Tag:NFL Combine
Posted on: February 27, 2010 11:45 am

Video gaining popularity in team interviews

Each team is allowed 60 formal interviews of players at the Combine. Each of those interviews are limited to 15 minutes. It doesn't leave a lot of time for formalities -- but it does provide enough time for some tech-savvy teams to show players' video clips of their play from last season. 

The New England Patriots are one of a handful of clubs asking players to explain their play off video, according to scouts and coaches I've spoken to over the past few days. The Patriots were credited by opposing teams as being the first they knew who had implemented the use of video in these short interviews.

Typically, the team would break the 15 minute interview into roughly two portions. Approximately seven minutes for a question and answer session, with the other seven or eight minutes devoted to breaking down game film from the season. Players are asked a multitude of questions by coaches during this film time, including what was the player's initial responsibilities on the play, what were the responsibilities of players around them, why they were successful (or not) on the particular play, etc.

Some teams I spoke to felt that the this was an inefficient use of time. After all, this practice is popular during private visits teams have with players in the weeks leading to the draft.

I disagree entirely.

I believe that asking a player about he and his teammates' responsibilities on successful and unsuccessful plays is an excellent way to ascertain the prospect's knowledge of his own position, his scheme, recognition of the opponent's plans -- and perhaps most important -- get an indication about the player's accountability and ability to take criticism.

Posted on: February 26, 2010 6:12 pm

TE Hernandez's "tweaked back" sidelines him

Gators tight end Aaron Hernandez, due to a tweaked back suffered a few weeks ago in training, will wait until Florida's March 17 Pro Day to work out for scouts.

The Mackey Award winner led the nation in receptions (68) and receiving yards (850) from the tight end position, but despite his production certainly has questions to answer with scouts, not the least of which is how his 6-2, 245 pound frame will hold up as a full-time tight end in the NFL.

Perhaps the most interesting aspect about Hernandez's interview was his expectation for himself during the 40-yard dash.

"I'd say at worst, probably a low 4.5," he said.

 That would answer the question of how he'd hold up as a full-time tight-end. He'd do so by leaving linebackers in his wake...
Posted on: February 26, 2010 6:00 pm

Highlights of the "some guy named Tebow" Q/A

Speaking to a mob of media that rivaled only the ones I'd seen for Reggie Bush and Larry Fitzgerald in the past, Tim Tebow announced that he'd be performing every drill for teams this week except actually throwing the ball and explained some of the adjustment he's making to his much-maligned throwing motion.

Typically, players are introduced by their position, first and last name and the school for which they played. Everything is different when it comes to this former Heisman winner, however. He was introduced simply as "some guy named Tebow."

Among the highlights of his 15 minute-long, 34 question interview were:

  • His explanation of the work he's doing on shortening his throwing motion --  "It's not necessarily that I'm throwing the ball higher," Tebow explained, "but I'm holding the ball higher, not dropping it, not getting that loop in my release..."
  • His rationale for choosing the Tennessee-based D-I Training facility, rather than something closer to Gainesville -- "I looked around at a lot of different places and when I went up to visit D-1 in Franklin, I loved it," Tebow said. "It was a place where I felt like I could just really go to work and there wouldn’t be as many distractions. There wouldn’t be as many demands on my time, and could literally go to work all day and I could focus on what I needed to focus on. Everything was right there, all inclusive."
  • Tebow's explanation on how to handle coming into the NFL and dealing with the fact that veteran players on his new team might not appreciate the media hype he'd generate. -- “I think a little bit like it went when I got to University of Florida. Sometimes you can’t help the attention but what you can help is your attitude, you can help your work ethic and when you go in there and show that, ‘Hey, I am putting the team first,  I'm going to do whatever it takes to help you guys succeed, to help this organization and, together, we can achieve more.’ If they know that and believe that, then they are going to respect me. And that respect grows into like and that like grows into love and then you get a team that’s bought it, and then you get a team that wins championships.”
  • Tebow will be throwing for scouts at Florida's Pro Day, March 17.

Category: NFL Draft
Posted on: February 26, 2010 4:58 pm
Edited on: February 26, 2010 6:14 pm

A word on how the NFL measures height

While the rest of the United States finds it enough to measure one's height in terms of simply feet and inches, the NFL adds eighths on an inch to the equation.

A person measuring in at 6-0 even would be listed by NFL scouts as 6000. A person at 6-1 and 5/8 would be listed at 6015.

This is the way in which scouts measure prospects during their initial scouting at the school throughout the year, during the all-star games, at the Combine and Pro Day workouts and any other private workouts.

I apologize if there was any confusion to readers with my previous posts...

