Posts Tagged ‘2008 Scouting Combine’
CLICK HERE to watch the workouts on NFL.com.
**** TOP 40-YARD DASH TIMES ***
Chris Johnson, East Carolina: 4.24 seconds
Darren McFadden, Arkansas: 4.33 seconds
Anthony Alridge, Houston: 4.33 seconds
Jamaal Charles, Texas: 4.36 seconds
Chad Simpson, Morgan State: 4.42 seconds
Rashard Mendenhall, Illinois: 4.45 seconds
Matt Forte, Tulane: 4.46 seconds
Felix Jones, Arkansas: 4.47 seconds
Jalen Parmele, Toledo: 4.47 seconds
Jonathan Stewart, Oregon: 4.48 seconds
DeSean Jackson, California: 4.35 seconds
Andre Caldwell, Florida: 4.37 seconds
Will Franklin, Missouri: 4.37 seconds
Dexter Jackson, Appalachian State: 4.37 seconds
Eddie Royal, Virginia Tech: 4.39 seconds
Devin Thomas, Michigan State: 4.40 seconds
Arman Shields, Richmond: 4.44 seconds
Brandon Breazell, UCLA; 4.47 seconds
Earl Bennett, Vanderbilt: 4.48 seconds
Pierre Garcon, Mt. Union: 4.48 seconds
Josh Johnson, San Diego: 4.55 seconds
Kevin O’Connell, San Diego State: 4.61 seconds
Bernard Morris, Marshall: 4.68 seconds
Adam Tafralis, San Jose State: 4.78 seconds
Matt Flynn, LSU: 4.79 seconds
John David Booty, USC: 4.82 seconds
Brian Brohm, Louisville: 4.83 seconds
Kyle Wright, Miami (Fla.) 4.85 seconds
**** BLOG ENTRIES BEGIN BELOW ***
9:38 A.M. EST: We’re still expected to see some defensive linemen and linebackers come through here — LSU’s Glenn Dorsey, for one, since he didn’t make it into the media room Sunday — but most of this day will belong to the cornerbacks and safeties.
And by the way … good morning from Indianapolis.
9:45 A.M. EST: If you live in central Pennsylvania or happen to be a regular reader of The New York Times‘ sports section, this story is probably familiar to you. For those of us in the middle of the media room who are not, the following two paragraphs from this story elicited the loudest guffaws so far this weekend:
Joe and Sue Paterno have not seen a movie in a theater since “Titanic” and watch so little television that they were delighted to stumble upon a show this spring that they had not seen before.
“We discovered ‘M*A*S*H,’” Sue Paterno said, laughing.
She’s not the only one.
9:35 A.M. EST: A pleasant good morning to you from the Indiana Convention Center, where we await an onslaught of defenders that actually began late yesterday afternoon when Purdue defensive end/outside linebacker Cliff Avril met with media for a few minutes at one of the eight round tables spaced around the room.
LSU’s Glenn Dorsey, Virginia’s Chris Long and USC’s Sedrick Ellis are expected to be the marquee names speaking throughout the day.
9:42 A.M. EST: How to lose 35 minutes … YouTube searches for news bloopers.
9:57 A.M. EST: Giants general manager Jerry Reese is speaking. No players yet.
10:20 A.M. EST: Still waiting on player arrivals as this day’s activities lurch out to a more serene start than yesterday’s. One should really try and embrace and cherish these spare sparse moments. Even the hallways are relatively quiet, with the annual gymnastics competition that shares convention space with the Combine also taking its time in coming to life.
11:22 A.M. EST: A few defensive linemen have entered the room, most notably North Carolina defensive tackle Kentwan Balmer, whose stock rapidly rose before an injury during Monday afternoon North team practice at the Senior Bowl knocked him out of the rest of the week’s activities.
The walk from my hotel room to my seat at the Indiana Convention Center is about 12 minutes. On the entirety of this morning’s jaunt, I pondered how I would lead off this blog. I foraged through the detritus in the back corners of my consciousness. I reached deep into its crevices, even getting a little fungus and slime-like substance under my fingernails as I searched … and I came up with nothing.
9:22 A.M. EST: Earlier this morning, the Falcons won a coin toss for the No. 3 pick in the draft. Oakland will select fourth, with the Chiefs picking fifth. The call was tails.
