Posted on: March 9, 2011 6:56 pm
Edited on: March 9, 2011 7:00 pm
Considering his excellent game tape, consensus top running back Mark Ingram didn't have to run again at Alabama's Pro Day Wednesday, but his competitive nature pushed him into it.
Ingram was significantly faster today at Alabama than he had been at the Combine two weeks ago, posting times between 4.49-4.56 according to a source at the workout. This after measuring only one pound less (214) than he did in Indianapolis (215), where he was timed at 4.62-4.70 in the event.
Dareus, like Ingram, weighed in one pound lighter today (318) than he did at the Combine and posted an 8'10" broad jump -- a drill he did not participate in at the Combine.
Ingram and Dareus measuring in at similar weights as they did at the Combine may seem insignificant to some, but prospects are notorious for dropping or adding signficant weight following the measurements and workout in Indianapolis. Consider that Auburn defensive tackle Nick Fairley was six pounds heavier at his Pro Day yesterday than he was at the Combine. Colorado offensive tackle Nate Solder, on the other hand, was a full 12 pounds lighter today than at the Combine, according to Chad Reuter's Pro Day report.
Alabama's "other" superstar -- wide receiver Julio Jones -- was present for the workout to root on his teammates and meet with NFL representatives, but was unable to participate in any events due to his recent surgery to repair a stress fracture in his foot. As expected, quarterback Greg McElroy was also unable to participate in the workout due to his rehabilitation after breaking his hand at the Senior Bowl. McElroy is no longer wearing his cast and has scheduled a Pro Day at Alabama for April 5.
All 32 NFL teams were represented at the workout.
Posted on: March 8, 2011 5:13 pm
All-American defensive tackle Nick Fairley once again chose not to perform the bench press during his team's pro day. He skipped pushing up reps of 225 pounds at the Scouting Combine, sayin he "had a shoulder injury in the Georgia game, it was a shoulder separation, AC joint. It wasn’t too serious, I played every game afterwards and it’s getting a lot better."
Posted on: March 8, 2011 9:07 am
In yet another example of the undying thirst this world has for all-things football (and more specifically all-things Cam Newton), Auburn Pro Day workout will be broadcasted live today by ESPN3.com and the NFL Network.
The workout should feature defensive tackle Nick Fairley, offensive lineman Lee Ziemba and linebacker Josh Bynes, among other notable draft-eligible prospects for the BCS Champion Tigers, but, of course, the focus will be on the Heisman-winning Newton.
The pressure is on Newton to perform well after he struggled in his Combine throwing session. Newton's inaccuracy in Indianapolis caught some off guard as the reviews from his media-only workout outside of San Diego drew rave reviews. You can watch much of that workout here .
So, what does Newton have to do today to boost his stock?
In a word, improve.
After completing the easy ten-yard tosses to receivers during the gauntlet drill, Newton completed only 11 of his 21 passes at the Combine. Newton's struggles were due to the fact that his timing was off in his dropback from "center." He was a bit slow dropping back, forcing him to hurry his throwing motion. Too often he was throwing off his back foot with the ball leaving his hand too at an upward arc. This led to many of his passes sailing on him, especially on the deep out route, a pass requiring timing with his receivers.
Today, watch to see if Newton's timing is improved. It should be, as he'll be throwing to receivers he knows, as opposed to those he passed to in Indianapolis. Also, watch to see if Newton is stepping into his throws. This is essentially the weight distribution piece you've heard analysts refer to in the past.
Besides just the throwing session, it will be interesting to see how Newton's teammates rally around him. One of Newton's greatest attributes, according to scouts, is his leadership. Newton hadn't let the pressure of the big stage affect him in Auburn's undefeated season, but we might have seen cracks in the armor with his poor throwing session at the Combine. Newton needs a strong showing today. He also needs to show that he's having fun and be encouraging to his teammates. Today may really be all about Newton, but he can't let on that he believes that. This is Auburn's Pro Day, after all, not just Newton's.
I was on the field to watch the Pro Days that sent Mark Sanchez and Sam Bradford's respective stocks soaring. I anticipate a similarly spectacular and stock-boosting performance from Newton today. If we don't get it, perhaps Chad Reuter and I will have to change the No. 1 overall pick in each of our current first round mock drafts.
Fairley, too, could see a boost or drop based on how he performs today. For all of the concern about his "soft" body at the Combine, there is no denying his spectacular workout. The natural athleticism that has caused me (and many others) to characterize him as the most naturally talented prospect in the draft was on display there. What will be interesting to scouts will be if Fairley's conditioning has improved or lessened in the eight days since he worked out at the Combine.
