Tag:NFL combine
Posted on: February 23, 2012 4:55 pm
 

OT Martin says he's top tackle 'without a doubt'

Stanford's Martin doesn't exactly lack for confidence. (Getty Images)
By Will Brinson

INDIANAPOLIS -- Stanford's Jonathan Martin is NFLDraftScout.com's third-ranked offensive tackle in the 2012 NFL Draft. He would absolutely disagree with that assessment, however.

And Martin, who measured in at 6'5" and 312 pounds, said as much on Thursday at the NFL combine, stating that he is "without a doubt" the best tackle in this draft. He then compared himself directly with NDS' top-rated tackle, USC's Matt Kalil.

"I don't know if there are specifics I can really name," Martin said when asked to compare the two. "I just think all around I'm a better player. He is own right is a really good player. We have similar offenses so I've watched a lot of him on film these past couple of years also."

Martin confirmed a report from Rob Rang of NFLDraftScout.com that he's been dealing with food poisoning and that he wouldn't do any lifting or field drills at the combine because he's "been sick the last couple of days," waiting until his pro day to workout.

When asked about contact with teams, Martin said he hasn't had "any formal interviews yet." He did say that he he spoke to the Redskins on Wednesday night and hasn't had any contact with the Lions as of yet.

In the latest slate of mock drafts, only Pat Kirwan has Martin "sliding" -- and Pat pegs Martin to the Cardinals at 13 (everyone else has Martin going eleventh-overall to the Chiefs). He's a top-end talent with plenty of upside. And, as Rang pointed out, missing the combine workouts won't hurt him too much.

There should be one or two pro scouts in attendance for Stanford's pro day.

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Posted on: February 23, 2012 4:21 pm
Edited on: February 23, 2012 4:31 pm
 

Rex regrets guarantee, won't rule out Peyton

The Manning-to-New York speculation won't die just quite yet. (Getty Images)
By Will Brinson

INDIANAPOLIS -- This time last year, Rex Ryan stood up on the podium at the NFL combine and guaranteed that the Jets would win a Super Bowl in 2011. Whoops.

No such guarantees from Rex this year, but last year's promise was the topic of his opening remarks for his 2012 press conference. And Ryan said that he believes his guarantee "contributed" to last year's "terrible" season.

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"It's something I've been thinking about a great deal and obviously we had a terrible season and I'll take full responsibility for it," Ryan said. "I think part of that guarantee really contributed to that. Now looking forward, which I can't wait to do, with that upcoming season. First off: no promises. There won't be any promises."

Rex's own comments weren't the only ones he didn't like. Asked about Greg McElroy's comments regarding the team's locker-room chemistry, Rex made it clear that didn't sit well with him.

"I was angry about it," Ryan said. "I never agreed with all the statements he made, but hey, the thing about our football team is that we're truly a transparent organization. You're going to know a lot about the New York Jets in the great times, but you're also going to know a lot about us in the not-so-good times."

"Are you talking about my son? Or some other Peyton?" "First off, Peyton's under contract to a different team so I can't talk about him specifically. But with our organization, we will look at everybody. There's a list of 10 free-agent quarterbacks that I've looked at. There's the draft guys I've looked at. In my opinion, we have the best cornerback in football history -- along with Deion Sanders -- and we're still looking at a million corners.

"We will do -- always -- what's in the best interest of our organization. For us, that means we're going to be prepared. We're going to look at any possibility that out's there, perceived or otherwise.

"We will look at all possibilities."

In other words, even though Rex is currently throwing his full support behind Mark Sanchez, the Jets not looking at Peyton is far from a guarantee.

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Posted on: February 23, 2012 2:03 pm
Edited on: February 23, 2012 2:08 pm
 

Cardinals won't shut the door on Peyton Manning

Eye on Football Illustration (Getty Images)
By Will Brinson

INDIANAPOLIS -- The Cardinals, despite having Kevin Kolb and John Skelton on their roster, are considered a candidate to land Peyton Manning if/when he's released by the Colts. CBS Sports Charley Casserly first talked about this way back in January, and with Arizona's freedom to get out of Kolb's contract before March 17, speculation has only increased.

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Ken Whisenhunt and GM Rod Graves, speaking Thursday at the NFL combine, did nothing to quell that speculation, leaving the door wide open for the possibility of making a change at quarterback.

"We're about opportunities to get better," Graves said when asked about the Cardinals depth at quarterback. "Everyone out there associated with our team understands that this is a competitive game and we're all looking to get better. So if those opportunities present themselves, so be it. Otherwise we've got an outstanding group of quarterbacks right now.

"We believe we can win with those quarterbacks and we're preparing as if they're going to be the group we're working with and we'll see what other opportunities present themselves if that happens."

So what about the bonus due to Kolb on March 17? Have the Cardinals talked about whether or not they're going to exercise it?

