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NFL Combine Risers and Fallers: Defense

February 27, 2013 in 2013 Combine

Offense | Defense

Risers:

DL Margus Hunt, SMU-

-Hunt had a huge Combine showing the potential he brings to the table at the next level. He excelled in pretty much every drill and displayed elite athleticism. He's still raw as a prospect, but teams will feel more comfortable taking him early.

DL Ziggy Ansah, BYU-

-Another raw prospect, Ansah lit up the Combine and flashed the top notch athletic ability that we would see take over for stretches in games. He really solidified a first round pick for himself and is definitely trending up draft boards.

DL Dion Jordan, Oregon-

-Jordan is one of the most athletic players in this draft class, and he showed that in spades throughout the Combine. He looks like he can cause nightmares for opposing offensive linemen, and should easily hear his name called in the top 20 picks.

DL Devin Taylor, South Carolina-

-Taylor is a later round prospect who had questions about his motor coming in. By shining in all the drills it helps to show that he's been focused and working on being a better player. He has the frame to bulk up to a 5 technique, but could intrigue teams as an edge rusher as well.

DL Shariff Floyd, Florida-

-Had probably the best all-around day for defensive tackles. Showed some good athleticism and really helped his case to be picked in the top 20 of the first round.

LB Sio Moore, Uconn-

-Really loved the burst and acceleration that Moore displayed, really looks the part of a starting OLB (preferably as a rush LB) at the next level. Add this with a big East/West Shrine Game week, and his stock is very much rising.

LB Zavier Gooden, Missouri-

-Gooden showed great tools in the Combine and while it wasn't always clear in games he flashed that ability previously. Teams should now feel more confident in believing they can make him a starting backer and he could work his way into the late 3rd-early 4th range.

LB Cornelius Washington, Georgia-

-Had one of the best all-around Combine's, and the fact that he worked out as a LB makes him quite interesting for a 3-4 team in need of a pass rusher. He didn't do much in college, but the potential is there.

CB Dee Milliner, Alabama-

-Milliner solidified his spot atop the corner board and should be a lock for a top 10 pick. He did drop a couple of balls, but that really shouldn't be a knock on him.

CB Darius Slay, Mississippi-

-Slay outperformed his college teammate Jonathan Banks, by showcasing really nice speed and good quickness.

CB Robert Alford, SE Louisiana-

-Small school guy who really rose up draft boards after a big Senior Bowl, really looked good at the Combine and looks to be moving fast up draft boards.

S Matt Elam, Florida-

-Elam had a great all-around day at the Combine, which is exactly what he needed. He showed the athletic ability to play either safety spot, and should be a lock for a top 40 pick.

S Shamarko Thomas, Syracuse-

-Thomas is a shorter safety who hasn't been on a lot of people's radar, but with a good East/West week and now Combine he's had to have opened some eyes. He won't go too high in the draft, but he's probably looking to be in the 4th round range now.

Fallers:

DL Demontre Moore, Texas A&M-

-Moore was one of the top pass rushers entering the Combine, but some questions were raised with his slow 40 time. This could cause teams to go back and watch his tape and perhaps focus more on the games where he disappeared. His certainty as a top 10 selection is very much in doubt and he could fall to lower in the first round.

DL Jordan Hill, Penn State-

-There is a lot to like with Jordan Hill but he put up a pedestrian 40 time and really looked bad in the bench press. He didn't look that great in drills either leaving some question about his impact early on.

LB Chase Thomas, Stanford-

-Chase Thomas figured to get some 2nd day interest given his ability as a pass rusher, but a poor combine after a rough Senior Bowl could force him to fall to the third day. He didn't show the burst you like to see in starting caliber pass rushers, and his lack of coverage ability could make him a liability.

CB Marc Anthony, Cal-

-Anthony had one of the worst 40 times among corners, and while he had good game tape to watch, that time could plummet him down draft boards.

S Zeke Motta, Notre Dame-

-Motta really didn't have a good Combine, but most troubling is not his 40 time, but rather his bench press numbers. He's supposed to be a big physical safety, but he didn't show that on the bench.

