2013 NFL Scouting Combine Day 2:
9:17 a.m. EST: We are back at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis for Day Two of the 2013 NFL Scouting Combine. Today, we’ll hear from Executive Vice President of Football Operations John Elway at around 10:45 a.m. EST, followed by some of the quarterback, running back and wide receiver prospects throughout the day.
Stay tuned to this blog and DenverBroncos.com throughout the day for updates. Don’t worry about hitting refresh on this page – it will update automatically as we add new posts. Let us know in the comments section if there are players you are interested in hearing from today.
11:35 a.m. EST:
Elway took the podium and covered a variety of topics. Below are some quick hits from his press conference:
On whether he expects championships after the playoff loss, like after 1996 loss
“I hope so. I was just talking to someone out there, talking about forget last year. I don’t want to forget last year. I don’t want our team to forget it. I want them to realize it was a great year, but also don’t forget that feeling of what happened in the playoff game. Be able to learn from that. Hopefully we can build on it and get better from it, as we did in ’96. ’97 and ’98 were good years for us, so I’m hoping that we can learn like we did back then with this experience. I’m hopeful. We’ve got a good football team, so we think that we’ll continue to build on that and see what happens.”
On whether QB Peyton Manning met or exceeded his expectations
“I think he met the expectations. He probably exceeded them. If you look at the numbers, what he did, he had a tremendous year. In talking to different guys that have kind of been through what he’s been through when it comes to that neck, there’s a lot more to it than I think that I knew, as well as what a lot of people know, having to go through that and come back from that. In that case, I think he exceeded the expectations. Now that I know what he had to go through and the things that he had to overcome with that neck, not so much physically, but mentally, he did a tremendous job in the way he worked at it. So when I say he met, I should probably rephrase that and say he exceeded that. But I’m looking forward to next year, too. I think he’s just going to continue to get better.”
On QB Brock Osweiler
“We’re excited with Brock. He came in and even having a year with him under our roof, we’re even more excited about him and what he can do. Obviously it worked out tremendously with Peyton. Brock was a guy that I thought could come in and eventually be that guy, to be able to learn from Peyton Manning as long as Peyton still wants to play. He’ll continue to grow, because he was a young guy, he was a junior coming out. So we’re really excited about where we are at that position. Brock’s going to continue to get better and better.”
11:55 a.m. EST:
West Virginia wide receiver Tavon Austin made waves when he came 6 yards shy of breaking a NCAA record for all-purpose yards, finishing with 572 in a win against Oklahoma this season.
Lining up at running back for the first time since high school, Austin set a school record with 344 yards on just 21 carries in the victory.
“I was more excited than anything,” he said when asked if he was tired after that outing. “It was a big game. It kind of reminded me of my high school days. I just want to give credit to my linemen and my coaches believing in me. That was the first game I played running back that year.”
Austin, who hopes to run a sub-4.4 40-yard dash said that he has been timed as fast as 4.29 in his training.
That kind of speed excites scouts and fans, who see returner potential in Austin.
“I think (speed) will help me a lot,” he said. “That is one of my specialties. I really take pride in my punt and kick return.”
12:17 p.m. EST:
Last year, USC quarterback Matt Barkley considered leaving school early to enter the NFL Draft before deciding to return for his senior year. Instead, he returned to the Trojans and averaged nearly 300 passing yards per game before suffering a season-ending injury.
Last year’s quarterback draft class had one of the most successful rookie years in recent history, and Barkley knows that comparisons between that group and this year’s are inevitable.
“There have been a lot of comparisons to last year’s rookie class,” Barkley said. “And they’re well deserving. Those guys came in right away and made their marks and won playoff games. I feel like there are always going to be comparisons. Whether it is just or unjust, I don’t feel like there is any pressure on my part to live up to them. I know every situation is different. Whatever player is going into this year is different than what they went into last year. So, I don’t feel like there is a need to live up to what they did. I have my standards and hopefully those are high enough.”
Barkley is the latest in a line of USC quarterbacks to make it to the NFL. Despite the obvious Trojan link, Barkley doesn’t want to be thrown into a group with other recent USC passers.
“I know there have been a lot of great USC quarterbacks to do some things in the NFL,” he said. “I know my case, my situation and my story is different than all those other guys. I don’t think you can put everybody in the same mold. You can look across the board at any other school and there haven’t been any quarterbacks to do anything. I know what I’m capable of and I wouldn’t be so quick to put a mold around me.”
12:33 p.m. EST:
Kansas State quarterback Collin Klein, a Loveland, Colo. native, grew up watching the Broncos and quarterback Jake Plummer.
