Good morning from the second day of the 2012 NFL Scouting Combine. Today quarterbacks, running backs and wide receivers are slated meet the press at Lucas Oil Stadium. We invite you to follow the action throughout the day on this blog, which will be updated as players talk to the media.
Broncos Executive Vice President of Football Operations John Elway will kick off the press sessions around 10:30 a.m. EST. Check back for the full video, along with a top story from what he says. We’ll post some quick hits from the session in this blog as soon as it is completed.
As always, we welcome any questions or comments you have throughout the day. You can leave them in the comment section — or reach out to us via Gray’s Twitter account or the official Broncos account — and we will do our best to address them.
11:49 a.m. EST: Elway just finished up a side interview session with local media after his press conference. He had plenty to say, a lot of which we will cover in a top story at the end of the day. Below are some quick hits from the session to tide you over. Here is the full audio from his press conference, and here is the full video.
On Tim Tebow:
“I was really happy with his progress. I know Tim is going to work hard this offseason and we’re hoping that he’s going to be the guy for a long, long time.”
On QB prospects Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III:
“I look at both of them as two unbelievable prospects. I think that if you look at what they both did this year with Andrew at Stanford and RGIII down at Baylor. They’re two tremendous talents. Tremendously mature, intelligent guys that I look at as those two are going to have a lot of success in the NFL.”
On what style of quarterback the team is looking to add:
“I think we’re going through that process now. We have to kind of let it happen. I don’t know that we’re looking for one like Tim or your ordinary dropback (passer), or somewhere in between. I think until we find out the interest out there, it’s going to be hard to fill those spots. I think when I look at Tim and I look at our offense, we can do it with either one. Whether it be a guy like Tim, or if it’s more of a dropback-type guy that we feel like either one is going to be able to fit.”
On an area of need:
“Defensive tackle is, no question, an area where we want to get better, but we also have some others.”
On coordinators being hired as head coaches:
“We’re just trying to … be the best we can now. To me, if you get a coordinator that’s wanted, you know he’s a good football coach. So I’d much rather have coordinators that are wanted rather than coordinators that are going to be here forever. You’re getting a good coach if people want them.”
Players are starting to stream in, so we’ll have more updates shortly.
11:56 a.m. EST: Georgia Tech wide receiver was the first player to enter the media room at Lucas Oil Stadium this morning. Right away he was asked to compare himself to former teammate Demaryius Thomas.
“Of course both of us are big,” he said. “I’m a little bit taller, and I feel like I’m a little bit faster, too. But he’s of course heavier. He knew the game well because he was older. But other than that, I’m trying to make my own name, not trying to be Demaryius.”
While he doesn’t want to be DT part two, Hill admitted he learned plenty from Thomas when he played for the Yellow Jackets.
“Of course,” he said. “We actually roomed together before games. I watched things that he did. I took a lot of things from him and Calvin Johnson, too.”
In fact, he talked to Thomas in preparation for the combine.
“He actually told me, ‘If you’re going to make this step, you need to go ahead and do it, because this is a man’s game.’”
12:16 p.m. EST: Chris Givens led Wake Forest with 83 catches for 1,330 yards, which ranked for 10th in Division I for receiving yards in 2011. Coming off that strong season, Givens elected to leave school a year early and declare for the NFL draft. Here is some audio from his press session.
Known for his knack for making big plays, he hopes to showcase his speed here in Indianapolis.
“I feel like it’s something that I bring to the table,” Givens said. “I really work hard in the offseason with my speed and explosiveness. I think one of my best strengths is when I get the ball in my hands, I really show what I can do. That’s what I did this past year.”
When asked his thoughts on returning kicks and punts at the next level, the wide receiver said that he was open to doing anything asked of him by NFL coaches.
“I’ll do whatever they need me to do,” he said. “If it’s returning kicks, I’ll do that. I’m a playmaker. Wherever you want to put me to make plays, that’s what I’m going to do. It can be returning kicks, wide receiver, I’m going to get the job done.”
1:16 p.m. EST: Wide receiver Michael Floyd is considered one of the top wide receivers in the 2012 NFL Draft class, and he knows that high expectations come with that status.
When asked which current NFL wideouts he compares himself to, Floyd took those high expectations head on and listed Larry Fitzgerald, Calvin Johnson and Andre Johnson.
Floyd knows he’ll have to answer questions about his past at Notre Dame, but says he’s been honest with teams and has used that experience to mature. Here is the full audio from his press session.
“It’s just about answering the questions and moving forward,” he said. “You grow from it and it’s behind you. It’s a mistake that happened in the past and I’m moving forward. … All I can do is be honest and tell them exactly what happened in my past and go on from there.”
