Tag:2012 combine
Posted on: March 4, 2012 5:29 pm
 

Penn State DB Lynn ran at Combine with torn calf

Many players cite an old injury as a reason not to work out at the Combine. 

Penn State's D'Anton Lynn is hoping that a disappointing performance at the Combine will be disregarded by scouts due to the fact that he was attempting to compete with a torn calf, at least according to a report from ESPN's Adam Schefter.   

The 6-0, 206 pound Lynn was clocked at 4.77 seconds in the 40-yard dash -- the slowest time recorded by any defensive back at the Combine this year. Though he participated in the bench press (17 reps) and jumps (31.5" in the vertical and 111" in the broad jump), Lynn elected not to participate in any of the other timed events at the Combine after running the 40-yard dash.

According to Schefter's report, Lynn had planned to warm up and then decide whether to participate in drills based on how the calf felt. The injury had originally taken place during Penn State's TicketCity Bowl loss to Houston. Lynn elected to play through the injury at the Senior Bowl. He was beaten badly there, at times, any may have been wiser to take care of the injury immediately following the end of Penn State's season.

As it stands now, Lynn is expected to miss four-six weeks recovering from the injury. This will keep him from running at Penn State's Pro Day March 14, though he's hopeful to work out prior to the draft.

Considering the lack of speed and coverage ability he showed at the Senior Bowl and Combine, it may not matter if scouts were impressed with Lynn's grit in attempting to compete in drills -- only that he failed to do so at a high level when he had the opportunity.     
   
Lynn is currently rated as NFLDraftScout.com's No. 32 cornerback for the 2012 draft.  
Posted on: March 4, 2012 4:20 pm
Edited on: March 4, 2012 4:21 pm
 

Scouts identify 5 underrated Combine performers

Now that we've had a few days to fully digest the information overload that is the annual Scouting Combine, there are a few players who haven't received enough attention for strong efforts, according to my conversations with league personnel. 

Every Combine conversation I've had with scouts has started with the obvious workout warriors -- Memphis defensive tackle Dontari Poe, Georgia Tech wideout Stephen Hill, Central Florida cornerback Josh Robinson and other, similarly well-publicized athletes. Considering their spectacular performances, it isn't surprising to see their stocks get a bump.

According to scouts. there are plenty of others flying under the national radar whose workouts helped solidify their grades. These are five who were mentioned multiple times. 

ILB Tank Carder, TCU: Much like Boston College's Luke Kuechly, Carder has been type-cast as an instinctive, high-motor defender throughout his career but the two-time defending Mountain West Conference Defensive Player of the Year proved to be a much better all-around athlete at the Combine than anyone expected. The 6-2, 236 pound Carder clocked in a sub 4.70 time in the 40-yard dash (4.69 seconds officially) and demonstrated his agility in the three-cone (6.89) and short-shuttle drills (4.18) that some teams place a great deal of value in when scouting linebackers. 

QB Austin Davis, Southern Miss: With NFLDraftScout.com's top four-rated quarterbacks either unable to unwilling to throw passes at the Combine, I thought one of the more fascinating elements of this year's workout would be to see which of the so-called second or third-tier passers would be able to take advantage of the extra attention. Having been one of a limited number of media members allowed inside the Lucas Oil Stadium workout for the QB workouts this year, I saw Davis pass the ball well to all levels of the field, showing surprising zip on intermediate routes and as impressive accuracy on the deep ball (a knock on his game entering the Combine) as any passer on the field.

OLB Shea McClellin, Boise State: Generally speaking, I agree with how the NFL identifies players when assigning them positions at the Combine. Several so-called 'tweeners like McClellin were asked to work out as defensive linemen. After being stunned with McClellin's progress in playing linebacker at the Senior Bowl, I was disappointed he wasn't identified as such at the Combine. His workout certainly showed off the straight-line speed (4.63) and change-of-direction skills (7.07 seconds in the three-cone drills) to handle this conversion. McClellin's speed, in fact, would have ranked him fourth among the 29 linebackers tested at the Combine -- and this is after measuring in at 6-3, 260 pounds.

RB Bernard Pierce, Temple: Pierce is one of the more interesting backs in the 2012 draft class because he's more of a finesse, zone-read back than the power option that his 6-0, 220 pound frame and school record 53 rushing touchdowns would indicate. The junior helped prove his unique athleticism with an underrated all-around performance at the Combine in which he measured in faster (4.49), quicker (7.07 seconds in the three-cone) and more explosive (123" broad jump) than some of the more highly regarded backs of this class.

