Tag:NFL Combine
Posted on: February 25, 2012 6:13 pm
Edited on: February 25, 2012 6:18 pm
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Devon Still: 'I'm the best DT in this draft'

Still doesn't lack for confidence. (US Presswire)
By Will Brinson

INDIANAPOLIS -- NFL prospects are, by the nature of the combine, forced into comparisons. The top group of guys at every position want to be the best. And many of them think they're the best. Like Devon Still, Penn State defensive tackle, who isn't interested in hearing all the hype surrounding LSU tackle Michael Brockers.

Still was asked how the defensive tackle class shapes up and said that "hands-down" he's the best DT in the draft.

"I think hands-down I'm the best defensive tackle in this draft," Still said. "I was able to take over a lot of games this season. Just the production I had -- I was able to disrupt plays even if I wasn't making the statistics."

Still was speaking specifically of Brockers. And Brockers, who met with the media later on during the day, was asked specifically about Still, but declined to make his opinion on the comparison known ... for know.

"If he said that, he said that," Brockers said. "I can’t really go back and comment on that statement. We’ll see Monday."

Monday's when the defensive tackles, defensive ends and linebackers take the field for the drills. For now, we'll simply have to rely on our own rankings: Still is the 10th-best player in the draft according to NFLDraftScout.com ... and Brockers is eighth.

Brockers is also the top defensive tackle in the draft. For now.

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Posted on: February 25, 2012 3:49 pm
Edited on: February 25, 2012 3:52 pm
 

LSU's Brockers up to 322 pounds for combine

Brockers somehow put on another 15 pounds before the combine. (Getty Images)
By Will Brinson

INDIANAPOLIS -- Between the time he came to LSU as a freshman in 2009 and the time he left after the 2011 season, Michael Brockers gained more than 50 pounds. (Although Brockers might try to tell you it's closer to 30.) Since the end of the season, he's gained another 15 pounds, clocking in at 322 pounds on Saturday at the combine.

But the weight is, as NFLDraftScout.com's eighth-ranked prospect put it on Saturday, "good." Brockers, who won't run the 40 or bench at the combine, said that the addition of any weight is primarily muscle-based.

"I guess I'm just blessed to have this body frame and still be able to be quick," Brockers said before acknowledging that the weight does slow him down some. "Oh yeah. When I went from 280 and I jumped up to 310 my 40 time went from like 4.8 to five-flat."

Brockers, who said he'd probably need to put on even more weight if he wanted to truly play defensive tackle in the NFL, is a guy analysts are fawning over at the combine. He's got the combination of size, speed, success, raw talent and ability to play multiple positions is enticing.

"I'm all over the board," Brockers said. "Since I played so many positions at LSU, I feel like I'm all down the line. I played the five [technique]. Not on passing situations, really more run situations."

Some teams to watch for Brockers are the Panthers at No. 9 overall; Carolina's definitely going defense and his biggest need  gave up the 25th most rushing yards per game in the NFL in 2011 and the eighth-most yards per carry in the NFL.

"I play the run, and I feel like I'm a force in the middle," Brockers said.

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Posted on: February 25, 2012 2:27 pm
 

Orson Charles decides not to run 40-yard dash

Charles bailed on running the 40 Saturday. (Getty Images)
By Will Brinson

INDIANAPOLIS -- We declared Georgia tight end Orson Charles, the third-rated tight end prospect on NFLDraftScout.com's board, one of the winners from the second day of the combine in Indy, primarily because he beasted the bench press exercise.

And we expected to see Charles pick up some more momentum on Saturday by posting a fast 40 time, but he's decided not to run at the combine. According to Josh Norris of Rotoworld, Charles decided not to run because his training was delayed due to his decision to enter the draft.

Charles is participating in all the receiving drills and obviously did well for himself on Friday. And he'll run at Georgia's Pro Day, which is believed to take place some time in April (it's yet to be scheduled).

Still, seeing Charles lose some of the positive momentum he gained on Friday by not running on Saturday is a touch disappointing.

Especially given that, as Pete Prisco wrote earlier in the week, the 2012 tight end class is a shallow one, even though the revolution of tight ends as pass catchers and offensive weapons is underway across the league.

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Posted on: February 25, 2012 12:29 pm
 

Irsay met with Peyton in the 'last week or so'

Irsay says he and Manning have met in the 'last week or so.' (Getty Images)
By Will Brinson

INDIANAPOLIS -- There's been plenty of speculation and talk about Peyton Manning this week in Indy, but not much of it coming from Colts owner Jim Irsay. That's surprising given that Irsay couldn't stop talking about Manning during the Super Bowl.

He couldn't quite make it to the end of the 2012 NFL combine without discussing Peyton, tweeting (of course) on Saturday around lunch that he and Peyton have "communicated frequently" in the last week or so. To the [sic]-mobile:

"Not sure why some speculate that Peyton n I haven't met in person recently..we've met in person n communicated frequently n last week or so," Irsay tweeted. "As we have in the last month."

