Posted on: February 25, 2012 3:37 pm
The top four quarterbacks on NFLDraftScout.com's board are not throwing passes at the 2012 Scouting Combine.
Stanford's Andrew Luck (own choice), Baylor's Robert Griffin III (own choice), Texas A&M's Ryan Tannehill (foot) and Arizona State's Brock Osweiler (unknown) have each said they won't be throwing at the Combine.
Highly regarded quarterbacks electing to hold off until their Pro Day is nothing new, of course. Often the reasons given by these quarterbacks as to why they'd rather wait until their Pro Day is the fact that they'll be throwing to their own receivers in the surroundings they've grown accustomed to.
NFLDraftScout.com, however, was told of another reason why quarterbacks may want to wait until their on-campus workouts. The high-level source used Cam Newton's erratic performance during the Combine throwing session last year as an example.
"Last year [scouts] didn't sync the QB drop and the wide receiver pattern. For example, [Newton] was dropping five steps but the wide receivers were doing three step type patterns."
The miscommunication caused Newton's accuracy to appear to be inconsistent. He took the hit publicly for a mediocre performance and to his credit never said a word publicly about what may have been the biggest reason for it.
The Carolina Panthers obviously looked past the performance -- and considering the terrific rookie season Newton had in 2011, they were certainly wise in doing so.
Posted on: February 24, 2012 6:57 pm
Arizona State quarterback Brock Osweiler is joining Stanford's Andrew Luck, Baylor's Robert Griffin III and Texas A&M's Ryan Tannehill as quarterbacks who will not be throwing in front of scouts at the 2012 Combine.
The foursome make up the top quarterback prospects on NFLDraftScout.com's board, leaving a rather ho-hum group of passers left to throw to receivers during Sunday's throwng session.
The NFL can't be thrilled with the fact that arguably the four most intriguing quarterback talents in the draft will not be throwing on the first day the league is opening up the Combine to fans.
The shorter-than-expected Osweiler told me Friday as he was walking out of Lucas Oil Stadium that he would not be throwing. He did not provide a reason and unfortunately, I was unable to ask further questions due to a pre-scheduled radio commitment.
Osweiler surprised many with his decision to leave Arizona State after only one starting season. He was very impressive in 2011, however, setting the ASU record by completing 63.2% of his passes for 4,036 yards -- another school record. Osweiler threw twice as many touchdowns (26) and interceptions (13) in 2011 and though he left ASU following the team's bowl loss to Boise State in the Las Vegas Bowl, he had a strong game personally, completing 30 of 47 passes for a career-high 397 yards and two touchdowns against one interception.
Arizona State's Pro Day is currently scheduled for March 24.
Posted on: February 24, 2012 11:18 am
Friday has been a good day for NFL teams in search of a quarterback in the 2012 draft.
Posted on: February 22, 2012 11:19 am
Edited on: February 22, 2012 11:34 am
With the NFL Scouting Combine kicking off Wednesday, nearly every where you look you'll find another analyst with a list of athletes who could put up astonishing workout numbers.
Dane Brugler and I collaborated on a that identified ten players with questions to answer in Indianapolis. Our colleague, Bruce Feldman, identified ten "athletic freaks" who should put forth some of the best numbers of any players invited to the combine this year.
The simple reality of the combine season is that only occasionally are scouts surprised by the athleticism shown by prospects. At least among the senior prospects, scouts have been looking at them all year long and know what to expect. Prospects who don't perform well despite having a month (or more) typically to prepare for the very specific drills tested serve as more of a red flag to most talent evaluators than a surprisingly strong workout usually helps a prospect.
The story is very different for underclassmen, however.
Teams haven't had nearly as much time to prepare for these athletes and considering that the 2012 draft will feature a record 65 underclassmen, no year in history has as much potential for under the radar underclassmen to emphatically put their names on the map than this one.
Rather than wait to see which underclassmen will surprise, I thought I'd take a chance at predicting five I believe could light up the combine and see a significant boost to their draft stock, as a result.
CB Cliff Harris, Oregon: Harris has been a bit of a forgotten man since multiple run-ins with authorities led to his ultimately being kicked off the team by head coach Chip Kelly. While he'll certainly need to answer scouts' questions, once Harris is allowed to show off his athletic gifts, I believe he'll quickly force NFL teams to recognize his upside. After playing at less than 170 pounds throughout much of his career with the Ducks, scouts will be just as interested in how Harris physically measures up as well as how fast he runs, etc.
