Category Archives: Scouting Combine

NFL Scouting Combine XX: Mike Mayock wraps it up

End of the day observations from NFL Network draft guy Mike Mayock –

On Robert Griffin’s fast 40 time: “I knew he was gonna fly. … Fast guys run fast. That’s not a story to me.”

On Andrew Luck: “What was surprising to some people was how athletic Andrew Luck was.” He called Luck “sneaky athletic,” said he can do almost anything asked of him and said Luck’s workout numbers compared to Can Newton’s one year ago.

On Luck and Griffin: “Those two quarterbacks are special kids and what they did in gym shorts isn’t going to change anything.”

On who did well: Wide receiver Stephen Hill of Georgia Tech “killed it,” but has to prove he can play receiver coming out of an option offense. Notre Dame WR Michael Floyd (4.46) “had as good a day as just about anybody.”

On who did not do well: Baylor WR Kendall Wright had a slow time (4.6), and Ohio State offensive tackle Mike Adams has strength issues and “questions about immaturity.”

NFL Scouting Combine XIX: Bengals coach Marvin Lewis

Some Q and A from Cincinnati Bengals coach Marvin Lewis’ appearance at the podium:

Q: What kind of an impact will having an offseason have on Andy Dalton?

A: I think it’s going to be a huge thing for Andy. Not only the offseason, but a resume of work. Something he can improve upon and build upon with the rest of our players. He spoke so much about that. That he can’t wait to get the opportunity to get back to work and to be able to look at the different concepts and the things we do offensively. We need to continue to build on this and get better at this, and so forth. I think it was a great experience for our young guys to have the opportunity to learn from these veteran players. I just told them, ‘Suck the knowledge out of them and come back.’ I think that’s important.

Q: What especially impressed you about (Dalton)?

A: I think all along just his demeanor. As a couple people said to me, ‘He has it.’You felt that about him. Nothing seemed too big. He seems to take almost everything in stride. His personality is one that’s very unassuming yet a very quiet demeanor, quiet determination and a resolve that he can do whatever it is.

Q. Is there concern about Rey Maualuga?

A: There’s a concern. What he does away from football is important. He has to make good choices and decisions. I’m not going to speak any further because it’s a lot more involved than any of you would understand.

Q. How do you feel about your safeties (Chris Crocker and Reggie Nelson could be free agents)?

A. We have two great prospects. We traded for Taylor Mays last year and drafted Robert Sands who didn’t play any defensive snaps. I feel great about them because I watched them each and every day in practice. We feel real good about those young guys and prepared to move forward about where it will stand out.

Q.How much of a priority is it to re-sign Cedric Benson?

A: I think we want to improve our running game and if it includes Ced, it

includes Ced. We need to have more explosive running plays. Ced has had a fine career. He’s a physical player and been a big part of our success.

Q. With what you guys accomplished do you feel good about where you are?

A. A coach always worries and then he feels good. I feel excited that at some point we’re going to be doing football. We have a good opportunity ahead of us. We have two first-round picks and that’s important. They have to share the passion to play and we’ll probably have an opportunity for them to play right away.

NFL Scouting Combine XVIII: LSU cornerback Morris Claiborne

The draft’s top cornerback said he never intended to play defense in college the NFL — until he got to college and another player convinced him.

LSU’s Morris Claiborne said he was recruited to play receiver, but was convinced to switch to corner by Patrick Peterson, who had a standout rookie season in Arizona. Claiborne now figures to follow Peterson to the NFL as a top pick — perhaps as high as fourth to Cleveland (if the Browns do not trade up for Robert Griffin III), but certainly no lower than 10th. If he were still available at 10, Claiborne would certainly be the subject of a possible trade up by Cincinnati, which would love to add him to its defense.

Claiborne said it took a month to grow accustomed to corner, but evidently once he did things came together in a hurry. He, like Peterson, won the Jim Thorpe Award as the nation’s best defensive back. He said he’s not the most physical corner, that he’s more a technician who mirrors people.

Peterson’s advice to Claiborne for the Combine was simple.

“He said, ‘Go up there and take over,’” Claiborne said.

Super Bowl Scouting Combine XVII: Chase Minnifield and the old block

Chase Minnifield doesn’t just look like his father, he acts like him. Same mannerisms, same approach.

So Minnifield the younger — a third-round cornerback prospect from Virginia — did not avoid questions about his father Frank, the former Browns cornerback and original Dawg.

Chase said he hasn’t really studied his father, but he has watched tape of him — as well as Hanford Dixon.

“It’s interesting,” he said.

Who’s better?

“My Dad,” Chase Minnifield said. “He’d kill me if I said something different.”

NFL Scouting Combine XVI: Janoris Jenkins details his issues

Janoris Jenkins deserves credit for honesty.

One of the better cornerback prospects in the draft, Jenkins (a cornerback from North Alabama) said he has four children. Age range: Three, two, one and three months.

He also said he failed a drug test, has three arrests on his record — one arrest was for a bar fight, two for marijuana.

And he was kicked out of Florida.

Jenkins did say he has given up smoking pot.

