Posted on: March 26, 2011 2:00 pm
With their initial Pro Day shortened due to a rain storm, the draft-eligible members of the University of Miami Hurricanes worked out for representatives of at least 20 teams Friday.
Most of the top prospects elected to stand on their Combine results, doing only positional workouts.
One exception was running back Graig Cooper , who, a league source on hand for the workout, told me was asked to run the 40-yard dash three times. Players are typically asked to run twice, but there was such a difference between Cooper's first and second attempts in the dash (4.67, 4.46 according to the scout) that Cooper was asked to run it a third time. In his third attempt Cooper was again in the 4.6s (4.66) -- similar times as the ones he put forth at the Combine (4.60-4.68).
The slow times were disappointing. Cooper did look "better in positional drills. He moves well laterally and has some burst."
Any improvement is important for Cooper, who surprisingly elected to play this season after tearing the ACL in his knee during Miami's 2009 bowl game. He was a shadow of his former self throughout much of the season, but showed improved speed and burst at the East-West Shrine Game and finished second to all running backs tested at the Combine with a 4.03 time in the short shuttle and a 6.66 second showing in the 3-cone drill. Nebraska's Roy Helu, Jr. beat Cooper by .02 seconds in the shuttle.
Cooper is not currently rated by NFLDraftScout.com as a draftable commodity. I, however, feel we and others are underrating him. As long as he gets a clean bill of health from NFL teams, I believe Cooper could prove a huge surprise at the next level.
Wide receiver Leonard Hankerson was characterized as "up and down" while running routes and catching passes. "He's a bit stiff as a route-runner and isn't as fast as he timed at Indy," the scout said. Hankerson, according to the scout, also "dropped a few" passes -- a problem the Miami receiver had struggled with throughout his career and the week of practice at the Senior Bowl.
Hankerson is currently the fourth rated receiver of the 2011 draft by NFLDraftScout.com.
Cornerback Brandon Harris, who some teams believe will ultimately wind up as the first of Miami's players chosen this year, was "solid, but not spectacular" in his positional drills. "Quick feet and fluid hips, but the concerns you have about him aren't going to be answered in a workout." Harris, 5-09 (1/2") and 191 pounds "loses too many battles at the critical moment" on tape.
My fellow Senior Analyst Chad Reuter and I have each pegged Harris as a potential late first round pick in our current mock drafts.
Among the teams the scout said were represented at the workout were the Atlanta Falcons, Arizona Cardinals, Baltimore Ravens, Chicago Bears, Denver Broncos, Green Bay Packers, Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Kansas City Chiefs, Miami Dolphins, New York Giants, New York Jets, New England Patriots, Oakland Raiders, Pittsburgh Steelers, San Diego Chargers, Seattle Seahawks, St. Louis Rams, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Tennessee Titans.
Posted on: March 18, 2011 1:43 pm
Prior to the Combine, there was plenty of buzz in the scouting community that New Mexico State cornerback Davon House was going to run very well in Indianapolis.
Though he did run well (4.44-4.50) there, the 6-0, 200 pound House had been expected to be among the fastest cornerbacks tested in Indianapolis and elected to run again Friday at his Pro Day, recording times in the 4.32-4.35 second range, according to a source at the scene.
House elected not to do any of the other measureable drills Friday. He was run through a positional workout by Chicago Bears' assistant defensive backs/safeties coach Gill Byrd and "did good, caught everything," according to the source.
Catching everything isn't a surprise for House. What he might lack in national name recognition, he made up for with a stellar career.
House, a four year starter for the Aggies, was a two-time First-Team All-WAC pick who leaves with 198 career tackles, along with 46 passes broken up and 11 interceptions -- three of which he returned for touchdowns.
There were approximately 15 teams on hand for the workout, according to the source, including representatives from the Chicago Bears (scout, as well as Byrd), Philadelphia Eagles, Houston Texans, Tennessee Titans, Green Bay Packers, New Orleans Saints, Miami Dolphins, Arizona Cardinals, Oakland Raiders, Buffalo Bills and New York Giants.
House is NFLDraftScout.com's No. 7 rated cornerback for the 2011 NFL Draft and is expected to be selected in the 2nd round.
Posted on: March 18, 2011 1:02 pm
As a NFL Draft analyst with a background in Education, I value the role that intelligence plays in the game of football. The ability to decipher information quickly -- especially at the quarterback position -- is absolutely critical to success.
That said, the NFL's version of an intelligence test -- the famed Wonderlic -- is the single most overrated element of the pre-draft process. (And considering the hype generated from the 40-yard dash, bench press and vertical jump, that's quite an accomplishment.)
I've long maintained that college tape makes up roughly 80% of the grade I assign a player. The medical/interview process at the Combine takes up about 15% of the grade.
That leaves only about 5% of my overall player grade for the measureable workouts at the Combine and Pro Days. Of the measureables, the Wonderlic is the least important in most cases.*
(*Again, I do pay attention to this score for quarterbacks -- but only if the grade is in the mid teens or lower.)
And for some positions, too high of a Wonderlic score can actually be considered a detriment by some.
Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee recalled a comment from then-49ers general manager Scot McCloughan regarding the Wonderlic.