CB Trevin Wade, Arizona: While officially credited with just a 4.59 time in the 40-yard dash, Wade was surprisingly cited by several league sources as having a strong Combine workout. Scouts mentioned Wade's fluidity in timed drills (4.0 seconds in the short shuttle) and position drills as more important indicators of his underrated cover-corner skills than his time in 40-yard dash. Wade was inconsistent at Arizona but finished his career on a high note with a strong senior campaign and is rated by some scouts among the top 100 prospects in the draft. 
  

Posted on: February 29, 2012 4:08 pm
 

Wise to be wary of these workout warriors

You've heard it all before... Every team in the league has at one time or another answered a question about workout results from the Combine with something along the lines of, "We don't draft players based on the Combine. What happens on the field is most important." 

Because what happens on the field is most important when determining how a prospect is likely to play at the next level, I'm highlighting five prospects whose film doesn't jive with the size, strength, speed or overall athleticism they showed at the Combine.

Call these players "workout warriors." Refer to it as "manufactured speed." Characterize it as "weight room strength that doesn't translate onto the field." Call it whatever you like. Just don't get too caught up on these prospects rising up charts despite posting some of the more impressive workouts of the 2012 Scouting Combine.

OLB Zach Brown, North Carolina: Well known in the scouting community for his jaw-dropping athleticism, it came as no surprise that Brown proved one of the fastest pound-for-pound athletes tested this year at the Combine. While he clocked in at 4.50 "officially" at the Combine and in the mid 4.4s from others sitting in the stands, don't let his timed speed fool you. Brown doesn't locate the football as quickly as most teams would like and is a passive "chase" linebacker who consistently runs around blocks rather than fighting through them. More than one scout has compared Brown's "instincts" to that of former No. 4 overall pick Aaron Curry. That's no compliment.  

TE Coby Fleener, Stanford: By posting 27 repetitions of 225 pounds Fleener would have tied for the lead among all tight ends tested at the Combine in 2011 and finished tied for second (behind Georgia's Orson Charles' 35 reps) this year. The gaudy totals might have you thinking that Fleener is a physical blocker. He's not. He's actually a bit of a finesse player whose size and speed make him arguably the tight end in this draft likeliest to earn comparisons to New Orleans' star Jimmy Graham. Fleener is an intriguing talent but don't let the bench press numbers fool you into thinking teams will rest easy with his in-line blocking strength or tenacity.  

WR A.J. Jenkins, Illinois: Unlike some of the others on this list, Jenkins was very productive in college. He led the Big 10 with 90 receptions as a senior, earning First Team All-conference honors. He runs well and shows good fluidity and balance as a route-runner on the field but isn't the big-play blazer that his 4.39 second time in the 40-yard dash would suggest. 

DE/OLB Nick Perry, Southern Cal: Perry worked out with the defensive linemen and ranked among the position's best in speed (4.64), power (35 reps) and explosiveness (38.5" vertical), turning in as impressive of an all-around performance at the Combine as anyone, regardless of position. He's on my Big Board so I believe he warrants first round consideration, but he isn't as dominant on the field as his lofty numbers in these traits might lead you to believe. Too many of his 9.5 sacks in 2011, in fact, were of the coverage variety. 

S Sean Richardson, Vanderbilt: Richardson may have enjoyed the most impressive all-around workout by any safety tested in Indianapolis but the tape shows a player who doesn't play with the desired read-and-react skills and ball skills most teams are looking for as the last line of defense. 

Posted on: February 28, 2012 3:13 pm
 

Below average safety crop exposed running 40s

With Alabama's Mark Barron the only player at his position considered by most talent evaluators to be worthy of first round consideration, it isn't news that the 2012 draft offers only a mediocre crop of safety prospects. 

The timing couldn't be much worse for NFL teams needing help at the position as the 2011 season was characterized by the emergence of several tight ends as legitimate downfield threats and the continued expansion of three and four receiver spread attacks. To combat the aerial onslaught, defenses are looking for big, athletic safeties.

The safeties were the final prospects to run the 40-yard dash at the Scouting Combine but with only a few exceptions they weren't able to reward scouts for their patience. In fact, of the 21 safeties invited to the Combine this year, zero recorded a time under 4.50 seconds. Worse, of the strong and free safeties given a top 125 grade by NFLDraftScout.com prior to the Combine, only Notre Dame's Harrison Smith (4.57) recorded a time under 4.66. 

South Carolina State's Christian Thompson just missed the mark, clocking in at exactly 4.50 according to the "official" times released by the NFL. And while the fast time certainly helps legitimize Thompson's athleticism, considering his low level of competition and inconsistent play over his career, frankly he may have needed the workout if he is to generate anything more than mid to late Day Three consideration. 

