Tag:NFL Combine
Posted on: February 25, 2010 1:41 pm

OT Trent Williams offers first Combine surprises

Trent Williams just got finished with his media interview. His answers may have provided the two most significant surprises of the day so far.

For one, he measured in at 6-4 ("and a half") and 315 pounds.

These numbers will ease concerns that Williams won't be able to handle playing outside. Scouts typically want tackles in the NFL to be at least 6-4. His arms measured in at 34. The reports I had received in the days prior to the Combine that Trent Williams would measure in short were obviously mistaken.

Williams' size wasn't the only surprise of his interview. He also expressed that he felt more comfortable playing "on the left side" where he has played "all of his life." Williams, for the record, started all 13 games at left tackle in 2009, taking over for Phil Loadholt. Prior to this season, however, he'd started only the 2008 season opener at left tackle; the rest of his 25 career starts for the Sooners came at right tackle...

Give Williams credit... He struggled early in the year making the adjustment to the left side, but was increasingly comfortable there as the season went on.

I've spoken to scouts from various clubs who feel he can remain on the left side in the NFL. 

Posted on: February 25, 2010 12:19 pm

Chan Gailey tight-lipped on Bills' needs

Those hoping that new Buffalo Bills head coach Chan Gailey might offer up some insight as to where the team would be looking on draft day were disappointed with his non-specific answers.

On quarterbacks:

"Every team in the league that doesn't have an All-Pro quarterback or somebody that got votes for All-Pro is looking to improve their position. I think if you look at every position on the field, you are always trying to upgrade your football team. We'll evaluate these guys, we'll continue to evaluate them. We'll evaluate what's available and if we can improve our situation, we'll try to do it. Everyone is trying to do that -- not just at quarterback -- but at every position."

When asked if he'd consider adding a veteran presence at quarterback, Gailey was at it again.

"I'm going to sidestep that, again, but again, we're always trying to improve our football team. If that will improve us, then we'll do it."

Gailey was similarly enlightening when later asked about offensive linemen, nose guards and pass rushers.

In a division featuring similarly media friendly personalities Bill Belichick and Tony Sparano, Gailey is going to fit right in...


Posted on: February 25, 2010 11:53 am

49ers thinking RB early?

With an established star in Frank Gore and last year's third round pick Glen Coffee, the 49ers would seem to be in position to ignore running back this year and instead focus on other concerns.

However, with a second pick in the first round this year (trade last April with Carolina) and the NFC West suddenly wide open due to the retirement of Kurt Warner, the 49ers could elect to splurge on an immediate impact threat. 

Drafting another running back high is a strategy that general manager Scot McCloughan seemed to endorse, though not mentioning any player by name, in his question and answer session with the media that unofficially opened the 2010 Combine.

"We could," McCloughan admitted. "I think it comes down to what will be his role with us? Would there be any special teams value involved in it? I think where you take him in the draft is going to depend on what role he's going to have with us.

McCloughan was quick to point that the pick wouldn't be to replace star Frank Gore, but to compliment him.

"Frank Gore is a really good football player for us and we expect him to be a really good football player for us for the next couple years," McCloughan said. "We also understand that he can't go forever. If we can try to limit his carries now somewhat -- he doesn't like it -- but if we protect him [we'll be better]. Our vision is we need him for those 16 games and for the playoffs."

The 49ers haven't had more than one punt and/or kick return touchdown in any season since the Steve Young era...

Whether it in the first round with a CJ Spiller, the second or third for a Dexter McCluster or the late rounds for a Brandon James/Brandon Banks type, expect to see the club address this concern on draft day.

Posted on: February 25, 2010 9:59 am

Player Position Schedules

I managed to get my hands on the official player position schedule and thought some of my more detail-oriented readers might like to know what players were doing each day.

The player positions are put into "Groups." These groups each have a four day schedule in Indianapolis. Based on their schedule, some groups arrived Wednesday, others arrive today, tomorrow or Saturday.

The groups are designated as:

Group One -- Specialists (punters, kickers, longsnappers, return specialists) Offensive Linemen
Group Two -- Offensive Linemen
Group Three -- Tight Ends
Group Four -- Quarterbacks, Wide Receivers
Group Five -- Quarterbacks, Wide Receivers
Group Six -- Running Backs
Group Seven -- Defensive Linemen
Group Eight -- Defensive Linemen
Group Nine -- Linebackers
Group Ten -- Defensive Backs
Group Eleven -- Defensive Backs

Groups One, Two and Three arrived yesterday and depart Saturday.
Groups Four, Five and Six arrive today and depart Sunday.
Groups Seven, Eight and Nine arrive tomorrow and leave Monday.
Groups Ten and Eleven arrive Saturday and leave Tuesday.