Personally, I would rather have seen a series of rock-paper-scissors matches to decide the pick.
9:26 A.M. EST: So much for not starting this thing until 10 a.m. … Kirk Barton of “The Ohio State University” is already at the podium, the first of the offensive linemen who were waylaid by hospital visits Thursday to filter into the room. Maybe 15-20 percent of the media here is actually in the room as Barton begins answering questions — the first of which involves the height and weight at which he measured. With the exception of the top-10 caliber players, this is virtually without fail the first query posed to anyone.
9:55 A.M. EST: Speaking concurrently … a reunion of the Football Championship Subdivision (the politically correct phrase to describe what most still call Division I-AA) Championship Game. At one podium, wide receiver Dexter Jackson of victorious Appalachian State; at the other, quarterback Joe Flacco of vanquished Delaware. Both spoke of how the Senior Bowl helped their causes; Flacco was arguably the best passer in Mobile last month after Boston College’s Matt Ryan and Louisville’s Brian Brohm pulled out of the all-star game, while Jackson was a late-week arrival who was called in after injuries decimated the collection of receivers there.
Flacco, whose stock seems to be rising like Google’s, also said he plans to do the full range of workout activities here at the Combine. No reason for him not to.
A little video on each …
10:34 P.M. EST: Utah State offensive lineman Shawn Murphy — the son of the greatest player of my lifetime eligible for the Baseball Hall of Fame but not a part of it — just spoke extensively about growing up as the son of former National League MVP Dale Murphy, and why he chose football over baseball. He followed his father’s path in baseball until his junior year of high school, when he opted for the gridion … which Shawn Murphy admits he always preferred, anyway, speaking of baseball as a something of a quiet offseason interlude between football campaigns.
Murphy also might be the oldest player here; he’s 25, having spent two years in Brazil on a Latter Day-Saints mission.
10:40 A.M. EST: Wide receivers taking the stage … at one end of the room, LSU’s Early Doucet. At the other, Cal’s Lavelle Hawkins.
11:07 A.M. EST: Together to the end … Louisville wide receiver Harry Douglas and quarterback Brian Brohm are speaking concurrently; the touted passer at a podium; the somewhat less-heralded pass-catcher at a table.
11:12 A.M. EST: The lone positive of defeat is the cathartic education it often provides. Brohm learned that last fall as a season with expectations as high as Everest finished as low as the Mississippi Delta, with the C-A-R-D-S finishing a disappointing and puzzling 6-6.
“Just being able to deal with that will help me out in the future,” the quarterback acknolwedged.
11:17 A.M. EST: Brohm on the perception that his stock is falling: “I’m not going to get stressed out about it.”
11:57 A.M. EST: Colt Brennan becomes the biggest name here to not conduct his media briefing at a podium.
12:31 P.M. EST: Vanderbilt’s Earl Bennett probably would have made it to the Scouting Combine no matter who tossed him passes as a true freshman in 2005.
But having an already mature quarterback who was on the NFL fast track under center helped him blossom quickly, to the point he was able to become the SEC’s all-time leader in receptions with 236 … in just three years.
“It helped me tremendously,” said Bennett, who turned pro with one year of eligibility remaining. “Sometimes I would get on the field and I wouldn’t even know the play …”
Eh … maybe you don’t want to admit that, Earl. But, anyway, continue.
“… and Jay Cutler would help me out and put me in the right position. He was a great leader. He helped me out on the field. It was great working with a guy of such great caliber — and character, as well.”
If Bennett follows Cutler’s road into the NFL, he’ll be in good shape after two years. He’s already started mimicking his former teammate’s pro path by hiring agent Bus Cook — Cutler’s representative the last two years.
“More Cutler connection,” Bennett said, smiling.
Also worth noting, even though I can’t logically fit it into the above narrative without stewing over phrases and transitions for an hour … the 5-foot-11, 208-pound Bennett cut off the dreadlocks he’d brandished in recent years.
1:03 P.M. EST: More Cutler-Bennett:
1:11 P.M. EST: Boston College quarterback Matt Ryan’s plan for his first year? To compete and “make the decision as difficult as possible.” Optimistic, yet pragmatic. The throng for his press conference is the largest yet at the Combine, dwarfing that of potential first-rounder Sam Baker of USC, who spoke concurrently at the other podium across the room.