"No, we haven't had any discussions about that," Whisenhunt, not looking entirely pleased to be asked about it, said.

Graves was less direct about the discussions surrounding the Kolb decision, but also made it pretty clear (without being too precise) that the Cardinals will explore options if and when they become available.

"Every day you have to work with the information you have at hand," Graves said. "Right now as I look at it, we fully expect that Kevin's going to be with us so we'll honor the contract as it is, obviously. But we'll see what every day brings forward and we'll make that decision accordingly. Right now, as it stands today, we're not anticipating anything different."

Based on what Whisenhunt and Graves said, it's unfair to simply state that the Cardinals will ditch Kolb and chase Manning. But it's also pretty clear that such a process is something they haven't ruled out as of right now.

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Posted on: February 23, 2012 12:36 pm
 

Steelers want Wallace 'to finish his career here'

Pittsburgh would love to keep top wideout Wallace. (Getty Images)
By Will Brinson

INDIANAPOLIS -- Kevin Colbert, as GM of the Steelers, is in a precarious position. Pittsburgh has little-to-no cap room and one of their top offensive players, wide receiver Mike Wallace, is a restricted free agent who's been viewed as a candidate for offer sheets from various AFC rivals.

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Colbert emphasized on Thursday at the NFL combine that the Steelers, despite rumors to the contrary, are still very much open to using the franchise tag on Wallace, even though it would tack on another $9.4 million to their salary cap.

"We won't know until we know what we're dealing with as far as cap space. So we have to leave that option open, absolutely," Colbert said. "The thing I can say for sure about Mike is that we want Mike to finish his career with the Steelers and we're confident that Mike wants to finish his career here and play with a great quarterback like Ben Roethlisberger and have the receivers we have to compliment him.

"We think he's only scratched the surface in what he can do. There's a lot left there that still can be developed and we're anxious to see it happen as a Steeler."

The Steelers are being hurt by changes to restricted free agent (RFA) rules in the new CBA; teams only have to surrender a first-round pick in exchange for Wallace if the Steelers decline to match any offer from someone else.

"The compensation is what it is," Colbert said. "We have to live within the rules and make the best decisions we can."

Cap space is the bigger issue, though. Even if the Steelers can get under the cap through cutting players and restructuring contracts, they'd still need to wiggle out another $10 million in order to easily bring Wallace back in 2012.

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Posted on: February 22, 2012 10:44 am
Edited on: February 22, 2012 10:50 am
 

Luck could throw at combine; Colts might nix it

Luck

By Josh Katzowitz

Robert Griffin III already has made the decision that he most likely will not to throw at the scouting combine, saying “It’s still up in the air but I'm probably not going to throw." Instead, he only will toss the ball in front of scouts at Baylor’s pro day on March 21.

Although it was reported last weekend that likely No. 1 pick Andrew Luck also won’t throw in Indianapolis this week, ESPN.com is reporting that Luck could throw and that he’ll be prepared to do so.

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That’s the word from quarterback trainer George Whitfield, who has worked with Luck in three sessions heading into this week’s combine and who also tutored Cam Newton before the 2011 draft. Whitfield also plans to work with Luck in Palo Alto, Ca., in the weeks leading up to Luck’s March 22 pro day.

"There are things he wants to work on, but this is refinement not an installation or a surgery," Whitfield told the website. "It's about getting reps and he's really a marvel to watch. Very sound. Very consistent. Physically impressive. A power guy. A strong guy which people underestimate. One thing we've been doing is working the throws out on the perimeter -- those throws outside the hash marks."

Bob Kravitz of the Indianapolis Star reported that Luck originally wanted to throw at the combine but that the Colts advised against it. So, the chances are good that Luck probably won’t throw, especially if his (almost-assured) future employer is advising against it.

But in case there’s a last-minute change of mind, Luck sounds willing to throw and is ready to make it happen.

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Posted on: February 21, 2012 10:59 am
 

RG3 probably won't throw at combine, wants 4.4 40

Griffin's legs will speak for the quarterback at the combine. (Getty Images)
By Will Brinson

Robert Griffin III is one of the more interesting athletes at this year's NFL combine. He's a big-time athlete whose stock can only go up as the draft approaches. If he shines at the combine and at his Pro Day -- now scheduled for March 21 -- teams will scramble for the No. 2 pick the Rams currently hold.

But it won't be because of his throws, as Griffin said on the Dan Patrick Show that he "probably" wouldn't throw at the Combine.

"I don’t think so," Griffin said Tuesday. "It’s still up in the air but I'm probably not going to throw."

RG3, as Rob Rang noted recently, already said he was unlikely to throw at the combine. Griffin might not need to throw, however. He's going to run the 40-yard dash, and if he posts a sub-4.4-second time, it's going to generate some buzz. Griffin thinks he can.