WR Stephen Hill, Georgia Tech: Hill reminds me a lot of former Georgia Tech standout Demaryius Thomas for his size, straight-line speed and big play ability. NFLDraftScout.com is currently estimating Hill as being able to run the 40-yard dash in 4.57 seconds. I think he'll shave a tenth off that time, as well as impress in leaping drills. He's undeniably raw but don't be surprised if a strong showing in Indianapolis pushes Hill into the second round.
OT Bobby Massie, Mississippi: Massie signed with Ole Miss as one of the elite prep talents in the country but partially due to the anonymous nature of the right tackle position and to Ole Miss' relative struggles, Massie isn't getting much attention in the mainstream media. I wouldn't be surprised, however, if he shows very impressive athleticism, balance and power in drills based on his tape. The "big three" junior tackles -- USC's Matt Kalil, Iowa's Riley Reiff and Stanford's Jonathan Martin -- get the bulk of the attention but with the position essentially wide open after them, don't be surprised if Massie gives Ohio State's Mike Adams a run for his money as the 4th tackle off the board.
QB Brock Osweiler, Arizona State: Osweiler is currently NFLDraftScout.com's No. 4-rated quarterback and No. 45-rated prospect, overall, so he hardly qualifies as under the radar. However, considering the amount of hype being generated around Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III and even Ryan Tannehill, the lanky Osweiler hasn't received the national attention his talent warrants. If Osweiler can calm concerns about his mobility at a estimated 6-7, 240 pounds, scouts won't be able to resist admiring his strong, accurate arm.
CB Josh Robinson, Central Florida: Robinson is one of three relatively "unknown" cornerbacks that I am significantly higher on than most (the other two are seniors Ryan Steed from Furman and Trumaine Johnson from Montana). Robinson's speed, agility and leaping ability jump off tape. If he works out as well as I think he will based on the athleticism I've seen on the field, scouts may have a hard time justifying Robinson not winding up a top 100 pick.
Posted on: February 4, 2012 1:50 pm
Over the past few weeks, my fellow NFLDraftScout.com analyst Dane Brugler and I have been working around the clock to finish up the 300+ player profiles we'll be offering here and for Lindy's NFL Draft Magazine.
Posted on: January 14, 2012 10:22 pm
If the Oregon Ducks are going to successfully defend their Pac-12 crown next season they'll be doing so with a new starting backfield.
It had been expected that head coach Chip Kelly would lose LaMichael James to the NFL after this season. But Saturday night, junior quarterback Darron Thomas stunned the program with the decision to also forgo his final season of eligibility and head off to the pros.
Thomas, NFLDraftScout.com's No. 12 rated quarterback in the 2013 class, may be making a terrible decision.
The 6-3, 215 pound Thomas has put up impressive statistics in Kelly's offense. Last season he completed 62% of his passes for 2,761 yards and a sparkling touchdown to interception ratio of 33-7. Considering that Thomas also ran for 206 yards and three scores, he was among the most effective all-purpose quarterbacks in the country and played a critical role in Oregon's run to the Rose Bowl championship and No. 4 ranking. He also boasts one of the more impressive career accomplishments any college quarterback can hope to have -- having thrown for at least one touchdown in every one of his career starts (27). In 31 games over his career Thomas passed for 5,910 yards, 66 touchdowns and just 17 interceptions.
That said, Thomas on tape doesn't necessarily match his hype.
Thomas' prodution is inflated due to Oregon's aggressive scheme and explosive athletes. He averaged 8.14 yards gained each time he even attempted a pass in 2011. He flashes good touch down the seams and enough zip to complete crossing routes over the middle, he isn't the elite passer his statistics would suggest. Too many of his passes forced receivers to adjust their routes, limiting opportunities for even bigger plays. Furthermore, he did not show much improvement in his second season as a starter despite playing in a relatively simple offense.
Kelly offered a luke warm opinion on Thomas' decision.
“As in all cases, we educate our players with the information we feel will be beneficial to them throughout the process but ultimately, the decision is left up to the players,” Kelly said. “I will always support Darron in his decision and want to thank him for everything he has done for this program. He obviously has played a major role in elevating Oregon football to new heights and I wish him well in the future.”
Thomas has talent but is viewed by scouts as a significant project. That fact could push him into late portions of the draft (or worse), especially considering that he comes with off-field baggage. Remember, Thomas was the passenger with former Duck cornerback Cliff Harris on the night Harris was pulled over for speeding in a car rented by a Oregon employee. Harris was clocked at 118 miles per hour, was driving without a license and admitted to police he had been smoking marijuana. Thomas' reaction to questions from the media regarding his role in the incident falls a bit short of inspirational.
Thomas is the second Pac-12 quarterback to attempt to fill the vacancy left when Matt Barkley made his decision to return Southern Cal. He joins Andrew Luck and Arizona State's Brock Osweiler as early entries from the conference.