Tag:NFL combine
Posted on: March 3, 2011 7:10 pm
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Source: Newton 'perfect' in Indy team interview

Posted by Rob Rang

A high-ranking NFL source countered what NFLDraftScout.com and others had reported earlier in the week that Auburn QB Cam Newton, the 11th ranked prospect by CBSSports.com, "struggled" in team interviews conducted at the Combine.

"I think that is an example of a team trying to knock the kid down," the source said. "I can tell you right now, he was very likable with us. He answered every question we had about his off-field stuff and did a great job on the white board."

I pointed out that Newton could do well in his team's interview and then struggle in another (or several), but the source referred to specific questions asked and that the offensive coaches in the meeting later characterized Newton's answers as "perfect."

"He knew where to go with the football against different schemes, where his hot read was..." the source explained. "[Newton] did it quickly and with confidence. I wasn't in the other teams' meetings, so I don't know what they asked or how he answered, obviously. I can't imagine that kid 'struggling,' though, in that kind of setting."

The conflicting stories provide a perfect example of the smokescreens that take place in the months leading up to the draft.

This entry 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.
Posted on: March 2, 2011 12:13 am
 

2011 NFL combine winners/losers

Posted by Will Brinson

This isn't every single winner and loser from the 2011 NFL combine, but it's five of each (and mostly bigger names) that really stood out to me. Take it with a small grain of salt, if only because the inclusion of someone like Cam Newton doesn't mean he won't be a top-five pick. It just means that his appearance at the combine didn't exactly solidify him as someone that's a can't-miss prospect. The combine almost never provides full-on proof of someone's status, but it can either answer some questions or really highlight some issues with various draft prospects.

Winners 

Prince Amukamara, CB, Nebraska -- People were knocking Amukamara for his speed before the combine. Uh, whoops: he ripped off a 4.43 (4.37 was his first unofficial time, by the by) and proved everyone wrong. Suddenly there's a decent chance both he and Peterson are gone by the end of the top-10 picks.

Julio Jones, WR, Alabama -- So it turns out that Jones did all the combine drills with a fractured foot. That's pretty impressive. It's way more impressive when you see that he somehow managed to close the gap between he and the consensus top wideout A.J. Green.

Marvin Austin, DT, UNC -- He and Robert Quinn were two UNC guys who helped themselves (most of the other ones didn't) at the combine. Austin, the guy who helped take the Tar Heels down via Twitter, has a pile of red flags, but the athletic upside in Indy is going to make someone take a chance on him much earlier than they would have a year ago.

Stephen Paea, DT, Oregon State -- To paraphrase Neil Diamond, "I'm only gonna do one thing, but I'm gonna do it good." Paea could only lift at the combine but MAN did he lift, setting the record for 225-pound bench presses with 49.

Christian Ponder, QB, Florida State -- Ponder all of a sudden finds himself generating "first-round buzz" after a strong combine (on top of a very strong Senior Bowl). Two months ago, that would have been laughable.

Losers

Cam Newton, QB, Auburn -- Newton won't fall out of the top 10 in any mock draft between now and the time the NFL Draft happens because he's an absolute mutant of an athlete. But there are clearly red flags going up everywhere from his "entertainer" comment to the possibility that he underwhelmed teams in interviews to the poor showing he had when throwing the ball.

Ryan Mallett, QB, Arkansas -- Even if he did perform well on the field, his press conference performance and unwillingness to address drug rumors sunk his stock to the point that there are plenty of Ryan Leaf comps floating around.

Kendric Burney, CB, UNC -- Burney ripped up the Senior Bowl but that in-game action (some folks have said ) didn't translate to measurables, and a 4.75 40 isn't exactly the speed a tiny corner wants to show people looking to invest.

Da'Quan Bowers, DE, Clemson -- If you're going to claim that you're "100 percent" at the combine -- even after surgery -- it's probably a good idea to participate in some of the drills, you know?

Nick Fairley, DT, Auburn -- Fairley's still got a very good chance of being the top overall pick in the draft, and the dude had some pretty darn good measurables at the draft. But the gap between he and Marcell Dareus is MUCH shorter than it was a week ago.

