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 9, 2011 8:40 am
With all of the attention swirling around Cam Newton's Pro Day at Auburn yesterday, not enough national attention is going towards the more impressive throwing session put forth by Arkansas' Ryan Mallett, at least in the estimation of some NFL scouts.
NFLDraftScout.com anticipated the strong workout and had a man on the scene, detailing the session from the inside .
For my own information, however, I contacted various league sources also at the workout.
One high-level source working for a team expected to draft a quarterback this year, described Mallett as "demonstrating extremely high level velocity and accuracy" throughout the workout.
Another source - a regional scout familiar with Newton and Mallett - characterized it in another way.
"From what I saw of [Newton's] performance online, the cameras were at the wrong workout. [Mallett] proved he's the most talented passer yesterday, just like he did in Indy. I know you saw him at the Combine , but he was even better here."
Neither source provided the number of passes attempted or completed from Mallett's Pro Day, leaving us with only Mallett's disappointing time in the 40-yard dash and vertical jump as the only quantifiable numbers from the workout. With no way to compare apples to apples on their velocity and accuacy, many are comparing Mallett's athletic drills to Newton's and other quarterbacks.
Clearly, Mallett is slower and less athletic overall than scouts would prefer. The 5.37 second time he ran in the 40-yard dash is sloooow even for quarterback standards and the 26" vertical jump didn't show much explosive athleticism, but in comparison, a certain former Michigan quarterback -- some guy named Brady -- was clocked at 5.23 at the 2000 Combine and only jumped 24.5" inches -- and that was at only 211 pounds. Mallett measured in at 247 pounds.
I'm not about to project Mallett as the second coming of Tom Brady -- they are vastly different quarterbacks -- but it is important to note that the numbers some will use to describe the Razorback passer's Pro Day performance aren't the story.
Mallett is the draft's most talented passer. If a team can come to grips with his off-field question marks, he certainly has the talent to warrant a first round selection .
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: March 5, 2011 12:21 pm
Since the Combine ended Tuesday, I've been polling league sources on their rankings of the quarterbacks. I spoken or texted with seven sources (ranging from area scouts to front office executives) as of Saturday morning and have some interesting results.
Category: NFL Draft
Tags: Akili Smith, Andy Dalton, Arkansas, Auburn, Blaine Gabbert, Blaine Gabbert, Cade McNown, Cam Newton, Christian Ponder, Colin Kaepernick, Daunte Culpepper, Donovan McNabb, Florida State, Jake Locker, Jay Cutler, Missouri, Missouri, Nevada, Pro Day, Ryan Mallett, Scouting Combine, Tarvaris Jackson, TCU, Tim Couch, Vince Young, Washington
Posted on: March 3, 2011 2:03 pm
A high-ranking NFL source countered what NFLDraftScout.com and others had reported earlier in the week that Auburn QB Cam Newton "struggled" in team interviews conducted at the Combine.
"I think that is an example of a team trying to knock the kid down," the source said. "I can tell you right now, he was very likable with us. He answered every question we had about his off-field stuff and did a great job on the white board."
I pointed out that Newton could do well in his team's interview and then struggle in another (or several), but the source referred to specific questions asked and that the offensive coaches in the meeting later characterized Newton's answers as "perfect."
"He knew where to go with the football against different schemes, where his hot read was..." the source explained. "[Newton] did it quickly and with confidence. I wasn't in the other teams' meetings, so I don't know what they asked or how he answered, obviously. I can't imagine that kid 'struggling,' though, in that kind of setting."
The conflicting stories provide a perfect example of the smokescreens that take place in the months leading up to the draft...