Each group goes through a four day cycle.

Day One is spent arriving in Indianapolis, registering, taking the pre-exam and x-rays at the hospital, taking an orientation and beginning their interviews with teams.

Day Two begins with the player measuring (heights, weights, arms and hands), the complete medical examinations, media interviews, psychological testing and more interviews with teams.

Day Three begins with a meeting with the NFLPA, more psychological testing and the final day of team interviews.

Day Four is the players' final day in Indianpolis and the day they actually do the workouts for which the Combine has become so famous.

As if there was any question as to what NFL teams consider to be the most important aspects of the Combine, note that the over-hyped workouts only take one day and are the last thing players are asked to do. The medical and psychological testing, on the other hand, takes two days. Team interviews take three days.

Posted on: February 25, 2010 9:20 am

Welcome to the Combine

The media are beginning to congregate in the lobby and workrooms of Lucas Oil Stadium in preparation for the beginning of the 2010 NFL Scouting Combine.

The actual player workouts will not begin until tomorrow, but the first wave of head coaches, front office executives and prospects will be herded into the room to field questions from the media.

First up is San Francisco head coach Mike Singletary, to be followed shortly by fellow 49er, general manager Scot McCloughan. These interviews are scheduled to begin in about an hour.

Specialists (Punters,Kickers), Offensive Linemen and Tight Ends will be coming through shortly to begin the player interviews.

Be sure to check back on the blog frequently as we get interesting nuggets of information from the players, coaches and front office executives.
Posted on: February 24, 2010 7:26 pm

Top 100 players with questionable medical grades

The Scouting Combine -- at least the workout portion of it -- has become the most overrated aspect of the NFL Draft process.

The Combine was originally designed to provide scouts with an efficient way to do medical testing of the 300+ best prospects in the draft. During the 90s, teams began to focus more and more attention on the results of the athletic drills, resulting in some of the biggest busts in league history, including the infamous Mike Mamula. With pre-combine facilities training prospects to excel in these drills -- and not football -- teams are now learning to revert their attention back to where it belongs -- on the film.

I posted a blog earlier about five players who I believe will struggle in certain aspects of the drills and/or measurement portion of the Combine. This wasn't meant to say these players will be busts in the NFL, but that they could see their stock slip a bit this week.

In reality, the players who are likeliest to fall significantly on draft day will be the ones who come up with medical or off-field concerns that are discovered there.

There are several potential Top 100 prospects whose final grades will hinge on their medical grades.

QB Sam Bradford, Oklahoma (shoulder)
OT Bryan Bulaga, Iowa (thyroid condition)
OLB/DE Ricky Sapp, Clemson (knee)
QB Colt McCoy, Texas (shoulder)
TE Jermaine Gresham, Oklahoma (knee)
RB Jahvid Best, Cal (concussions)
DE Corey Wootton, Northwestern (knee)
TE Rob Gronkowski, Arizona (back)
QB Tony Pike, Cincinnati (forearm)
ILB Sean Lee, Penn State (knee)
DE Greg Hardy, Mississippi (knees, foot)
OT Jason Fox, Miami (knee)

Posted on: February 24, 2010 10:43 am

Don't buy all the trade talk... yet

With a couple dozen head coaches and front office executives set to take questions from local and national media this week at the Combine, you can expect the early trade speculation to be a constant source of "news."


While trading up or trading down in the NFL draft is popular on talk radio, rumor sites and around the office watercooler, the reality is that no NFL is going to invest the time or energy to exchange picks without first getting a better idea of how things are going to shake out. NFL teams don't trade up or down just to do so. They target a specific player, identify his farthest he might drop on draft day and attempt to make a deal with the club one pick ahead of that spot.

So all of the talk of the Rams trading down, Bucs trading up, Jaguars trading down, etc. is all purely hypothetical, at this early time. Even when coaches and GMs speak of it during interviews, they're just broadcasting through the media what every team already knows.

That every pick, from every team, is for sale at the right price.

Posted on: February 24, 2010 10:20 am
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