Tag:Stanford Cardinal
Posted on: February 23, 2012 6:27 pm

Colts deny report they advised Luck not to throw

New Indianapolis Colts' general manager Ryan Grigson flatly denied a report that his team had advised likely No. 1 overall pick Andrew Luck not to throw passes at the Scouting Combine this week.

Grigson, speaking to the media at the Combine Thursday, was twice asked about a tweet from Bob Kravitz of the Indianapolis Star that claimed Luck was willing to throw Sunday but was talked out of it by the Colts. 

"I never said anything," Grigson said. "Players are allowed to make their own decisions what they're going to do at the Combine. I've had no bearing on that, believe me."

At least one member of the media may not have believed Grigson. Seconds after answering the first question about whether he'd individually asked Luck not to throw, a follow-up question came asking if any member of the Colts had pushed the Stanford passer's decision. 

"No. Absolutely not," Grigson replied. 
The reality is, Luck's decision to throw or not throw at the Combine this week is unlikely to have any bearing whatsoever on his draft status. The redshirt junior has three years worth of tape proving his talents. He's been the top-rated prospect in the country by NFLDraftScout.com for nearly two years. My CBS colleague Mike Freeman noted that scouts were absolutely "kissy, kissy" about Luck. Frankly, if the Colts stun the world by taking anyone other than Luck with the first pick of the draft, the list of suitors calling the St. Louis Rams to move up to No. 2 overall would likely be a long one. 

Any perceived slight or miscommunication between the Colts and Luck could be significant, however, especially considering the precarious situation Indianapolis already has with their current quarterback, Peyton Manning. Speaking of Manning, Grigson offered little news on the star's progress and asked the media to understand that he and the Colts have little choice but to wait for Manning to improve medically.

"...Peyton has to be healthy," Grigson explained. "It has to be something that’s spoken on and investigated and talked about. Right now, it’s a process. We’re waiting for things to happen. Right now, we’re doing the things we have control of. Things we don’t have control of, we just have no choice but to be patient. We ask all of you to be the same."

Regardless of the Colts' decision with Manning, expect the team to be well represented at Luck's Pro Day March 22
Posted on: February 9, 2012 3:40 pm

Report: WR Owusu medically cleared by NFL doctor

According to at least one doctor within the NFL's Head, Neck and Spine Committee, Stanford wide receiver Chris Owusu is "perfectly normal" and able to "play football now."

Prior to every NFL team's doctors checking out Owusu, the assertion that the former Cardinal receiver is fine has to be taken with a grain of salt. For one, Owusu has had three concussions over the past two seasons, the last of which of which ended his 2011 season on November 5. The concussion (suffered against Oregon State) kept Owusu out of several big games, including Stanford's January 2 Fiesta Bowl matchup against Oklahoma State.

Second, Evan Silva of ProFootballTalk.com cites communication with Owusu's agent (Steve Caric of Caric Sports Management) as the source of the story. What else might an agent say about his client other than that he is healthy and likely to boost his stock at the upcoming Combine?

I have also been in contact with Caric regarding Owusu's recovery from the concussions. Not surprisingly, Caric is confident that his client is going to turn heads in Indianapolis.

Via email, Caric explained that: "There is a lot of false information and perception out there on [Owusu's] health.  We have already begun correcting that, and it will be reinforced when every team examines him at the Combine and he proves to be 100% healthy up close."

Caric is right. Ultimately, each team's doctors are going to make their own interpretation of Owusu (and every other prospect) based on the medical testing done at the Combine.

Whether the Stanford product is healthy enough to warrant draft consideration remains to be seen. He's currently graded by NFLDraftScout.com as the No. 48 receiver of the 2012 draft class, though no one doubts that based purely on talent he deserves to be ranked among the top 20 at the position.

Owusu was graded by some scouts as a middle round talent entering his senior campaign. This grade, however, was based largely on Owusu's upside as he's struggled to remain on the field throughout his career. Due to multiple injuries, he was never able to start a full season at Stanford, earning the starting nod in 9/13 games in 2009, 7/13 in 2010 and 7/13 again this past season. He left Stanford having caught 102 passes for 1,534 yards and 10 touchdowns.

The 6-0, 200 pound Owusu is a terrific athlete who should test well in Combine drills. Ultimately, it is the "other" drills that will be more important in determining his final draft stock, as this story serves as a reminder that for as much attention as the results in the 40-yard dash, vertical jump and bench press will get, the medical testing is far and away the most important element of the Combine. 

The Combine will take place in Indianapolis February 22-28.  
Posted on: January 6, 2012 8:53 pm

Stanford OT Martin received 1st rd grade from NFL

On Tuesday Stanford left tackle Jonathan Martin announced via Twitter his decision to enter the 2012 draft.

