Tag:scouting 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 1:03 pm
Edited on: February 29, 2012 1:06 pm
 

Combine Wrap: RG3, Poe riding wave into Pro Days

INDIANAPOLIS - More than 325 of the best draft prospects from across the nation descended upon Indianapolis in waves over the past week in search of that sizzling 40-yard dash, that superhuman bench press or a kangaroo-like vertical jump.

Scouts and armchair personnel evaluators now have thousands of data points to crunch into Excel sheets and obsess over into the wee hours of the night. But what is the tangible impact at the end of the day?

The vast majority of the workout numbers aren't really meaningful. NFL front offices aren't concerned about all the numbers in the middle of the pack. They're interested primarily in the extremes - the unofficial 4.33-second 40-yard thrown down by Central Florida cornerback Josh Robinson, the 44 bench reps hoisted by Memphis defensive tackle Dontari Poe and the all-around poor workout numbers put up by Arizona State linebacker Vontaze Burfict.

Those are the performances that stick out and affect draft stocks.

Even more important were the on-field position drills and the private interviews with teams. That's where prospects can really make an impression with their aptitude and personality. It all gets thrown into a big melting pot along with their game film and other pre-draft events to create an overall body of work.

Heading into the elongated final pre-draft stretch that is the Pro Day season, here are the prospects who helped themselves the most at the Scouting Combine - and those who have some serious ground to make up between now and April 26.

RISERS
Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor: He didn't throw a pass at the Combine, but "RG3" was unquestionably the biggest star of the week. He measured in at 6-2, displayed a magnetic personality, ran the 40 faster than most of the wide receivers, running backs and cornerbacks in attendance ... and set the Rams up to restock their roster with the bounty they will inevitably land by dealing the No. 2 overall pick.

Stephen Hill, WR, Georgia Tech: With several other notable wide receivers measuring in shorter or slower than expected, the 6-4, 215-pound Hill tied for the fastest time in the 40-yard dash (4.36) among all skill-position players, drawing comparisons to former Yellow Jacket teammate Demaryius Thomas, a first-round pick of the Denver Broncos in 2010.

Luke Kuechly, ILB, Boston College: Scouts chalked up Kuechly's staggering NCAA-record tackle numbers to instincts and reliable open-field tackling ability. But in posting a blistering 4.58-second time in the 40-yard dash and a 38-inch vertical, the 2011 Butkus Award winner proved he's a first-round caliber athlete who has the potential to be a three-down player capable of holding his own against athletic tight ends in coverage.

Chris Owusu, WR, Stanford: The most important tests at the Combine for Owusu were of the medical variety after his collegiate career was cut short by a series of frightening concussions. NFL teams won't get these results for a few weeks, but you can be sure they'll be checking them closely after the Stanford product proved among the fastest (4.36 seconds) and most explosive (40.5-inch vertical jump) of all the receivers tested.

Dontari Poe, DT, Memphis: No defensive lineman at the Combine showed a more exciting combination of size (6-4, 346), speed (4.98) and strength (44 reps on the 225-pound bench press, a 2012 Combine best) than Poe. Teams fully acknowledge he's raw, but one of them will gladly invest a first-round pick in his upside.

Josh Robinson, CB, Central Florida: The underclassman entered the Combine a projected fourth-round pick by NFLDraftScout.com. Combine the 4.33 40 with a DB-best 133-inch broad jump and a 38-inch vertical and he's poised to surge leading up to the draft.

David Wilson, RB, Virginia Tech: He posted the elite agility test numbers that everyone expected. But it was showing up to team interviews in a suit and tie that really caught the attention of teams. He reportedly wore a suit to class at Virginia Tech. In an NFL draft world where the competition is so tight, a seemingly small detail like that could be enough in a tight battle with Miami's Lamar Miller to be the No. 2 running back drafted.

FALLERS
Joe Adams, WR, Arkansas: At only 5-11, 179 pounds, he is a finesse receiver who relies on his agility and straight-line speed to get open. Expected to be one of the fastest players at any position tested this year, Adams' 4.55-second showing in the 40-yard dash suggests that Arkansas' spread offense inflated his big-play ability. 

Michael Brockers, DT, LSU: The underclassmen entered the Combine with as much buzz as any defensive player. Viewed as a playmaking interior lineman and ascending talent, he increased expectations by showing up with an extra few pounds he claimed was muscle mass that didn't affect his speed. But his pro day will be critical after poor workout numbers  that included an alarmingly-slow 5.36 40 - third-worst among all defensive linemen - a 26.5-inch vertical, a 105-inch broad jump and a 4.81-second short shuttle.

Vontaze Burfict, ILB, Arizona State: After characterizing himself as misunderstood, Burfict raised more than few eyebrows during interviews with the media by blaming the ASU coaching staff for his erratic play in 2011. He then proved much less athletic in drills than scouts had hoped, registering a 5.09 40 that finished dead last among linebackers tested in Indianapolis this year. 

Nick Foles, QB, Arizona: With the top-rated quarterbacks either unwilling or unable to throw at the Combine, scouts had hoped that the 6-5, 243-pound Foles would take advantage of the extra attention to put on a dazzling throwing performance. Instead, Foles' methodical delivery, slow feet and inaccuracy on deep passes could push him into Day Three (rounds 4-7) territory.

Peter Konz, C, Wisconsin: Regarded as the top center prospect in the draft entering the Combine, Konz surprised scouts with less than ideal strength (18 repetitions of 225 pounds). If he were to be drafted in the first round, it would be the first interior lineman with less than 20 repetitions to earn this distinction in the past five years.