Floyd knows that becoming an NFL player means more pressure to perform not only on the field, but off the field as well.
“I think I’ve grown a lot. Coming into the NFL now, I think you do have to mature a great deal. Like they say, it’s a professional sport and you have to act like a professional.”
1:38 p.m. EST: Wide Receiver Jeff Fuller played with Broncos linebacker Von Miller at Texas A & M and said that Miller has helped him a lot in his preparation for the combine.
“I talk to him a lot,” Fuller said. “He’s actually in Texas working out with us right now.”
Players at the combine go through a series of medical examinations and physical tests, and Fuller credited Miller with giving him the rundown of what to expect.
“He said it’s intense,” Fuller said. “Last night coming off of like four hours of sleep, interviews, the doctors pulling on you – it’s all part of the process. It’s a huge job interview. It’s kind of hard as you’re going through but it’s really worth it.”
Fuller and Miller have spent the offseason working out together near their hometown of Dallas.
“He just tells me to keep my head up and all sorts of stuff,” Fuller said of the advice that Miller gives him. “He’s there (in Dallas). He pretty much lives in the same house with us playing video games and stuff. He’s a lot of fun.”
2:08 p.m. EST: Wide Receiver Kendall Wright talked about catching passes from quarterback Robert Griffin at Baylor.
“RG III does it not just at practice, he does it everywhere he goes,” Wright said. “He’s just a different guy and a different player than a lot of players out there.”
Wright caught 108 passes for 1,663 yards from Griffin in 2011, which ranked third in all of Division I.
“It’s always on point,” Wright said about catching passes from the Heisman Trophy winner. “He’s getting better and he’s been working on a lot of things. He’s a great and smart player.”
The pair has played together since their first season at Baylor and Wright credited that familiarity with their breakout seasons in 2011.
“It was good chemistry,” he said. “We’ve been working together since we were freshman. He knew what I was doing at all times and I knew what he was doing before it even happened.”
2:22 p.m. EST: This morning, Elway spoke highly of former Broncos Defensive Coordinator — and new Oakland Raiders Head Coach — Dennis Allen.
“I’m happy for Dennis,” Elway said. “I think he’s going to be a great, young coach. He’s a guy who is very smart, is a good leader. I’m happy for him. I’m sad that he’s in Oakland and we have to play him twice a year in our division. That’s how much I think of Dennis Allen. He’s a guy that I think is going to have success in this league.”
A few hours later, Allen stepped to the podium and spoke just as highly of Elway, Head Coach John Fox and General Manager Brian Xanders.
“I obviously have a lot of respect for what they’ve done over there,” Allen said. “I think John Elway, Brian Xanders and John Fox do a tremendous job. I know they’ll have the team ready to play whenever we go up against them, and we’ll do our best to have our team ready to play going against them.”
Allen, who described the first few months of his tenure in Oakland as simply “fast,” was asked if he’s excited to face Denver twice a season.
“I think I’m excited about going up against everybody next year,” he said. “I wouldn’t single them out any differently.”
2:29 p.m. EST: On quarterbacks, running backs and wide receivers day, it seems like every player that heads to the podium is a big name. A couple of the signal callers not named Andrew Luck or Robert Griffin III just came in and out of the room.
Michigan State quarterback Kirk Cousins was first, and he said he’s out to prove that he can be a successful player in the NFL.
“I was part of a senior class that was a very special group of guys — I intend to start again now,” he said. “You accomplish one dream, you reach the top of a mountain, you get there and you realize there’s another mountain to climb. That’s certainly where I am right now, and I’m ready to start scaling that next mountain.”
Next up was Arizona’s Nick Foles, who most have rated as one of the top 10 prospects at the position.
He was asked about what it’s like to have almost all of the attention paid to quarterbacks at the combine go to Luck and Griffin.
“Andrew and Robert are both very talented players and they deserve the attention they’re getting,” he said. “They both had outstanding careers and they’ll go on to the next level and have great careers. That’s what I think. But I don’t worry about everything else. I worry about what I can control, and that’s me performing and just getting better as an individual. That’s how I’ve always been. I really just want to go out there and get an opportunity to play, have a team fall in love with me and select me so I can better their franchise.”
2:36 p.m. EST: Another top receiver came to the podium a short time ago as Oklahoma State’s Justin Blackmon addressed the press. Blackmon said he was confident that he could replicate his collegiate success at the next level. Click here for the full audio from Blackmon.
“I’m very confident,” he said. “I know I have a lot to work on and I’m going to continue to work at that. I know with hard work, I can be successful in the league.”
When asked about being the first wide receiver taken off the board, Blackmon admitted that it is something that he thinks about, but stays humble just thinking about playing in the NFL.