Category: NFL Draft
Posted on: February 26, 2010 4:51 pm

Arkansas OG Petrus ties record with 45 reps

Considering that he's a former walk-on tight end whose only scholarship offer out of high school was a partial to Arkansas Tech, Razorback guard Mitch Petrus certainly is taking advantage of his opportunity to impress scouts this week.

Petrus, who had been moved to fullback for the 2006 season before switching back to guard, tied the Combine record with 45 repetitions of 225 pounds this afternoon.

Petrus told me his previous career high had been 35 repetitions, which he had hit "three or four weeks ago." He characterized his sudden explosion to 45 repetitions as a mixture of adrenaline and the can-do attitude that he'd learned as a walk-on.

"It's not luck, I can tell you that," Petrus said... "Not being the biggest, baddest guy on the field, I had to be the hardest working guy on the field. It is what got me through the 45 today. I didn't wake up this morning feeling like a totally different person. I'm not a freak of nature. I weighed 230 in high school. I weigh 310 now. I do whatever it takes. You reap what you sow."

Perhaps I'm a pessimist, but the eye-popping jump in his bench press and comment that he'd do "whatever it takes" led me to question just how valid Petrus' bench press total was. The last player to hit this mark was Ohio State's Mike Kudla in 2006. Kudla was not drafted.

So, I asked Petrus the question some of my fellow pessimists were thinking...

Petrus liked to scan the room as he answered previous questions, but he looked me straight in the eyes and smiled confidently with this answer.

"I'm clean. I just took a drug test (laughing). We'll soon find out."

Posted on: February 26, 2010 3:00 pm
Edited on: February 26, 2010 3:47 pm

RB Dwyer's small hands could be a big issue

Too much can be made out of the size and speed shown by prospects at the Combine.

If there is one number that has traditionally scared scouts, however, it has been hand size for ball-carriers -- especially for running backs. Small hands mean less protection of the football, at least theoretically.

For that reason, Georgia Tech's Jonathan Dwyer, who officially only had 5 fumbles in over 550 touches with the 'Jackets, could see his stock slip this week.

The 5-11 1/4, 229 pound Dwyer has the smallest hands of any true tailback measured at the Combine this year. His hands, measured from the end of his thumb to his small (pinkie) finger measured in at only 8 and 5/8 inches. Only diminutive all-purpose back Dexter McCluster (5'8 3/4, 172 pounds) measured in with smaller hands among the 26 backs here. McCluster's hand came in at 8 and 3/8 of an inch.

As a comparison, top rated running back CJ Spiller, who measured in at 5105, 196 pounds, has 10 and 1/4" hands.

Considering that scouts already questioned how well Dwyer would project to a pro offense after playing in Paul Johnson's triple option attack, this is shaping up to be a bad start to the week for a back whose production (nearly 2,800 yards over 2008-09) should warrant plenty of NFL attention.

Posted on: February 25, 2010 3:48 pm

Iupati - big, physical, aggressive -- why not DT?

Idaho's Mike Iupati, NFLDraftScout.com's top rated offensive guard for the past several months has the athletic ability and long reach to consider moving outside to tackle.

But, considering his massive frame, strength, aggression and quick feet, doesn't a move to the defensive side of the ball also possible?

"Big Mike" certainly thinks so:

"I really love defense," Iupati said during the interview session at the Combine. "That's my favorite passion of the game of football. I know I'm very physical and can hold up two gaps and take double teams, stuff like that. I always tried to push my [Idaho] coach to make me a defensive player because I know I am pretty good at that. But they like me at offensive line. It's kind of hard in college to play both ways. They did put me on the goal line (defense)."

Despite his passion and obvious physical attributes, Iupati has not been asked by any NFL scouts, thus far, about moving to the defensive side of the ball.

"I guess they think I'm good at guard and don't want to move me," he said.

Iupati is a talented guard prospect and considering his relative inexperience (started playing football in high school), it might be too much to try to switch him to a different position just as he is about to enter the pros. Should he struggle with the greater focus on technique that will be required for success in the NFL, however, a switch to the defensive side of the ball is a potential option to consider.
Posted on: February 25, 2010 3:11 pm

Arizona TE Gonkowski "100%" but won't workout

Arizona Wildcat tight end Rob Gronkowski characterized himself as "100 percent" and "feeling as great as I've felt in a long time" and yet still won't work out for scouts this week at the Combine.

"My back is 100 percent. I just started running 2-3 weeks ago," Gronkowski told me. "I need to get conditioning back. I need to get my times back. I feel like each week my speed is improving. I feel like I need 2-3 weeks more to get back to where I was before my back surgery. My doctors and agent and I decided that it would be best if I waited until my Pro Day."

Arizona's Pro Day is March 12th, but Gronkowski stated that he'd likely have his own individual Pro Day later in March in Tuscon.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com