We're not sure where the "Peyton and Irsay aren't talking" speculation is coming from. The only real speculation surrounding Manning the past few days has involved teams other than the Colts, with Arizona's front office not denying their potential interest in Manning, and Rex Ryan doing the same thing.

Oh, and fans in Miami who really like Peyton; but still, other teams. It's not unusual, though, for Irsay to tweet about rumors that we haven't actually heard. And it's just further proof that this saga becomes more and more convoluted as March 8 gets nearer and nearer.

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Posted on: February 25, 2012 11:19 am
Edited on: February 25, 2012 11:28 am
 

Matt Kalil runs unofficial 4.96 40-time Saturday

Kalil managed to elevate his status over the weekend. (Getty Images)
By Will Brinson

INDIANAPOLIS -- Matt Kalil, the top-rate offensive line prospect by NFLDraftScout.com, has kept a low profile in Indianapolis. But that's not because he's not talented; it's because the focus here is on Robert Griffin III and Andrew Luck.

But Kalil stole some of that thunder on Saturday, when he stepped onto the field and looked incredibly athletic while running his 40-yard time, posting a 4.96 time, scored unofficially. (Matt added another unofficial time of five seconds even to his tally, which is also impressive.)

That time, incidentally, is the exact same time that Matt's brother, Panthers center Ryan Kalil, posted at his combine effort in 2006.

Matt's time puts him in good company: Joe Thomas, Eric Winston, Trent Williams and the elder Kalil are all among the group of linemen who've gone sub-five seconds on their 40 time at the combine since 2006.

Speed isn't everything when it comes to linemen, obviously. And Kalil's not the only speedy lineman: Georgia's Cordy Glenn also posted an unofficial 4.96 40 time on Saturday.

But when you start adding the pieces together on Kalil -- between the speed, the strength (30 reps) and the lineage -- it's hard to fathom how Kalil could end up busting as an NFL player.

And it's becoming even harder to fathom how anyone else, including Stanford's Jonathan Martin, could try to claim the title of best available offensive lineman in this draft.

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Posted on: February 24, 2012 9:31 pm
Edited on: February 25, 2012 1:26 pm
 

2012 NFL Combine Day 2: Winners and losers

RG3 was the biggest winner on Friday. (Getty Images)
By Will Brinson

INDIANAPOLIS -- Day 2 of the NFL combine is in the books and we have a whole new set of fresh faces to judge. On Friday, wide receivers, tight ends and quarterbacks made the rounds. Perhaps you've heard of some of these guys.

Winners

Robert Griffin III: RG3 showed up to his combine interview sporting Ninja-Turtle socks, drew a crowd on par with Andrew Luck and absolutely wooed them. He said he wants a team to "fall in love with him," wouldn't care if he had to be a backup in year one, insists he is much more "football smart" than anyone would want to believe, and even said he models himself after ... Kenny Stabler. (And Randall Cunningham and "guys no one expects [him] to know about.") Oh yes, and he actually managed to growsince he last played football. The only question surrounding Griffin at this point is who's willing to give up the most in order to take him second overall.

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Alshon Jeffery: South Carolina's scrutinized wide receiver showed up the combine on Friday and laughed off reports that he gained so much weight he was tipping the scales at 250 pounds. ("Anyone can write anything on the Internet.") In fact, Jeffery lost weight, dropping from the 230 pounds during the season all the way down to 216 for his official weigh-in at the combine. Jeffery claims he just "drank a lot of water" to drop the weight. That seems unlikely, but it's not really important how he lost the weight. It's important why he lost the weight, and that was to show he's motivated to move up draft boards between now and April. We also feel compelled to note that his favorite food is lasagna.

Trent Richardson: Richardson's dealing with an injury so he's not going to participate at the combine. But he said the injury wasn't a "setback," and then he proceeded to be possibly the most quotable guy at the combine. His attitude was one of approachable confidence, and at one point he said that he's more than willing to meet Ray Lewis head on in the hole. It was throughly enjoyable to hear Richardson riff, and if he can back up his talk, he'll be worthy of a top-10 pick.

Peyton Manning: With the management from the Dolphins, Chiefs and Jets all talking to the media on Thursday and not much else going on during the day, Manning's name was freaking everywhere. On Friday, he was less talked about. Scott Pioli of the Chiefs straight no-commented any Manning talk and Ozzie Newsome looked a combo of incredulous and exasperated when he was asked about Manning replacing Joe Flacco. RG3 and Luck both got questions about Manning, but that comes with the top-pick territory, and they weren't grilled on it. With the Redskins rolling onto the schedule Saturday, Manning would be wise to enjoy the peace.

Orson Charles: The third-ranked tight end on NFLDraftScout.com's board, Charles showed up on Thursday and told the media that he'd be thrilled if he was drafted by a team like the Falcons and needed to sit until Tony Gonzalez was done. (It's an appropriate hypothetical for a kid who went to Georgia.) Then on Friday he made it a little harder for people to pass on him, when he benched 225 pounds 35 times. That's eight more than the nearest tight end and more than all but one offensive lineman.