As Scot McCloughan, then the team's vice president of player personnel, noted in 2005, teams don't want players to be too smart either, especially at certain positions. "Some positions, like cornerback, you don't want a really intelligent guy because if he does get beat, you don't want him overanalyzing it," McCloughan said.
Want to know more about the Wonderlic?
Take this 15 question sample test yourself.
How did you score?
Good for you.
Now, smart guy (or gal) tell me how identifying the ninth month of the year helps you block DeMarcus Ware.
Posted on: March 17, 2011 7:24 pm
While the vast majority of the NFL (and certainly media) attention was spent on quarterback Blaine Gabbert at Missouri's Pro Day, another potential first round pick -- defensive end Aldon Smith -- was among the other former Tigers who also worked out for scouts Thursday.
Like a lot of prospects in the 2011 draft, there is a wide range of opinion regarding Smith. Two sources (who each admitted to me that they attended Thursday's workout more to watch Smith than Gabbert) demonstrated just how different those thoughts could be.
The first source, who works for a club operating out of 3-4 base defense, thought that Smith looked "fantastic." He cited Smith's "explosive burst, acceleration and potential to be a big sucker once he grows into his body." The source envisioned Smith as a 3-4 rush linebacker who "absolutely should" go off the board in the middle to late portion of the first round.
The second source, scouting for a team with a four man front, wasn't nearly as impressed with Smith's workout. He called the workout "just average" and felt that it proved his limitations as strictly a 4-3 defensive end due to the fact that he "can't bend." The source referred back to a "disappointing" Combine workout from Smith in which the Tiger pass rusher was "one of the slowest DL in the shuttle."
Smith, for the record, registered a 4.59 and 4.50 in the short shuttle, designed to test change of direction and burst. His average ranked 16th out of the 20 DL tested in this drill at the Combine.
This source thought that Smith deserved to be drafted in the second or even the third round, but acknowledged that "someone is going to take him earlier based on his upside and his 2009 tape."
Smith burst onto the scene as a redshirt freshman, breaking Justin Smith's school record with 11.5 sacks to go along with 64 tackles and 19 tackles for loss. For his efforts, Smith was unanimously chosen as the Big 12's Defensive Newcomer of the Year in 2009.
Despite being the focus of every team's blocking scheme, Smith's 2010 season began in fine form. He posted 10 tackles, including three tackles for loss and two sacks in Missouri's season-opening win against Illinois. But a broken leg suffered against San Diego State sidelined him for three games and hampered his play much of the rest of the season. His statistical production dropped as a result: 48 tackles, 10 tackles for loss and 5.5 sacks.
Posted on: March 17, 2011 3:22 pm
Edited on: March 17, 2011 6:48 pm
A strong throwing session from Missouri quarterback Blaine Gabbert could push him to the No. 1 overall pick.
According to a Twitter note from Dave Matter of the Columbia Daily Tribune, Gabbert completed 44 of 49 passes and characterized "at least three" of the incompletions to drops by the collection of D-II receivers organized for the workout. With Missouri having no draft-eligible receivers, he was left to rely on others, rather than former teammates to catch his passes.
A source on the scene characterized Gabbert's workout as a "8" when asked to score it on a scale of 1-10. The source pointed out some "little issues intermediate and deep." But also noted "good velocity and accuracy on the move."
Gabbert's "little issues" on deeper passes wasn't unexpected. This was a primary concern based off of the largely horizontal (rather than vertical) passing he was asked to do while operating Missouri's spread attack.
In demonstrating good footwork from under center and accuracy while on the run, Gabbert helped alleviate concerns about his ability to translate to a more traditional pro-style offense.
As expected, the Missouri Pro Day was well attended by NFL decision-makers, including Jets' head coach Rex Ryan, Ravens' head coach John Harbaugh, 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh, Bengals' head coach Marvin Lewis, and Jaguars' head coach Jack Del Rio.
We'll have more updates from Missouri's Pro Day as the day goes on, including a report on pass rusher Aldon Smith's attempts to better a rather disappointing Combine workout.
Posted on: March 16, 2011 10:51 pm
Edited on: March 17, 2011 12:15 am
Having been given a 3rd round grade from the NFL Advisory Committee and posting a rather ho-hum workout at the Combine, Illinois defensive tackle Corey Liuget was a player some scouts perceived to be a little bit overrated, considering the fact that he's been featured in many first round mock drafts.
With representatives from nearly every NFL franchise on hand for his Pro Day, however, Liuget turned in a workout that one long-time scout characterized as "one of the best workouts I've ever seen from a defensive lineman."
Liuget, 6-2 and 303 pounds, didn't run, jump or lift at the workout, but demonstrated great explosiveness, hip flexibility and quick feet during defensive line drills conducted by Chicago Bears' defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli, according to the scout.
"A lot of [team representatives] went to this workout to see what kind of shape [Liuget] was in. He answered that in the workout. I'm not sure the kid broke a sweat. He had [Marinelli] working, not the other way around. I'm telling you, it was an impressive workout."