Markus Zusevics, OT, Iowa: By tearing his pectoral muscle while performing in the bench press in front of scouts, Zusevics' stock could fall further than any other prospect tested at the Combine. The injury not only ended his Combine experience early, it puts into question his availability to play as a rookie.

Now it's on to the flurry of the Pro Day season, which kicks off at Missouri on Thursday and includes dozens of workouts across the country, culminating with McNeese State on April 6.

TOP COMBINE RESULTS
40-Yard dash (Unofficial)
1. Josh Robinson, CB, Central Florida - 4.33
2. Travis Benjamin, WR, Miami - 4.36
    Stephen Hill, WR, Georgia Tech - 4.36
    Chris Owusu, WR, Stanford - 4.36
5. Ron Brooks, CB, LSU - 4.37

225-POUND BENCH PRESS
1. Dontari Poe, DT, Memphis - 44
2. David Molk, OL, Michigan - 41
3. Loni Fangupo, DL, BYU - 36
    Ronnell Lewis, DE/OLB, Oklahoma - 36
    Mike Martin, DL, Michigan
    Kendall Reyes, DL, UConn - 36

VERTICAL JUMP
1. Kashif Moore, WR, UConn - 43.5
2. Jerrell Jackson, WR, Missouri - 41.0
    David Wilson, RB, Virginia Tech - 41.0
4. Chris Owusu, WR, Stanford - 40.5
5. Justin Bethel, CB, Presbyterian - 39.5
    Stephen Hill, WR, Georgia Tech - 39.5
    Mychal Kendricks, LB, Cal - 39.5
    Keshawn Martin, WR, Michigan St. - 39.5

BROAD JUMP
1. Stephen Hill, WR, Georgia Tech - 133.0
2. Josh Robinson, CB, Central Florida - 133.0
    David Wilson, RB, Virginia Tech - 132.0
4. Justin Bethel, CB, Presbyterian - 131.0
    Michael Egnew, TE, Missouri - 131.0

3-CONE DRILL
1. Chris Rainey, RB, Florida - 6.50
2. Josh Robinson, CB, Central Florida - 6.55
3. Terrence Frederick, CB, Texas A&M - 6.59
    Junior Hemingway, WR, Michigan - 6.59
5. Cody Sensabaugh, CB, Clemson - 6.60

--Derek Harper & Rob Rang contributed to this report.

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 28, 2012 2:06 pm
 

Top CBs fail to close gap on Claiborne

NFLDraftScout.com has four strong cornerback prospects rated as potential first-round picks, and LSU's Morris Claiborne remains at the top of the position as none of the elite prospects particularly stood out during testing drills at the Scouting Combine on Tuesday.

North Alabama's Janoris Jenkins is hovering around the top 10, and ran an impressive 4.46-second 40-yard dash, compared to Claiborne's 4.50. Alabama's 'Dre Kirkpatrick posted a 4.51, while Nebraska's Alfonzo Dennard ran a 4.55. All were very respectable times. (Combine 40 Times)

Dennard flipped the script a bit with an impressive 37-inch vertical jump, while Kirkpatrick (37), Claiborne (34.5) and Jenkins (33.5) lagged behind him a bit.

While Claiborne said he believes his speed helps separate him from the other top cornerbacks, he pointed to technique when asked to describe his game.

"More of a technician, and trying to funnel the guys instead of getting real physical with them at the line all the time," said Claiborne, who considers himself a better man coverage corner than zone.

The biggest mover of the day was clearly Central Florida's Josh Robinson, who torched the 40 in 4.33 seconds. He also led the defensive backs with a 133-inch broad jump and finished second in the position group with a 38 1/2-inch vertical. Currently projected as a fourth-round pick, Robinson figures to ride the wave up the draft board a bit leading into the pro day season.

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 27, 2012 2:13 pm
Edited on: February 27, 2012 4:52 pm
 

Kuechly shows off athleticism with 4.5 40

Tackling machine. Great instincts. Field general. Luke Kuechly already had all the buzz words typically attributed to the top inside linebacker prospect in every draft.

But few people touted his outstanding athleticism - until Monday, when the former Boston College standout ran a blistering 4.50 unofficial 40, which would tie Robert McCune for the top time since 2000 by an inside linebacker.  (40-yard dash results). He also led the inside linebackers with a 38-inch vertical jump.

The "official" 40 time will likely be adjusted down a bit, but that won't affect the bottom line. With that type of speed, and noted instincts in coverage, Kuechly has shown the ability to be a three-down linebacker in the NFL who can hold his own in coverage against running backs and the growing list of freakishly athletic tight ends.

That's exactly while Kuechly is a virtual lock for the first round despite playing at a position that has lot a lot of draft value in recent years. A source told NFLDraftScout.com last week that Kuechly, who posted 532 tackles in just three college seasons, might be the "safest" player in this draft.

Alabama's Dont'a Hightower enjoyed a strong workout himself, posting a pair of unofficial 4.62 40 times at 265 pounds.

UPDATE: We've noted several times during the Combine that none of the 40 times are technically official, and Kuechly finished the day with four different 40 clockings. His second run was clocked in 4.78 by a handheld time after he appeared to get a slow start. He was then asked to run a third time, which was timed at 4.59. So what time is he now listed with? 4.58. At the end of the day, throw out the 4.78 and know that Kuechly runs in the 4.5-4.6 range, which serve the purpose of proving his athleticism.

 
 
 
 
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