1:20 P.M. EST: Texas wide receiver Limas Sweed says his injured wrist is at “about 65 percent.” He tried to play at the Senior Bowl against doctor’s orders but only made it through two practices.
“The doctor advised me not to go, (saying) ‘It may hurt your draft status,’” Sweed said. “At that time, I didn’t really care. I hadn’t played football in over (three) months, so I was eager to get out there and play.
“I was doing well and it was (in) one-on-ones, and a guy came and grabbed my hand and bent it down to about 70 percent when it wasn’t ready to, so you can imagine the pain … “That as Day 1. So I came back for Day 2 and I was thinking it won’t happen again. And the same guy did it again. And that was when I decided it was time to shut it down. It wasn’t a re-injury, it was just a breaking up of the scar tissue, which actually helped me recover quicker – so I want to really thank the guy.”
1:21 P.M. EST: Ryan will run here at the Combine, but he plans to save his throwing drills for his pro day at Boston College.
“We have a bubble up over our stadium at BC,” he said. “We’ve got great conditions to throw on Pro Day. For me, I want to portray to the teams that are going to be looking at my skills in an accurate representation of what it would be like in a game situation. I want to throw to the guys I know and give the teams a chance to look at what I’m capable of doing.”
2:37 P.M. EST: Whew. We spent the last 76 minutes up and about the room, getting sound from — among others — Illinois’ Rashard Mendenhall, Kentucky’s Andre Woodson, Northwest Missouri State running back Xavier Oman, San Diego quarterback Josh Johnson, Virginia Tech wide receivers Eddie Royal and Josh Morgan, Tulsa quarterback Paul Smith, Oregon running back Jonathan Stewart and Hawai’i wide receiver Jason Rivers. And I know I’m leaving out at least a few names there. Good thing I didn’t have to run off to the water closet.
4:06 P.M. MST: Running backs continue to pass through here … most recently Michigan’s Mike Hart, Rutgers’ Ray Rice, Oregon State’s Yvenson Bernard, East Carolina’s Chris Johnson, Texas’ Jamaal Charles and Arizona State’s Ryan Torain.
Charles also talked at length about his friendship with Denver’s Selvin Young.
“I look up to him like a big brother,” Charles said. “Selvin was a good person that nobody really knew because he didn’t have a good year at Texas when he was there, but I knew he was going to make it. He was a hard worker and you see what he’s doing in the NFL — he made a couple of things happen.
5:14 P.M. EST: Nebraska’s Sam Keller was the last player to address the media, and the media room will begin closing in 31 minutes, so I’m turning my attention to the notebook and photo gallery over on the main site … I’ll have one more post later tonight wrapping up the day, so for now, vaya con Dios.
Plenty of video, submitted for your approval … or merely for you to kill 30 minutes or so:
Boise State offensive tackle Ryan Clady:
Michigan offensive tackle Jake Long:
Army punter/kickoff specialist Owen Tolson:
Now, in the words of NFL Network’s Bryant Gumbel, “Let’smoveon.”
Georgia Tech’s home basketball game with Virginia was cancelled tonight because of a leak in the roof. As Broncos TV producer Kasey Byers points out, fixing this problem could be a class project.
“Hell of an engineer” … eh, not tonight.
Anyhow, Friday’s going to bring us wide receivers, running backs and quarterbacks. Video, notebook, photos and blog postings to come … until then, vaya con Dios.
9:51 A.M. EST: Greetings from Indianapolis, where the temperature would have to rise 10 degrees for it to be considered “frigid,” and where I just spent 35 minutes emptying out a pair of digital audio recorders to capture sound from the interviews to follow.
Not that I’m complaining or anything about the weather outside, but there were icicles forming inside my ear canal while walking from the hotel to the Indiana Convention Center.
Precious little to report so far … except that the number of media credentials issued is purportedly around 550, which is nearly three times the total issued just five years ago.
9:54 A.M. EST: And we’re under way … first player up, Virginia offensive lineman Branden Albert, who, for Combine timing purposes, is simply two letters and a number: “OL1.”
