Wednesday, February 27, 2008

NFL Combine Talk

It seems to still be a little early for an NFL Draft Preview so I'm just going to talk about the combine for a little bit.

I've never been a huge fan of the combine. I always second guess what it really tells us. I've always felt like the combine can be manipulated. Players know the drills and there are proven ways to do really well in them. Obviously you have to be a great athlete to do well, but there's always been athletes who do really well in the combine who don't end up being good players at all (think of someone like Akili Smith). However there's also been a lot of great athletes to score well at the combine who end up being great players. Regardless of it all, it's fun to see what some of the best athletes in football's future can do, so let's check it out.

In my opinion this draft's strengths are definitely in its RBs, WR, D-Line, TEs, and CBs.

I'm going to offer my ranking and a few sidenotes.

1. Darren McFadden, Arkansas
2. Rashard Mendenhall, Illinois
3. Jonathan Stewart, Oregon
4. Chris Johnson, ECU
5. Felix Jones, Arkansas
6. Matt Forte, Tulane
7. Jamaal Charles, Texas
8. Steve Slaton, WVU
9. Kevin Smith, Central Florida
10. Ray Rice, Rutgers
11. Mike Hart, Michigan

- There are a lot of really good RBs in this draft with some impressive strength and speed.

- In case you didn't know, Arkansas has 2 great RBs in the draft this year in both Darren McFadden and his backup Felix Jones.

- McFadden is the standout back in this draft. He ran the 40 in 4.33 sec. His overall workouts have made him the unquestionable number 1 back in the draft.

- All Johnson did was lead the nation in all-purpose yards, gaining 1,423 on the ground, with 17 touchdowns, 528 receiving yards, with six scores, and 1,009 yards and a touchdown on kickoff returns, but that didn't get him much attention. Then he ran the 40. Johnson ran a 4.24, tying Eastern Kentucky's Rondel Melendez's 1999 time as the best electronically confirmed run in Combine history.

-Jonathan Stewart cranked out a defensive linemen-like 28 bench presses of 225 pounds, while Mendenhall put up 26 reps.

1. Chris Long, Virginia
2. Calais Campbell, Miami
3. Derrick Harvey, Florida
4. Phillip Merling, Clemson
5. Vernon Gholston, Ohio State
6. Quentin Groves, Auburn
7. Lawrence Jackson, USC
8. Tommy Blake, TCU
9. Darrell Robertson, Georgia Tech
10. Chris Ellis, Virginia Tech

-At 6-4 and 275 pounds, Chris Long ran a 4.75 40, which would've made him the fourth-fastest quarterback and eighth-fastest tight end, came up with a vertical of 34 inches, was second among defensive linemen in the broad jump (10 feet, 4 inches), was fourth in the three-cone drill (7.02 seconds), and led the way in the 20-yard shuttle (4.21). He solidified himself as probably the no. 2 overall pick.

-Vernon Gholston probably couldn't have done anything to surpass Long. But he put up a great workout and I think he looks great. I see him as a really versatile player like a DE/LB hybrid. The biggest knock on him was his strength and he put 225lbs up 37 times, so that's out of my mind now.

1. Fred Davis, USC
2. Dustin Keller, Purdue
3. Martellus Bennett, Texas A&M
4. John Carlson, Notre Dame
5. Brad Cottam, Tennessee

- Dustin Keller, Purdue, might have helped himself more than anyone in Indy by leading all the tight ends in the 40 (4.55), vertical (38 inches), broad jump (10-11, eight inches further than the No. 2 tight end), the three-cone (4.55) and the 20-yard shuttle (4.14), while he was second in the bench press (26 reps). He probably went from a non-first rounder to possibly the top overall TE pick.

- John Carlson out of Notre dame sure looked disappointing. Once considered a top 2 TE with Fred Davis out of USC, he was sick for the Senior Bowl and didn't play and now put up an extremely disappointing 4.9 40 and only 20 reps at the bench.

- Jermichael Finley left Texas with two years of eligibility remaining and was one of the prospects everyone was curious about. His hands were great and he showed good strength was ran a horrible 4.82 40 which is sloooooooooooooooow. Looks like he should have stayed in school like me.

1. Malcolm Kelley, OU
2. James Hardy, Indiana
3. DeSean Jackson, Cal
4. Mario Manningham, Michigan
5. Limas Sweed, Texas

- Class is a little thing but possibly talent loaded. Size and speed is the name of the game here.

1. Mike Jenkins, South Florida
2. Aqib Talib, Kansas
3. Leodis McKelvin, Troy
4. Brandon Flowers, Virginia Tech
5. Tracy Porter, Indiana
6. Antoine Cason, Arizona
7. Patrick Lee, Auburn
8. Terrence Wheatley, Colorado
9. Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Tennessee State

- Take your pick between Mike Jenkins, Aqib Talib and Leodis McKelvin for the top corner spot, while Brandon Flowers, Tracy Porter, Antoine Cason and sleeper Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie are just a few of the prospects would could become a No. 1 cover man.

Do you think the combine is relevant? Do you like my rankings? What are your rankings?


stephen a said...

1. Vernon Gholson the FIFTH best DE?
2. Aqib Talib ran a 4.5 40. As a Kansas fan I can say I'm not shocked he ran that slowly.

Stefan Ming said...

aquib talib had a horrible combine and he's suppose to drop. overall this years safety class is horrible compared to recent years.

Neil Joshi said...

The combine is wonderful, it really gives someone like Joe Flacco an opportunity to solidify themselves as worthy candidates to be drafted. It also gives someone like Darren McFadden a chance to kill everything and show just how great he is. Darren won't go #1, but the team that gets him will be happy that they drafted, much like the Vikings are with Purple Jesus.

grittysquirrels said...

1. Gholston is my favorite and I could probably stretch him up to 5 or 3. However like I said I view him as a hybrid DE/LB so who knows if he will be a DE and with the extremely thing LB class this year he could be right up at the top of that two

2. aquib talib has disappointed greatly but he will be fine. Overall talent in this draft at CB is immense and and the safety spot is indeed horrible.

3. Joe flacco has showed probably the best arm in the combine and Brennan has been the most accurrate. Guys like Henne have plunged a bit but are going to be fine.

stephen a said...

Oh and also Talib should be a safety in the nfl i think.

Nate Gonner said...

Watch Out For Xavier Omon as a possible sleeper. He had a bummed knee and still ran a 4.59 40 yard dash. Everyone who follows D2 Football knows how big of an influence Omon has had the past four years.