Tag:NFLDraftScout.com
Posted on: March 1, 2011 7:11 pm
Edited on: March 1, 2011 7:19 pm
 

Peterson/Prince impress; others helped stock more

Count me among those that is not at all surprised by the fact that LSU's Patrick Peterson and Nebraska's Prince Amukamara silenced a few critics today with their blazing times in the 40-yard dash and strong performances in other defensive back drills.

I certainly wasn't alone in believing these players would perform well. I spoke to various members of NFL scouting departments, agents, prospects and media in the weeks preceding the Combine that expected these two players to do well.

By only confirming the athleticism many of us recognized on tape, Peterson and Amukamara won't be boosting their stock much. Each was already viewed by many as potential top ten prospects.

Here are a few other defensive backs who boosted their stock even more with strong Combine workouts Tuesday.

  • Chimdi Chekwa, CB, Ohio State: A severely dislocated wrist suffered in the Buckeyes' Sugar Bowl victory over Arkansas kept Chekwa from performing all of the drills in Indianapolis, but he starred in most important one -- recording a 4.40 second showing in the 40-yard dash and reinforcing the belief that he's one of the nation's most underrated cornerbacks and a potential second round pick.
  • Robert Sands, S, West Virginia: Most are pegging UCLA's Rahim Moore as this year's top safety, but it was the size/speed freak Sands who enjoyed the more impressive Combine showing, Tuesday. The 6-4, 217 pound Sands surprised some with a solid time in the 40-yard dash (4.57) and standout performances, as well, in the leaps and shuttles. Don't be surprised if this Mountaineer winds up a top 75 pick.
  • Mark Legree, S, Appalachian State: Despite the fact that he was a three-time consensus All-American at Appalachian State with an eye-popping 22 career interceptions, Legree was only a late addition to the Combine. I've long been a fan of his instincts and ball-skills and love that he proved his athleticism against the so-called elite competition. I'm not going to say I expected him to turn in the second fastest time in the 40-yard dash of any safety at the Combine, but I have been very much of a fan of his for a while now... And can prove it. 
Surprised I didn't list Demarcus Van Dyke as a Riser following his Combine-best 4.28 time in the 40-yard dash? Don't be. Scouts certainly weren't, as "DVD" was a well-known speedster who demonstrated his speed recently when asked to play at the Senior Bowl.

Besides, aren't DVDs meant to burn?


Posted on: February 26, 2011 2:47 pm
 

Bowers missing opportunity by not working out

Clemson defensive end Da'Quan Bowers will not win himself fans among scouts with his decision to not work out at the Combine despite the fact that he characterized himself as "100%" and "willing to compete with anyone, any where" in his Q/A session with the media.

Bowers underwent surgery to repair a torn meniscsus in his right knee following the season and explained that he "wanted as much time to prepare for [the workouts] as others."

The reality is that despite leading the country with 15.5 sacks, scouts have questions about Bowers' burst.

Bowers benefitted from an aggressive Clemson defensive scheme which often utilized twists and stunts, freeing him up to rack up sacks while his defensive tackles absorbed blockers. Bowers, himself, acknowledged the play of his teammates who "did all of the dirty work."

By not working out here, Bowers risks losing some of the buzz his monster junior season had created. North Carolina's Robert Quinn and Missouri's Aldon Smith, in particular, are expected to work out exceptionally well and have each demonstrated a greater first step as pass rusher than Bowers.

Bowers' Pro Day is March 10.

Posted on: February 25, 2011 3:46 pm
 

KSU RB Thomas shorter than expected, won't run

Kansas State running back Daniel Thomas measured in shorter than expected and will not be able to participate in workouts at the Combine this week due to a "tweaked" left hamstring.

Thomas was listed by Kansas State at 6-2 and 228 pounds, but came in at 6-0 (six foot and one quarter inch, actually) and 230 pounds.

Generally speaking, athletes measuring in smaller than expected can have a negative effect on their grade. In Thomas' case, however, it could help his cause. Taller backs, especially ones with an upright running style like Thomas, expose their bodies (and the football) to too many collisions.

Thomas will work out at Kansas State's Pro Day on March 15. Thomas' workout could prove critical to his final draft grade as teams questions his straight-line speed. He's been estimated in the high 4.5 to low 4.6 range by scouts.

Thomas, who led the Big 12 in rushing each of his two seasons with the Wildcats, is currently NFLDraftScout.com's No. 7 rated running back. He rushed for 2,850 yards, which makes him the second-leading rusher (behind Darren Sproles) in Kansas State history.
Posted on: February 25, 2011 1:49 pm
Edited on: February 25, 2011 1:50 pm
 

Locker doesn't 'shut the door' on baseball

During his media question and answer session at the Combine, Washington quarterback Jake Locker expressed his passion for the game of football, but sidestepped rather than put an end to any concern that he'll pursue a career in baseball.

