Posted on: February 20, 2012 12:44 pm
Edited on: February 20, 2012 3:02 pm
NFL scouts will get the opportunity to see Oklahoma State's Justin Blackmon, who most rated as the elite wide receiver in the 2012 draft, participate fully in this week's Scouting Combine.
NFLDraftScout.com has learned that a high ankle sprain will keep another potential first round pass-catcher from doing the same, however.
Albert Breer of NFL.com reports that Blackmon plans to "do it all" in Indianapolis this week and even predicts that he'll be timed between 4.4 and 4.5 seconds when he runs the 40-yard dash. Despite Blackmon dominating the competition at the collegiate level, including winning back to back Biletnikof Awards as the nation's elite receiver, scouts have reservations about his straight-line speed. Blackmon, in fact, has been routinely estimated as a receiver with 4.55-4.60 speed by area scouts who have scouted him numerous times in person. A perceived lack of top-end speed is the one physical characteristic Blackmon would appear to be lacking when compared to receivers taken in the top six in recent years like A.J. Green, Julio Jones and Calvin Johnson. Scouts also have some reservations about Blackmon's decision-making off the field, in large part due to an arrest for driving while under the influence of alcohol in October, 2010. Blackmon was just 20 years old at the time.
While scouts will get some of their biggest questions answered about arguably the elite non-QB skill-position talent in the draft at the Combine, they'll have to wait until Stanford's March 22 Pro Day to see Coby Fleener, NFLDraftScout.com's top-rated senior tight end, perform athletic drills. Considering that some guy named Luck is expected to throw that day as well as the presence of two first round caliber offensive linemen (OG David DeCastro, OT Jonathan Martin) also among those expected to be on hand for the workout, there should be plenty of decision-makers in Palo Alto for the workout.
Ironically enough, Fleener suffered his ankle injury playing against Blackmon's Oklahoma State Cowboys January 3 in the Fiesta Bowl. The injury kept Fleener out of the Senior Bowl. According to a source close to the situation, Fleener has recovered suffiiciently from the injury but hasn't yet had an opportunity to prepare fully for the Combine-specific workouts. Though he won't be able to work out, Fleener will attend the Combine to participate in the medical testing and interview process.
Posted on: February 18, 2012 12:49 pm
The NFL's ever-expanding marketing promotions have taken the next logical step and will be allowing 250 fans into the 2012 Scouting Combine.
Posted on: February 17, 2012 12:49 pm
Typically NFL teams wait until after the Combine and Pro Day workouts to schedule private visits with potential draft picks.
Posted on: February 9, 2012 3:40 pm
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: February 7, 2012 8:57 am
A few weeks ago NFLDraftScout.com reported the initial list of players invited to the 2012 Scouting Combine, noting that the list would be updated soon with underclassmen and a few late senior additions.
National Football Scouting, the organization that puts on the Scouting Combine for the NFL, released the expanded list Tuesday morning.
While most of the record 65 underclassmen granted special eligibility for the 2012 draft are included on the list, 10 are not. Though every year there are players drafted who were not among those invited to the Combine, generally talent evaluators wish to see the underclassmen up close due to the limited viewing they may have of the early entrants throughout the year. As such, the 10 underclassmen who didn't make the Combine cut are clearly being currently viewed as long shots to be drafted. The 10 underclassmen not listed include Wyoming running back Alvester Alexander, Texas running back Jamison Berryhill, Kansas State running back Bryce Brown, Minnesota tight end Tiree Eure, Syracuse wide receiver Dorian Graham, Boston College defensive end/outside linebacker Max Holloway, Miami wide receiver Aldarius Johnson, Tulsa wide receiver Damaris Johnson, Purdue guard Ken Plue, and Auburn quarterback Barrett Trotter.
Among the seniors granted a late invitiation to the event, which will run from February 22-28 in Indianapolis, are: Washington running back Chris Polk, Florida State offensive tackle Andrew Datko and Utah State running back Robert Turbin.
Here is the official alphabetical list.
Posted on: February 6, 2012 11:30 am
Edited on: February 6, 2012 11:32 am
Alabama junior Trent Richardson is universally considered the top running back in the 2012 draft.
Ask five scouts which runner will follow him on draft day and you are liable to get five different answers. Some are enamored with the pure speed of Miami's Lamar Miller or Virginia Tech's David Wilson. Others like the all-around game of Boise State senior Doug Martin. With an MVP-performance in the Senior Bowl that showcased his potential as a returner, Cincinnati's Isaiah Pead is making a late run up the board.
A so-so performance in Mobile has taken some of the luster off of Washington's Chris Polk, but if he runs as fast in workouts as he and those close to him expect him to, the former Husky will certainly be in the mix.
Preparing interviews for Lindy's NFL Draft Preview scheduled to hit newstands March 1, I asked Chris at the Senior Bowl what he expects to run in the all-important 40-yard dash.
He smiled and replied simply, "Faster than any of you all think."
Pressed to be more specific, Polk elaborated.
"From what everyone has been saying and I've been reading, I guess speed is one of the big questions everyone has about me. I'm not that worried about it, to be honest with you. I know how fast I am. I expect to run something in the 4.4s."
Though Polk ran for 4,049 yards for the Huskies over his career, finishing second behind only former first round pick Napoleon Kaufman (4,106) in school history. Though he's shown the ability to break free for several long scores over his career (four TDs of 50+ yards), his straight-line speed is considered one of the question marks on an otherwise sparkling résumé.
Polk is currently preparing for the Combine at Athletes Performance Institute in Los Angeles. If his effort there result in a 40-yard dash time of 4.50 seconds or less, teams won't be able to ignore the fact that his game-tape, frankly, is more impressive than any of the other backs vying to follow Richardson.
Posted on: February 1, 2012 9:43 am
With the NFL continually finding new ways to market itself and the insatiable appetite fans have for all things football it has been theorized by many that it is only a matter of time before the league begins selling tickets to the annual Scouting Combine.
Posted on: January 28, 2012 1:35 pm
The Senior Bowl is scheduled to begin at 4 pm eastern time and you can bet there will be plenty of NFL scouts who will be watching the game.