According to a source close to Martin, the decision was a difficult for the second team AP All-American.

Martin only made the decision after getting a first round grade from the NFL Advisory Committee and receiving positive feedback from scouts on hand for his final game, an overtime loss to Oklahoma State in the Fiesta Bowl.

The 6-6, 305 pound Martin is one of a trio of talented junior left tackles expected to earn early to mid first round consideration. Based on his size and athleticism, some view Martin as having greater potential than either Southern Cal's Matt Kalil or Iowa's Riley Reiff. Martin is currently NFLDraftScout.com's No. 3 rated offensive tackle but is also our No. 12 rated prospect, overall.

A league source on hand for the Fiesta Bowl was impressed with Martin against the Cowboys and specifically noted that Martin's physicality impressed him.

"That's been one of the knocks people have had about him," the scout told me Friday evening on the condition of anonymity. "No one is going to confuse the guy with Jake Long in that regard, but I've seen too many so-called finesse left tackles wind up being Pro Bowlers to worry about that too much with a guy as big and athletic as [Martin] is. He'll be fine."

With the NFL shifting to an increasingly pass-happy league, athletic left tackles are as valuable as they've ever been. It is that athleticism that could intrigue a host of teams picking inside the top 20.

As such, Martin is currently projected by NFLDraftScout.com's Rob Rang and Dane Brugler to be drafted within the first half of the draft.
Posted on: January 3, 2012 6:19 pm
Edited on: January 6, 2012 3:39 pm

Stanford OT Martin declares for 2012 draft

Stanford junior offensive tackle Jonathan Martin said he will enter the 2012 NFL Draft.

"I have decided to forgo my final year of eligibility and enter the NFL draft," Martin tweeted. "Thank you to everyone who has loved and supported me."

Martin is the No. 3-rated offensive tackle eligible for April’s draft, according to NFLDraftScout.com, behind only fellow juniors Matt Kalil from Southern California and Iowa’s Riley Reiff. Kalil has already said he’s entering the draft.

Martin is the No. 13-ranked overall prospect by NFLDraftScout.com, and 12<sup>th</sup> on Rob Rang’s Big Board. At 6-feet-6 and 305 pounds, Martin is known for his athleticism and considered a good fit for a zone-blocking scheme.

He was quarterback Andrew Luck’s blind-side protector and has the skills to remain on the left side in the NFL.

Luck and guard David DeCastro announced before the Fiesta Bowl that they intend to leave the Cardinal a year early for the NFL as well.


Posted on: December 6, 2011 1:49 pm
Edited on: January 6, 2012 3:50 pm

Luck says he's 'absolutely' ready for the NFL

Stanford junior quarterback Andrew Luck said he's "absolutely" prepared to go to the NFL after the Cardinal finish their season in the Fiesta Bowl against Oklahoma State on Jan. 2.
"I think I'm going to hopefully play professional football if a team will have me," Luck told ESPN on Monday night, per NFL.com.
That might be the understatement of the year.
Projected as the top prospect available in the 2012 draft by NFLDraftScout.com since the end of last April's draft, Luck is one of five finalists for the Heisman Trophy to be announced Saturday.
Luck likely would have been the top overall pick last year, but returned to Stanford for his redshirt junior season to pursue his architectural design degree and believed it was understood he'd go to the NFL after this season.
"I thought it was pretty formal or understood when I came back for my final year, so I have no clue if I'll make a formal announcement or not," Luck said.
Many NFL scouts have touted Luck as the best quarterback prospect entering the NFL in the past two decades. And he could well end up in Indianapolis, where the 0-12 Colts have been without injured Peyton Manning all season.
The Vikings and Rams are the next closest teams to the top pick, but each have two wins with four games to play.
"It will work itself out," Peyton's father, Archie Manning, told Will Brinson and Ryan Wilson of CBS' Eye on Football Tuesday afternoon when asked about the Colts' quarterback situation.
Luck has thrown for 3,170 yards with 35 touchdowns and nine interceptions this season.

Posted on: November 7, 2011 1:46 pm
Edited on: November 10, 2011 3:43 pm

Stanford may not have deep threat Owusu vs Oregon

Andrew Luck and the No. 3 rated Stanford Cardinal may not have big play wide receiver Chris Owusu in Saturday's showdown with No. 7 ranked Oregon.

