Tag:NFL Combine
Posted on: February 28, 2010 11:22 am

Impressions from first QB-WR session -- QB Report

I was among the fortunate handful of media members allowed to venture inside Lucas Oil Stadium to watch this morning's quarterback and wide receivers workouts. Because I have to head back out to cover the second session in just a few moments, I don't have enough to time to really break down the 20+ players I watched.

However, here were my impressions of a few noteworthy players.

Of the quarterbacks, the two most impressive players were the Browns, as in West Virginia's Jarrett Brown and Troy's Levi Brown.

Jarrett Brown threw with the zip and general accuracy that had impressed me at the Senior Bowl. He drove the ball on the dig, slant and out-routes and had good accuracy and trajectory on the post-corner and deep ball. One point of significant concern is that he is still quite rough in dropping back from center. He gains good depth with his two first steps, but they're slow. His next three steps are rushed and clumsy. However, he sets up and has a compact delivery. No passer in the first session had the same explosive zip out of their hand as Brown.

Levi Brown was slightly less impressive with his overall accuracy, but nonetheless stood out in this marginal group. He drove the ball with authority, showing good accuracy and zip on underneath routes. He also threw with good trajectory on the deeper routes. He consistently hit his man, but at times forced them to break stride.

The lack of preferred arm strength exposed at the Senior Bowl by Oregon State's Sean Canfield was again seen here. Canfield has good accuracy and timing. He was one of the few passers able to consistently hit his receiver in stride, and was able to "drop it in the bucket" on the post-corners -- one of the more difficult throws. However, on any pass longer than 10 yards, Canfield's passes have too much arc.

The quarterbacks who threw were: West Virginia's Jarrett Brown, Troy's Levi Brown, Oregon State's Sean Canfield, Penn State's Daryll Clark, Appalachian State's Armanti Edwards, BYU's Max Hall, Western Michigan's Tim Hiller and Northwestern's Mike Kafka.
Posted on: February 28, 2010 9:41 am

There is no "official" time in the 40-yard dash

It is easy to be confused by the wide range of times being reported for players' 40-yard dash times. LSU's Trindon Holliday, for example, had been reported by some as having been timed as low as 4.22 seconds and as high as 4.34 seconds. Obviously a pretty significant disparity.

It's important to understand what happens to get the 40 times at the combine:

. Those who participate in the 40 actually run twice, and on each run they are timed by two hand-held stopwatches and one electronic timer (that is actually initiated by hand on the player's first movement.

. Combine data put together for NFL teams by National Scouting includes all six of those times for each player, but no single official time.

Team scouts and coaches have various approaches for getting the 40 time they use from those six timings. Some use averages. Some throw out slowest and fastest and then average the rest. Some ignore the whole thing and use a time taken by their own scout.

However, beware any 40-yard time that is labeled as "official" from the combine. In deference to the players, NFLDraftScout.com uses the best verifiable -- or listed -- time from the combine unless it is conspicuously skewed from the other times, which happens when a hand timer has an itchy trigger finger on the stopwatch. However, the times are usually well grouped.

Posted on: February 27, 2010 6:17 pm

Spiller won't do full workout, but will run

Clemson running back CJ Spiller will wait until his Pro Day to do most of the drills, but elected to participate in the bench press today (19 reps) and will run the 40-yard dash tomorrow.

Despite repeatedly being asked by the media during today's question and answer session, Spiller was unwilling to predict how fast he'd run.

However, his track history and explosive speed on the football field make it likely that he'll turn in one of the year's fastest times. Spiller finished second to former teammate Jacoby Ford (wide receiver) in the 100 meter dash during the ACC Championship. Spiller's personal best in the 100 meters was 10.22 seconds. He's has 21 touchdowns of 50 yards or more.

Spiller leaves Clemson as the ACC career leader with 7,588 all-purpose yards. He was the only FBS back to score at least one touchdown in every game this season and was the ACC Player of the Year.

He's NFLDraftScout.com's top-rated running back and a potential top ten selection.

Posted on: February 27, 2010 5:58 pm

OLB Ricky Sapp: knee was 60% during season

Clemson pass rush specialist Ricky Sapp told the media today that he played the entire 2009 season on a right knee that was "at 60% strength."

Sapp tore his ACL against Virginia November 22, 2008 and had surgery to repair the ligament damage on December 11. He made it back on the field to start all 14 games this season, posting a career high 60 tackles and 15 tackles for loss.

Sapp was invited to participate in the Senior Bowl, but turned down the opportunity in an effort to strengthen his knee.

Not surprisingly, Sapp has been thoroughly checked over by team doctors since arriving in Indianapolis. He estimated the number of times he's had his knee checked so far this week at "20-30."

Said Sapp, "I'll be honest with you, I was laying down and I was like 'He just pulled my knee several times, and you are going to do it again too?'"

Sapp says his knee is now 100% and that he will be working out this week.

