Tag:A.J. Jenkins
Posted on: March 6, 2012 5:49 pm
Edited on: March 6, 2012 5:56 pm
 

Mercilus a big draw at Illinois' Pro Day

Illinois defensive end Whitney Mercilus became the first top prospect to participate in agility tests during the Pro Day season, running an impressive 4.38-second short shuttle and a 7.03-second three-cone drill, according to NFL.com.
  
One of 18 prospects to work out in front of representatives from all 32 NFL teams for Tuesday's indoor workout on field turf, Mercilus is trying to prove he can transition to edge rusher in a 3-4 scheme if asked. Rated as the No. 3 defensive end prospect and No. 26 overall by NFLDraftScout.com, Mercilus measured in at 6-3 7/8, 258 pounds.
  
Offensive tackle Jeff Allen, a rising prospect looking to crack the top three rounds, stood on his workout numbers from the Scouting Combine, although he did run a 4.78 short shuttle and 7.57 three-cone drill.
  
A.J. Jenkins is the 18th-rated wide receiver by NFLDraftScout.com. He ran a 4.06 short shuttle and a 6.73 three-cone drill.
  
Cornerback Tavon Wilson is a fringe draft prospect who ran 4.5 and 4.55-second 40-yard dashes to go along with a 32-inch vertical jump, 10"4' brad jump, 4.16 short shuttle, 7.04 three-cone drill and bench pressed 225 pounds 17 times.
  
But there was no doubt the scouts were on hand primarily to take in Mercilus' workout. He's one of the first-round's biggest enigmas. After two mediocre season's at Illinois, he busted out as the nation's top defensive end with 16 sacks, nine forced fumbles and a whopping 22.5 tackles for loss.
  
"I just have a knack for it," he said at the Combine, where he ran a 4.68 40, fourth-best among defensive linemen in attendance. "Throughout the game I was able to watch the quarterback's movements and just see him open up and then I just go in there and just knock it away."
 
He also benched 225 pounds 27 times, had a 32-inch vertical jump, a 118-inch broad jump, a 7.17 three-cone drill and a 4.53 in the short shuttle in Indianapolis.
   
Scouts gush a list of positives traits, including quickness, agility, strength, instincts, condition, attitude ... and he is just beginning to mature and could be a great outside linebacker. Reaching for comparisons, they mention names like Simeon Rice, Dwight Freeney, Richard Dent, and even the great Reggie White.
  
The U.S. born son of parents who emigrated from Haiti in the 1980s, Mercilus played mostly soccer until high school. His 2011 season had an auspicious beginning when lost the tip of his left index finger last spring in a weight-room accident. Teammates were shocked when he light-heartedly dismissed the injury as only a bother when he played the keyboard or tried to pick up coins.

 

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. 

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