Tag:Senior Bowl
Posted on: March 12, 2011 10:02 pm
Edited on: March 13, 2011 5:01 pm
 

29 teams attend rare Saturday Pro Day at Arizona

Proving the intrigue developing around an underrated senior class of prospects from the University of Arizona, 29 NFL teams were represented at the Wildcats' Pro Day, Saturday.

Typically, Pro Days are reserved for the normal work week. But with the buzz being created by Brooks Reed and his fellow pass rushers, Ricky Elmore and De'Aundre Reed, who were also invited to the Combine, plenty of NFL personnel men showed up Saturday. 

It was a senior not invited to the Combine, however, who best took advantage of the opportunity to workout in front of NFL personnel, however.

Running back Nic Grigsby was clocked at 4.38 seconds in the 40-yard dash by one league source I spoke to following Saturday's workout. The scout also noted that the 5-11, 199 pound Grigsby had a 43" vertical jump, which would have led all Combine participants this year.

Grigsby's athleticism does translate onto the football field. His lateral agility and explosiveness have made him a big play threat for the Wildcats throughout his career. Unfortunately, his thin build caused him to struggle with injuries throughout his career, as well. In fact, he played only one full season with the Wildcats, earning Honorable Mention all-conference honors in 2008 with 1,153 rushing yards and 13 touchdowns. Since his breakout sophomore season, Grigsby finished with 567 and 569 yards each of the past two years, respectively.

Considering that Reed enjoyed one of the Combine's best overall performances , it wasn't surprising to hear that he elected to sit on his numbers from Indianapolis. He did, however, perform defensive line and linebacker drills in front of scouts and coaches, Saturday, including Jacksonville defensive line coach Joe Cullen and Cleveland linebackers coach Bill Davis.

Considering the hype he's getting as a potential late first round pick, Reed's production at Arizona wasn't staggering. In starting all 13 games for the Wildcats, Reed registered 47 tackles and ten tackles for loss. He only had 6.5 sacks, however. That said, a strong Senior Bowl and an impressive workout that provided evidence that he might be able to handle the transition to outside linebacker in the 3-4 scheme has his stock soaring.

According to a source close to him, Reed has already scheduled private workouts with the Miami Dolphins, Baltimore Ravens and Buffalo Bills -- each of whom, of course, run the 3-4.

The 6-4, 255 pound Elmore was clocked at 4.80 in the 40-yard dash on Saturday. Elmore led the Wildcats with 11 sacks last season as a defensive end. While his time in the 40-yard dash was better today than at the Combine (4.88-5.0 on his two attempts), teams are still going to have a tough time moving him to outside linebacker at that speed. His best bet might be to remain as a 4-3 defensive end.

Posted on: March 12, 2011 8:07 pm
 

Hamstring limits Louisville RB Powell... again

Louisville running back Bilal Powell's right hamstring lasted one attempt at the 40-yard dash. As it turns out, it may have been enough.

Powell is one of the draft's hottest running back prospects, coming off of a breakout senior season in which he rushed for 1,405 yards (averaging 6.1 yards a clip) and strong Senior Bowl performance. Nagging right knee and right hamstring injuries kept him from working out at the Combine, forcing 20 teams, including eight running back coaches (according to NFL.com's Gil Brandt ) to attend his Pro Day.

A source I contacted following the workout disputed that there were this many running back coaches at the Pro Day, but did note that Steve Logan, the Tampa Bay Bucs' running backs coach and that Jim Anderson, the Cincinnati Bengals' running backs coach, was among those attending the workout. He believed he'd also seen Indianapolis Colts' running backs coach David Walker there, as well.

Brandt listed Powell at 5-10 (1/2) and 207 pounds and being clocked at 4.54 in his first attempt at the 40-yard dash. My source clocked him at 4.50.

Powell pulled his troublesome right hamstring on his second attempt, ending his day early.

Depending on the extent of his new injury, Powell and his representatives may elect to schedule a third workout. With most teams dedicating the final few weeks before the April 28 draft to meetings, however, they are running out of time.

Powell's spectacular 2010 season would serve as plenty of proof for some teams that he has the goods. Considering that he has only one standout season, however, most clubs want more information on him before investing anything more than a third day draft pick. After all, Powell rushed for "only" 933 yards in his three previous seasons, including a then-career high 392 yards (including a 3.6 yard-per-carry average) as a junior.

NFLDraftScout.com rates Powell as the No. 12 running back in the 2011 draft and a 4th round value. 
Posted on: March 11, 2011 7:10 pm
Edited on: March 11, 2011 7:12 pm
 

Jacquizz Rodgers cuts 40 time to 4.47 at Pro Day

Representatives from an estimated 25 NFL teams saw Oregon State junior running back Jacquizz Rodgers slice his time in the 40-yard dash from an electronically timed 4.74 at the Combine to 4.47, according to the university's offical website .

