Written By: Mark Scott
The NFL Scouting Combine is here with the first two days in the books. Media Sessions with NFL executives, Head Coaches and the Offensive prospects got under way, as did the weigh-ins and measurements, while the Tight Ends and Offensive Linemen also preformed on the Bench Press. The on the field drills get going this weekend and there are sure to be some surprises and disappointments. The defensive prospects are also set to handle the media and weigh-in this weekend before hitting the field on Monday and Tuesday.
- The NFL Draft Order is finally official as two coin-flips at the Combine broke ties between teams in two different spots in the draft and determined picks #8/9 and #11/12. The Miami Dolphins won the coin-flip tie-break over the Carolina Panthers for the eight overall pick with Carolina falling into the ninth overall spot. The Kansas City Chiefs won their coin-flip tie-break with the Seattle Seahawks securing the eleventh overall selection while they will make their pick with the twelfth overall choice. On a side-note as a result of the NFL Draft Order being made official, the Indianapolis Colts can now sign the #1 overall pick, presumably Stanford’s Andrew Luck, if they so choose.
- The two biggest stars at the Combine, Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III both impressed during the media sessions with the various answers, including both saying they would be more than happy to backup and learn from Peyton Manning should they end up in Indy with the future Hall of Famer.
- St.Louis, Minnesota and Cleveland let it be known that they are all interested in talking about possible trades for their draft spots among the top 5 picks. The Rams stated that they are sticking with Sam Bradford and have fielded multiple talks about trading out of the #2 spot, presumably to a team interested in Robert Griffin III. Minnesota said they are interested in moving down, more so if the Rams aren’t able to make a trade happen ahead of them. The Browns have been pretty open about their willingness to make a bold move and possibly give up both of their first-round picks this year to do it. They have also let it be known that they are interested in Griffin III.
- Four of the top QB’s won’t throw at the Combine and will wait for their pro days in Andrew Luck, who will do some of the other drills, Robert Griffin III will only run, Ryan Tannehill is still recovering from injury and Brock Osweiler also won’t throw, but the reason is still unknown.
- There are notable injuries coming into the Combine beginning with the threesome from Alabama, Trent Richardson made some of the biggest news coming in revealing that he had minor surgery on his knee and would not perform any drills at the combine, but impressed during the media session. Safety Mark Barron had double sports hernia surgery in the weeks leading up to the Combine and won’t be able to compete in any drills, while Nose Tackle Josh Chapman is still recovering from off-season knee surgery, but has said he will participate in the bench press drill. Utah State ILB Bobby Wagner, who was set to come to the Combine with a lot of momentum from the Senior Bowl week was hospitalized with pneumonia in the days leading up to the event and advised not to travel to Indy. Justin Blackmon was set to compete in all drills with eyes on him especially in the 40 yard dash, but told the media today that his hamstring was feeling a little tender and will wait for his pro day at Oklahoma State in a few weeks. Texas A&M QB Ryan Tannehill is still recovering from a broken foot and is hoping to be ready for his pro day in College Station, while Oklahoma WR Ryan Broyles is also still recovering from his knee injury suffered during the regular season and is hoping to be ready for his pro day. A pair of Stanford prospects won’t participate in Combine drills and will wait for their pro day in TE Coby Fleener with an ankle injury and OT Jonathon Martin will sit out because of an illness. Iowa’s OT Markus Zusevics was injured on his sixth rep during the bench press drill, no word on what the injury was.
- The tallest player was a three-way tie between Ohio State’s OT Mike Adams, Wisconsin’s OL Kevin Ogsleby and OL Ryan Miller of Colorado all measured in at 6’7 1/4”, while Georgia’s OG Cordy Glenn was the heaviest player weighing in at 345lbs, ahead of Oglesby and South Carolina’s Rokevious Watkins, both at 338lbs.Oglesby also measured in with the biggest hands at 11 ¼ inches. Iowa State OL Kelechi Osemele measured in with the longest arms at 35 7/8 inches, just slightly ahead of Glenn, who was measured at 35 ¾ inches long.