Asked if he has "shut the door on baseball," Locker responded with:

"I'm a football player. That's what my focus has been on. I have been honest and up front with [teams] about that. Football is where my heart is. I love the game. I love playing the game. As long as I have an opportunity to play football, I'm going to."

Locker clearly favors playing football, but with a looming NFL lockout potentially disrupting that opportunity, Locker isn't giving up his options.

Locker was drafted by the Los Angeles in the 10th round of the 2009 draft. They gave him a $250,000 signing bonus and hold his MLB rights until 2015. He was a standout pitcher and outfielder for Ferndale High School in the state of Washington.

Locker, playing in the outfield, has occasionally practiced with some of the Angels' minor league teams over the past two years. He played with the Bellingham Bells of the West Coast League two summers ago, hitting .273 with three RBIs and one home run in 10 games.

Posted on: February 25, 2011 12:24 pm
 

Miami OL to work out despite surgery 6 weeks ago

Miami offensive lineman Orlando Franklin will be doing all of the workouts this week despite the fact that he underwent knee surgery only six weeks ago.

Franklin tore the meniscus in his left knee during the 2009 season and played through the injury this year. The surgery kept Franklin from participating in any of the senior all-star games.

"I was asking to get an MRI at the end of the season but they thought it was tendinitis so we elected not to get the MRI. But I finally got the MRI three weeks before camp started, in the middle of July and it turned out my meniscus was torn. At the University of Miami I thought we had something special going on this year and I was playing a different position so I didn’t want to have surgery. I wanted to be there for my teammates and not miss any days of camp.”

He characterized himself as "if not 100%, than 98" and said that scouts and coaches are "excited" that he has been able to recover and compete so quickly.

Frankin played three seasons at guard for the Hurricanes, but was their starting left tackle this season. The 6-7, 315 pounder is NFLDraftScout.com's No. 8 rated offensive tackle.
Posted on: February 23, 2011 11:12 pm
 

Who'll Run Fastest? My position by position take

As I've noted previously, the most important element of the Scouting Combine to NFL teams lies with the medical testing and interviews.

The most entertaining part of the Combine, however, is of course, the athletic drills. The 40-yard dash, in particularly, has taken on a life of its own as the Combine's preeminent drill.

Ask five NFL scouts to predict who will be the fastest player in Indianapolis this year and you might get five different names. Rather than just identify one or five prospects who could turn in blazing times, I thought I'd give you my pick for each position.

Disagree? Perhaps in the greatest example of how big the NFL Combine has become, you can literally put your money where your mouth is and make prop bets through Bodog.com.

I didn't make any bets. If I had, these would have been my picks.

QB: Jake Locker, Washington -- I'm picking a bit of an upset from the start. Cam Newton is considered the favorite by most to the fastest and perhaps he'll prove he is. I expect each of them to run in the 4.5 range.

RB: Ryan Williams, Virginia Tech -- It is too bad that Eastern Washington's Taiwan Jones is still recovering from a broken bone, as I would have loved to have picked the D-II star to shock the world here. The world will have to wait for his Pro Day. If Williams runs the 4.4 or better time I expect, he could make a push for the late first round, just like former Cal star Jahvid Best did last year.

WR: Ricardo Lockett, Fort Valley State -- Despite the fact that he's a D-II prospect, Lockett's explosive speed at 6-3, 212 pounds makes him a well known commodity to many scouts. Lockette has publicly said he hopes to challenge Chris Johnson's 4.24 second time from 2008. Abilene Christian's Edmund Gates, Troy's Jerrel Jernigan, Boise State's Titus Young and Maryland's Torrey Smith can also fly, making wide receiver the year's most competitive group.

TE: Virgil Green, Nevada -- If anyone might have wondered why the Wolfpack lost only one game last year, you can point to the spectacular athleticism of Green, OLB Moch and, of course, QB Colin Kaepernick. Green could wind up in the 4.5s at 6-4 and 250 pounds.

OL: Nate Solder, Colorado -- USC's Tyron Smith is a spectacular athlete, but so too is Solder. There are some who believe he'll produce results similar to the ones that pushed former Central Michigan star Joe Staley into the first round. Staley was credited with a 4.78 second time in the 40 at 6-6, 306 pounds.

DL: Robert Quinn, North Carolina -- With nearly a full year to prepare for these workouts, as well as jaw-dropping athleticism to begin with, Quinn is going to be impressive. Perhaps that's why I listed him as my No. 5 overall prospect in the 2011 draft and have argued for months that he's a more explosive pass rusher than Da'Quan Bowers.

LB: Dontay Moch, Nevada -- Moch stunned scouts last spring when he was clocked in at 4.28 seconds in the 40-yard dash. I'm not so sure he can match that time on Indianapolis' notoriously slow track, but he should lap the field in a relatively weak year for linebackers.