The fact that he is the first player brought into the room almost certainly affords him a larger crowd than the one he would have drawn had he simply sauntered in here mid-afternoon.
10:17 A.M. EST: Chicago Bears head coach Lovie Smith has held court at one of the podiums here for about 15 minutes. Over two dozen coaches and executives hold press conferences here over the course of the weekend, but none are scheduled to feature anyone from the Broncos. In fact, the Broncos have historically been quite reticent in this milieu; no Broncos official has held a press conference here in my six years of covering the Combine.
10:43 A.M. EST: Best name here, early edition: St. Xavier K/P Shane Longest.
11:07 A.M. EST: A few thoughts from and about Longest:
… “Even the medical exams, they’ve been fun,” he said. Wow. Six years here, and that’s the first time I’ve ever heard the physicals described in a word not synonymous with “protracted,” “invasive” or “necessary.” …
… He plans to work out on kickoffs, placekicking and punts here, but says he views himself primarily as a placekicker who can “back up” on punting detail …
… He says his longest field goal was a 75-yarder in practice. “It was pretty windy,” he said, “but it was a good kick.” Master of understatement …
… His Combine invitation provided him with the perfect Christmas present. “I got the invite the day after Christmas. My mom called me. She was kind of freaking out a little bit.” Again, master of understatement …
… He estimates about 22 teams sent representatives to visit him on the St. Xavier campus.
12:19 P.M. EST: Very busy the last hour … several offensive linemen dropped by, most notably Michigan offensive tackle Jake Long and Notre Dame center John Sullivan, who talked about his friendship with Broncos tackle Ryan Harris … Going to start fishing through quotes and photos and will post throughout the afternoon.
1:59 P.M. EST: At one point, seven different players were doing interviews. Even with help from video producer Kasey Byers, two cameras and three audio recorders, you can’t possibly get every soundbite uttered around here, and, dear reader, the blog sort of becomes a lower priority in the quest for two months’ worth of daily content.
It’s three minutes with one guy, four minutes with another, maybe longer if you find a particularly interesting story — such as UConn’s Donald Thomas, an offensive lineman who didn’t even take up football until his sophomore year of college and didn’t finally get a scholarship until his senior year, although he used the free ride for two seasons by playing as a fifth-year redshirt.
In contrast to the slight shoving and brief jostling that was a part of the media crush that surrounded Long, only three people interviewed Thomas, including myself. Either he’s a diamond in the rough or I have an inflated opinion of the 305-pounder because I watch way too many Friday night Big East games.
3:30 P.M. EST: The day has slowed down a tad, leaving me to start sifting through hours of interviews. Boise State’s Ryan Clady is at the podium now, and he spoke at some length of how he feels comfortable in a zone-blocking scheme, citing the Denver Broncos without being prompted as a team whose line strategy would suit him.
“We were primarily a zone team (at Boise State),” Clady said. “I’m kind of like a Denver Broncos-type offensive lineman, we cut a lot and position block and stuff like that.”
6:15 P.M. EST: The last player to hit the podium today was Tulane running back Matt Forte. The parade of runners will hit full speed Friday, a day that will be all about skill positions — runners, wide receivers and quarterbacks.
Back in the hotel room now … end-of-day wrap-up piece entry coming later, and a notebook wrapping up the day coming in a little while. The wireless Internet connection at the Indiana Convention Center was a tad spotty, but we’re cooking now … and hopefully we’ll have everything up in the next couple of hours so some restaurant can get cooking on my dinner. Ciao.
The laptop hums well past midnight. The Diet Mountain Dew flows into my cup, Niagara-like in its volume and pace. The up-tempo ’70s soul music peps through my headphones, keeping me awake as the minutes pass like seconds. There’s so much steam rising from vents outside my hotel-room window that a frigid fog seems to hang in suspension over the nearby, domed football stadium. Each step on the sidewalk is accompanied by the crunch of salt and ice; each newscast leads its sports report with college or high-school basketball.
It must be February in Indianapolis.
So far, this has been a placid trip, considering how some of my voyages to far-flung destinations took turns that would have made Odysseus or Uncle Traveling Matt blanch.
Turns out that Wednesday’s trip here was as uneventful as My Dinner With André.