Tag:Pro Day
Posted on: March 26, 2010 12:21 pm

Source confirms: TE Gronkowski's back red-flagged

NFLDraftScout.com has confirmed that Arizona tight end Rob Gronkowski is being red-flagged by teams due to a spinal condition.

The source, a scout with an NFL team, confirmed that his team's doctors were questioning if Gronkowski "would ever be 100%" and that his team was acknowledging the injury by lowering Gronkowski's grade. The scout declined to talk specifically of Gronkowski's condition.

NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock reported Wednesday evening that Gronkowski had spinal stenosis, a narrowing of the spine. The condition is characterized by numbness in the extremities, neck and back and leg cramps and can be hereditary or caused by previous injury, surgery, abnormal bone growth or or deterioration, according to WebMD.com .

Perhaps most frightening, the condition puts the player at a higher risk for suffering paralysis.

This is the same condition which former Pro Bowl offensive tackle Chris Samuels cited as a reason for his sudden retirement from the Washington Redskins and was also believed to be the primary reason why former Auburn star Marcus McNeill, also an offensive tackle, slipped to the second round of the 2006 draft.

McNeill, who found out he had stenosis while in college, said as much in a post-draft interview.

"A lot of teams ended up passing on me because they thought my back would keep me from playing." McNeill said.

What is important to note is that McNeill played four years in college with knowledge of the injury and did not miss any time over his final two seasons with the Tigers. In four seasons with the Chargers, the Pro Bowl-alternate has started 62 of 64 regular season games.

Unlike McNeill, Gronkowski has missed significant time due to spinal issues. He missed the entire 2009 season, in fact, and underwent surgery, a microdiscectomy on his back on Sept. 24. He has unable to workout at the Combine or at Arizona's Pro Day, March 12.

Instead, he'll be working out on campus tomorrow.

Posted on: March 25, 2010 1:38 pm

Lions thinking Trent Williams at 2?

Two days ago I wrote that the Detroit Lions might have another offensive tackle in mind than Russell Okung with the second overall pick.

Today, Lions general manager Martin Mayhew confirmed as much, according to an article penned by Nicholas J. Cotsonika of The Detroit Free Press. Cotsonika asked Mayhew a question about Okung and whether he was the top tackle in the class.

Mayhew's comment back was: “I think big picture, overall, taking everything into account, there are probably two guys that are the best two out there.”

The comment, taken out of context, does not mention Okung nor any other player by name. However, since the question asked was about Okung, it seems reasonable to assume that Okung is among the two OTs Mayhew is referring to.

Cotsonika asked the logical follow-up question as to who the second offensive tackle was. Mayhew, not surprisingly, declined to identify him. (Or for that matter, verify that Okung was among the top two.)

In the previous blog post I wrote (linked above), I'd reported that three different offensive tackles were nominated by scouts as the top at the position -- Okung (who received 2 of the 4 votes), Oklahoma's Trent Williams and Iowa's Bryan Bulaga.

What is interesting about my little straw poll was the feedback I've received from scouts since I wrote about it.

I've spoken to several scouts and frotn office executives throughout the league who adamantly proclaimed that Bulaga, due to his short arms (32.5") and only marginal upside "did not deserve to be in the conversation" as the top OT. One source noted that there were zero offensive line coaches present at Iowa's Pro Day, whereas there were "several" at Oklahoma State and Oklahoma's.

In these conversations Okung was repeatedly characterized as the "safest" of this year's class, but that it was Williams whom scouts felt had the most upside.

Last year, the tackle many scouts felt was safest -- Virginia's Eugene Monroe -- "fell" to Jacksonville and 8th pick. The tackle scouts felt had the most upside -- Baylor's Jason Smith -- went to the Rams with the second overall pick.

Could Trent Williams be poised to accomplish the same feat?

Personally, I'd still be surprised to see anyone other than Ndamukong Suh be the second pick of this draft, but if the Lions elect to protect their investment in quarterback Matt Stafford with a blindside protector, Trent Williams, not Russell Okung, could be the pick.
Posted on: March 24, 2010 12:29 am

For LeFevour, the pressure is on for Wed. Pro Day

Central Michigan quarterback Dan LeFevour surprised (and disappointed) many when he elected not to complete many of the passing drills at the Combine. I watched him throw passes to stationary receivers (his passes were generally on target) but he did not throw the variety of routes scouts will want to see from him Wednesday during his Pro Day at Mt. Pleasant, Michigan.