CB: Demarcus Van Dyke, Miami -- LSU's Patrick Peterson told the media that his goal in the 40-yard dash was in the 4.2s. Van Dyke might actually accomplish this rare feat.

S: Rahim Moore, UCLA -- I'm not as high on Moore as many are, but there is no denying his pure athleticism. He could be one of the few safeties in this class that can break the 4.50 mark.

Posted on: February 23, 2011 12:57 pm
Edited on: February 23, 2011 12:58 pm
 

Combine Countdown -- Illinois ILB Martez Wilson

Continuing my week-long feature on prospects at each position that have more on the line at the Indianapolis Scouting Combine than most, I present Illinois junior inside linebacker Martez Wilson.

Wilson is NFLDraftScout.com's top rated inside linebacker for the 2011 draft. A highly touted prep star, he signed with Illinois with much fanfare, but until the 2010 season had been considered a bit of a disappointment. Wilson's production shot up in his junior season, however. He went from recording 73 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss and three sacks in his first starting season to 112 stops, 11.5 tackles for loss and four sacks. He also contributed three forced fumbles, an interception and a blocked kick, earning First-Team All-Big Ten accolades.

At an estimated 6-4, 250 pounds, Wilson certainly possesses the prototypical size to man the inside linebacker position in the NFL. Athletic enough to beat the back to the sideline as a true 4-3 Mike and physical enough to take on blockers as a 3-4 ILB, Wilson is one of a scant few in this year's relatively weak class capable of starring in either scheme.  Some teams even feel that Wilson has the natural pass rush skills and agility in coverage to warrant developing as an outside linebacker in either scheme.

For all of his obvious assets, however, Wilson has a lot riding on his Combine performance. Certainly scouts want to see if the burst and agility seen on tape is replicated in workouts.

More importantly, teams need to investigate the neck injury which sidelined Wilson for all but the opener of the 2009 season. Wilson registered nine tackles against Missouri, but suffered a herniated disk and was granted a medical redshirt. Considering the collisions he'll face as an NFL linebacker, pro teams' medical staffs aren't going to necessarily give Wilson medical clearance just because Illinois' did.

Teams are also going to want to talk to Wilson regarding his sudden jump in production. Is he a player coming into his own or is he motivated by the big NFL contract? Teams will attempt to find the answer to all of these questions this week in Indianapolis.

Should Wilson pass the medical, interview and athletic questions this week, he has a chance to slip into the late first round. Wilson's value could be enhanced simply because he is viewed by many clubs as the clear-cut top rated ILB. The drop to Michigan State's Greg Jones and North Carolina's Quan Sturdivant (NFLDraftScout.com's next two highest rated ILBs) is significant. Also significant is the fact that Wilson has the experience to play inside or out. He played outside for the Illini in 2008 before making the switch to the middle for his abbreviated 2009 campaign, as well as this past season.

Though inside linbebackers have traditionally dropped a bit on draft day, the Oakland Raiders made former Alabama star Rolando McClain the No. 8 overall pick last year. There have been eight inside linebackers drafted in the first round since the 2000 draft.
Posted on: February 22, 2011 5:45 pm
 

Combine Countdown -- DT Lawrence Guy

As we count down the days to the Scouting Combine, I've previewed one prospect at several positions that I believe have a great deal riding on their Combine performances.

Due to the fact that the defensive line is so talented this year, the competition at this position figures to be one of the more compelling story lines of the event. The NFL Network's Mike Mayock recently proclaimed this year's defensive end class to be the best he's ever seen. I believe the defensive tackle is very good, as well, making the entire defensive line group a spectacular collection of talent.

One of the more underrated defensive linemen, in my opinion, is Arizona State's Lawrence Guy . The 6-5, 300 pound Guy has a combination of size, strength and athleticism that few other defensive tackles in this class can rival.

He wasn't helped a great deal with the Sun Devils, who, under Dennis Erickson, are only beginning to get the type of elite athletes he'd used to win a national championship while at Miami. This is one of the reasons why Guy finished with "only" 41 tackles, six tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks last season. Opponents knew the key to controlling the line of scrimmage against ASU was to stop Guy and thus, he was often double teamed.

What makes Guy so intriguing at the next level is that he projects nicely as either a three-technique defensive tackle in the 4-3 or as a five-technique defensive end in the 3-4. That type of scheme and position versatility could make him a Top 100 selection even though the most attention he ever earned from Pac-10 coaches was this year when he was voted an Honorable Mention member of the all-conference team.

As with most underclassmen, the interviews will be important for Guy. He struggled with grades and maturity early on at Arizona State before emerging as one of the team's leaders in 2010.

Guy's athleticism is obvious on tape, but with so many other talented defensive linemen this year, this Sun Devil could easily be characterized as just another "guy," making it all the more imperative that he stand out in workouts to create some buzz for himself.

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