“It’s very important, but at the same time, I’m just happy to be in this situation. I’m happy to be here and there are a lot of great wide receivers in this draft. I’m just happy I have the opportunity to be in the draft.”
Blackmon shied away from physical comparisons to Lions All-Pro wideout Calvin Johnson, but said that he did find similarities in their approach to the game.
“I wouldn’t compare us, but he’s a big, physical guy and that’s how I like to play. I’m not as big as him, but I try to be as physical as I can.”
He’s heard the criticism about lack of breakaway speed, but his message to those critics was to watch what he’s done in the past.
“I just tell them to look at the tape. I’ve never been caught from behind,” he laughed.
3:05 p.m. EST: Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck just wrapped up his session with the media. We’ll have some quick hits from him in a bit, but in the meantime, click here for the full audio.
3:16 p.m. EST: A lot has been made of Brandon Weeden’s age, “and rightfully so,” the Oklahoma State quarterback said.
After all, he’s 28 — the same age as Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers.
Weeden called it the only red flag he has when asked if he would be rated even higher if he were 22.
“It’s a tough question to answer,” he said. “I feel like all these great quarterbacks, I belong in the middle with all of them. If I was a few years younger, you never know. Maybe I’d go a little higher, but I don’t think on draft day it’s going to be that big of an issue.”
On the other hand, the maturity that comes with being 28 — and having started playing professional baseball as early as age 18 — makes him ready to handle the role of an NFL starter both physically and mentally.
“From a maturity standpoint, I’ve already been a pro,” Weeden said. “That’s what I’ve been telling teams and they agree with me. I think that’s the maturity factor that really helps me have an opportunity to play right away if I needed to.”
4:30 p.m. EST: There’s been a flurry of activity in the media room. That’s included top prospects Trent Richardson and Robert Griffin III. You can listen to the audio from Richardson and from Griffin III while we work on transcribing some of the other players. Look for more from Richardson and Griffin III, along with bits from Luck and Elway later today in the top story.
4:47 p.m. EST: A few quick hits as players continue to make their way into the media room — a steady stream of prospects.
“It was decided in a series of unfortunate events for other people. John Moffitt, who is now in Seattle, tore his peck. Billy Nagy, who is now on the Dallas Cowboys, had a terrible car accident that wasn’t his fault, and then Travis Frederick, who was the backup center at that point and is playing left guard for us right now, rolled up his ankle on a play and went out.
“Coach grabbed me from the tackle spot, put me at center and I never looked back. I bumped John Moffitt over to left guard. I love it. I like having the ability to make the calls, to make the adjustments, to be that center guy and be able to communicate with everybody and get things going on the right track.”
You may recall:
“It never fails, it happened two years ago, but they still ask me about it,” Sanders laughed. “It was just a freeze play … I guess it looks bad when just one person freezes. But it’s fine.”
Another interesting fact about Sanders? He played viola through high school.
“I’d practice and then go home real quick, change into a tuxedo and go play a concert,” he said. “That was school for me.”
“A lot of people, they look at our body builds — we look the same,” Quick said of tall receiver prospects. “But as a person, we’re different. We’re different people. My character, definitely, will have to separate me from a lot of people. Then, coming out there and showing them my hands — catching everything — and speed. Guys my size, some of them can’t run. So I have to separate myself right there.”
“Von, he actually came back just to be with us,” Gray said. “He told me last year during this combine he wanted to come back and do it all over with us. We came in together, now we’ve been doing everything else together. He just told me to be me. He told Jeff (Fuller) the same thing — just do what you do, go out there and play and you’ll perform at your best level.”
“”I don’t really know. It’s up to the teams to see that. I’m aggressive, I like football, I’m a hard worker — I don’t really like to talk about myself.”
When prodded again, he gave his answer in the form of a question.
“Play football better than anyone?” he ventured. “That’s what it’s about.”
DeCastro said he watched the 49ers, led by former Stanford Head Coach Jim Harbaugh, closely this season and was happy for their success — a lot of which he could see coming.
“They had the same offense we ran,” he said. “I noticed a lot of plays — I knew exactly what they were running most of the time, the same play calls. That was a lot of fun.”
5:02 p.m. EST: Quarterback Kellen Moore finished his college career at Boise State as NCAA Division I’s all-time winningest quarterback with his 50-3 overall record. Yet, he’s had plenty of critics as he tries to take his career to the next level, most of which question his height.
So, what did he officially measure in at today?
“I got to six foot today. You guys can all happily let everyone know that,” he said with a laugh. “Six with a bunch of zeroes at the end.”
Moore isn’t concerned draft pundits who are discounting his collegiate success due to his physical stature.