LeFevour's decision not to compete at the Combine was a surprising one not only because some felt that he wasn't highly rated enough in the first place to take the risk of alienating scouts, but also because he had built up some momentum with a spectacular performance in the GMAC Bowl victory over Troy and a strong week of practice at the Senior Bowl.

In pushing his workout to Wednesday, LeFevour will have the benefit of scripting his workout, throwing to receivers he's familiar with and in front of a friendly audience. There has been talk that LeFevour wanted to work on his mechanics a bit, as well -- and considering the boost Tim Tebow has recently received with his sleeker throwing motion, that gamble could pay off.

Perhaps most importantly, Lefevour will have the opportunity to get into a rhythm, as quarterbacks throwing in Indianapolis are only asked to throw two passes typically before the getting substituted.

The decision, of course, also carries significant risk. Not only was every team obviously represented at the Combine, the decision-makers were there. It remains to be seen how many scouts will attend Wednesday's throwing session, much less how many head coaches or front office executives.

To win his gamble, LeFevour has to be good - perhaps even great - Wednesday.

If he does so, a second round pick is possible. If not, LeFevour could slide into the deep third round... or lower.

A side note -- LeFevour isn't the only highly touted skill position player with a lot riding on Wednesday's workout. CMU wide receiver Antonio Brown needs to show better speed than the 4.58 second showing in the 40-yard dash he put forth at the Combine.  Wayne State running back Joique Bell also needs a strong performance if he is to assure himself of being drafted.  The 5-11, 217 pound back won the Harlon Hill Trophy and impressed scouts at the Senior Bowl, but hasn't been able to clock faster than a 4.68 second time in the event yet.
Posted on: March 23, 2010 5:53 pm

Clausen at ND Pro Day to cheer on teammates

I've gone on the record on multiple occasions with my feelings on Jimmy Clausen. I feel that he's a potential first round quarterback more due to the value of the position than his ability. I do believe he can be a starting quarterback in the NFL, but, like Brady Quinn before him, I believe his good talent has been greatly enhanced by extraordinary coaching, giving him limited upside for the NFL.

Besides my occasional rants about him, Clausen has taken the brunt of negative comments from a host of others lately, not the least of which was Cleveland Browns' president Mike Holmgren, who seemed to throw a wet blanket on the idea that the Browns might take the former Irish star with the comment, "I wish I liked him more."

For all of the negativity that has been coming down on Clausen recently, I believe the guy deserves some credit for attending Notre Dame's Pro Day today.

Scouts knew he wasn't working out. He'd long ago scheduled his own personal Pro Day April 9 after undergoing surgery on his toe. As he surprisingly admitted to Brian Hamilton of the Chicago Tribune, he only began running in preparation for his April 9 workout yesterday .

Whether Clausen will be in proper shape for his upcoming workout is fodder for another blog post.

Deserved or not, among the concerns scouts have expressed to me about Clausen is his leadership ability, or rather his perceived lack thereof. Some in the league believe that Clausen wasn't the greatest of teammates while at Notre Dame.

Perhaps offering some proof that this was not the case, Clausen showed up to root on his former Irish teammates Tuesday. Considering that he feels his toe is "not as strong as I want it" it would have been easy to understand why he'd have remained in training room rather than the cheering section Tuesday.

Sometimes leadership is all about the actions rather than the words. In this case, Clausen's actions showed some of the leadership scouts want to see from a first round quarterback.
Posted on: March 20, 2010 4:04 pm

One not enough? Gators schedule 2nd Pro Day 4/7

For all of the attention that Florida's first Pro Day received, it is hard to believe the team could possibly schedule another.

And yet that is precisely what Florida is doing. Pro Day, part two is scheduled for April 7, 11 am. Like last week's workout, it will take place on the University of Florida campus.

Pass rusher Jermaine Cunningham, who was unable to work out at the Combine or Florida's first Pro Day, March 17 due to a shoulder injury, will be featured. the 6-4, 266 pound Cunningham has 19.5 career sacks. Scouts would like to see him work out to better decide if his best chance at duplicating his collegiate success into the pros will be in remaining at defensive end in the 4-3 or switching to outside linebacker in the 3-4 alignment.

Others likely to take advantage of the workout are running back Brandon James and linebacker Ryan Stamper.

Though quarterback Tim Tebow, cornerback Joe Haden, defensive end Carlos Dunlap and tight end Aaron Hernandez aren't likely to workout -- and may elect to not even attend the event -- one highly touted prospect that should consider working out is inside linebacker Brandon Spikes, considering his disappointing workout at the March 17 Pro Day.

