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It’s A Wrap … Wednesday Cup O’Combine

The boxes are packed, the weights have been returned to the Colts and by Wednesday morning the folks in Indianapolis will have cleaned up after the NFL Combine and started preparing for their next big event.

The 2011 Combine ended with the last group of players hitting the workout field, the defensive backs. Blue-chip CB Patrick Peterson did not disappoint, as he turned in times of 4.32 and 4.37 seconds in the 40-yard dash. Something drastic would have to happen for Peterson to not be selected among the top five choices.

That’s Iowa State’s David Sims to the right, running his 40-yard dash on Tuesday.

In fact, it became pretty obvious that defense is going to dominate the top of this year’s Draft, grabbing probably 11 or 12 of the first 16 picks. From Tuesday, it’s 59 days until the first round is held on April 28 and there is so much that can still change as teams continue evaluations and start focusing on particular players. But this draft will still be top heavy with defense.

The positions with a lot of talent are defensive end, defensive tackle, outside linebacker and offensive tackle. The spots where the pool of talented players is shallow is safety, tight end, running back and quarterback.

Here are a few thoughts, observations and evaluations on what went down at Lucas Oil Stadium over the last week.

THIS GUY CAN’T WIN

Auburn QB and Heisman Trophy winner Cam Newton took part in all activities at the Combine – that’s something that seldom happens with the big name players coming into the draft. They prefer to display their talents back on campus, where they have more say on the surroundings and structure of the workout.

According to several scouts, Newton did not have a good workout Sunday afternoon. This lead to wide spread dissection by the media that he hurt himself by working at Indy.

But had Newton not participated, he would have been criticized for sitting out and saving everything for his Pro Day at Auburn. With everything surrounding this kid these days, he can’t win.

After watching a Combine workout in person on Sunday, if I was a quarterback I would not throw at Indy. There are no choices on the routes, there’s no time to work with the receivers, who are worried about their own situation and no making the quarterback look good.

Physically, there is no question on the part of anybody in the NFL about Cam Newton. The questions about him are personality driven and that will be the deciding factor when it comes to a team deciding to draft him. Talent wise, he’s the best quarterback in the draft. But Missouri’s Blaine Gabbert may be the better package.

A HOPE FOR THE CHIEFS?

One of the best athletic performances of the Combine was turned in by Alabama WR Julio Jones. They do not get much better than this guy. He is a physical specimen at 6-feet, 2¾ inches, 220 pounds, 220 well-muscled pounds. He ran the 40-yard dash under 4.4 seconds. He ripped off 17 reps on the bench press at 225 pounds. Jones’ vertical jump (38.5 inches) and broad jump (11-feet, 3 inches) ranked among the best efforts at the combine.

His performance during his session with the QBs on Sunday morning was very impressive. In running his routes, he got in and out of cuts faster than any player on the field and he looked much more comfortable than Georgia’s highly-touted A.J. Green.

It was after Sunday morning’s performance that it was discovered he did all of that with a fractured foot that will require surgery, the insertion of a screw and it will keep him from working out for at least the next eight weeks.

That means he’s not going to be able to work before the Draft and that’s going to keep some teams from grabbing him. All of that could push him to the 21st pick. If Jones was there at that spot, the Chiefs would be crazy to pass him by because of a rehabbing foot. This guy is a difference-maker.

It may be a long shot, but a girl can dream, and adding Julio Jones would do wonders for Matt Cassel and the Chiefs offense.

HANDLING THEMSELVES WELL

It’s always intriguing to see how players handle themselves in front of the media, as nearly all of them are asked to spend at least 15 minutes in the press center. I discovered this year that more and more teams are making sure they get tape of these interviews as well as their one-on-ones, because they want to see if it tips off how a player might handle the spotlight.

Among the quarterbacks, Florida State’s Christian Ponder and Alabama’s Greg McElroy were very good at handling the questions and projecting confidence, but not cockiness. QB Ryan Mallett struggled in his session, put on the defensive by questions about off-field issues like drug use. At running back, Heisman Trophy winner Mark Ingram was a bit defensive. The cockiest position is always wide receiver and there were no shortage of confident guys there, including Green and Jones. But it was the small school guys that were the most fun to talk with, guys like Ricardo Lockette of Fort Valley State, O.J. Murdock out of Fort Hayes State and Joe Morgan out of Walsh College.

Along the offensive line, the personality that really came through was Syracuse C Ryan Bartholomew, who showed he was not only a good player, but he was a student of the game. On the defensive line, Texas DE Sam Acho was quite a personality. But he could not match that of Brandon Bair out of Oregon. More on his story coming up later, but he was sensational talking about how he will come into the NFL as a 26-year old rookie.

BIG GUYS & LITTLE GUYS

The tallest player who went through Indianapolis this year was OT Nate Solder out of Colorado who was measured at 6-feet, 8¼ inches. All of the tallest players were offensive linemen.

The Combine participant that tipped the scales was Florida G Carl Johnson who was caught at 361 pounds on the scale.

On the flip side, the shortest player was Oregon State RB Jacquizz Rodgers, who was measured at 5-feet, 5 7/8 inches. West Virginia WR Jockee Sanders was 5-feet, 6 1/8 inches.

