Posted on: February 18, 2012 11:37 am
The unfortunate reality about the Scouting Combine is that too many of the elite prospects choose not to work out in Indianapolis but instead wait until their Pro Day.
Boston College's Luke Kuechly -- the consensus top rated inside linebacker in the 2012 draft and reigning Butkus, Nagurski, Lombardi and LOTT Impact Trophy award winner -- told me that he certainly won't be passing up on the opportunity to compete.
"Yes, I'll be doing everything at the Combine. I'm looking forward to it," Kuechy told me in a phone interview this week.
Kuechly has been hard at work at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida preparing for the work out since shortly after his January 6 announcement that he'd be bypassing his senior season and heading to the NFL.
Kuechly is one of 33 NFL hopefuls training in Bradenton. With him are several other potential first round prospects, including Georgia offensive lineman Cordy Glenn, Wisconsin offensive lineman Peter Konz and Rutgers wide receiver Mohamed Sanu. Kuechly elected to attend IMG partially due to recommendations from two former BC standouts who trained there last year -- offensive tackle Anthony Castonzo (the Indianapolis Colts' first round pick last April) and outside linebacker Mark Herzlich (New York Giants).
The Boston College product told me that he's primarily been working on speed and explosiveness drills in preparation for the Combine and is currently measuring in at 6-3 and 240 pounds.
Kuechly currently ranks No. 19 overall on my personal player rankings for the 2012 draft. He seems an obvious candidate for the Philadelphia Eagles considering their woes at middle linebacker and is projected by Dane Brugler and I to be the Eagles' choice with the No. 15 overall pick.
Posted on: February 10, 2012 5:34 pm
Edited on: February 10, 2012 9:48 pm
Alabama safety Mark Barron will not be able to participate in the upcoming Scouting Combine after undergoing a double-hernia surgery, NFLDraftScout.com has confirmed.
Barron is the only safety currently rated by NFLDraftScout.com as a first round talent.
There had been speculation at the Senior Bowl that Barron had been unable to participate in the event due to a pre-existing medical condition.
The rehabilitation for a hernia surgery typically runs two to four weeks but can extend up to eight weeks. The Combine is scheduled to begin in less than two weeks, covering February 22-28 in Indianapolis.
Complicating matters is that Barron may not be sufficiently healed or in the shape he'll want to be when Alabama holds their Pro Day March 7.
A high-ranking team official thought to be considering using a high pick on a defensive back in the April draft didn't think the surgery would have any lasting impact on Barron's stock.
"No, I can't see it having any real impact on his stock," the source said on the condition of anonymity. "I mean, he's got to get it healthy but he's a damn good football player with lots of tape. No one is going to drop him if he isn't able to run in Indy [Combine] or at their Pro Day."
At 6-2, 218 pounds Barron has the size and athleticism scouts are looking for at the position. He earned First Team All-SEC honors after each of his three starting seasons with the Tide and was voted a consensus All-American as a senior. He leaves Alabama ranked eighth in school history with 12 interceptions and also has 235 tackles and 34 passes defensed to his credit.
Barron is the second Alabama senior to miss the Combine due to an injury. Senior nose guard Josh Chapman will also not be able to work out after it was discovered that he played through a torn ACL this season.
The captain of an Alabama secondary that finished the year ranked first in pass defense (116.3 ypg) & pass efficiency defense (83.9), Barron is currently projected by both Dane Brugler and myself to be drafted in the first round.
Posted on: February 9, 2012 3:40 pm
According to at least one doctor within the NFL's Head, Neck and Spine Committee, Stanford wide receiver Chris Owusu is "perfectly normal" and able to "play football now."
Prior to every NFL team's doctors checking out Owusu, the assertion that the former Cardinal receiver is fine has to be taken with a grain of salt. For one, Owusu has had three concussions over the past two seasons, the last of which of which ended his 2011 season on November 5. The concussion (suffered against Oregon State) kept Owusu out of several big games, including Stanford's January 2 Fiesta Bowl matchup against Oklahoma State.
Second, Evan Silva of ProFootballTalk.com cites communication with Owusu's agent (Steve Caric of Caric Sports Management) as the source of the story. What else might an agent say about his client other than that he is healthy and likely to boost his stock at the upcoming Combine?
I have also been in contact with Caric regarding Owusu's recovery from the concussions. Not surprisingly, Caric is confident that his client is going to turn heads in Indianapolis.
Via email, Caric explained that: "There is a lot of false information and perception out there on [Owusu's] health. We have already begun correcting that, and it will be reinforced when every team examines him at the Combine and he proves to be 100% healthy up close."
Caric is right. Ultimately, each team's doctors are going to make their own interpretation of Owusu (and every other prospect) based on the medical testing done at the Combine.
Whether the Stanford product is healthy enough to warrant draft consideration remains to be seen. He's currently graded by NFLDraftScout.com as the No. 48 receiver of the 2012 draft class, though no one doubts that based purely on talent he deserves to be ranked among the top 20 at the position.
Owusu was graded by some scouts as a middle round talent entering his senior campaign. This grade, however, was based largely on Owusu's upside as he's struggled to remain on the field throughout his career. Due to multiple injuries, he was never able to start a full season at Stanford, earning the starting nod in 9/13 games in 2009, 7/13 in 2010 and 7/13 again this past season. He left Stanford having caught 102 passes for 1,534 yards and 10 touchdowns.
The 6-0, 200 pound Owusu is a terrific athlete who should test well in Combine drills. Ultimately, it is the "other" drills that will be more important in determining his final draft stock, as this story serves as a reminder that for as much attention as the results in the 40-yard dash, vertical jump and bench press will get, the medical testing is far and away the most important element of the Combine.
