Tag:NFL Combine
Posted on: February 26, 2011 11:46 pm

Combine scene: Saturday

Posted by Andy Benoit

INDIANAPOLIS -- The show was stolen Saturday by Cam Newton (stolen is probably the wrong word – the media was more than happy to give it to him). The Heisman Trophy winning quarterback was extremely well coached and well prepared – and he benefitted greatly from following Arkansas quarterback Ryan Mallett at Podium C (Mallett’s press conference was essentially a train wreck).

Newton’s stock will likely rise after this weekend, though talking to people in the know, there are concerns about his accuracy. He has a rifle of an arm, at least. But the belief is that Newton’s running game will not translate to the NFL the way many expect. Thus, his precision passing becomes all the more important.

Earlier in the afternoon, I had an opportunity to meet with a highly respected front office exec. One of the most interesting things that came out of the conversation was his assertion that the tight end position is facing extinction. He named another big-time exec who believes tight ends will soon go the way of the fullback. This isn’t necessarily shocking; many can look at the game and figure that the No. 3 receiver will soon become a cog in every starting lineup. But don’t be surprised if this change occurs quicker than expected.

Friday night I joined the Football Outsiders crew at Scotty’s Brewhouse near Conseco Fieldhouse. Peter King (one of the greatest people in the industry, by the way) was holding court with a room packed full of hardcore football fans. George Atallah, NFLPA spokesman and Domonique Foxworth, the Ravens’ player rep, were both there. The media has been saying for months that fans don’t care about the details and legalese of the labor strife– they just want to know when football will be played. But if last night is any indication, this is simply not true. Fans care very much about the labor strife. The evening at Scotty’s lasted two and a half hours. The first hour of the Q and A was solely about the labor situation. And all of the Q’s were coming from fans.

Albert Breer of NFL Network was on hand. Interestingly enough, just about everything he told the room seemed to be favorable to the players. Foxworth was openly surprised (and appreciative) by Breer’s candor. It put a mild damper on the whole evening hearing about how a lockout is inevitable (this was prior to the union decertification rumblings , of course). But that’s fitting, given that labor talk has dominated the discussion all week here.

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Posted on: February 26, 2011 10:48 pm
Edited on: February 26, 2011 11:09 pm

Report: Two agents led from combine in cuffs

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Multiple outlets are reporting that a big-name player-agent -- or two of them -- was escorted from the NFL combine Friday in handcuffs after he (or they) illegally watched the workouts with passes not meant for them.

According to the National Football Post’s Aaron Wilson, the agents refused to leave the restricted area at Lucas Oil Stadium and eventually police had to lead them out.

Apparently, the agents obtained the passes from a sponsor employee, and after that employee was discovered, that person was sent home by the employer.

At this time, there is no police report of the alleged incident.

Pro Football Talk spoke to one of the alleged agents and the NFL, and both parties denied that the incident had occurred.

Until we get names and acknowledgments, this could end in one of two ways. Either it’s true and rival agents (most likely) will be extremely pissed at the flaunting of the rules that most of them follow, or it’s false and somebody is spreading malicious rumors.

And it’s like Pete Prisco wrote Friday after four of the most powerful agents in the game stood together at the NFLPA meeting to show how they were all in the labor fight together. So much for unity, eh?

Like Prisco wrote, “Those guys would stab each other in the back in a minute.”

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Posted on: February 26, 2011 6:48 pm

Newton wins the press conference

C. Newton had a strong performance in front of the media today (Getty). Posted by Eye on Football staff

INDIANAPOLIS -- Say this for former Auburn QB – and potential No. 1 pick in April’s NFL Draft – Cam Newton: he’s got a perfect sense of timing.

Immediately after what many described as a disastrous news conference featuring Arkansas’ Ryan Mallett, Newton talked to a mass of media and, for the most part, came off quite well. Yes, he referred to himself in the third person multiple times, and yes, he read from a prepared statement at the beginning of his presser – some reporters found that a bit strange – but otherwise, he showed his charisma and parried questions regarding alleged off-field incidents with more grace than Mallett.

"My biggest thing is everybody has a learning process that they go through,” Newton said. “For me, that learning process happened three years ago, the mistakes that I made Florida, the trials and tribulations that I went through at Blinn College, has made me the person that I am today."

The question that was most blunt occurred near the end of his presser when a reporter asked if he stole a laptop while at Florida and if he stole items out of a teammate’s locker.

Said Newton: “Sir, I'm going to let you know right now what I did in the past is in the past. My sole focus is to perform at this year's Combine. I'm not going to entertain anything that happened in my past. I'm all about the future. I'm trying to prepare today to make my future as best as it can be."

He was also asked about his father, who has been accused of trying to sell his son’s services for $180,000.

"My father is just like any other father that wants the best for his son. He wants to see his son succeed in every way possible."

But perhaps the most interesting aspect of the NFL combine for Newton this week is that he’s planning to participate in all the workouts (including, gasp, throwing to unfamiliar receivers).

"My biggest thing first is to prepare for the NFL,” Newton said. "I know it's going to be a challenging transition. I have been working out with three unbelievable coaches. During that time I felt as though I wanted to do something at the Combine. I wanted to come out here and compete, because that's what I feel like I wanted to do … have fun competing."

Yet, as well as he performed at his session with the media, ESPN’s Adam Schefter writes that Newton wasn’t perfect during one of his team interviews.

