first step as a defensive end for the Utes, the 6-3, 251 pound Misi impressed scouts in linebacker drills in workouts. Both he and Virginia Tech's Jason Worilds are viewed as locks for the second round, but an early run on the position could push either into the first round.

OLB Daryl Washington, TCU: As deep and talented as the 3-4 rush linebacker class is, there are few highly rated traditional outside linebackers in this class for the 4-3 alignment. Washington played inside for the Horned Frogs, but his 6-2, 230 pound frame makes him an ideal fit on the weakside. The explosive Washington is rated higher on some boards than Missouri's Sean Weatherspoon.

Posted on: April 12, 2010 8:08 pm
 

DE Pierre-Paul draft's most overrated player


As we inch closer to the first primetime first round in NFL history, I continue to work the phone lines in an effort to best predict its outcome.

One of the more useful strategies I've come to rely on over the years is asking league sources to identify one or two players who are being severely overrated by the media.

Maryland offensive tackle Bruce Campbell got several votes, but the player who received the vast majority of them was South Florida defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul.

Pierre-Paul's athleticism and lanky frame intrigue teams, but scouts are getting past the hypotheticals and are now focusing on the realities. Pierre-Paul started a total of seven games at the D-I level -- and these games weren't consecutive. In fact, the most games he started consecutively with the Bulls was the final three of his career.  Earlier in the year, he'd start a game or two and then get benched for a game or two. He didn't qualify academically out of high school, played at two different junior colleges (College of the Canyons and Fort Scott Community College) and obviously left after only one season at South Florida. Furthermore, while his statistics with the Bulls (45 tackles, 16.5 tackles for loss, 6.5 sacks) are impressive considering his relative lack of starting time, scouts attribute at least some of his success to playing opposite an established pass rush threat in George Selvie and being protected by legitimate NFL talent in the secondary behind him.

Scouts don't question his upside, but tell me that Pierre-Paul is "at least" one year away from being a major contributor to an NFL team. He lacked the strength and toughness last year to provide much in terms of run defense for the Bulls and really disappointed at the Combine, struggling during interviews by showing very little understanding of basic football principles.

Considering the value of pass rushers, scouts still thought Pierre-Paul would "probably" make the first round, but weren't certain what teams could afford to devote millions to such a project.
"I wouldn't even use a second round pick on the guy," said one high ranking team official. "You see flashes, sure, but [the team that drafts him] had better keep things simple. Don't ask him to know gap assignments. Don't ask him to really play football. Just rush the passer."
Posted on: April 10, 2010 10:59 am
 

Scout: Clausen good, Tate better at Pro Day

Despite all of the attention heaped upon Jimmy Clausen's workout yesterday, the true star on the field, one scout in attendance told me, was Clausen's former wide receiver, Golden Tate.

"Clausen was good. Give him credit. He fired the ball in there better than I thought he would and he handled the pressure well. He looked like he was having fun out there, and that was important to the guys who questioned his leadership," the high ranking scout told me on the condition of anonymity.

"But, the best player on the field was Tate. No question."

Tate's strong showing doesn't surprise me -- nor should it surprise any one who has done any legitimate film review of him.

While I'm always hesitant to make comparisons of college players to NFL standouts, I've consistently compared Tate to Panthers All-Pro Steve Smith.

Smith (5'9, 185) and Tate's (5-10, 199) lack of prototypical size might be the most obvious reason for the comparison, but in reality, this is just one of the several attributes each player brings. Both are more like running backs after the catch than wide receivers, showing not only the agility and acceleration to make defenders miss and pull away from them -- but also the vision to set up downfield blocks and the willingness to cut back into the middle (where few undersized receivers are willing to go). Both are short in stature, but giants in terms of toughness and physicality.

What I like most about Tate (and Smith) is that despite their height, they each boast spectacular timing and body control during their leaps for contested passes. Few, if any receivers, consistently win more "jump balls" than these two so-called "undersized" receivers. 

And let's not forget that Tate is far from just a workout warrior. Sure, his 4.42 time in the 40-yard dash at the Combine was impressive, but his production at Notre Dame was even better. Tate won the Biletnikof Award as the nation's best receiver, breaking school records for receptions (93) and receiving yards (1,496) and tying the mark for receiving touchdowns (15). He also scored two touchdowns as a runner and another as a punt returner. 

When Tate falls out of the first round -- and according to sources throughout the league there is a growing consensus that he will -- don't take that as a sign that he's been overrated or that his former quarterback was the best Notre Dame player last year.

If taken with anything less than a first round pick, Tate will prove to be one of the great steals of the 2010 draft.


Posted on: April 9, 2010 2:09 pm
 

Clausen "looked pretty good" at Pro Day

Notre Dame quarterback Jimmy Clausen threw for scouts Friday morning in South Bend, easing concerns about his surgically repaired toe.
According to scouts in attendance, Clausen "looked pretty good," driving the ball on intermediate routes and completing 57 of 59 passes overall. His two incompletions come on long balls in which he overthrew his receiver.

