The Skinny From Inside The Combine

From Indianapolis, Indiana

Fans can watch the NFL Scouting Combine activity on the field at Lucas Oil Stadium thanks to the NFL Network. This year the league allowed approximately 250 fans the chance to get inside the stadium and watch as well.

It’s only a matter of time before the event is open to the public and they start charging for admission to see future NFL players run around in their underwear.

Sunday morning, they even let some of the media horde inside the stadium proper to watch some of the throwing and catching by half of the receivers and quarterbacks that got the important invites to attend. Members of the Pro Football Writers of America had the opportunity to watch the drills. I took that opportunity.

I’m glad I did because I didn’t sleep well Saturday night and being ushered into watching the drills was a great opportunity for a cat nap. It wasn’t just me. They led the media to an open suite with about 30 seats on the club level, high above the stadium’s artificial turf. NFL teams are each assigned their own suite that they can use for their staff.

Next door to the media was the San Diego Chargers suite. There were two members of the Chargers party that were snoozing. One more suite over was the Buffalo Bills, and one of their representatives had that bobbing head action going as he tried to stay awake. Head coach Chan Gailey looked like he could nod off at any second.

There is much that is important about what goes on at the Combine, but that’s only when all the information is pulled together. Individual moments tend to drop an anvil on the eyelids.

There were approximately eight quarterbacks throwing and two dozen wide receivers catching passes during the morning session. After they do their physical testing, they players go through about 45 minutes of throwing. There are short throws, intermediate throws and long passes.

And there is the gauntlet, where quarterbacks stand at the 20 and 40 yard lines and the receivers run straight down the 30-yard line, catching passes on the run from the left then the right, back to the left, on to the right … seven catches possible on each trip through the gauntlet.

Only a handful of receivers were able to take their two trips and catch every pass. More often than not, guys would drop one here or there as they tried to keep up their speed while handling the ball.

These are throwers and catchers who have not worked together before, so there were not a lot of successful connections made on the intermediate and long routes. Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III did not throw the ball Sunday morning, although he did take part in the physical testing, turning in an impressive 4.41 seconds in the 40-yard dash; not many quarterbacks can get the wheels turning that fast.

Among the quarterbacks that did throw, they were for the most part unimpressive. One of the throwers that stood out but not necessarily in a good way was Houston and NCAA-record holder Case Keenum. On short and intermediate passes he was unable to connect consistently with receivers. On the bombs, he was outstanding, dropping balls into the WRs hands from 40 yards away. That lkely explains all the yards he threw for with the Cougars.

Among the receivers in Sunday morning’s session, Missouri’s Jerrell Jackson had a good morning, making one deep catch with his finger tips and grabbing pretty much every throw in his direction.

While he had several drops, Notre Dame’s Michael Floyd had to be noticed. He’s 6-3, 220 pounds and was all muscled up as he rolled his sleeves up over his biceps. He ran the 40-yard dash in 4.47 seconds.

The best performing receiver was Jarrett Boykin from Virginia Tech. He’s big (6-2, 218 pounds) and seemed to run a lot faster catching passes than his 40-yard dash time from earlier in the morning (4.74 seconds.)

Then, the 45-minute viewing window was over and everyone shuffled out and went on with their day, or their next nap. It’s just another day at the NFL Combine.

2 Responses to “The Skinny From Inside The Combine”

  • February 26, 2012  - Josh says:

    I love it, Bob. Despite this being the only football news for the next six weeks, your color commentary, however sleepy, remains honest and great to read. What is your true opinion of the Chiefs going after a top-tier QB? In my dream draft, we trade up for RG3, and use our remaining pick(s) for a center and a huge, intelligent lineman that can play either right or left guard. I see our o-line as the largest gap preventing us from becoming a playoff contender. Of all of the position groups, which do you find the most lacking going into 2012?

    P.S. We still need to settle our beer bet from two years ago. Unfortunately, Cassel has been so mediocre, neither of us has a claim. What do you suggest?

  • February 27, 2012  - rufus says:

    hahahaha funny stuff bob

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