From Schefter:

According to the source, an NFL assistant coach questioned Newton about why he disobeyed his coach's orders in the BCS National Championship Game, when Newton ran a quarterback sneak toward the end of the game rather than take the knee that he was instructed. Newton was not expecting the NFL to ask him about the incident, and did not have a favorable reaction to it, according to league sources. He got defensive, and even referred to it Saturday. Asked about the interviews, Newton said, "Each and every team keeps you on your toes."

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Posted on: February 26, 2011 4:21 pm
Edited on: February 26, 2011 4:35 pm

Bowers not doing himself any favors

Posted by Rob Rang

Clemson defensive end Da'Quan Bowers will not win himself fans among scouts with his decision to not work out at the Combine despite the fact that he characterized himself as "100 percent" and "willing to compete with anyone, any where" in his Q/A session with the media.

Bowers underwent surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his right knee following the season and explained that he "wanted as much time to prepare for [the workouts] as others."

The reality is that despite leading the country with 15.5 sacks, scouts have questions about Bowers' burst.

Bowers benefitted from an aggressive Clemson defensive scheme which often utilized twists and stunts, freeing him up to rack up sacks while his defensive tackles absorbed blockers. Bowers, himself, acknowledged the play of his teammates who "did all of the dirty work."

By not working out here, Bowers risks losing some of the buzz his monster junior season had created. North Carolina's Robert Quinn and Missouri's Aldon Smith, in particular, are expected to work out exceptionally well and have each demonstrated a greater first step as pass rusher than Bowers.

Bowers' Pro Day is March 10.

This 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: February 26, 2011 3:33 pm
Edited on: February 26, 2011 10:34 pm

Ryan Mallett's press conference...ouch

Posted by Andy Benoit
R. Mallett (US Presswire)
INDIANAPOLIS -- The Ryan Mallett press conference was one of those scenarios where everyone in the room is eventually looking at each other with wide eyes that seem to say, “Ehhhhhh…..there’s something not right about this guy”. Obviously, it’s pure speculation.
The former Arkansas quarterback was immediately asked about the drug abuse allegations (“Wow, first question, huh?” he said.) He wouldn’t discuss it but did acknowledge that the timing of these reports was not a coincidence.

Mallett said he could throw the ball 80 yards and touted his collegiate numbers when asked one of those “prove it” questions. With proper body language, it would have been confidence speaking. But from Mallett, it unfortunately seemed more like arrogance.

All in all, the buzz around the media center is that Mallett’s content wasn’t great and his delivery was even worse. Mallett has one of those clichéd chips on his shoulder, but not the kind of chip that could one day inspire him. More like the kind of chip that makes a group of reporters decide there’s just something they don’t like about you.

Mallett is the fifth rated quarterback on NFL Draft Scout, but his stock will almost certainly drop barring an amazing workout Saturday.

And here is Pete Prisco's blog post on the matter -- in which Prisco compares Mallett to Marshall Mathers.

Also, here's the link to the video of Mallett's appearance.

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Posted on: February 26, 2011 3:20 pm

Don't mess with Kerrigan

Posted by Pete Prisco

INDIANAPOLIS -- One of my favorite players in this year's draft is Purdue defensive end Ryan Kerrigan.

He is an explosive player who plays with a relentless style. The knock on him is his size, but he measured in at just over 6-foot-3 here and he weighed 267 pounds -- plenty big enough to play down end in a 4-3.

Some 3-4 teams might want to move him to outside linebacker, but I see him being a force as a down end.

"I played a 4-3 defensive end in college, so I don't have too much experience with it," Kerrigan said. "But in my training for the combine I've been working on a lot of drops from a 3-4 linebacker standpoint."

Why take a player who does his best work going forward and make him go in the other direction? This kid has a chance to be a star pass rusher. Leave him as a 4-3 end.

This was cross-posted from Pete Prisco’s Prisco’s Points blog. For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed .

Posted on: February 26, 2011 2:26 pm
Edited on: February 26, 2011 2:30 pm

Tight end news from the combine

Posted by Andy Benoit

INDIANAPOLIS – We’re still early in the workout portion of the combine, but the man whose workout numbers have generated the most buzz early on around Lucas Oil Stadium is Nevada tight end Virgil Green.

Green set the bar with a 42.5-inch vertical leap. The second highest leap among tight ends thus far is Cameron Jordan of USC, at 37.5 inches. Green also has the best broad jump thus far, 10’7”.

These numbers comparable to what Vernon Davis put up in 2006, though his 4.64 40-time is more middling. Green is rated as the No. 5 tight end by CBS Sports’ Draft Scout. Prior to the combine, he was projected to go in the mid-rounds.

Rob Housler of Florida Atlantic had the fastest 40 time (4.55). Jordan had the second fastest time (4.59).

In other tight end news, South Carolina’s Weslye Saunders, who was declared eligible for the draft just two weeks ago, is out with a broken foot. Saunders, a late round prospect, is CBSSports’ 11th rated tight end.

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Posted on: February 26, 2011 12:47 pm

Rex Ryan's fashion statement

Posted by Andy Benoit

INDIANAPOLIS -- Got to go behind the ropes for a few minutes at the Combine on Saturday to meet with some NFL execs. Waiting at the bank of elevators located around the corner from the NFL Network set was Rex Ryan. Take a look at what the Jets head coach was wearing (photo courtesy of NFL.com):

R. Ryan (US Presswire)

The Newsome, of course, is Ozzie, the Browns legendary tight end. Ryan’s fashion choice for this day is somewhat peculiar only because Newsome is also the current GM of the Baltimore Ravens. Ryan worked for Newsome as the defensive coordinator in Baltimore.

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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