The vastly improved time in the 40-yard dash should help ease concerns about Rodgers' speed. While scouts knew the dimunitive (5-6, 196 pound) Rodgers was not a traditional speed back, teams would be hesistant to draft a short back lacking enough burst to run away from most defensive linemen. Like with Alabama's Mark Ingram, savvy scouts knew not to be too worried about Rodgers' timed speed, however.

Despite his Combine times, Rodgers' balance, vision and surprising power helped him generate All Pac-10 after each of his three seasons for the Beavers. His lateral agility and quick acceleration make him more elusive than his marginal speed might indicate.

Rodgers didn't just boost his stock with his speed. He also measured in taller today at Oregon State's Pro Day. In fact, according to the team's report, Rodgers was initially measured in at 5-07 Friday. A re-measure put him at 5066 or 5-6 and 3/4." Rodgers had been "officially" measured at 5057 (an eighth of an inch under 5-06") in Indianapolis.

Rodgers is NFLDraftScout.com's No. 11 rated running back and viewed as a potential mid-round pick.

Rodgers wasn't the only Beaver to boost his Combine performance Friday.

Center Alex Linnenkohl, rated No. 8 at the position by NFLDraftScout.com improved his bench repetitions of 225 pounds from 24 at the Combine to 31 today, according to Aaron Fentress of the Oregonian .

Oregon State's other highly touted prospect -- defensive tackle Stephen Paea -- remains unable to fully workout for scouts after it was discovered at the Senior Bowl that he'd torn the meniscus in his right knee. This injury kept him from performing in all but Monday's initial practice in Mobile and unable to do most of the workout at the Combine. Of course, the one drill that the two-time Morris Trophy winner was able to compete in was the bench press -- where he shattered the Combine record with a jaw-dropping 49 repetitions of 225 pounds. Sources close to Paea claim that the 49 reps was no surprise. He'd been shooting for 50.

Paea, according to the website's report, is expected to workout for scouts in Corvalis later this month.




Posted on: March 9, 2011 6:56 pm
Edited on: March 9, 2011 7:00 pm
 

Ingram/Dareus run-jump-weigh well @ 'Bama Pro Day

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 1, 2011 7:11 pm
Edited on: March 1, 2011 7:19 pm
 

Peterson/Prince impress; others helped stock more

Count me among those that is not at all surprised by the fact that LSU's Patrick Peterson and Nebraska's Prince Amukamara silenced a few critics today with their blazing times in the 40-yard dash and strong performances in other defensive back drills.

I certainly wasn't alone in believing these players would perform well. I spoke to various members of NFL scouting departments, agents, prospects and media in the weeks preceding the Combine that expected these two players to do well.

By only confirming the athleticism many of us recognized on tape, Peterson and Amukamara won't be boosting their stock much. Each was already viewed by many as potential top ten prospects.

Here are a few other defensive backs who boosted their stock even more with strong Combine workouts Tuesday.

  • Chimdi Chekwa, CB, Ohio State: A severely dislocated wrist suffered in the Buckeyes' Sugar Bowl victory over Arkansas kept Chekwa from performing all of the drills in Indianapolis, but he starred in most important one -- recording a 4.40 second showing in the 40-yard dash and reinforcing the belief that he's one of the nation's most underrated cornerbacks and a potential second round pick.
  • Robert Sands, S, West Virginia: Most are pegging UCLA's Rahim Moore as this year's top safety, but it was the size/speed freak Sands who enjoyed the more impressive Combine showing, Tuesday. The 6-4, 217 pound Sands surprised some with a solid time in the 40-yard dash (4.57) and standout performances, as well, in the leaps and shuttles. Don't be surprised if this Mountaineer winds up a top 75 pick.
  • Mark Legree, S, Appalachian State: Despite the fact that he was a three-time consensus All-American at Appalachian State with an eye-popping 22 career interceptions, Legree was only a late addition to the Combine. I've long been a fan of his instincts and ball-skills and love that he proved his athleticism against the so-called elite competition. I'm not going to say I expected him to turn in the second fastest time in the 40-yard dash of any safety at the Combine, but I have been very much of a fan of his for a while now... And can prove it. 
Surprised I didn't list Demarcus Van Dyke as a Riser following his Combine-best 4.28 time in the 40-yard dash? Don't be. Scouts certainly weren't, as "DVD" was a well-known speedster who demonstrated his speed recently when asked to play at the Senior Bowl.

Besides, aren't DVDs meant to burn?


Posted on: February 28, 2011 7:24 pm
 

Could five QBs wind up in the first round?

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.

That said, there is an increasing belief among NFL teams that as many as five quarterbacks could wind up in the first round, following strong performances from Ryan Mallett, Jake Locker and Christian Ponder at the Combine.

Mallett unquestionably has first round skills. While his struggles at the podium in front of the media has been well documented, league sources tell our own Len Pasquarelli of The Sports XChange that teams who interviewed him in Indianapolis "came away impressed with him."