Owusu was taken off the field by ambulance during the second quarter of Stanford's 38-13 victory over Oregon State November 5. Owusu absorbed a helmet to helmet hit by OSU defensive back Jordan Power Poyer and lay prone for several minutes before being loaded onto a stretcher and placed into the ambulance. He did show that he had feelings in his extremities by raising his hand for a thumbs-up as he was loaded into the ambulance. Owusu diagnosed with a concussion -- his third in the past 13 months.   

Though his numbers are rather pedestrian this season (35 receptions for 376 yards and two touchdowns), Owusu is the fastest of Stanford's wideouts and the talented receiver/returner was given a middle round grade by some scouts heading into this season. He is currently NFLDraftScout.com's No. 23 rated wide receiver.

Though Owusu had only scored two touchdowns via Luck passes this season, he served an important role in Stanford's offense as the deep threat that kept safeties honest. Without him, Oregon's safeties may be able to place greater focus on slowing down the Cardinal's powerful rushing attack and Stanford's talented tight ends. 

Considering that Oregon boasts the most athletic secondary Luck has faced all season long, the timing couldn't be much worse for the presumptive No. 1 overall pick and his teammates' chances at remaining undefeated.

For Owusu, the recurring concussions will certainly pose a mighty red flag to NFL teams. Though he was characterized as "fine" by his father (reached by Tom FitzGerald, a staff writer for The San Francisco Chronicle), no timetable has been announced by Stanford as to when Owusu will be able to return to the field.
Posted on: September 18, 2011 12:59 pm
Edited on: September 19, 2011 2:00 pm

Injuries pile up for Stanford in impressive win

Andrew Luck and the rest of No. 6 rated Stanford were impressive in their first conference victory last night at Arizona, but the Cardinal did not escape the game without injury.

Three players critical to Stanford's success this season suffered injuries.

The scariest injury appeared to be with junior inside linebacker Shayne Skov, who suffered an apparent injury to his left leg while attempting to tackle Arizona wide receiver Juron Criner. Skov struggled off the field, unable to put any weight on the injured limb. Last season, he emerged as Stanford's most consistent defender, leading the team with 84 tackles, 10.5 tackles for loss and 7.5 sacks on his way to honorable mention all-conference honors. UPDATE: Stanford head coach David Shaw told reporters Monday that an MRI taken on Sunday showed that Skov's knee injury is serious enough that he will miss the remainder of the 2011 season. 

With Luck directing the offense, it might appear that Stanford could keep scoring points with a collection of high schoolers at the skill positions. That theory could be put to the test as Luck's two favorite targets were the "other" important Stanford players who went down with injuries in the first half against Arizona.

Tight end Coby Fleener and wide receiver Chris Owusu -- both seniors and virtual locks to be selected by NFL teams this April -- each went down with injuries. Fleener suffered what appeared to be a concussion early on. Owusu appeared to have bruised his shoulder. Fleener is NFLDraftScout.com's top-rated senior tight end and second rated prospect at the position, overall. Owusu isn't rated nearly as high, but his versatility as a receiver and returner are nonetheless impressive.

Stanford is fortunate that while their Pac-12 schedule has now begun in earnest, their late September slate includes some of the easiest opponents the conference has to offer, namely hosting UCLA and Colorado before traveling to Washington State. Before they take on anyone, however, Stanford has their bye.

The timing couldn't be better for a 3-0 team licking their wounds after an impressive 34-10 victory at Arizona.

Posted on: July 28, 2011 1:07 pm
Edited on: July 28, 2011 1:12 pm

Luck expects 2011 to be his last year at Stanford

The 2012 NFL Draft could officially become the Andrew Luck Sweepstakes after the redshirt junior quarterback announced this week that he's unlikely to return to Palo Alto for his senior season.

Luck said at Pac-12 Media Days that the 2011 season is very likely to be his last and that he's "approaching like such." Widely panned as the top prospect since the start of the 2010 season, would have a year of eligibility remaining (2012) but said he expects to graduate before the 2012 NFL Draft in April.

He's the top-ranked player by NFLDraftScout.com and is projected by senior analysts Rob Rang and Chad Reuter to go No. 1 overall in each of their early 2012 mock drafts.

Sporting a ragged beard indicative of a laid-back collegian, Luck partially closed the door on his return for two more seasons on Tuesday. "It may have been the first time I said it, but I've always thought it," he said.

The Heisman Trophy finalist declined to enter the 2011 NFL Draft to the surprise of many. He announced on January 6 that he'd return to Stanford to complete his degree in Architectural Design even after head coach Jim Harbaugh left to coach the San Francisco 49ers. "I've been very happy," Luck said. "I haven't had any regrets."

Luck finished second to Heisman Trophy winner Cam Newton in balloting for the award last December. He said the lockout that curbed Newton's preseason learning curve with the Carolina Panthers was "a bummer."

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