Every NFL team is expected to attend the event. In fact, some are predicting that it will be the most heavily attended Pro Day of all time. This is all the more impressive considering that Arkansas and Oklahoma are hosting their Pro Day workouts today, as well. Auburn's Pro Day begins at 1:30 pm EST.
Posted on: March 7, 2011 1:59 pm
The Carolina Panthers and Denver Broncos, owners of the top two picks of the 2011 draft, will be well represented at Auburn's Pro Day tomorrow.
Darin Gantt of the Rock Jill Herald reports that Carolina will send head coach Ron Rivera to the workout. Broncos' Vice President of Football Operations John Elway announced via his Twitter account that he, too, will be making the trip. Don't be surprised if every team in the league is represented at Auburn's Pro Day.
Quarterback Cam Newton is an obvious attraction, but getting a bit lost in the hype over the Heisman winner is the stock of defensive tackle Nick Fairley. One could argue that the Panthers and Broncos need help at defensive tackle every bit as much as at quarterback, especially considering the fact that both clubs invested high round picks in Jimmy Clausen and Tim Tebow, respectivley, just last year.
The timing of Auburn's Pro Day is a bit inconvenient for scouts as Arkansas and Oklahoma also have their Pro Days scheduled for tomorrow.
With so much interest in Newton and Fairley, most teams will likely choose to go to Auburn's workout over the others. However, the Arkansas Pro Day is very intriguing, as well. Talented, but troubled quarterback Ryan Mallett will be throwing, of course, which is reason enough to attend the workout. Mallett enjoyed a spectacular throwing session at the Combine and thus, doesn't have quite as much riding on his physical performance Tuesday as Newton, who struggled with accuracy in Indianapolis.
That said, teams truly interested in drafting Mallett may want to attend his workout to gauge more than just his physical skills. How Mallett interacts with his former teammates (and they with him) could give clubs a greater feel for his leadership potential at the next level.
Posted on: March 6, 2011 12:26 pm
Much of the attention following the Combine has been centered on the team interviews with quarterbacks Cam Newton, Ryan Mallett and others, but according to three sources from different clubs, it is another high profile player who set off the most alarms at the Combine.
Auburn defensive tackle Nick Fairley was described as a "JUCO kid to the core" by one longtime personnel man, speaking on the condition of anonymity.
By "JUCO" the source is, of course, referring to the fact that Fairley played junior college football (Copiah-Lincoln Community College) prior to starring at Auburn. Asked to elaborate why being a "JUCO kid" is a bad thing, the source explained.
"Just because a player went to a junior college doesn't mean, he's a bad guy or won't be successful at this level, obviously. There are lots of junior college players who have gone on to great NFL careers."
The stereotype is that JUCO players aren't as smart, hard-working, and well coached. They are also viewed by many clubs as players most likely to have had off-field troubles in the past and potentially more in the future. The source refused to go into specifics, but said, "Everyone is coming down hard on the quarterback, but [Fairley] is the one to worry about."
Despite measuring in at a shade under 6-4 (6037) and lighter than expected (291 pounds), Fairley "looked soft," according to the source. This first impression of Fairley's conditioning was only reinforced by his "limited" understanding of defensive schemes during team interviews. The source also referred to the fact that Fairley doesn't use his hands well and has been able to be successful largely due to his natural talent.
"Oh, I'm not saying he's not talented. Hell, he might be the most talented player in the whole damn thing. But, he's no slam dunk at this level. Not the slam dunk people who watched him tear up the SEC or in the big game [BCS National Championship] might think."
The other sources weren't as forthcoming with details, but didn't sound surprised when I told them I heard that Fairley was slipping down boards and that, as such, I had pushed him from No. 2 in the mock draft I'd written prior to the Combine to No. 8 in my current one.
Posted on: February 24, 2011 11:41 am
Denver Broncos head coach John Fox may have unintentionally leaked the direction his team will be going with the No. 2 overall pick.
The Broncos need help on the defensive line. Ranking dead last in the NFL in total defense, including 31st against the run will do that to a club. The team is also transitioning back to a 4-3 defense.
Fox sound excited about the impending healthy return of pass rusher Elvis Dumervil. He twice cited the fact that Dumervil "had 17 sacks" and erased any doubt that Dumervil would be returning back to defensive end, as he had played prior to former head coach Josh McDaniels' switching the Broncos to a 3-4 defense.
