9:10 a.m. EST: A pleasant good morning from Lucas Oil field as we prepare for day two of the NFL Scouting Combine. Today should be a busy one for those of us occupying the media room as the quarterbacks, running backs and wide receivers spend a little time with us.
Also, Head Coach Josh McDaniels will take the podium at 1:30 p.m. MST and we will do our best to put up the video shortly after he is done.
As always, please fire any questions that you have and we will do our best to get them answered.
9:55 a.m. EST: Last night I had the great pleasure of joining V.P. of Public Relations and blogger extraordinaire Jim Saccomano for dinner at the NFL epicenter known as St. Elmo Steak House. This Indianapolis institution is where you can find anyone and everyone in the NFL world.
We were very fortunate to get a seat at the front of the restaurant so everyone who was coming or going had to pass by us. From Falcons Owner Arthur Blank, to coaches such as Marvin Lewis, Tom Coughlin and Sean Payton, we saw them all.
But the highlight of the evening — outside of the food, which in the words of a friend was “exquisite” — was when NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and special assistant to the commissioner Pete Abitante stopped by the table to visit with their old friend Sacco. You could tell by the brief conversation how much respect and admiration each of them have for one another and how lucky the Broncos are to have a guy like Sacco.
I feel very fortunate to be a part of that conversation and it was definitely the highlight of the trip thus far — I can’t imagine anything topping it.
But back to the action of the day, NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock has kicked the podium tour and will be followed by 49ers head man Mike Singletary. The players should trickle in shortly after that.
10:15 a.m. EST: While answering a question about Georgia quarterback Matt Stafford, Mayock compared the former Bulldog signal caller’s arm strength to that of Jay Cutler by saying that both have the ability to fire the ball even if they can’t step into it.
10:30 a.m. EST: The first players have entered the room. Oklahoma wide receiver Juaquin Iglesias and South Florida wide out Taurus Johnson are manning podiums two and three.
10:45 a.m. EST: Jarett Dillard, who is the all-time leading receiver at Rice, was asked about all the tests that the athletes go through during the combine and where he thought he would standout. He said that he thought he would stand out in an area they can’t test, how big of a heart a player has.
11:21 a.m. EST: We just spent a few minutes with Boise St. wide out Jeremy Childs who spoke at length about his former teammate Ryan Clady. Childs, who like Clady, is coming out as a junior said he spoke with Clady about coming out early and what the NFL was like. Childs believes that the success Clady had in his rookie year will provide motivation to him and all the guys from smaller schools.
“I think it gave me a lot of motivation,” Childs said of Clady’s successful rookie campaign. “Not only me, but also guys that are coming from our conference or our school. People look at our school as a mid-major and not able to compete with the bigger conferences. But if you look at what we have done with Clady being a top round pick and what others have done, we are making an impact coming out of Boise.”
12:01 p.m. EST: The three most common heard questions during the media sessions:
How much did you weigh?
How tall are you?
Do you plan on working out at the combine?
I personally enjoy hearing the answer to the third question the most. For the top guys, the answer is usually no. There are some exceptions, but most of them want to give their defining performance during their school’s pro days not at a field with coaches they are not used to.
I understand that theory because the draft is an event where milliseconds can cost you millions, so you have to do what you feel gives you the best shot.
Although my favorite answer thus far to the that question came from an offensive lineman during yesterday’s session. When asked if he planned to do the full workout at the combine, he gave a befuddled look to those in attendance and said, “I have been working out for months in preparation for this, why would I not work out?”
12:25 p.m. EST: Some of the bigger names have entered the media room. The aforementioned Stafford and Missouri’s dynamic duo of Jeremy Maclin and Chase Daniel. And for the record, Daniel wants everyone to know that he measured in at 6’0″, not 5’10″ or 5’11″.
Stafford easily has the biggest audience thus far. He has been very poised under the lights as he is being peppered with questions from across the room. Stafford plans to do most of the drills, but will skip throwing and lifting.
12:39 p.m. EST: During Stafford’s session, a voice in the back asked, “How much did you weigh?”. Without missing a beat, Stafford answered. Then he realized who asked the question, USC quarterback Mark Sanchez.
Sanchez is now up answering the questions.
12:45 p.m. EST: Sanchez is also handling himself well amongst the questions and unlike Stafford, says he plans on doing the full workout this weekend.
He said that he has met with a lot of teams in the hotel lobby and compared it to speed dating. When asked if he ever took part in actual speed dating he said, “No, but my friend told me about it.”
Also Kansas St. quarterback Josh Freeman just took the opposite podium. He is a monster, he said he measured in at 6’6″ and 248 lbs.
1:10 p.m. EST: Texas Tech’s Graham Harrell just took his turn under the lights and given the recent news out of his alma mater, many had questions about the Mike Leach (the coach, not our long snapper) situation. Harrell said he has been focused on the combine and was just glad the situation is resolved. He also told the group about the freedom he had as a quarterback. He said when Leach called a play from the sideline it was more of a suggestion than a play call and Harrell was able to change the play at anytime. Now that is freedom and something he probably won’t get to expereince in the early part of his NFL career.
1:50 p.m. EST: Earlier this morning BroncosFan973 asked about Shonn Greene, well he just wrapped up his media session. He said he measured 5’10″ and weighed in at 227 lbs. and said that his strengths are how he runs between the tackles using power and elusiveness. He will take part in every drill at the combine and believe the zone-blocking scheme that he ran at Iowa will be beneficial to him.
Knowshon Moreno just took the stage, so I am going to hear what he has to say.
2:20 p.m. EST: Before noon, we didn’t see a single running back step foot into the media room. In the last 45 minutes, that is all we have seen. From Green, to Moreno, to Boise State’s Ian Johnson to Beanie Wells, the walls of the media room have been thick with running backs.
At the table right in front of me is Gartrell Johnson. He is a very soft spoken guy and is handling himself well amongst the media that have engulfed him. He has spent time explaining how a kid from Miami ended up in Ft. Collins and how much his New Mexico Bowl performance has helped him.
3:00 p.m. EST: Running back Ian Johnson played with Ryan Clady for a number of years in Boise and has paid close attention to him since his arrival in Denver. He said off the field, Clady hasn’t changed much. He is still the quite guy that he knew during college. But on the field, he has seen his old teammate really blossom.
“When Ryan was at Boise, he was a specimen to begin with,” Johnson said. “When he got to the NFL, he honed all the little things that you can’t just do on your own. His footwork is phenomenal now and you look at his hand placement. He is just so technical now as much as he is just a God-given athlete. You can’t get passed him, he gave up like half-a-sack and I don’t even think he deserved that.”
3:10 p.m. EST: One of the more intriguing wide receiver prospects is Cal Poly’s Ramses Barden. Standing in at 6’6″ and weighing 227 lbs., he has drawn comparisons to Brandon Marshall. He said those comparisons helped convince him that he could play in the NFL.
“I like Brandon Marshall’s toughness,” Barden said of the Pro Bowler. “It kind of reminded me of — not at the same level — but some of the things I’ve seen on my highlight tape. So I’m like ok, there’s a chance for me to make it.”
We are off to prepare for Coach McDaniels press conference. Talk to you after he wraps up.
4:10 p.m. EST: Well Coach McDaniels just wrapped up an 18-minute session at the podium and then answered questions off to the side for another 10 minutes. He touched on a variety of subjects from personnel moves to what color he painted his walls in his office — white in case you were wondering. We will post the video and transcript as soon as we can get it up.
With that said, we don’t expect many more players to show in the media room today, so we will talk to you tomorrow.