Posted on: February 27, 2010 12:07 pm
Edited on: February 27, 2010 12:48 pm
Dexter McCluster isn't letting the fact that he was the first player in SEC history to rush for over 1,000 yards and gain more than 500 yards receiving in a single season serve as the only proof that he can play both positions in the NFL.
He is electing to both the running back and wide receiver workouts this week at the Combine. McCluster is the only known player who will be working out at two positions
At a time when so many players are waiting for their Pro Days to work out, McCluster's willingness to do both (as well as do his timed drills on the same day) is refreshing.
If his time at running back and receiver isn't enough, McCluster would also like to see time as a returner... And is willing to do any drills coaches want him to do if he is going to get a chance to play the gunner position he'd had early in his career with the Rebels.
Speaking on whether he'd prefer returning punts or kicks in the NFL, McCluster said, "A lot of people ask me... I told them punt return. I love that you have to think a little quicker. I love that. My quickness and my ability to stop and go, I believe, is a big aspect of my game."
McCluster went on to say, "I always want to be a gunner on the punt team. I love doing that. I tried to get on it this year, but coach wouldn't let me do it to save me. But that's something I love.
McCluster's straight-line speed is, surprisingly, one of the questions scouts have about him, McCluster is confident he'll run well tomorrow -- going so far as to predict his time of "something in the 4.3s."
Posted on: December 30, 2009 1:02 pm
In my last post, I highlighted what I expect to be the best one on one battle between highly rated senior prospects of the bowl season with Oklahoma State left tackle Russell Okung lining up opposite Mississippi defensive end Greg Hardy.
Hardy's inability to remain healthy made the dream matchup appear to be just a tease, until it was announced that Hardy had deemed himself 100% recovered from the wrist surgery and ankle injuries that had robbed him of his senior season.
Now, it might be Okung who is unable to suit up due to injury.
The Tulsa World is reporting that Okung suffered a knee injury during the closed practice held at Cowboy Stadium. Head coach Mike Gundy did not sound as if he knew the extent of the injury at his press conference following the practice, offering only "I really can't even comment on it..."
Okung, the veteran of 46 consecutive starts for the Cowboys, has been NFLDraftScout.com's top-rated senior offensive tackle all year long.
The link to the Tulsa World article is here.
Posted on: November 11, 2009 10:03 pm
Mississippi defensive end Greg Hardy is expected to miss the rest of the 2009 season due to a broken left wrist. The injury occurred earlier in the year, but was made worse in Saturday's matchup with Northern Arizona. Hardy, according to head coach Houston Nutt, will undergo surgery on the wrist tomorrow. His collegiate career appears over.
The 6-4, 265 pound Hardy is a dominating force when healthy. The problem is, he's never made it through an entire season with the Rebels, battling multiple foot injuries before the fractured wrist.
He led the Rebels in sacks this season (5) and had 26.5 for his career. Injuries kept him from starting a single game as a junior (and only four as a sophomore) but in the 19 games in which he played, Hardy registered 18.5 sacks, earning all-conference accolades from league coaches after both seasons.
In an era of pure speed rushers, Hardy's size, strength and hand technique made him unique. He enjoyed some of his most impressive games against the SEC's top tackles. His 2.5 tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks and multiple hurries of Tim Tebow were a primary reason for the Rebels' stunning victory over Florida last year.
NFLDraftScout.com has ranked him as the top defensive end of the 2010 senior class from the beginning -- and from a talent standpoint he deserves to remain there even with this latest injury.
For all of his talent, however, Hardy's lack of durability and off-beat personality is certain to drop him on draft day. Few players in league history will have been more scrutinized (both medically and in interviews) at the Combine. It will take a confident team, indeed, willing to spend a first round pick on a player who has never made it through a full collegiate season healthy.
In a draft destined to be known for great defensive linemen (principally Ndamukong Suh and potentially Gerald McCoy), Greg Hardy remains the enigma. If he can ever recover his health, he could be prove to be the best pass rusher from this class.
Posted on: March 26, 2009 9:37 pm
Michael Oher had been characterized as slipping down draft boards after only a so-so performance in drills and interviews while at the Combine.
His teammate, defensive tackle Peria Jerry, likewise was slipping after not being able workout in Indianapolis due to a pulled left hamstring.
Both boosted their stock with impressive showings Thursday at the Mississippi Pro Day. Oher and Jerry's rare foot quickness stood out to scouts on film and on the field at the Senior Bowl. It did on Thursday in front of an estimated 65 scouts -- representing every team in the league -- as well.
Oher, despite working out at the Combine, was characterized by one scout attending the workout as "the star of the show." Oher, 6-5, 306 pounds shaved nearly two-tenths of a second off of his 40-yard dash time from Indianapolis, going from a 5.32 to a 5.14, according to the watch of the scout. Oher also lifted the 225 bar 25 times, though two of the attempts were not allowed by scouts because he didn't lock-out. Still, the 23 repetitions was two more than he had lifted at the Combine.
Peria Jerry was still hampered a bit by the hamstring injury and only ran the 40-yard dash once Thursday, but the 4.94 time he recorded (according to the scout) was faster than any defensive tackle as heavy as Jerry (6-2, 290) at the Combine. Jerry was just as impressive in the short shuttle (4.64) and 3-cone drill (7.30), demonstrating the agility and burst that caused him to be one of the most talked-about prospects in Mobile. Jerry also recorded a 31-inch vertical jump and a 9-foot, 6-inch broad jump. His 28 bench press reps were also impressive.
Ole Miss has several other NFL prospects of note. Wide receiver Mike Wallace elected not to perform any timed drills Thursday, after proving his unique blend of size and speed at the Combine. The 6-0, 199 pounder was timed in the 4.3s in Indianapolis and had a 40" vertical there, but did help his cause Thursday by running surprisingly crisp routes, according to the scout, and catching every pass thrown to him in drills. One of the knocks on Wallace is that he remains a bit of a track guy in pads, so catching the ball cleanly is sure to boost his stock with scouts.
Safety Jamarca Sanford (5-10, 209) showcased better speed (4.45) Thursday than he had in Indianapolis (4.50) and again proved his rare strength, lifting the bar 26 times. Sanford finished behind only USC safety-linebacker hybrid Kevin Ellison at the Combine with 29 reps.
One more note on Oher... NFLDraftScout.com ranked Oher as the top senior prospect in the country for much of the 2008 season and despite other analysts questioning if he'll even make the first round, I've stuck with him. The lowest I've had him go in any mock draft is 13th overall. There is a possibility that the questions about his consistency will drop him lower, but Oher's size, athleticism and dominance against what I believe to be the most talented conference in the college football makes him an underrated talent in my book. I believe he is a potential Pro Bowl left tackle -- and those players deserve high early first round consideration.