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Miami corner DeMarcus Van Dyke lit up the final day of the NFL scouting combine with 4.27 40-yard dash time, making him the fastest man of the week in Indy. LSU CB Patrick Peterson, who is a consensus top 10 pick, turned in the week's second fastest time today at 4.34. The most impressive thing about that is that Peterson is 222 pounds. That makes him 46 pounds heavier than Van Dyke, yet just six hundredths of a second slower. As a pure athlete, there’s probably no rival to Peterson in this draft.
Superior athletic ability isn’t always a signal of NFL success… In fact, of the players who registered the top 40 times at the combine this week, only Patrick Peterson and Alabama WR Julio Jones are projected as first-round picks. The others are more likely third-day type players.
1. DeMarcus Van Dyke, CB, Miami: 4.28
2t. Patrick Peterson, CB, LSU: 4.34
2t. Da’Rel Scott, RB, Maryland: 4.34
4t. Edmond Gates, WR, Abilene Christian: 4.37
4t. Ricardo Lockette, WR, Fort Valley State:4.37
6. Mario Fannin, RB, Auburn: 4.38
7. Julio Jones, WR, Alabama: 4.39
The corners are running their 40 yard dashes today and usually that group makes up several of the top 40 times at the combine, but I thought it would be worth checking out the fastest non corners.
Da’Rel Scott, a running back from Maryland ran a 4.34 to top all non corners. WRs Ricardo Lockette and Edmund Gates both ran 4.37 40s. RB Mario Fannin clocked in a 4.38 and WR Julio Jones rounded out the top five with a 4.39. Maybe the most surprising name on the fastest 40 times list is Dontay Moch who is a defense lineman from Nevada. Yes a defensive lineman turned in a 4.44 40 time.
Of those five fastest guys, only Jones is a considered a notable prospect that will be taken in the first round. The rest are considered late round picks. So this is always the part of the combine where the track athletes might outshine the better actual football players.
The first half of the corners group have already gone this morning and the unofficial times have already surpassed most of these top non corner times. So it should be fun to get the official times from the real speedsters in the draft.
Oregon State defensive tackle Stephen Paea set the NFL combine record for the 225 pound bench press this afternoon with a ridiculous 49 reps. The previous record, which is shared by three players, was 45. The bench press was the only event Paea was able to participate in thanks to knee surgery he had in January. So he needed to make his mark in the bench press and make his mark he did.
As PFT points out, the previous combine bench press record holders are washouts or backups, but Paea, who has twice been named the top defensive lineman in the PAC-10, can really play. Many scouts have him pegged as a late first round pick.
Mocking the Draft says that Paea’s weight room prowess is apparent in the way he plays.
“Paea is known as a weight room superstar and is one of the strongest players in the draft. His strength is evident in his playing style. If Paea gets good positioning, he can throw offensive linemen around or simply drive them backward. "
If the Oakland Raiders had the first pick in the draft, Julio Jones would probably be it… Unfortunately for Jones, the Raiders don’t even have a first round pick this year. Still, the WR from Alabama likely boosted his draft stock tremendously with a monster day at the NFL combine in Indy.
When you think of the two physical attributes a WR has to have, what comes to mind? Straight line speed and leaping ability right? Jones lit up Indy this morning with a blazing 4.39 40 yard dash time and a ridiculous 11’3 foot broad jump. When you combine that athletic ability with Jones’ 6-4, 220 pound frame… that’s a scary proposition for NFL defenses.
Plus, no one is going to call Jones simply a workout warrior either. He had 78 catches for over 1,100 yards and 7 TDs in a tough SEC last year. While most scouts still see Georgia WR A.J. Green as the top WR in this draft, Jones has certainly solidified himself as a close #2.
As fans of the team who drafted Mike Mamula after his great combine performance, we’re always wary of each years’ workout warrior. You know, the guy who comes into the combine as a mid round pick due to his actual play, but boosts his draft stock way up thanks to a great combine workout?
This year’s warrior just might be Syracuse center Ryan Bartholomew, who did 34 repetitions of the 225 pound bench press to lead all players at the combine. Bartholomew, who measured at 6-1, 305 also ran a sub 5 second 40 yard dash.
Prior to the combine ESPN had him pegged as a 3rd or 4th round pick, but he know could have pushed himself into the second round. In fact, ESPN’s AFC West blogger thinks the Raiders, who always love the workout warriors, could very well take Bartholomew with their second round pick. The Raiders have no first round pick this year after trading it to the Patriots for Richard Seymour two years ago.
Eagles GM Howie Roseman was among many NFL coaches and executives to meet the media yesterday at the combine. He answered a lot of questions including why the team never seems to prioritize the linebacker position and what plans they may have to fix the offensive line... but more than anything Roseman was grilled about quarterbacks, both his own and some available in the draft.
Q: Why are you so successful in developing quarterbacks?
A: "I think it's a credit to our coaching staff, led by our head coach. It goes back to (Andy Reid at) Green Bay and
the ability to evaluate guys. He loves scouting college players, he has traits that he looks for in all this
college players and he's got a track record.
Q: Is it hard to find linebackers when you don't prioritize the position?
A: "You still want to find good players at any position. That doesn't mean you aren't looking for good players in the draft or in free agency. When we are evaluating players for the draft or in free agency to make sure we are evaluating how they play. We stack the board based on how they play. So we're not going into the draft and devaluing linebackers. We're trying to find them, we're trying to find good players."