2013 Offensive Line Combine Preview

February 23, 2013 in 2013 Combine

NFL COMBINE Offensive Line Preview:

-Oday Aboushi needed to come in and help himself with this combine, but he fared poorly in the bench press yesterday. He'll need a strong day today to boost his stock back up, and hopefully he shows the feet to be a tackle at the next level.

-Terron Armstead coming off a big East-West Shrine Game and invite to the Senior Bowl, Armstead is moving up draft boards A great combine could really help him out as he's a small school guy with promise.

-David Bakhtiari not a lot of people know much from Bakhtiari given that he played at a struggling program in Colorado, this Combine could be a signature moment for the underclassman to shine.

-Jonathan Cooper is one of the top players (at any position) in this draft class and led the way among offensive linemen in the bench press. Expect him to test out well today across the board.

-D.J. Fluker dropped weight from his Senior Bowl weigh-in which is a great benefit to him as teams will feel more comfortable drafting him high. His bench reps were lower than expected, but given his massively long arms it shouldn't be too much of a concern.

-Number two tackle Eric Fisher should fare well at the Combine especially with his footwork, with a strong day today he could seal up a top 10 draft pick.

-Luke Joeckel should also shine today at the combine, especially athletically. I'll be interested to watch his footwork which should be the barometer for every offensive lineman to be judged on.

-Lane Johnson is another very quick left tackle prospect and given that he doesn't have as much game tape this will be another big test for him. He aced the first one Senior Bowl week and should have another fine showing today.

-Brian Winters unfortunately suffered an injury doing the bench press which could cause his early- 4th round projection to tumble. Coming from a smaller school he needed to workout to really raise his stock, now it's very much up in the air.

-Chance Warmack is the top guard and is another guy to watch in terms of putting on a clinic. I wouldn't expect great speed from him, but expect him to do well in everything else.

-David Quessenberry, Jordan Mills and Reid Frankel are three mid-late round tackles to watch, expect good solid all-around combines from all of them.

-Garrett Gilkey and Earl Watford are two really interesting late round guards, expect them to open up some teams eyes given that they are smaller school guys who didn't get as much attention.

 

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Infographic: Does Combine 40 Time Equal Success in the NFL?

February 20, 2013 in 2013 Combine

Does a player's great time in the Scouting Combine's 40-yard dash mean they'll end up succeeding in the NFL? We crunched the numbers (analysis and embed code beneath the infographic).

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<a href="http://fanspeak.com/nfldraft/2013/02/20/infographic-does-combine-40-time-equal-success-in-the-nfl"><img title="Does Combine 40 Time Mean Success in the NFL? From Fanspeak.com" alt="Does Combine 40 Time Mean Success in the NFL? From Fanspeak.com" src="http://fanspeak.com/images/nfl-combine-40-times.jpg" /></a><br /><div style="width:601px; padding: 10px;"><a href="http://fanspeak.com/nfldraft/2013/02/20/infographic-does-combine-40-time-equal-success-in-the-nfl">Does Combine 40 Time Mean Success in the NFL? From Fanspeak.com</a></div>

 
The 2013 NFL Scouting Combine starts this weekend, and unfortunately the importance of the event will be lost on most people, as one number above all will stick out: the 40 time. The NFL Combine is a four-day experience for these players as they interview with most of the teams, undergo intense medical and psychological testing, and participate in a series of on the field drills, yet one number can seemingly make-or-break a player's Combine in the eyes of fans (and even some NFL teams).

Forty times are no doubt valuable to a degree. You want to see burst and acceleration, and having long speed never hurt anybody. That being said, they aren't the be-all end-all for determining speed. Even for a speed position like wide receiver, you aren't starting from a track position and likely won't run in a perfectly straight line. You will also be wearing pads, which is another hinderence. Even if a defender allowed you to start from a track position and didn't try to get in your way at all, it still doesn't have a direct correlation to the NFL because so few passes are actually thrown 40+ yards (to say nothing of the other skills needed to track the ball and catch it). What really comes from the 40 time is the little things.