Like Sam Bradford's Pro Day, Clausen's workout was scripted. He took 3, 5 and 7 steps drops, though he did not attempt any bootlegs or perform in the 40-yard dash due to the fact that he is still recovering from the injury. Afterwards he described himself as "75-80%" of his normal self. Clausen has only recently been able to throw and fully workout following his surgery, January 5. Due to the surgery, Clausen was unable to workout for scouts at the Combine or in Notre Dame's first Pro Day. Clausen will be traveling to Indianapolis for a medical re-check, but afterwards has visits and private workouts lined up with several clubs, including the St. Louis Rams, Washington Redskins and Buffalo Bills.

Clausen threw to four former Notre Dame receivers: Golden Tate, James Aldridge, Robby Parris and David Grimes.

There were 16 teams represented Friday. Among the heavy hitters in attendance at Clausen's Pro Day were St. Louis general manager Billy Devaney, head coach Steve Spagnuolo, Buffalo general manager Buddy Nix, and Seattle offensive coordinator Jeremy Bates.

I currently have Clausen being drafted by the Buffalo Bills in my mock draft.

Posted on: April 7, 2010 7:00 pm
 

5 players moving up as draft approaches

Building momentum up to draft day is one of the key ingredients savvy agents and talented players often use to earn high selections. Though NFL teams have been tirelessly working on their draft boards over the past month, several players each year often get "bumped" at the last minute due to impressive workouts, interviews or just creating a general "buzz."

As we tightened our rankings in preparation for the profiles and rankings update available in our new PDF Draft Guide (available for download here ), I noticed that five players kept being mentioned by league sources as players moving up the board.

These five players I've listed below:

Quarterback Tim Tebow, Florida: You've heard or read the talk everywhere about his rising up draft boards and my sources are confirming the same thing. Tebow is dazzling coaches in interviews, leading some scouts -- who try to show coaches Tebow's flawed film -- frustrated with how quickly and high the former Heisman winner is being moved up the board. According to sources, Tebow is a virtual lock to be off the board by the mid second round and is gaining momentum as a late first round pick.

Defensive Tackle Linval Joseph, East Carolina: Overshadowed a bit at ECU by DE CJ Wilson and DT Jay Ross, Joseph is the one that has the most interesting blend of NFL size (6-5, 328) and athleticism. Scouts would like to see him put it all together and be a more consistent player, but his tools have some clubs talking about him as a potential 2nd round prospect.

Cornerback Alterran Verner, UCLA: Verner can thank gutty, undersized corners like Christopher Owens (3rd round pick by Atlanta in 2009) for his rise up the board. Like Owens, Verner isn't a blazer, but he's highly competitive and has been a consistent standout throughout his career. Scouts are characterizing him as one of the safer cornerbacks in the class and feel that he could earn a similar selection as Owens, who started six games for the Falcons as a rookie.

Cornerback Myron Lewis, Vanderbilt: Following his solid Pro Day performance March 20, I touted Lewis as one of the more underrated defensive backs in the 2010 draft and scouts are telling me that we're still ranking him too low. Lewis starred at cornerback for the Commodores and some teams believe he has the agility to remain at this position in the NFL despite measuring in at 6-2, 203 pounds. We currently have Lewis rated as a free safety and a 4th-5th round pick, but I've spoken to clubs that feel he'll be off the board in the 3rd.

FS Robert Johnson, Utah: Despite not getting invited to the Combine, Johnson is one of the fastest rising names in the draft. He measured in heavier than scouts expected at his Pro Day (6-2, 203 pounds) and turned in blazing times in the short shuttle and 3-cone drills. In fact, his 4.06 second short shuttle and 6.56 second 3-cone times were faster than those recorded by any safety in Indianapolis. A natural ballhawk with 13 interceptions over the past three seasons, Johnson has visited or been privately worked out by a half-dozen teams.
Posted on: April 7, 2010 11:33 am
 

DT Arthur Jones finally works out

Syracuse defensive tackle Arthur Jones finally had his opportunity to work out for scouts.

Jones, a two-time first team all-Big East pick, entered the 2010 season graded by NFL scouts as a potential first round choice. However, suffered two injuries in 2009, a torn pectoral during the offseason and a knee injury late in the season that sidelined him for the final three games of the season. Both injuries required surgery. The knee injury sidelined him for the final three games of the 2009 season and kept him from being able to participate in the Senior Bowl, though he'd been invited. Jones, due to the injury, was unable to participate in the Combine.

He and a handful of other former Syracuse players worked out for scouts yesterday.

Jones, 6-3, 301, was the headliner, though former Duke point guard and Orange quarterback Greg Paulus was also on hand.

Jones disappointed scouts by not running in the 40-yard dash due to a pulled hamstring. He did however, show off his agility in defensive line drills and pushed up the bar 30 times. His impressive strength erased any concerns scouts may have had about his previously torn pectoral.

Tampa Bay, Detroit, Cleveland, Buffalo and Indianapolis were among the clubs represented at the workout. Jones has met privately with the Buffalo Bills and has plans to meet with the New England and Atlanta in the coming days.
 
 
 
 
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