Posted on: March 4, 2011 12:54 pm
Edited on: March 4, 2011 1:13 pm
Oregon inside linebacker Casey Matthews "will do all drills except for the bench," at Oregon's Pro Day March 10 his agent, David Dunn, confirmed this morning.
Matthews, NFLDraftScout.com's No. 7 rated inside linebacker , injured the shoulder while performing the bench press drill at the scouting combine Feb. 27. The injury kept him from performing linebacker drills the next day.
Matthews said, according to NFL.com's Steve Wyche , that the injury occurred during the 14th repetition of 225 pounds. Matthews characterized the injury as a "freak accident" but also noted that he had suffered an injury to his left shoulder as a freshman.
Matthews, whose athletic pedigree has been well documented, emerged from his famous family's shadow this season to earn First Team All-Pac-10 honors lastseason with 79 tackles, nine tackles for loss, three interceptions and three fumble recoveries. Like his older brother, Clay, Casey Matthews' instincts and propensity to make the big play at critical moments stand out -- especially in this year's relatively weak class of linebackers.
His forced fumble of Cam Newton in the closing moments of the BCS National Championship game put Oregon in position to score the winning points.
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...
Posted on: February 28, 2011 7:24 pm
We all know the value of quarterbacks raises as the draft gets closer. We also all know that significantly altering a player's grade based on Combine performance is a quick way to get a scouting staff fired.
Posted on: February 28, 2011 6:44 pm
Cam Newton's struggles in the throwing session at the Combine Sunday has already been well documented. His strategy of reading a prepared statement and refusing to acknowledge the extent of the "mistakes" he made earlier in his career while at Florida has been hotly contested.
Posted on: February 27, 2011 2:52 pm
Cam Newton entered the second throwing session of the Combine with all of the hype, but it was Florida State's Christian Ponder who stole the show.
Ponder showed surprising zip and very good accuracy throughout the throwing session, especially in the short to intermediate levels. His deep outs and post-corner routes were especially impressive.
Newton has all of the physical tools scouts are looking for, but showed that he is still in the early developmental stages in dropping back, transferring his weight and throwing passes accurately. This led to some of his throws -- especially timing routes like deep outs -- to sail on him.
We'll have more on the QB and WR drills as a feature article.
Posted on: February 26, 2011 4:37 pm
Though he was unquestionably more poised in his responses, Auburn quarterback Cam Newton, like his SEC counterpart Ryan Mallett, elected not to answer questions about his past when taking questions from the media at the Combine Saturday.
Newton did admit to "mistakes" at Florida but wouldn't go into detail when pressed about them.
The willingness to admit he's made mistakes helped appease a mob of media ready to pounce after Mallett repeatedly brushed aside their questions about his past.
Newton has a personable demeanor about him that makes people like him. His charm helped him today win over some members despite the fact that his rumored violations could be every bit as serious to scouts as the ones circling Mallett, Weslye Saunders of South Carolina, and a host of North Carolina players, among others.
Having watched players dazzle the media over the years -- including quarterbacks Mark Sanchez and Matt Ryan -- and transfer that ability to skyrocket up draft boards during team interviews, I can greater understand the growing sentiment that Newton will wind up as the No. 1 pick in the draft.
Posted on: February 22, 2011 1:49 pm
Last night I described Cam Newton as getting a head start on Missouri's Blaine Gabbert in the race to be the first quarterback selected in the 2011 draft.
According to Gil Brandt, the race is already over.
Brandt, an NFL.com analyst and longtime Dallas Cowboys' director of personnel, was quoted by Jimmy Burch in Monday's Star Telegram that he'd be "shocked" if Newton was not the No. 1 overall pick of the draft.
While Newton is unquestionably talented , Brandt's prediction is a bold one. Just because Newton is a spectacular athletic talent and plays the quarterback position does not necessarily mean he should be the first player selected. Newton's numerous character concerns and adjustment to a pro-style offense require significant investigation.
Perhaps Brandt and some clubs have learned enough already about Newton. I have not. I look forward to watching his interview and workout. Both will have play a considerable role in my ultimate grade on his NFL prospects.
Perhaps most importantly, it is important to note the fit that Newton may or may not have with the Carolina Panthers, who, of course, own the No. 1 overall pick.
This is a team currently built around the running game. While the Panthers could lose impending free agent DeAngelo Williams, they boast the talents of Jonathan Stewart and Mike Goodson and a solid run-blocking offensive line. On the one hand, adding a multi-purpose threat like Newton might seem like the perfect addition to the club. On the other hand, however, a ball control quarterback might be a better fit for a team likely to be built around the running the ball and defense -- the style of play new head coach Ron Rivera is thought to prefer.
Rivera's offensive coordinator, Rob Chudzinski, might also be making a huge adjustment should the Panthers elect to take Newton. Chudzinski, who was promoted to this role after serving as the tight ends coach and assistant head coach for the Chargers last season, may not have the experience with multi-purpose quarterbacks to endorse such an obvious gamble on pure athletiicsm.
Posted on: February 21, 2011 9:21 pm
In the race to be the first quarterback selected in the 2011 NFL Draft, Auburn's Cam Newton is getting a head start over Missouri' Blaine Gabbert.
Newton, according to the NFL Network , has decided he will be throwing passes at this week's Combine. Gabbert, according to USA Today's Jim Corbett , is not expected to throw in Indianapolis and will instead wait until his Pro Day.
Both quarterbacks have questions to answer after starring in spread offenses in college. The schemes were shotgun-heavy and simplified the reads with which each passer had to make. Scouts want to see how well Newton and Gabbert drop back from center and how accurately they throw on the move.
Newton and Gabbert's decisions, though opposite, weren't entirely unexpected.
Newton successfully created a buzz for himself in holding a media-only throwing session February 11 outside of San Diego, California. If he'd elected to not throw at the Combine, Newton would have risked killing whatever momentum he'd built for himself and potentially angering NFL teams.
Gabbert, on the other hand, is considered by most to be this year's top quarterback. As the leader, the pressure isn't quite as great on him to perform. While NFL scouts certainly would love to see Gabbert show some competitive spirit and throw in Indianapolis, it is pretty tough to argue with his decision. After all, the agency that represents Gabbert -- Creative Artists Agency -- has represented several quarterbacks in recent years who elected not to work out at the Combine and successfully boosted their stock with strong Pro Day performances. Recent CAA quarterbacks include Sam Bradford, Matt Stafford and Matt Ryan. Each elected not to throw in Indianapolis. Bradford and Stafford were the No. 1 overall picks of the 2010 and 2009 drafts, respectively. Ryan was the first quarterback selected and the third overall pick in 2008.