Locker, too, has unquestionable talent. His career-long struggles with inaccuracy remain a concern for many, but there was no denying he enjoyed a strong throwing session at the Combine, throwing some of his most accurate passes on the deep outs, fly routes and post-corners that are generally considered the toughest throws scouts ask quarterbacks to make at the Combine. Some teams will take this as evidence that he's made strides under former pro quarterback Ken O'Brien -- and is likely to continue to do so under NFL coaching.

Perhaps the most surprising quarterback generating recent first round buzz is Ponder. His multiple arm surgeries make his medical grade the most important result from the Combine (and teams won't have these complete results for awhile), but there is no question that the former Seminole is building momentum following a Senior Bowl MVP performance and a strong showing during passing drills. Considering his intelligence, mobility and accuracy to the short to intermediate levels of the field, Ponder is viewed by some as the top true West Coast Offense quarterback in the draft.

In last week's mock draft I had only two quarterbacks (Missouri's Blaine Gabbert and Auburn's Cam Newton) projected in the first round. With virtually every one of the front office executives and head coaches acknowleding during their Combine interviews the supreme value of the quarterback position and another two months for the hype around these three to build, we could end up seeing that number more than double by April 28.

Posted on: February 28, 2011 6:29 pm
 

Beware: "manufactured" speed doesn't translate

The Combine always produces some eye-popping test results. Some times, these results match the tape. Other times, however, they are the result of great training and so-called "workout warriors" whose speed, strength or explosiveness in workouts does not translate well onto the field.
Former Boston College pass rusher Mike Mamula is, of course, the most famous example of this phenomenon.

As the results pour in from this year's Combine, it is important to identify which players actually play with the same measureables as what they demonstrated on the Indianapolis track.

Take Alabama's Mark Ingram or Oregon State's Jacquizz Rodgers as prime examples. Neither tested particularly well. Ingram was clocked at 4.62 in the 40-yard dash. Rodgers came in at 4.64. Both play considerably faster than their Combine times.

The following is a list of players whose 40 times surprised me so far. I'm not claiming that they're workout warriors whose speed doesn't translate to the field. However, I've scouted each of these prospects and these times did, indeed, surprise me. I will go back to the tape and look again to see if I missed something the first time around and adjust my thoughts on them, accordingly.

  • Da'Rell Scott, RB, Maryland -- Maryland churns out speedsters, but none more surprising than Scott, who led all running backs with a 4.34 second time in the 40-yard dash.
  • Mario Fannin, RB, Auburn -- timed at 4.38 seconds, yet rarely demonstrated this type of explosiveness for the Tigers.
  • Julio Jones, WR, Alabama -- defenses weren't scared of his deep speed this season. Was he hurt or did teams not respect Greg McElroy's ability to throw the deep ball? His 4.39 second showing in the 40-yard dash was a stunner.
  • Leonard Hankerson, WR, Miami -- Hankerson, himself, told me he "hoped he'd break the 4.50 mark when I interviewed him at the Senior Bowl. He made a lot of big plays, but his time (4.43) was surprising.
Posted on: February 17, 2011 12:55 pm
 

Pre-Indy buzz- Baldin, Smith, House running well

Agents and athletic trainers preparing their athletes for the annual Scouting Combine in Indianapolis are generally hesitant to put expectations on prospects prior to their official workout.

That said, each year in the week leading up to the Combine there is a buzz in the scouting community of prospects who are already turning heads in the pre-Combine preparation.

This year three players generating quite a lot of buzz are Pittsburgh wide receiver Jon Baldin , Colorado cornerback Jimmy Smith and New Mexico State cornerback Davon House .

The 6-5, 230 pound Baldwin is reportedly running in the 4.4s and could push the 40" mark in the vertical jump. Results such as this could push Baldin into the first round.

Smith, a 6-2, 205 pound cornerback, has received a lot of national attention in recent weeks as some analysts have finally got around to reviewing his game tape. Graded as a top 40 prospect by NFLDraftScout.com since September, Smith could move into the top 20 if the early reports of his speed are true. Smith, according to sources, has been running in the high 4.3s to low 4.4s. If he runs that well in Indianapolis, Smith will only have to ease scouts' concerns about his off-field behavior to guarantee himself a spot in the draft's opening frame.

Just as many were slow in recognizing Smith's talents, don't be surprised if Davon House is suddenly cast as a draft "riser" if he runs in the high 4.3s to low 4.4s at the Combine, as he's been doing in preparation for the event, according to sources.

House didn't get much national attention playing for the Aggies, but like Smith, he has been highly rated by NFLDraftScout.com all year long. The First-Team All-WAC defender had signed on to play in the Senior Bowl before a recurring ankle injury forced him out of it.

The Combine always reveals some surprises. If these three players work out well, they'll be labeled as surprises by some. NFL scouts and those of us with an ear to the action won't be... 


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