Similarly, scouts expected to see Vanderbilt's Sean Richardson work out well and he did -- enjoying the best all-around performance of any safety with a 4.52 time in the 40-yard dash, as well as demonstrating power (22 repetitions of 225 pounds) and explosiveness (38.5" vertical, 128" broad jump) but the concerns about him are about his agility, instincts and ball-skills. Richardson had just one interception in 49 career games, including 31 consecutive starts to finish his career. 

Barron was unable to work out due to his recovery from hernia surgery performed after the season. Teams looking for immediate safety help may have to either reach to take him or hope one of the bigger, more instinctive and physical cornerbacks of the 2012 class can make the adjustment to safety as an NFL rookie. 

Somewhere Rob Gronkowski, Jimmy Graham and a host of other receiving specialist tight ends are smiling... 
Posted on: February 27, 2012 7:43 pm
Edited on: February 28, 2012 12:31 am
 

Combine shows Brockers has plenty of red-flags

LSU defensive tackle Michael Brockers is one of the most intriguing talents in the entire 2012 draft but a poor showing at the Combine Monday is certain to give scouts pause before labeling him as one of its best. 

Brockers had made a strong impression on scouts just by measuring in. The 6-5, 322 pounder created quite a buzz during the measuring process once scouts put the tape to his 35" arms. Scouts love long arms on defensive linemen as it can give them an advantage when fighting blocks. Because of this fact, scouts won't be too worried about the fact that Brockers finished tied for last among all defensive linemen performing in the bench press drill (19). Simple physics make it more difficult for long-armed athletes to impress in the bench press and Brockers' strength is obvious on tape. 

Unfortunately, Brockers performed just as poorly in several other Combine tests which should raise red-flags for scouts projecting the one-year starter as an immediate impact defender in the NFL.  

Brockers was clocked at an alarmingly slow 5.36 seconds in the 40-yard dash. This time was the third worst among the 49 defensive linemen tested in Indianapolis this year. The only two defensive linemen with a time more than a hundredth of a second slower than Brockers were Missouri's Dominique Hamilton and Southern Cal's Christian Tupou. As a point of comparison, Brockers is currently rated as NFLDraftScout.com's No. 8 rated prospect overall. Hamilton and Tupou are rated 360th and 378th, respectively. 

Think the 40-yard dash time is an anomoly? Think again. Brockers finished among the worst in defensive linemen tested in the vertical jump (26.5"), broad jump (105") and short shuttle (4.81), as well. 

Brockers elected to leave LSU with two years of college eligibility remaining. While his statistics were less than jaw-dropping (47 tackles, 9.5 tackles for loss, two sacks), his play got better as the year went on and culminated with a strong showing in the BCS Championship in which he appeared to be one of the best players on the field.

Considering the talent at Alabama and LSU, that's saying a mouthful.  

However, the past two highly regarded LSU defensive linemen -- Glenn Dorsey and Tyson Jackson -- haven't enjoyed the pro success expected after generating top five picks (both by the Kansas City Chiefs) in recent years. And that fact should give scouts pause, as well.  
Posted on: February 27, 2012 5:37 pm
 

Lackluster Combine could push Burfict to Day 3

Arizona State inside linebacker Vontaze Burfict entered the Combine needing to answer questions about his maturity and athleticism. 

He may have failed at both.

Burfict raised more than a few eye-brows when he blamed the ASU coaching staff (which was led by former two-time NFL head coach Dennis Erickson) for his inconsistent play in 2011 during his interview with the media Sunday.

He then proceeded to run slower than any other linebacker tested at the Combine in the 40-yard dash, registering a 5.09 second time that was beaten by 36 of the 48 defensive linemen including 346 pound Dontari Poe. A troubling lack of overall explosion was also shown with a 30" vertical jump, a number beaten by all but two linebackers in Indianapolis. Burfict was tied by Montana's Caleb McSurdy for second to last in the event, beating Southern California's Chris Galippo (29.5") by just half an inch. 

Characterized as an elite talent deserving of first round consideration by some in the media, Burfict is rated as the No. 88 prospect in the draft by NFLDraftScout.com and that may be generous.

Frankly, few teams may be willing to invest anything higher than a Day Three selection in the boom or bust linebacker considering his lackluster performance. 
Posted on: February 26, 2012 2:34 pm
Edited on: February 26, 2012 2:36 pm
 

Disappointing 40 times could hurt top receivers

Several of the more highly regarded wide receivers of the 2012 draft may see their stock slip after running signficantly slower than expected Sunday at the Scouting Combine. 

Baylor wideout Kendall Wright, who some regard as the draft's top talent at the position due to his ability to make the big play, clocked in at just 4.61 seconds, according to NFL.com. Wright had been projected to run in the 4.4s or better.