Now, Plummer is coaching Klein as he prepares for the 2013 NFL Draft.
“I’ve gotten a lot out of it,” Klein said about working with the former Broncos quarterback. “We’re working on everything, just like every quarterback is. We’ve made some strides and made some progress and we’re having fun.”
Klein said that Plummer’s NFL experience has helped him as he prepares for his own career.
“I think he has great perspective,” Klein said. “He was very good for a lot of years. I’m very blessed and it’s been a great time.”
The two are focusing on Klein’s mechanics during their Denver-area workouts.
“We’re working on a couple things — to keep my front shoulder closed, always making sure my feet are in the right spot where they need to be,” Klein said. “We’re working on everything.”
1:02 p.m. EST:
Baylor wide receiver Terrance Williams could have left school after going for nearly 1,000 receiving yards and earning All-Big 12 honors as a junior.
However, his mom had other goals in mind.
“It was very good (to return to Baylor) because my mom wanted me to finish school,” Williams said. “And I felt like I needed to be more consistent than I was last year. It helped out a lot because I felt like I got better week by week and my performances were way different than they were last year. I was way more consistent catching the ball and being a playmaker.”
The decision to return paid off as Williams set a school record and led the nation with 1,832 receiving yards. That figure ranks seventh in NCAA FBS history.
He was named an All-American and was a finalist for the Biletnikoff Award, but still had to answer questions about his ability to run a variety of routes.
“I just control what I can control and continue to show what I can do to the best of my abilities,” Williams said. “When that time comes for me to run different stuff then people will finally see that I can. As far as me just running straight, it’s just that I know I’m faster than you, so why not? When people decide to change my routes, that’s when they’ll be able to see that I can run routes.”
1:53 p.m. EST:
Cincinnati tight end Travis Kelce talked about watching his former teammate Derek Wolfe’s rookie season with the Broncos.
“I noticed that he kept in contact with a couple guys on the team and just followed UC,” Kelce said. “Every time we got to see a Broncos game we watched him and got excited when he got a sack or tackle.”
2:53 p.m. EST:
After being named a Heisman Trophy finalist in 2011, Wisconsin running back Montee Ball returned to school for his senior year.
This season, he earned the Doak Walker Award and All-America honors as he completed his record-setting career with the Badgers.
The NCAA’s career touchdown leader, Ball said he models his game after a former Bronco.
“I try to pattern my game after Terrell Davis,” he said. “He’s my idol.”
4:02 p.m. EST:
Alabama running back Eddie Lacy talked about how his National Championship Game performance as helped his draft stock rise. He carried 20 times for 140 yards and a touchdown, while adding another score on a catch.
“I feel like (that performance) helped it rise a lot,” Lacy said. “If I wouldn’t have done so well, I don’t know if I’d be in the position I am in now. Since that is how it went, I’m able to be here and I’m glad for that.”
While he enjoyed running behind an offensive line that includes three players who are also attending the 2013 NFL Scouting Combine, Lacy now has to answer questions about whether his performance said more about his offensive linemen than it did about his own game.
“It all depends on how you look at it,” he said. “I feel as though we complemented each other. We had a great offensive line and a great backfield. We just complement each other.”
4:31 p.m. EST:
North Carolina running back Giovani Bernard declared for the draft following just two seasons of college football.
He made the most of his time in Chapel Hill as he found the end zone 33 times in just 23 games for the Tar Heels.
In his 2012 redshirt sophomore season, Bernard finished fourth in the nation in all-purpose yards, fifth in scoring and 11th in rushing, while topping all players with a 16.4-yard punt-return average.
Here at the combine, Bernard wants to show NFL teams that he can be an all-around contributor at the next level.
“The biggest thing to me is being able to do everything,” Bernard said. “You don’t want to limit yourself to just being able to run the ball or just being able to catch the ball. You want to be able to do everything from run blocking to pass blocking to running the ball, catching the ball, punt return and kick return. You want to be able to be that guy. It’s just a matter of having that opportunity to get on the field, then the more you can do, the more opportunities that you’ll have.”
4:34 p.m. EST:
After the success that Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III and San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick had running read-option offenses in 2012, West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith was asked if he could fill a similar role in the NFL.
Smith said that while it’s something he can do from time to time, it’s not the strength of his game.
“I think I have the skill set that fits any offense,” he said. “I can play within the pocket but I’m athletic enough to run that style of offense. I have the ability to, but I don’t think that’s my game. I don’t think my game is predicated around that. If a coach wants me to, I’ll definitely be all for it.”
4:46 p.m. EST:
USC receiver Robert Woods is another player who left school early to enter the 2013 draft.