Losers

Combine Changes: It's one thing to use fully automated timing devices for the sake of being more accurate. But what's the point of having two guys race against each other in the 40-yard dash? The answer: making the combine more fun to watch. And with all due respect to the fans who make the NFL the most popular sport in the world, there's just no reason to mess with a proven manner of evaluating players. Pitting guys one-on-one in the 40 might sound like the possibility to create really interesting matchups, but it would probably just create more "week before the combine" injuries.

Mike Adams: NFL teams can deal with a player having off-field issues. Adams has a pair of suspensions from his time at Ohio State and that has to be a concern, even if he's says he's "past" those maturity problems. Perhaps a bigger problem? He only benched 225 pounds 19 times. That's less than all but eight of the linemen who lifted on Friday, and less than all but five of the tight ends. Bench press isn't a clear-cut indicator of success, but that's a pretty big pair of red flags for the Ohio State product.

Tim Tebow: The phrase "one like Tim" would be insensitive, except John Elway's just talking about quarterbacks. But that was the phrase he used when we asked him what kind of backup quarterbacks he'd try to acquire to sit behind Tebow on the depth chart. And as Clark Judge wrote on Friday, Elway's pretty clearly not committed to Tebow as his quarterback of the future even though he and the rest of the Broncos keep trying to speak glowingly of their quarterback. Also, Tim, Fred Durst? Really? Really.

Panthers, Seahawks: Neither team did anything "bad," per se. They just happened to end up on the wrong end of a coin flip against the Dolphins and Chiefs, respectively. And while the loss only cost them one draft spot, that's a significant thing if you're a team like Carolina or Seattle who might be interested in bouncing up or down on the draft board. Lower picks are worth exponentially less in trades.

Justin Blackmon: This isn't to knock Blackmon, because we like the kid a lot. He's a talented, physical receiver who's managed to remain humble throughout his rise to stardom. But sometimes good qualities in people look bad in draft prospects: Blackmon isn't running the 40 (the primary concern about him is speed) because of a hamstring injury he said he suffered last week. He measured in shorter than the 6'1" and he admitted route-running is a problem for him. He's too talented to slip too far, but we wonder whether the Rams will definitely make him a top-five pick.

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Posted on: February 24, 2012 3:22 pm
 

TJ Graham guarantees 'sub-4.3' 40 time at combine

TJ Graham reps NC State with a Wolfpack sign. (Will Brinson, CBSSports.com)
By Will Brinson

INDIANAPOLIS -- Wide receiver T.J. Graham produced loud numbers -- compiling 1,713 total yards on receptions (46) and kick returns (44) -- for NC State in 2011. But he'll make a bigger noise over the weekend if he follows up on a guarantee he made at the combine to run a sub-4.3 second 40-yard dash.

On Friday, we asked Graham what he expected his time to be over the weekend.

"Sub 4.3," Graham told CBSSports.com.

Thinking we might have misheard, we asked him to confirm that number. Since, as Rob Rang noted on yesterday, only 10 guys have gone sub-4.3 since 2000.

"You guaranteeing that?"

"Yup," a smiling Graham said.

40 times aren't the end-all, be-all obviously. But look at the wideouts on Rang's list of players who have gone under 4.3 seconds: Jacoby Ford, Darrius Heyward-Bey, Jerome Mathis, Mike Wallace and Johnny Knox. That's a reasonably productive group of guys; if you want to argue that speed doesn't really count for anything, you'd have some work to do.

None of this means Graham is going to vault up draft boards if he posts a low number. And he could fall if he whiffs on the guarantee (especially with the Raiders not having a first-round pick this year). But Graham, the 219th overall prospect according to Rang, could certainly leapfrog some of the 27 wide receivers ranked ahead of him if he goes particularly low over the weekend.

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Posted on: February 24, 2012 2:59 pm
 

Luck, Griffin won't throw at combine this week

GriffinBy Josh Katzowitz

We already knew that Robert Griffin III wasn’t planning on throwing at the scouting combine -- he confirmed that today in his talk with the media (while wearing Ninja Turtle socks!) by saying he didn’t want to throw to unfamiliar receivers.

And while there was a report that Andrew Luck wanted to throw but was told not to do so by the Colts (the team denies saying that), he confirmed today that he also won’t be showcasing his arm this weekend.

As CBSSports.com’s Clark Judge notes, Luck said he made the decision not to throw after conferring with his father.

Also, Oklahoma State receiver Justin Blackmon won’t be running the 40 at the combine. As NFLDraftScout.com’s Rob Rang writes, Blackmon injured his hamstring last week and though Blackmon said he might participate in a few short routes during receiver drills, he “won't do anything this week that requires ‘opening up’ and threaten his ability to perform at the Cowboys' March 7 Pro Day.”

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