Wright was far from the only highly regarded receiver to produce a disappointing time in the 40-yard dash, however. LSU's Rueben Randle (4.55), Rutgers' Mohamed Sanu (4.67) and Arkansas' Joe Adams (4.55) also could force scouts to go back to the tape after running slower than anticipated.
   
These results come on the heels of a disappointing workout from NFLDraftScout.com's top-rated receiver, Oklahoma State junior Justin Blackmon. Blackmon elected not to run at the Combine citing a tight hamstring. He did perform in the positional drills, however, but appeared hesitant to run and cut with the aggression that characterized his spectacular career with the Cowboys.  

Posted on: February 26, 2012 12:19 pm
 

WRs Floyd, Hill out-shine Blackmon Sunday

While the media isn't allowed in to view most of the workouts at the Scouting Combine, a select group of media members were invited in Sunday morning to watch the quarterbacks and receivers' positional drills. 

With NFLDraftScout.com's top-four rated quarterbacks -- Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III, Ryan Tannehill and Brock Osweiler -- either unwilling or unable to throw at the Combine, it was the pass-catchers rather than the passers who stole the show.  This fact is all the more interesting considering that the highest regarded player at the position struggled to live up to his lofty billing. 
 
Oklahoma State wide receiver Justin Blackmon entered the week as NFLDraftScout.com's top-rated wide receiver and viewed as a potential top five prospect but a rather ho-hum performance Sunday morning may put his perch at the top in peril. 

Blackmon demonstrated the strong hands and body control Sunday that he'd used to earn back to back Biletnikof awards as the nation's top wideout but it appeared that he was limited by the hamstring injury he'd cited as the reason he wouldn't be running the 40-yard dash this week. Blackmon had to gather himself a bit when cutting and never showed the top-end speed scouts would expect of an elite prospect. The key will be how much improvement Blackmon shows when he works out for scouts at his March 7 Pro Day. If he shows improved burst during the workout on the Oklahoma State campus, scouts will likely chalk up his Combine workout as an example of a player simply being limited by injury. If he isn't more impressive, however, Baylor's Kendall Wright and Notre Dame's Michael Floyd are very much in the race to be the first receiver selected in the 2012 draft. 

Floyd certainly helped his cause by running the 40-yard dash in 4.42 seconds (unofficially) at 6-3, 220 pounds and showing excellent hands, flexibility, and surprisingly precise routes. Whether it was drifting across the middle during the gauntlet drill, dropping his hips on quick comeback routes or showing the ability to track the ball over either shoulder deep, Floyd consistently plucked the ball out of air, quickly secured it and got upfield in one fluid motion.

Perhaps the surprise star among receivers, however, was Georgia Tech's Stephen Hill. Possessing a similarly freakish combination of size and speed as his Yellow Jacket predecessor Demaryius Thomas, the 6-4, 215 pound Hill was credited with a blistering 4.30 time in the 40-yard (unofficial) and showed the sticky hands and excellent body control he'd flashed as a big play specialist in Georgia Tech's triple-option offense. If there was a concern about Hill's workout it would be that he seemed a bit stiff when re-directing. His quick acceleration and top-end speed, however, were every bit as obvious with the ball in his hands as they were when he was running the 40-yard dash.

Of the quarterbacks throwing in the morning session, Michigan State's Kirk Cousins was clearly the most polished. While he does not possess a cannon for an arm, Cousins showed enough zip and excellent accuracy on the deep out and was particularly accurate on the post-corner route -- a throw many view as the most difficult asked of quarterbacks during the Combine workout. Cousins does the little things well. While other passers struggled with their footwork and release point, Cousins' has a clean set-up and delivery and consistently stared down the middle as he dropped back, mimicking the form he'd use during a game to look off the safety before turning to fire passes to the outside. Considering his four years starting experience, two years as a captain and experience in a pro-style offense, don't be surprised if Cousins enjoys a late rise up draft boards very similar to the one Andy Dalton enjoyed a year ago. 

Two relatively unheralded quarterbacks also took advantage of the big stage to turn some heads. Southern Mississippi's Austin Davis and Richmond's Aaron Corp each showed enough arm strength and accuracy to prove that they belonged. Davis' touch on the deep ball was particularly impressive. 

On the flipside, Arizona's Nick Foles and Houston's Case Keenum struggled. Each were erratic with their accuracy, especially on longer routes. Foles has good enough tape to withstand the disappointing workout. Keenum, short and sporting a 3/4 release, may have an uphill climb ahead of him to get drafted despite a sparkling collegiate career.         
             
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com