Also impressing scouts on hand was running back Mikel LeShoure. Weighing in at 232 pounds, LeShoure demonstrated very quick feet and soft hands catching passes. Like Liuget, LeShoure did not do any of the measureable drills Wednesday.
As good as his teammates workouts were -- and considering that he looked fantastic in the measureable drills at the Combine -- expectations were high for linebacker Martez Wilson.
Unfortunately, those expectations were dashed when Wilson struggled in positional drills, run by the Bengals' Jeff FitzGerald.
The scout, who works for a team unlikely to select a linebacker in the first half of the draft, didn't pull any punches.
"Everyone left that workout disappointed with [Wilson]. His footwork was bad, his hands were bad, even his countenance was bad. The other kids were having fun and seemed to enjoy the competition. He didn't look like he wanted to be there," the scout said.
"It wasn't a good workout for him - but one more indicative of how he actually plays. He looked great in the measureables at the Combine and everyone was talking about him, but he's not a very instinctive player so that speed doesn't translate onto the field."
While most of the attention was heaped upon Illinois' three stars, a few unheralded players caught the eyes of scouts.
Cornerback Travon Bellamy (5-11 3/4, 198 pounds) was timed at 4.52 in the 40-yard dash and looked "dynamite" in the shuttle drills and position workout.
Defensive end Clay Nurse checked in at 6-2 (3/8) and 261 pounds and was slower than scouts would like at 4.95-5.0 in the 40-yard dash, but looked very good in defensive line drills.
There were several decision-makers at the workout, including Jets' head coach Rex Ryan. Also present were Chicago Bears' Director of Player Personnel Tim Ruskell, New England Patriots' Director of Pro Personnel Jason Licht and New York Giants' defensive coordinator Perry Fewell. The St. Louis Rams were strongly represented with three scouts attending the workout, including Director of College Scouting John Mancini.
Posted on: March 16, 2011 11:34 am
Edited on: March 16, 2011 11:36 am
Capitalizing on the number of scouts who may already be in the area for Kansas State running back Daniel Thomas' rescheduled Pro Day , Nebraska defensive end Pierre Allen will be working out for scouts at 10 am on April 6.
The Cornhusker pass rusher was unable to perform at the Combine due to a strained right calf muscle. Furthermore, Allen wasn't able to participate in the bench press because of a right wrist injury he sustained while at the Senior Bowl.
Allen, 6-3 (and a 1/2) and 273 pounds, is expected to do all of the measureable workouts, as well as perform in DL and/or LB drills, as requested.
Though Allen's sack totals dropped from five to 3.5 last season, his tackle numbers improved. As such, he was recognized as a First-Team All Big-12 defender by league coaches with 65 tackles, including 11 tackles for loss. Allen was especially productive in the loss to Washington in the Holiday Bowl, racking up a team-high eight tackles (seven solos), including a tackle for loss.
A three-year starter for the Blackshirts, Allen's strength and length make him one of the better of the second tier defensive linemen in this draft and a likely 3rd-4th round pick.
Posted on: March 15, 2011 6:29 pm
All 32 NFL teams were on hand to see Mike Pouncey and the rest of the Florida Gators go through their Pro Day today in Gainesville.
Pouncey was the unquestioned center attraction at the event, as numerous offensive line coaches attended the event, as well as general managers (Jacksonville's Gene Smith) and head coaches (New England's Bill Belichick). The Jaguars' Andy Heck, Bears' Mike Tice, and Steelers' Sean Kugler were among the offensive line coaches in attendance.
Pouncey did not do any of the timed drills after a strong performance at the Scouting Combine, but did do 24 repetitions of 225 pounds on the bench press.
He also performed very well in positional drills, according to a scout on hand for the workout. The scout characterized Pouncey as "a star" and said, "He is everything you're looking for in an interior lineman. He's a carbon copy of his brother."
Mike's brother, of course, is the Steelers' Maurkice Pouncey, who earned a spot on the Pro Bowl team with a standout rookie season at center for the AFC Champions.
Pouncey, NFLDraftScout.com's top-rated interior lineman , is currently projected to be the No. 22 pick in the 2011 draft by the Indianapolis Colts in my recent mock draft. My fellow Senior Analyst Chad Reuter has him going 25th overall to the Seattle Seahawks .
This is a relatively down year of prospects for the Gators, with only two other Florida prospects being viewed as potential middle round prospects.
Another lineman, Marcus Gilbert, could make the third round. The 6-6, 330 pounder helped his cause, according to the scout with a solid performance today. A left tackle for the Gators, he projects best on the right side in the NFL.
Perhaps the player with the most on the line in today's workout was safety Ahmad Black. The diminutive Black (5-09, 184) needed a strong workout today to erase the concerns that were raised at the Combine due to disappointing times in the 40-yard dash. Black registered between 4.70-4.82 at Indianapolis and wasn't much faster in Gainesville today, unfortunately.
Scouts love his instincts and penchant for the game-changing play, but in posting another pair of 4.7s in the forty (my source had him at 4.74, 4.76), he could slip to the last two rounds of the draft.
"The kid plays fast, there's no question. But at that size and speed, it is going to be tough to convince a DB coach to get on board during [draft] meetings," the source said about Black.