Posted on: February 27, 2010 4:47 pm

Some surprises among TE workouts

Dorin Dickerson and Jimmy Graham will get most of the attention, but small schooler Clay Harbor from Missouri State stole the show during Saturday's tight end drills.

Harbor, a shade under 6-3 and 252 pounds, was timed at a very respectable 4.69 seconds in the 40-yard dash and was the surprise leader at the position in the bench press, putting up the bar 30 times -- the most from any tight end since 2007 (Daniel Coats). The former All-American had impressed scouts at the East-West Shrine and Texas vs. Nation games in January. At his size, some teams feel he projects best at fullback (which is where NFLDraftScout.com currently has him), but considering the strength he proved today and his uncommon tenacity as a blocker, Harbor is a legitimate tight end candidate, as well. 

Former Miami basketball player Jimmy Graham showcased the fluidity that had so impressed Chad Reuter and I last month at the Senior Bowl by running a 4.56 40-yard dash today. Graham moves remarkably well for a man with his 6-6, 260 frame, showing good agility and balance while running routes, as well.

Former Pittsburgh Panther tight end/h-back Dickerson blazed the track with a 4.40 second running in the 40-yard dash, according to NFL.com. Considering that he weighed in at only 6-1, 226 pounds, however, teams will have to determine if he can hold up at the point of attack -- which is why his strength (24 reps) could be the more important result to scouts.

Posted on: February 27, 2010 3:28 pm

Maryland OT Bruce Campbell dazzles in drills

Characterized by some as the Vernon Davis of offensive tackles, Maryland's Bruce Campbell proved just as dazzling in Combine drills today as his fellow former Terp did in 2006.

Campbell, who measured in at 6-6 1/2 and 316 pounds, ran the 40-yard dash in 4.85 seconds, according to NFL.com. The time was the fastest recorded by any offensive lineman tested Saturday. Campbell also lifted 225 pounds 34 times -- an especially impressive total considering his very long (36 1/2") arms.

More important to scouts than Campbell's speed and explosive power, however, was how easily he moved in drills. Campbell has a very deep kick-step, showing good balance and the agility to slide laterally in "mirroring" his opponent.

The eye-popping test results speak to what we've been saying about Campbell for months. In terms of potential, Bruce Campbell is the best tackle talent in this draft. With only 17 career starts, however, he remains a very raw prospect.

Vernon Davis used his spectacular workout to leap into the top ten, ultimately being the sixth overall pick by the 49ers in 2006. Expect to see a team make a similarly aggressive move for Campbell based on his potential. The Raiders, who own the eighth pick, are a logical candidate due to their need for a left tackle and owner Al Davis' affinity for great athletes.

Posted on: February 27, 2010 3:05 pm

Undefinable "it?" Bradford has it

Moments after being underwhelmed by Notre Dame's Jimmy Clausen, I was surprised by how impressive Sam Bradford was in person.

First off, while I felt that Jimmy Clausen looked even smaller than his measured 6-2, 222 he measured in for scouts yesterday, Bradford looked all of 6-4, 236 pounds. He had gained obvious muscle mass in his upper body.

And while not necessarily as comfortable in the spotlight as Mark Sanchez or Matt Stafford were last year, there was no doubt that the former Heisman winner owned the media room with a confidence and ease that will be very attractive to teams.

One of the real questions scouts had about Sam Bradford was his leadership. He appeared so quiet and reserved in prior interviews that I, too, wondered if he had the fire to lead. I had mentioned in a previous blog post about the undefinable "it" that scouts look for at the quarterback position -- a combination of charisma, poise and intelligence.

I continue to believe that Nebraska DT Ndamukong Suh is the best and safest player in this draft. He is the player I'd take with the first pick.


Assuming that Bradford can prove his health and is as impressive on his March 25 Pro Day as I expect him to be, I can certainly understand why he's generating momentum to be the No. 1 overall pick.

Posted on: February 27, 2010 1:43 pm

Clausen articulate, but bland on podium

In many of the previous blog posts I've discussed the importance teams place on personal interviews. This is especially true with quarterbacks.

Notre Dame's Jimmy Clausen was solid, but unspectacular in his interview with the media. He appeared calm and answered questions about the perception that he is not a leader or good teammate with diplomacy, patience and intelligence. He explained his strengths well, pointing out that he takes good care of the ball, is a tough kid who is willing to play through pain and that he has been groomed in a pro-style offense.

At the same time, he did not provide the "buzz" to command a room that many of the top-rated quarterbacks of previous years have.

As wishy-washy as that might sound, it could be important. Players who treat their interview with the media as an extension of the job interview these four days essentially are, try to be dynamic. Every one who is looking for a job wants to be the person his potential employer remembers and knows in his "gut" when he's found the right fit. For all of the hours and millions of dollars that go into scouting, teams still often rely on these gut decisions.

For this job, teams are looking for quarterbacks who possess that undefinable "it" quality.

If Clausen has "it," the quality wasn't obvious this afternoon.
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com