In 2011, Woods set a Pac-12 record with 111 catches. He then injured his ankle before the start of 2012, still managing to catch 76 passes and 11 touchdowns for the Trojans.
When asked if there was a current NFL player that he’d compare his game to, Woods cited a wideout whose picture is hanging throughout Lucas Oil Stadium.
“I would say Reggie Wayne,” Woods said. “He’s smaller, one type of receiver. He’s not like a Calvin Johnson or Larry Fitzgerald, but he’s making plays all around the field, and I can see myself similar to him.”
making plays all around the field, and I can see myself similar to him.”
4:54 p.m. EST:
Just because you’re injured doesn’t mean you can’t get something out of the Scouting Combine.
Miami (Ohio) quarterback Zac Dysert won’t throw or work out after tearing a hamstring during a “mock combine” less than two weeks ago; he won’t be able to throw for teams until March 21 and won’t be able to run until April.
But all that means is that he can turn his focus to the interviews — which represented the bulk of his recent preparation, dating back to when he went through the interview process at the Senior Bowl.
“I know what they are going to ask, the type of atmosphere it is going to be,” Dysert said. “It prepared me a lot more knowing what to expect and being better prepared.”
4:59 p.m. EST:
Another quarterback held back from throwing is Duke’s Sean Renfree, who won’t be allowed to throw for the next few weeks, and even then won’t be 100 percent as he recovers from a torn pectoral muscle suffered in the Belk Bowl last Dec. 29.
“I’ve got my range of motion back, and I’m just waiting to get cleared,” said Renfree said. “I should be able to throw in a month, and should be 100 percent sometime in April.”
All that Renfree has is interviews — well, that, and what he learned from Peyton and Eli Manning by working at their annual quarterback camp, an arrangement set up by Duke coach David Cutcliffe, who was Peyton’s offensive coordinator at Tennessee and Eli’s head coach at Mississippi.
5:08 p.m. EST:
At this time last year, Colorado’s Nick Kasa never considered that he’d be at the Scouting Combine right now — or that he’d even have a chance to continue his football career.
“I had no idea this was coming,” Kasa said. “I was planning to finish out my college career and be done with football. … I was going to look for a job. I was looking at going into small business.”
Back then, he was just a few months into his transition from defensive end to tight end, a move that resuscitated his playing career at CU, but appeared too late to help him extend his career. He had just one catch for eight yards in 2011, but felt re-energized enough to return for his senior year.
“It brought back the love of the game,” Kasa said. “It was a revelation … It was the best thing that happened to me at CU.”
As the Buffs limped to arguably the worst season in school history, Kasa did so well (25 catches, 391 yards and three touchdowns) that he earned a Senior Bowl invitation in January and a Combine trip a month later.
But that also meant being poked and prodded, with perhaps the most uncomfortable moment coming on the morning of Jan. 21, when he and the other Senior Bowl players are marched into a convention center ballroom filled with several hundred scouts, coaches and media members, cameras firing … with Kasa and the players in nothing but a tight pair of boxer briefs for the weigh-in. The tone was set for what Kasa called “maybe one of the most awkward weeks I’ve ever had in my life,” but it also got him ready for a similar experience here.
“It’s a little bit more normal (now) — if you can call it that,” Kasa said.
5:12 p.m. EST:
Virginia offensive tackle Oday Aboushi said that he’s scheduled to speak with the Broncos on Friday evening, but he’s whipped through the league’s organizations between last month’s Senior Bowl and this week’s Combine.
Aboushi, who arrived with the rest of the offensive linemen Wednesday, said he spent part of Friday speaking with the Patriots. He met with multiple teams in Mobile, Ala. last month, where he was asked to work not only at his more natural left and right tackle spots, but also at guard.
“It was the first time I’d ever played guard,” Aboushi said. “It was our third day in pads, and they put me at guard. I think I did pretty well and got positive feedback. A lot of teams were asking if I could do that.”
“It wasn’t bad. A lot of it was personality questions, and what you would do in situations, and what kind of punchlines describe yourself,” he said. “One part of the exam gave you four terms: respectful, hard-working, loyalty and happy, and you’d have to rank which one of those words would apply to you, starting from one to four, one being the best and four being last.”
What was more difficult is what some teams ask — to draw up favorite plays and detail the responsibilities of each player on the field.
“It was expected. Former teammates who’ve been through this told me that’s what coaches were looking for,” Aboushi said.
That will do it for today’s player availability. We’re working on some more content, so continue checking DenverBroncos.com.
We’ll be back tomorrow with more as defensive linemen and linebackers are due to meet the press.
-Stuart, Gray and Andrew
Tags: NFL Scouting Combine