The Combine will take place in Indianapolis February 22-28.
Posted on: February 7, 2012 8:57 am
A few weeks ago NFLDraftScout.com reported the initial list of players invited to the 2012 Scouting Combine, noting that the list would be updated soon with underclassmen and a few late senior additions.
National Football Scouting, the organization that puts on the Scouting Combine for the NFL, released the expanded list Tuesday morning.
While most of the record 65 underclassmen granted special eligibility for the 2012 draft are included on the list, 10 are not. Though every year there are players drafted who were not among those invited to the Combine, generally talent evaluators wish to see the underclassmen up close due to the limited viewing they may have of the early entrants throughout the year. As such, the 10 underclassmen who didn't make the Combine cut are clearly being currently viewed as long shots to be drafted. The 10 underclassmen not listed include Wyoming running back Alvester Alexander, Texas running back Jamison Berryhill, Kansas State running back Bryce Brown, Minnesota tight end Tiree Eure, Syracuse wide receiver Dorian Graham, Boston College defensive end/outside linebacker Max Holloway, Miami wide receiver Aldarius Johnson, Tulsa wide receiver Damaris Johnson, Purdue guard Ken Plue, and Auburn quarterback Barrett Trotter.
Among the seniors granted a late invitiation to the event, which will run from February 22-28 in Indianapolis, are: Washington running back Chris Polk, Florida State offensive tackle Andrew Datko and Utah State running back Robert Turbin.
Here is the official alphabetical list.
Posted on: February 1, 2012 9:43 am
With the NFL continually finding new ways to market itself and the insatiable appetite fans have for all things football it has been theorized by many that it is only a matter of time before the league begins selling tickets to the annual Scouting Combine.
Posted on: September 2, 2011 3:42 pm
Many critics panned the San Francisco 49ers and Tennessee Titans for making Aldon Smith and Jake Locker the seventh and eighth picks of the 2011 NFL Draft.
Posted on: August 16, 2011 11:03 am
Virginia defensive end Cam Johnson has flashed the type of ability to be a top 100 consideration in next April's draft. The 6-4, 270 pounder was originally recruited to play outside linebacker in former head coach Al Groh's 3-4 scheme, but made the successful transition last year to defensive end for Mike London's 4-3 attack. He led the team with 14.5 tackles for loss and six sacks and seems capable of posting much more.
The coaches expect more out of Johnson this season and he has responded with what some close to the program characterize as the best camp of his career. Unfortunately, Johnson has struggled, at times, with what appeared to be inconsistent effort.
Now, according to London (via Doug Doughty's article in The Roanoke Times), it appears that Johnson might have an explanation for his up and down enery levels. Routine tests run by the NCAA determined that Johnson has the trait for sickle-cell anemia, a genetic disorder. This doesn't mean that Johnson has the disease but that he can develop it. Sickle-cell anemia, according to the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute can cause long-term pain and/or fatigue to its victims.
Johnson wouldn't speak on the record for Doughty, but London didn't sound willing to use the ailment as an excuse for his star defender.
"He has a chance to be as good as he wants to be," London said. "He's not an every-down player right now, in my estimation. He's a guy that plays every down but, to be an every-down difference-maker, he's got to raise it up another notch."Johnson may not want to talk to the media about his condition, but NFL doctors will definitely be talking to him and testing him should he get invited to the Combine. Teams are notoriously hesitant to invest draft picks in players that they have red-flagged for medical reasons, but Johnson can certainly ease some of their concern with a big senior season.
Johnson is currently NFLDraftScout.com's No. 14 ranked defensive end among players potentially eligible for the 2012 draft. This ranking includes underclassmen. Johnson was given a mid-round grade by pro scouts in the spring.
Posted on: April 25, 2011 1:28 pm
One of the biggest stories leading up to Thursday's opening of the 2011 NFL Draft has been the health of Da'Quan Bowers' surgically-repaired right knee.
Though, disinformation runs rampant in the days before the draft, historically-speaking, if several sources are telling you the same thing (even at this point) the information is typically true.
If the information is, indeed, true, Bowers could be in for a dramatic draft-day fall.
I've spoken to representatives of four different NFL teams who each have "legitimate concerns" about Bowers' knee and the leg strength surrounding it.
As a way of cutting through the smokescreens, I simply asked one team's representative how much faith he placed in his team's medical staff.
He explained that several teams, while confident in their own doctors, don't rely on one opinion. Just as members of National Scouting and BLESTO share scouting information, some NFL teams routinely "trade" medical reports on players. The source claimed to have the medical reports from six different teams (including his own) on Bowers and other prospects.
According to the source, each of the six teams had identified Bowers' knee as a concern. One club he identified as having given the knee a score of 3 (on a scale of 1 to 5), which could result in pushing the player's grade a full round.
The source expected Bowers, who was once viewed as a possible candidate for No. 1 overall, to slip into "the teens or later, but to probably still make the first round."
Both Chad Reuter and I each have the nation's leading sacker (15.5 sacks) slipping to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers with the 20th overall selection. Based on the medical information, NFLDraftScout.com has dropped Bowers to No. 17 in our overall rankings.
Bowers underwent surgery to repair a torn meniscus following the 2010 season. He elected not to participate in the Scouting Combine despite being "100 percent" as he wanted an opportunity to get into top physical condition like the other prospects had enjoyed. While this is certainly understandable, teams were initially concerned about the fact that Bowers postponed his Pro Day workout from its' originally scheduled date (March 10) to April 1st. Even with the longer time since his surgery, some felt that Bowers' workout was disappointing.