For instance, the 10- and 20-yard splits (especially for positions other than WR, RB and DB) are very important. If two guys run the same 40 time but one guy is better in the first 20 yards and the other better in the last 20 yards, the guy who is faster in the first 20 yards is probably more desirable. Even if the 2nd runner runs it slightly faster, that initial quickness is probably more applicable to football than long speed. The other positive is it gives you another benchmark to compare players. If two corners are roughly the same size and show the same cover ability on tape, and one runs a 4.35 and the other runs a 4.55, then you can probably feel comfortable taking the faster one. What gets teams in trouble is when the guy who runs a 4.55 grades out better in skills and the mental side of things, but they take the more athletic one.

Perhaps the most surprising thing is the weight people try to give to non-speed positions like quarterback, defensive line and offensive line. Unless something goes incredibly well or terribly wrong, these guys aren't ever running 40 yards or anything close to it. These are guys who should be judged on their 10- and 20-yard splits, yet people try to care about their 40-yard dash times. Even with the quarterback position changing and guys like Robert Griffin III, Colin Kaepernick and Cam Newton having good 40 times, this has little to do with their success. It was great to see that level of speed, but they still have to be quarterbacks first. That is why the majority of signal callers with that speed either converted to wide receiver or are out of the league.

People who like the 40 will say that it matters to the speed positions, but not even there is there a good correlation between success in the 40 and success in the NFL. Sure, there are exceptions like RB Chris Johnson or WR Mike Wallace, but even the majority of the sub-4.4 times from running backs, receivers and corners didn't help them do anything significant in the NFL (and many were down right busts).

So while much of the focus will be on the 40-yard times, remember in reality this is just one of the many drills these prospects participate in, and the drills are just part of the grade a player gets from the Combine. Enjoy watching the Combine and checking back here for coverage, but don't let 40 yard dash numbers make or break a prospect for you to root for.

2012 NFL Combine Review: Defensive Line

February 28, 2012 in Uncategorized

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Here are some guys who had a good day at the NFL Combine:

Melvin Ingram:

Ingram is going to be a key addition to some team's defense this season.

Ingram I thought had one of the best days. He was fast, quick, strong and showed a ton of fluidity and versatility in all the drills. He did everything that was asked of him and he looks to be a major impact player at the next level. He's not the biggest guy, and he doesn't have the longest arms, but he is just a natural football player.

Dontari Poe:

Poe came in and just blew up the Combine. He ran a sub-5.0 40 time, had 44 reps in the bench press and just looked great in every drill. He looked to be just a plugger coming into this draft, as he had pedestrian numbers in college, but now he looks to have big time upside. Poe could be a top 20 pick after this performance.

Andre Branch:

Branch ran a great 40 time, and showcased excellent burst and quickness in all the drills. He might be more of a 3-4 backer, but he definitely looks capable of getting after the quarterback.

Fletcher Cox:

Cox ran a sub 4.80 40, and put up 30 reps in the bench press (which is even more impressive given his long arms). He looked really good in the positional drills, and really reaffirmed himself as a 1st round prospect.

Jaye Howard:

Howard was coming off an impressive Senior Bowl, and he continued to shine here. He really dominated the positional drills, while showing nice speed and strength. He's still probably no better than a mid-rounder, but he's got some nice promise and should be a good pick-up.

Kendall Reyes:

Reyes is another guy trending up draft boards. He looks very natural in the positional drills and should start to gain some first round consideration. He put up good vertical and bench numbers as well as a sub 5.0 40.

Nick Perry:

I wasn't sure what to make of Nick Perry before the Combine, given some inconsistent performances, but he really shined today. He was fast, in both the 40 and the drills, and showcases a very impressive frame. He's probably a top 20 pick at this point.

Whitney Mercilus:

Mercilus is questioned by some as a one year wonder, but he tested very well at the Combine, and should be in the first round mix. I really liked the quickness I saw from Mercilus as I didn't think he'd test that well.

Guys who I want to see more of:

Michael Brockers:

Brockers was a mixed bag, with a nice 10 yard split, but a bad 40 time. While you don't ever want a DT running 40 yards, it does show perhaps a lack of endurance. Can Brockers face a quicker offense, or hold up in the two minute drill, where he might have to rush for a couple of plays in a minutes time. He also didn't show great strength or explosion in other drills. I wouldn't say it was a bad Combine, but it wasn't great either.