And the lightest player was Miami CB DeMarcus Van Dyke, who came in at 176 pounds.

GOLD MEDAL WINNERS

Van Dyke had the best official time in the 40-yard dash at 4.28 seconds. The bench press has players pushing 225 pounds as many times as they can and Oregon State DT Stephen Paea set a new Combine record with 49 reps.

UNLV TE Virgil Green had the best vertical jump, going 42.5 inches. Alabama WR Julio Jones easily won the standing broad jump, as his effort was measured at 11 feet, 3 inches; no other player cracked the 11-foot mark. In the 3-Cone agility drill, Oregon WR Jeffrey Maehl put up the top time at 6.42 seconds.

In the 20-yard Shuttle, Boise State WR Austin Pettis turned in a time of 3.88 seconds. In the 60-yard Shuttle, Maehl topped everyone at 10.88 seconds.

NFL PERSONNEL FILE FOR TUESDAY, MARCH 1

  • BILLS – signed S George Wilson and OL Mansfield Wrotto to contract extensions.
  • FALCONS – do not plan to re-sign FAs WR Brian Finneran and CB Brian Williams.
  • JAGUARS – signed S Donovin Darius so he could retire as a member of the Jags.
  • PATRIOTS – signed DT Marcus Stroud to a 2-year contract.
  • REDSKINS – released OL Derrick Dockery and DE Andre Carter.
  • SAINTS – signed DT Shaun Rogers to a 1-year contract; re-signed K Garrett Hartley to a 5-year contract, terms unknown.
  • SEAHAWKS – signed RB Leon Washington to a 4-year, $12.5 million contract.
  • VIKINGS – LB Chad Greenway signed the franchise player tender offer made to him of just more than $10 million for the 2011 season.

9 Responses to “It’s A Wrap … Wednesday Cup O’Combine”

  • March 2, 2011  - el cid says:

    Notice above NT Rogers will sign a 1 year contract with NO. Oh well, maybe it is true the Kansas City is one of the worst pro sports towns and athletes prefer other cities. Shame because we needed a NT to support Edwards and not much left out there except the draft.


  • March 2, 2011  - Mike says:

    I agree, Bob, Julio Jones to the Chiefs would be a dream come true. Whether it’s at 21 or trading up to get him. the only concern is catching the ball, but he seems to have improved in that area over the past year.


  • March 2, 2011  - Marc says:

    I would disagree with your comments about Ryan Mallet. He did not get defensive. All he said was he would not discuss the details about “off-the-field” issues with the media. He would only give detailed comment to the teams. The media, in my opinion, has treated the guy unfairly. He had a public intox his transfer year to Arkansas. That is it. Everyone wants to keep bringing up “drug allegations”. There is no evidence to support this. No one can provide one detail about these claims. Unfair for the media to brand this guy as a potential bad apple. He was nominated a captain his sophomore year by his team. You don’t play against the competition of the SEC, put up the numbers Mallet did and be selected as a team captain without leadership traits. Ask his teammates and coaches about his character and you will get a very different perspective from what the media has said. I could expect someone like Todd Haley to answer the questions about “drug allegations” the same way Ryan Mallet did. Enough is enough. Gabbert is a spread offense QB. Mallet and Locker are the only pro-ready quarterbacks that participated in the Combine. Mallet performed better at the Combine and provided better statistics, overall record and leaderships his two years at Arkansas.


  • March 2, 2011  - BIG F says:

    Little bit concerned about Julio Jones as I watched him in college and at least in my opinion he has average hands. (much like Bowe) If he proves he’s willing to work at it, I like him much better…..


  • March 2, 2011  - Steve says:

    Mallet’s fondness for maryjane is not without “evidence to support it” unless you’re looking for an arrest or a photo of him holding a doobie.

    It’s no secret to many of his teammates (both HS and College).

    He’s obviously a talented kid but to act as if these rumors have surfaced without any reason is simply silly.


  • March 2, 2011  - Haley's Ego says:

    Jones would be a nice addition, I suppose. I doubt he will be there when it’s our turn to pick, though. Problem is, our lines are still getting pushed around way too much. And our LB group needs big improvement. WR is an area of need, for certain. Just not our biggest one.


  • March 2, 2011  - RW says:

    Of course it all depends on how the draft unfolds as it does with every draft. Do the Chiefs draft for need as long as their board supports the pick or take the best player available regardless of position? That issue too, is visited by many teams every draft.

    You could, for example, make a case for OT if certain guys are there but is it a glaring need? Depends on the inner circle point of view, I suppose. Or, if they make Dex a fulltime slot receiver, does that lessen the WR need?

    All that said, the team has got to quit dicking around and get an anchor for the 3-4 defense so my preference is a pocket-caving, double-team needed, NT.


  • March 2, 2011  - chiefwoundedknee says:

    Actually, WR is a bigger area of need than some people realize. When you sign someone off the street before your playoff game (Kevin Curtis), you’re desperate…..


  • March 2, 2011  - Marc says:

    Steve,

    You are spreading rumors. Stop it unless you can give factual evidence.




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