- The Bench Press winner of the day was Michigan C David Molk who put up an impressive 41 reps leading a group of twelve Offensive Linemen that were able to put up 30 or more reps of 225lbs. A possible first-rounder, Ohio State’s OT Mike Adams was a big disappointment as he was only able to register 19 reps, just ahead of a couple late round linemen for the fewest reps at the position.
- Among the Tight Ends, Louisiana-Lafayette’s Ladarius Green was the tallest at 6’6” and had the longest arms at 34 ½ inches, Green and Oregon’s David Paulson tied for biggest hands at 10 1/8 inches, UCLA’s Cory Harkey was the heaviest at 260lbs and Georgia’s Orson Charles easily won the Bench Press drill with 35 reps ahead of Clemson’s Dwayne Allen and Stanford’s Coby Fleener with 27 each. Those three also looked the most impressive at the weigh-ins, with Charles noticeably bigger and more muscular than he was during the season.
- As expected Arizona State’s Brock Osweiler was the biggest Quarterback at 6’6 7/8” and 242lbs. Osweiler actually received a boost to his stock as he was shorter than the possible 6’8” that he was thought to be. Arizona’s Nick Foles had the biggest hands of the QB group at 10 5/8 inches. Luck, Griffin III, Foles, Weeden and Tannehill all passed the eye-ball test and looked great. Griffin III was probably the biggest news of the group as he came at 6’2 3/8” putting to rest all the concerns about his height as many though he would come in below the 6’2” mark. As expected Russell Wilson, Kellen Moore and Case Keenum werethe smallest QBs as Wilson measured in at 5’11 ½”, which was taller than he was at the Senior Bowl, Moore was able to just reach the 6’0” mark, but was just 197lbs, while Keenum was a paltry came in just under 6’1” and 208lbs. Tannehill and Yale’s Patrick Witt tied for the smallest hands at just 9 inches.
- The Top 4 Running backs all looked good at the weigh-in as Trent Richardson, Lamar Miller, David Wilson and Doug Martin impressed, as well as Mississippi State’s Vick Ballard. USC’s Rhett Ellison was the tallest and heaviest in the group at 6’5”, 251 lbs, but is a full back. There was a three-way tie for the tallest running back as Bernard Pierce, Terrance Ganaway and Darell Scott all came in at 6’0”, while Ganaway was also the heaviest at 239lbs. Wiscnosin’s Bradie Ewing had the biggest hands of the whole group at 10 3/8 inches. The smallest backs were Florida’s Chris Rainey at 5’8”, 180lbs (but may better at WR), Oregon’s LaMichael James at 5’8”, 194lbs, and Texas’ Fozzy Whitaker at 5’9”, 193lbs. San Diego State’s Ronnie Hillman was also smaller than expected a t 5’9”, 200lbs.
- Miami’s Tommy Streeter was the tallest WR at 6’5”, 219lbs, with Appalachian State’s Brian Quick at 6’4”, 220lbs. UNC’s Dwight Jones was the heaviest at6’3”, 230lbs, while Gerell Robinson was just behind him at 6’3”, 227lbs. The biggest hands goes to Arizona’s Juron Criner at 10 ½ inches. Oregon State’s James Rodegers was the shortest receiver at 5’6 ¾”, while Houston’s Patrick Edwards was the lightest player at just 172lbs. Michigan State’s B.J. Cunningham measured in with the smallest hands at just 8 1/8 inches. The biggest surprise of the group was South Carolina’s Alshon Jeffrey whose stock was taking a hit because of reports his weight was all the way up around the 250lb. mark, weighed in at 216lbs and should see his stock start to move back up unless he really disappoints in the 40.
- The Steelers have put a first-round tender on restricted free agent WR Mike Wallace, meaning if a team sends an offer sheet that they will have to relinquish a first-round pick to Pittsburgh should they not match the offer in the following seven days. What makes this interesting is Pittsburgh’s cap problems and the possibility they won’t have enough room to match a really big off from someone. Wallace could intrigue a team over the draft’s current crop of wide outs or to a team that misses out on the top two or three guys before they can select late in the first round. Some teams to watch could be the Steelers three AFC North rivals, Baltimore, Cleveland and Cincinnati, as well as the New England Patriots, among others.