"I think there's a possibility," Griffin said before acknowledging he'd gone under 4.4 in the 40-yard dash before.

Griffin ran track in high school (he owns a pile of Texas state records) and early in his career at Baylor (he set a Midwest Regional record for the 400-meter hurdles) so speed isn't an issue. Size is Griffin's issue; as CBSSports.com's Clark Judge pointed out in his recent combine preview, Griffin's measurements in the coming week are something to watch.

(The size versus speed thing is also why the RG3-Cam Newton comparisons are just silly. Newton's 6'5", 248 pounds. Griffin's 6'2" 220. If Newton could run a 4'4" he'd be Superman. Literally.)

But it's speed that will really cause teams to fall in love with Griffin. If he goes sub 4.4, the biggest winner is St. Louis, because the auction for that top pick is going to get hot and heavy.

Speaking of auctioning for Griffin's services, it's also worth noting that RG3 signed with Adidas. The shoe company announced the news on Tuesday and Griffin confirmed it on Patrick's show. And we dug up this first Adidas commercial with Griffin, who Adidas is wisely marketing as "RG III."

You know, what with their three-stripe logo and all.



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Posted on: April 13, 2011 10:38 pm
 

Report: Fairley missed meeting with Fins, more

Posted by Will Brinson

Nick Fairley has fallen all the way to No. 8 in our latest CBSSports.com mock drafts, and, based on the reports that emerged Wednesday about his inability to be on time, there's a good chance he could fall further as the draft approaches.

According to Aaron Wilson of the National Football Post, Fairley "skipped a scheduled dinner with Dolphins coach Tony Sparano and GM Jeff Ireland in Alabama."

And Adam Schefter of ESPN reported that Fairley missed his flight to Indianapolis for the NFL combine, missed a meeting with a team in Indy and was also late to a team meeting at Auburn's Pro Day.

Yes, it's a red flag party, and yes, Fairley's now been tagged for every possible bad stereotype of NFL Draft busts -- he's been called out for taking plays off on the field, he's been called a "dirty" player, he's been hit with the one-year wonder label, off-field issues seem to be coming out of the woodwork, and he even got compared to Albert Haynesworth.
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We talked with Fairley way back at the Super Bowl and noted how much work he had to do in terms of "stuffing stereotypes."

It seemed, for quite some time anyway, that Fairley was doing a pretty good job of just that. He'd kind of gotten himself locked into the top of the draft there for a while, but now it's pretty difficult to find a mock draft that has him in the top five, and his stock's been dropping for over a month.

It's entirely possible that all of this is a complete pile of garbage, and Fairley could turn into an elite defensive tackle in the NFL. But his status as an elite prospect has taken on fire-smoke status, and seeing him get taken before the Titans draft would be pretty shocking.

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Posted on: March 6, 2011 5:24 pm
 

Fairley's draft status is dropping

N. Fairley's draft status has begun to drop (Getty). Posted by Rob Rang

Much of the attention following the Combine has been centered on the team interviews with quarterbacks Cam Newton, Ryan Mallett and others, but according to three sources from different clubs, it is another high profile player who set off the most alarms at the Combine.

Auburn defensive tackle Nick Fairley was described as a "JUCO kid to the core" by one longtime personnel man, speaking on the condition of anonymity.

By "JUCO" the source is, of course, referring to the fact that Fairley played junior college football (Copiah-Lincoln Community College) prior to starring at Auburn. Asked to elaborate why being a "JUCO kid" is a bad thing, the source explained.

"Just because a player went to a junior college doesn't mean, he's a bad guy or won't be successful at this level, obviously. There are lots of junior college players who have gone on to great NFL careers."

The stereotype is that JUCO players aren't as smart, hard-working, and well coached. They are also viewed by many clubs as players most likely to have had off-field troubles in the past and potentially more in the future. The source refused to go into specifics, but said, "Everyone is coming down hard on the quarterback, but [Fairley] is the one to worry about."

Despite measuring in at a shade under 6-4 and lighter than expected (291 pounds), Fairley "looked soft," according to the source. This first impression of Fairley's conditioning was only reinforced by his "limited" understanding of defensive schemes during team interviews. The source also referred to the fact that Fairley doesn't use his hands well and has been able to be successful largely due to his natural talent.

"Oh, I'm not saying he's not talented. Hell, he might be the most talented player in the whole damn thing. But, he's no slam dunk at this level. Not the slam dunk people who watched him tear up the SEC or in the big game [BCS National Championship] might think."

The other sources weren't as forthcoming with details, but didn't sound surprised when I told them I heard that Fairley was slipping down boards and that, as such, I had pushed him from No. 2 in the mock draft I'd written prior to the Combine to No. 8 in my current one.

This post was cross-posted from Rob Rang's NFL Draft blog. For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed .
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com