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Posted on: March 1, 2011 11:16 pm
 

DB draft class more than just Peterson, Prince

Robert Sands impressed scouts at the NFL combine (Getty). Posted by Rob Rang

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 (pictured at right): 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?


This entry 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 .

Posted on: March 1, 2011 4:59 pm
 

Hot Routes 3.1.11: Rich Eisen's 40 time

Posted by Will Brinson



Got a link for the Hot Routes? Hit us up on Twitter (@CBSSportsNFL).
  • The highlight of the NFL combine is usually Rich Eisen running the 40-yard-dash. This year was no different, and Eisen posted the best time of his "career." Check the video here.
Posted on: March 1, 2011 12:49 pm
Edited on: March 1, 2011 12:50 pm
 

Patrick Peterson impresses at combine's final day

Posted by Will Brinson

Patrick Peterson is the consensus top cornerback in the 2011 NFL Draft class, and the top-rated player on Rob Rang's big board.

He's such elite prospect that he aimed for a 4.2 40 and no one really questioned whether or not he would do it. He didn't, but that's okay -- he still ripped off two really fast runs of 4.32 and 4.37 on the final day of the combine.

Peterson also impressed with a 10'6" showing on the broad jump and a 38" vertical -- there wasn't a ton of upside to what he could do in terms of showing at the combine because of his already-high ranking, but he certainly solidified his standing as the top cornerback in this year's draft.

Peterson's position in the draft is particularly interesting, because the Panthers need help in lots of areas and the Denver just locked up stud veteran cornerback Champ Bailey for four more years, but both teams could conceivably pull trigger on a cornerback at the top of this draft.

If they don't, a cornerback-needy team with an early-round pick (San Francisco?) is going to be very pleased with their first-round haul.



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Posted on: March 1, 2011 10:40 am
Edited on: March 1, 2011 10:42 am
 

Amukamara puts to rest issues with his speed

Posted by Will Brinson

Prince Amukamara, CBSSports.com's second-highest rated cornerback and 10th-overall prospect, was the unquestioned star of the early defensive backs who ran the 40, posting an impressive (albeit unofficial) pair of times on Tuesday at the combine. On Amukamara's first run, he ran the 40 in 4.37 seconds, and in the second attempt, 4.44.

The biggest knock on Amukamara was his speed -- that probably shouldn't be a problem anymore.

As Chad Reuter notes, there are "still concerns about his recovery speed" but "in the right system" Amukamara will be a star.

Currently, Rob Rang has Amukamara being drafted by Dallas at ninth overall, while Reuter sees him going 11th to the Houston Texans.

If he continues to perform like he did this morning, there's a decent chance he won't even last that long -- someone like San Francisco could certainly make a play before he falls to the Texas teams.

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Posted on: February 28, 2011 11:45 pm
Edited on: March 1, 2011 12:07 am
 

Source: Bowers, Jones dropping on draft boards

Posted by Andy Benoit

INDIANAPOLIS -- A prominent NFL front office executive told CBSSports.com Tuesday night that two first-round prospects saw their stock drop drastically thanks to medical issues that were discovered at the combine.

One of the players is Alabama wide receiver Julio Jones, who was reported to have a participated in the combine with a fracture in his foot. The other is Clemson defensive end Da’Quan Bowers, who didn't participate in combine drills despite claiming to be "100 percent" after knee surgery.

[Related: Latest CBSSports.com Mock Drafts]

The source did not say what the injuries were, though presumably he was referring to Jones' broken foot and Bowers' torn meniscus.

When I pointed out that the media was trumpeting Jones' remarkable workout numbers, the source said that's what makes the inevitable fallout from this injury so difficult. He said this news was devastating for both players.

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Posted on: February 28, 2011 9:55 pm
 

Could five QBs wind up in the first round?

Posted by Rob Rang

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.

[Related: CBSSports.com's 2011 QB Prospect Rankings]

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.

This entry 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