Spikes' is slow on film, but isn't 5.05 slow.

Considering the rebound performance Joe Haden saw in his second workout, perhaps Spikes could generate some late buzz with a better time.

Posted on: March 20, 2010 2:03 pm
Edited on: March 20, 2010 2:42 pm

CB Myron Lewis an NFL safety based on Pro Day #s

Considering his rare 6-1 (5/8), 202 pound frame and 4.42 speed, there were few players I was more looking forward to scouting in person at the 2010 Senior Bowl than Vanderbilt cornerback Myron Lewis. I liked his production, but wanted to see myself if he had the agility to handle cornerback or would be better suited to moving to safety in the NFL.

The problem was Lewis, despite twice earning second team all-SEC honors and possessing the unique blend of size and speed NFL scouts drool over, stunningly wasn't invited.

Lewis proved athletic at the Combine. He posted a 4.48 second showing in the 40-yard dash. Only 6 of the 35 cornerbacks tested at Indianapolis were faster. Lewis also impressed with his explosiveness (37" vertical and 10'6" broad) and posted 10 repetitions of 225 pounds.

He cramped up late in the workout and was unable to compete in the short and long shuttle, as well as the 3-cone drill. He competed in these drills at Vanderbilt's Pro Day Friday, posting times of 4.21, 11.36 and 6.89 seconds, respectively, according to Mike Organ of the Tennessean.

These drills are designed to show an athlete's ability to change direction quickly and accelerate explosively. They are one of the better quantitative indicators of if a player has the "wheels" to make it as an NFL cornerback or should be considered making the transition to safety.

Lewis' times in the shuttles and 3-cone are slower than those of most cornerbacks tested at the Combine. They fall in line, however, with many of the top safeties tested in Indianapolis.

Considering his size, speed and willingness to play with some physicality, Lewis could prove one of the better cornerback-safety transitions of this draft, and an underrated prospect.

Posted on: March 19, 2010 12:14 pm

OLB Watson loses 14 pounds for Pro Day

Much has been made of Florida State's Dekoda Watson and his sculpted build. As the official Seminole site boasts on his player profile, Watson measures 48" across his shoulders, but only 26" across his waist.

Watson certainly looks the part of an elite athlete, but has struggled with injury and inconsistency throughout his career. He's also been characterized by some scouts as a linebacker/safety 'tweener.

Watson helped his cause considerably at the Combine by measuring in at 240 pounds, only six pounds lighter than other outside linebacker measured in Indianapolis.

It is natural that players' weights fluctuate a bit in the weeks in between the Combine and Pro Day.

However, the remarkably trim Watson lost 14 pounds, measuring in at 226 pounds at his Pro Day Thursday.

I'm far from a nutrionist or athletic trainer, but losing 14 pounds in roughly three weeks is suspicious. It would seem to be evidence that Watson intentionally gained weight to measure in more impressively at the Combine, before losing the weight to run faster at his Pro Day. For the record, Watson was impressive in drills at the Combine, despite the additional weight, leading all OLBs with a 4.56 second showing in the 40-yard dash.

Thursday, he was timed in the mid 4.4s, a spectacular time for any linebacker.

A picture that demonstrates Watson's physique is below, courtesy of Warchant.com.

Dekoda Watson

Posted on: March 18, 2010 5:12 pm

West coast big backs Gerhart, Blount Pro Days

Heisman finalist Toby Gerhart elected to stand on his Combine performance, choosing only to catch passes Thursday at his Pro Day, according to sources there.

The decision not to work out was a bit surprising considering the faster times that often occur during Pro Day running and that most of the other top backs, including CJ Spiller, Ryan Mathews and Ben Tate have elected to workout again despite strong performances in Indianapolis.

Gerhart was clocked at 4.56 seconds in the 40-yard dash at the Combine.

One big back from the west who did take advantage of the scouts on hand to improve his time in the 40-yard dash Thursday was Oregon's LaGarrette Blount.

Blount struggled in Indianapolis, clocking in at a slooow 4.86 seconds in the 40-yard dash -- the slowest of all running backs (and fullbacks) tested at the Combine.

Blount shaved two-tenths of a second off his 40 at Oregon today, however, clocking in between 4.62 and 4.66, according to two separate sources at the scene.

Blount, of course, has more to worry about than just his questionable straight-line speed. According to teams, however, Blount answered all questions, including those about the Boise State incident and his subsequent suspension, openly. 
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