“I’m done with it forever, man” he said. “I can’t do it.”

Someone will draft him, and the Bengals need a cornerback. Jenkins has amazing ability, and might have been a top 10 pick without the off-field issues. But with all these issues, the question is how high he goes.

NFL Scouting Combine XV: Griffin’s 40 time

Let’s put Robert Griffin’s 40-yard time in perspective in two ways.

His (unofficial) time of 4.38 seconds was evidently the second best ever run at the NFL Scouting Combine. Mike Vick ran a 4.33.

That makes Griffin fast.

But he should be fast. He’s a world-class hurdler. So it woud have been surprising if he had run a slow time. That he ran fast is expected. That he ran as fast as he did is impressive.

However, there is a guy named Tom Brady who ran a 40 at the Combine.

His time: 5.23 seconds.

Just a guess, but it doesn’t seem like that time is going to be the deciding factor in anyone’s Hall of Fame vote.

NFL Scouting Combine XIV: A mock draft to ponder

Take a mock draft for what it is worth in February, but Pat Kirwan of CBSSports.com (formerly of NFL Network) is the first I’ve seen to have the Browns taking someone other than Robert Griffin III.

Kirwan projects RG3 to the Redskins, who make a trade to move up to St. Louis’ second spot. The Browns will draft Oklahoma State WR Justin Blackmon, Kirwan says, opining: “From top to bottom the people in Cleveland are pure west coast offense guys. So they may not be able to convince themselves Griffin fits what they want or shell out the compensation to move up and get him.”

Kirwan’s predictions illustrate the value for St. Louis in trading down. In his draft the Rams still wind up with the best corner in the draft, LSU’s Morris Claiborne.

He also has interesting things to say about Baylor WR Kendall Wright, and picks the Browns to take Ohio State tackle Mike Adams 22nd overall.

I’m not sure that Adams will be taken that high, not after he did little to impress folks with his combine workouts. Too, if the Browns stay at four and have a choice between Blackmon, Claiborne and RB Trent Richardson, I think they’ll take Claiborne.

Of course … it is February.

 

NFL Scouting Combine XIII: MIke Wallace, the Steelers and the Ravens

The chatter that Mike Wallace may leave the Steelers has lessened considerably. Not only did Steelers GM Kevin Colbert make it clear the Steelers want to keep Wallace, one of the team’s reportedly interested in signing him made it sound like it would not do so.

Ravens GM Ozzie Newsome said there are pratfalls to signing a restricted free agent.

“I’ve gone on record saying that the problem of going after restricted free agents … at that point the player and the agent have the leverage,” Newsome said. “You have to do a deal that you don’t think the other team is going to match. And then giving up a first-round pick and with the new rules … that first-round pick … the amount of money you have to pay on the first four years is not what it was in the previous CBA. So you have to factor all of those things in before you decide to make that decision.”

Newsome did say signing quarterback Joe Flacco to a new long-term deal seems to be a matter of time.

“Sometimes in negotiations, it can be done in two days or it can take 12 months,” Newsome said. “There is a willingness with (agent) Joe Linta and (Flacco) and (owner) Steve (Biscotti) and the organization to try and get the deal done. We’re going to push toward that.”

NFL Scouting Combine XII: Where the top corners are picked

Bengals coach Marvin Lewis offered no scientific evidence, but he said research has proven that the best NFL cornerbacks usually are first-round picks.

“Year after year, if you had 70 corners the best ones are going to be first-round guys,” he said.

LSU’s Morris Claiborne just sent Lewis a thank-you note.

He said the best guards and linebackers are sprinkled throughout the draft.

“Generally,” Lewis said, “those guys who catch and pass the ball go higher.”

NFL Scouting Combine XI: Billick weighs in on quarterbacks

Former Baltimore Ravens coach Brian Billick now works as an analyst for FOX. Billick was his usual blunt self when he made a cameo at the combine podium.

He had glowing things to say about several players, among them:

—Andrew Luck: “I am on record that he is the most dynamic quarterback and talent to come out since John Elway. As a prospect.” He continued: “He has more credentials and fewer questions about him than any quarterback since John Elway. Now it has to come together.” Billick aptly pointed out that there were legitimate questions about Peyton Manning, and that the debate between Manning and Ryan Leaf raged leading up to the draft. He said there are no questions about Luck.

—Robert Griffin III: “I’m very intrigued by him.” Billick said Griffin is not a Mike Vick, an athlete who can throw. “He’s the best throwing athlete I’ve seen come out in a while,” Billick said. He said RG3 comes out of college better prepared for the NFL than Vick, and better prepared than Cam Newton because he has made more throws that can be projected to the NFL. Billick said only 20 percent of Newton’s throws could be projected and judged.

—Matt Flynn: Billick broadcast the Packers finale when Flynn started and had a phenomenal game. Billick said Flynn could be a Rob Johnson bust, or a Matt Hassellbeck/Matt Schaub success. “It’s a roll of the dice because you have a limited amount of data. It’s probably a pretty good risk, but it is a risk. Pay your money and take your chances.”