Brandon Thompson:

Thompson actually looked solid in the positional drills and lifting, but he didn't run the 40. Given how well so many other big DT's were running, the lack of Thompson stood out. He needs to run a good 40 at his pro day to answer those questions.

Devon Still:

Still looked good in the positional drills, but compared to some of the other DT's he didn't look as quick. Also his bench reps being under 30, especially since he only has average arm length. I don't think it was a major knock, but he needs to have a strong pro day as well.

2012 NFL Scouting Combine Review: Quarterbacks

February 26, 2012 in Uncategorized

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Top Quarterbacks that helped themselves at NFL Combine:

Andrew Luck:

Andrew Luck showed his athleticism too and showed why he'll still be the #1 pick in the NFL Draft.

Not that Andrew Luck needed any help, but he showed some incredible athleticism today in all the workout drills. Now Luck didn't throw at the Combine, but he had as good as a day otherwise. Any questions that the Colts might prefer Griffin's athletic ability should now be out the window.

Robert Griffin:

Like Luck Griffin didn't throw, but he was exceptional in the workouts. He ran an unofficial 4.38 (official 4.42), and had impressive broad and high jumps as well. In addition to coming in over 6'2", Griffin looks even stronger than he did in college. He cemented his spot at number two overall in the draft and should have numerous teams clamoring to get him.

Brandon Weeden:

Weeden was the opposite of the top two guys, as he threw, but didn't do any of the workouts (due to injury). Now people will want to know just how much foot speed you are getting with Weeden, so that will be important to watch at his pro day. In the throwing drills Weeden showed great arm strength and good touch on most of his throws. With so many of the top guys not throwing, Weeden really opened some eyes with his performance.

Kirk Cousins:

Cousins did everything, which seemed to be pretty rare. While he didn't blow anyone away with his workout numbers, he also didn't hurt himself by running slow. He was very impressive in the throwing drills and really had a good all-around day. He's not going to work himself into the first round, but he might be in that late 2nd round range.

Top QB's who hurt themselves:

Nick Foles:

Foles came in with the slowest 40 time of the guys who ran, and then had some poor throws while throwing. I think he might be working himself out of a 2nd round grade and needs to go to a team that will allow him to sit in shotgun all game.

Lower Round Guys Who Stood Out:

Russell Wilson:

If Wilson was 4 inches taller he'd be a potential 1st round QB, instead he's likely a 5th-7th round guy. Wilson tested well in all of the workouts while showing a very strong arm during the passing drills. There is a definite ceiling for how high Wilson can go, but some team will love his work ethic and natural abilities.

Austin Davis:

Davis is another guy who never really projects to be a starter, but he looked pretty solid today and could be worth a late round flyer. I probably wouldn't take him before the 7th round, but he is at least intriguing.

Later Round Guys who hurt themselves:

Kellen Moore:

Moore lacks the physical tools, size and arm to be an NFL quarterback. Even being a 3rd stringer could be a stretch for him. It was just a bad all-around day for the Boise State product.

 

2012 NFL Combine Wide Receivers Previews

February 26, 2012 in Uncategorized

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Here are some of my expectations for some of the top WR's at the NFL combine:

-A couple of the top guys like Justin Blackmon and Kendall Wright won't be participating in all the drills. Beyond that though there is a very strong and deep class. There are a number of speed guys, as well as a number of big receivers.

-Michael Floyd is the top receiver expected to fully workout. If he runs a good 40 time Floyd could cement himself as a top 15 pick. I expect him to have a big day and really wow people.

-Stephen Hill is a raw prospect who didn't see a lot of throws coming from an option offense. So while his 40 time should be impressive, the biggest thing that can help him is his route running and his short area quickness.

-Brian Quick is a guy who could really move up draft boards. He might not have the fastest time, but he should have nice hands and really impress some people today.

-Marvin McNutt won't have the greatest deep speed but he should look good in the rest of the drills.

-Gerrell Robinson should really turn some heads today and I think he will surprise as a later round guy.

-Alshon Jeffery and Dwight Jones are two guys who I don't think will have as good days and could struggle.

-Jeff Fuller needs to have a strong day catching the football after struggling with his hands this season.