The surprise came moments later when he described his feelings about Broncos' 2009 first round pick Robert Ayers, a defensive end at the University of Tennessee, who struggled the past two seasons as a 3-4 outside linebacker.
Fox, when asked what he thought of Ayers and how he fit in with his defensive scheme, "I saw him [Ayers] as a 4-3 defensive end. We've got him penciled in as a defensive end. I have the utmost confidence that he'll be a productive player for us this season."
If Fox does, indeed, have the "utmost confidence" in Ayers and is comfortable with Dumervil's return after a torn pectoral muscle sidelined him all of last year, the Broncos will likely be looking at defensive tackle with the No. 2 overall pick rather than defensive end Da'Quan Bowers from Clemson or Robert Quinn from North Carolina.
Fox wouldn't go into specifics about this year's defensive tackle group, but seemed less than enthusiastic about his team's current defensive tackles.
Auburn's Nick Fairley and Alabama's Marcell Dareus are considered by most scouts to be top five prospects. Both have the size and physicality to be an immediate upgrade inside for the Broncos.
Posted on: February 19, 2011 1:01 pm
Once the Denver Broncos hired John Fox to be their head coach many of us presumed he'd be bringing along his 4-3 defensive front to the AFC West.
On Friday, he made it official, according to Mike Klis of the Denver Post.
"We're going to be a multiple-front defense, but I think we'll make the commitment to the 4-3. The transition from the 3-4 to 4-3 is much easier than going from the 4-3 to 3-4, I will say that. So we feel pretty confident about that switch."
The Broncos had long run the 4-3 alignment under Mike Shanahan, but switched to the 3-4 under Josh McDaniels. Under the tutelage of then-defensive coordinator Mike Nolan, the Broncos appeared to make early strides in the odd man front in 2009, but the team dropped from the No. 7 ranked overall defense two years ago to dead last this past season.
Fox is fortunate in his timing. Not only are the Broncos in prime position to add a defensive star with the No. 2 overall pick of the draft, they'll also be getting former NFL sacks champion Elvis Dumervil back this season. He missed all of last year with a torn pectoral muscle.
I currently project the Broncos to select defensive tackle Nick Fairley in the first round. My fellow senior analyst Chad Reuter also has them taking the Auburn star.
Fairley, Alabama defensive tackle Marcell Dareus and Clemson defensive end Da'Quan Bowers each possess the size and strength to provide immediate help in Denver. The possibility also exists that the Broncos may have to consider LSU cornerback Patrick Peterson should they allow Champ Bailey to leave via free agency.
As always for the very best in NFL draft coverage, be sure to keep the page refreshed at NFLDraftScout.com
Posted on: February 18, 2011 2:08 pm
Carolina Panthers' head coach Ron Rivera confirmed for Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com yesterday that his team will use their Franchise Tag but did not specify which player they'll designate.
The Panthers are expected to pick between three players -- running back DeAngelo Williams, center Ryan Kalil and defensive end Charles Johnson.
With former first round pick Jonathan Stewart waiting in the wings, the Panthers appear best suited to lose Williams. Mike Goodson was impressive when given the opportunity, as well.
Kalil is one of the best young centers in the game and would be a significant loss for a team built to control the line of scrimmage.
The team boasts a talented young duo of pass rushers in Everett Brown and Greg Hardy behind Johnson, but neither has yet demonstrated the consistency to allow Carolina to feel good about the position should they risk losing him. Johnson finally got the chance to be a full-time starter in 2010 and responded with a team-high 11.5 sacks -- the 2nd highest total among NFC defensive ends (Atlanta's John Abraham had 13 sacks).
Should the Panthers elect to franchise Kalil, Clemson's Da'Quan Bowers could shoot to the top of Carolina's draft board. The 6-4, 275 pound defender led the country with 15.5 sacks and his size and physicality make him an better run supporter than a pass rusher.
On the other hand, if the Panthers elect to franchise Johnson, they almost certainly would not take Bowers or any other defensive end. Even a defensive tackle like Auburn's Nick Fairley or Alabama's Marcell Dareus might be viewed as financially irresponsible if the Panthers invest a huge contract into Johnson.
This is shaping up to be a solid class of interior linemen, though none of the top center prospects are nearly as polished as Kalil was coming out of USC in 2007.
As always for the very best in NFL Draft coverage, be sure to keep NFLDraftScout.com refreshed.