Q: Traits of successful QBs
A: "I think there are certain things that we're looking for in quarterbacks, and that comes from the head coach, the offensive coordinator, the quarterbacks coach, to be successful in our offense. You want 'em to be smart, you want them to be athletic, you want them to be accurate, you want them to be able to get the ball out. It's hard to evaluate quarterbacks. We bring all those evaluations back to our head coach, and then he's got this expertise that really takes it to another level and makes you feel more confident in your evaluation.
Q: Offensive line in this draft
A: "I think the talent level overall is probably better than has been the past few years. It's deep. You've got some guys who are versatile, who can play tackle or play guard ... The more guys that are versatile and athletic, (the better)."
Q: 49 sacks allowed by the Eagles, does Howard Mudd as o-line coach change what you look for in a lineman?
A: "It's all part of the process. In our role as personnel people, we want to make sure we get the best talent on the offensive line. We have some guys that are scheduled to be free agents. It's an area we didn't really address last year in the offense ... That's obviously another position in terms of our priorities, we believe in building the o-line."
"We spent some time with Howard as a personnel staff, just in terms of what he's looking for, maybe the differences in some of the guys that he's more comfortable with. I think it was valuable time. Obviously, he's got a lot of years of learning offensive line."
A: "Looking back at some of the mistakes that we've made, they've been when we've reached (in the draft). We've taken guys that we didn't think were the best players, but we had an area of need. We've been determined (since then) to take the best players on our board. You look at last year and the draft, maybe we went in with the intention of taking an offensive lineman or two, but the values just didn't meet. You look back at those things and you're trying to get better and you're trying to improve."
Q: Kevin Kolb
A: "Kevin's a great player. We have a lot of confidence in Kevin, obviously, we gave him the starting job and traded Donovan (McNabb) last year, he's obviously looking forward to being a good starting quarterback, and a lot could happen."
Q: Why exclusive franchise tag on Michael Vick?
A: "We wanted to make sure we kept Michael Vick."
Q: Offers for Kolb?
A: "We're still evaluating all our options and all our positions. Obviously we've been really fortunate to have good quarterbacks. There's Michael, there's Kevin, and we've got a lot of confidence in Mike Kafka, so that's a position that we're always going to want to be strong at ... We don't discuss any (trade) discussions, external or internal."
Q: (trade value of Kolb)
A: "Everything is just projecting."
Q: Other than o-line, what's good in draft.
A: "I think the running back class is really strong. Last year there were 15 running backs drafted, 12 underclassmen have come out, all very productive guys, and there's a group of seniors."
Q: Why was Vick so good?
A: "He's got great coaches around him he's spent the time with, he's willing to spend the time, he spent a lot of time in the classroom, in the offseason program, getting stronger, working on his legs. When he came back (in 2009) he wasn't able to get his legs underneath him, not to be able go move in the pocket. The key was getting stronger and getting more time in the offense."
Q: How will Vick progress in the offense, if there's a lockout.
A: "The thing I'd say about Michael is, he's going to work hard. He wants to work hard, he wants to be great. He's going to work hard to make sure he's in the best possible shape."
Q: He was less effective down the stretch. How much of a concern is that?
A: "Mike is a talented individual. I think for Michael, it's just started for him, in terms of being the kind of player he can be. It was his first year back as a starting quarterback in three years. He continues to learn, to get better in our offense. I think really, the sky's the limit."
Q: Cam Newton
A: "He's a talented individual, obviously, he's got all the tools. He's a great athlete. He's got size, he's got arm strength, he's a winner ... Wherever he goes he'll be successful."
Q: Will Vick's success help Newton convince teams of his value?
A: "Michael, Ben Roethlisberger, Donovan, all those guys are mobile guys with big arms."
Q: concerned about Newton translating Auburn offense to the pros?
A: "That's a big part of this draft process, spending time with these guys, seeing what they know, putting them on the (blackboard), learning enough about them to see what they know about what you present."
Q: ...mobile quarterback, does that change how you evaluate o-line prospects?
A: "It's important for us to have athletic ability. We like to throw the ball in Philadelphia. They've got to move their feet ... In terms of the quarterback moving around in the pocket, you want a guy who can move with him."
The 2011 NFL Combine kicks off today in Indianapolis, so we get to put aside stories about labor strife and lockouts and actually focus on football for a whole weekend. We've got guys from SB Nation and Bleeding Green Nation on the ground in Indy this week so we'll have lots of news about all the goings on as the weekend progresses.
First, let's take a look at the QBs. ESPN's Todd McShay is reporting that only two QBs will refuse to throw at the combine, Missouri's Blaine Gabbert and Florida State's Christian Ponder. Other top QB prospects like Cam Newton, Jake Locker, Ryan Mallet & Colin Kaepernick will all throw. It is always a tricky decision for a QB to throw at the combine given the completely uncontrollable environment. They work with WRs they aren't used to, in an unfamiliar environment, throwing patterns that the coaches there tell them to. Often times QBs will skip throwing at the combine and instead look to show off their arms at their pro day where they work with their own WRs, on their field and set their own agenda.
For a guy like Gabbert, who has rocketed up draft boards since the end of the college season, it may well be that he can only lose by throwing at a combine. For a guy that seemingly only started to get mentioned as the possible top QB in the class after the college season ended, a poor performance at the combine could hurt his momentum.
Still, it doesn't say much about a guy's self confidence and competitive spirit if he elects to skip workouts for fear he might not do well... That said, skipping workouts at the combine hasn't seem to affect a guys draft stock that much. It certainly doesn't affect it as much as a poor performance at the combine would...