“Oh it’s fine,” he said smiling. “There’s a lot of ways to evaluate a quarterback. Some evaluate it and put a lot of emphasis on that. That’s fine. Smile, and move on.”
He doesn’t have any resentment for having to answer questions about his ability after finishing his college career with more than 14,000 passing yards and 142 touchdowns with just 28 interceptions.
“I’m fine,” he said. “It is what it is, bottom line. At the end of the day you’re going to get an opportunity to play football. Once you get that opportunity essentially it’s up to you. It’s your opportunity to showcase what you can do.”
5:17 p.m. EST: Another quarterback that has had to answer questions about his height is Wisconsin’s Russell Wilson, who measured in at 5-10½ today.
“I’m a 5-foot-11 quarterback, but I believe I can make every single throw on the football field,” Wilson said. “Honestly, I believe the height is not a factor at all. I have great feet in the pocket. Drew Brees has unbelievable feet. I watch tons and tons of film on him, and the things that he does in the pocket are incredible.”
Wilson said that he uses other physical attributes to overcome the lack of height.
“I definitely believe that I’m one of the most athletic guys here, without a doubt in my mind,” he said when asked how he can be successful in the NFL given his height. “I think that gives me an advantage. I have a high, quick release.”
His athleticism earned him attention from Major League Baseball teams earlier in his career. In fact, he has already played in the organization of one of Denver’s professional sports teams. The Rockies drafted Wilson with the 140th overall pick in the 2010 MLB draft and he spent some time with the club’s Class A affiliate, the Asheville Tourists.
Wilson batted .228 in 61 games for the team with five doubles, four triples, three home runs and 15 stolen bases before returning his attention to football and transferring from North Carolina State to Wisconsin for the 2011 college football season.
“That was a blessing in my life,” he said. “The Lord gave me the talent to be able to play two great sports, but I’m 100 percent focused on football.”
5:27 p.m. EST: Two players who spent time with current Broncos in college met the press this afternoon – Miami offensive lineman Brandon Washington, who played on the same O-Line as Orlando Franklin and Florida running back Chris Rainey, who played with Tim Tebow.
Washington said that Franklin helped push him in practice with the Hurricanes.
“He kept me competing with him,” Washington said. “When I first got there I was behind him at left guard. … I think we both kept each other going. There were times when we were battling and he told me that I wouldn’t see the field behind him. He just kept me going and added fuel to the fire.”
The Miami lineman followed Franklin’s rookie season with the Broncos and was happy for his former teammate.
“He’s playing in the next level and did pretty good starting all those games,” he said. “Since day one, he went in and did what he had do to.”
Minutes later, Rainey was asked about the prospects of reuniting with his former teammate, Tebow.
“I know he’s a winner and a great player,” he said. “I wouldn’t mind (playing with him again).”
When a reporter asked if he was concerned that Tebow could outrush him if they shared a backfield, Rainey burst out laughing.
“That’s one thing you have to look out for,” he said when he regained his composure.
5:42 p.m. EST: Clemson tight end Dwayne Allen came to the podium after finishing his bench press testing, during which he posted 27 reps.
“Can you see the pumped chest? Can you see it? You see it?” he joked.
Allen talked about his desire to be used in both the run and pass game, saying he takes pride in his versatility.
“I’m a complete tight end,” he said. “I’m a guy that’s going to be on the field whether it’s first-and-10,
third-and-short or fourth-and-forever. I’m not going to come off the field, and I feel like that’s an advantage to whatever
offense that decides to take me.”
In college, he was used in a variety of formations – as a wideout, fullback and on the line as a blocking tight end. Clemson’s coaches called his role the ‘sniffer position.’
“I lined up all over the place, he said. “I was out wide. I was in the slot. Like you said, I was in the backfield. I was backed up beside the quarterback.”
The Mackey Award recipient this season, Allen said he’s been motioning across formations and lining up at different offensive positions since his high school days.
“You know, actually, I did a little of motioning in the backfield in high school, but this year, Coach Morris brought that
different style offense in, that kind of Auburnish-style offense, and he said he was going to make me the most versatile player
in the country,” he said. “I believe he did that, as far as the tight end position.”
Allen enjoyed watching as the tight end position received more attention in the NFL this season — especially in the playoffs.
“Watching the playoffs was great,” he said. “Watching the end of the season – seeing all the tight ends shine and get love was great.”
That’s it for today’s availability. We’re working on the top story that will contain pieces from the biggest names to talk today – John Elway, Robert Griffin III, Andrew Luck and Trent Richardson.
Thanks for sticking with us today. We’ll have plenty more from the Combine tomorrow when defensive linemen and linebackers are set to meet the press here in Indianapolis.
-Gray Caldwell & Stuart Zaas
Tags: NFL Scouting Combine