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Combine update 2/25

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Old 02-25-2005, 03:23 PM   #1
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Combine update 2/25

from NFL Insider



INDIANAPOLIS -- The hurry-up-and-wait experience known as the NFL scouting combine becomes tedious for coaches and personnel officials alike, but it's a necessary evil in the scouting process. With 333 NFL prospects in attendance, there is no more efficient means of gaining exact "measurables" than this seven-day event.

The other wonderful benefit for NFL teams is it allows them to formally interview 60 prospects throughout the week, which saves significant time and money. The Buccaneers will send scouts out to meet with and test all of the prospects on their draft board, but how many other chances will GM Bruce Allen and head coach Jon Gruden get to sit in the same room and talk to a prospect? While there isn't much action during the first two days of the combine, NFL teams nevertheless get a lot out of it.

The 2005 combine commenced at a snail's pace Thursday, and it doesn't promise to speed up much until Saturday morning. Thursday's morning session was devoted to measurements (height, weight, arm length and hand span) for 62 offensive linemen, four fullbacks, 14 running backs and 11 kicking specialists (punters and place-kickers).

The three-hour afternoon session featured more than 200 NFL personnel officials and coaches crammed into a conference room to witness 40 of those same prospects hammer out as many repetitions of 225 pounds on the bench press as possible.

Because many of the offensive linemen were running late due to the extensive medical process, there will be another group of 30 or so whose bench press was pushed to Friday. Place-kickers, punters, quarterbacks and wide receivers are exempt from the strength portion of the combine.

Quarterbacks, wide receivers and the second group of running backs were scheduled to get their measurements out of the way Friday morning. Those same prospects will try their luck on the bench press, while the place-kickers and punters showcase their skills on the turf of the RCA Dome.

The workout schedule for the remainder of the combine is as follows:
Saturday: Offensive linemen and running backs (Group 1).
Sunday: Running backs (Group 2), quarterbacks and wide receivers.
Monday: Tight Ends and defensive linemen.
Tuesday: Linebackers and defensive backs.

Here is a positional breakdown of Thursday's events. We'll follow with reports Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday detailing the results of each prospect who participated in the workouts.

Running back and fullbacks

All eyes have been on Maurice Clarett, and so far, so good. Clarett has a quiet but determined demeanor about him this week. He was a cut 234 pounds at the weigh-ins and produced the second most reps (22) of the nine running backs who participated on the bench press.

Scouts and coaches say Clarett seems to be a changed man. Maybe the failures and fallouts of the last two years have finally humbled him. If he continues to impress in interviews and has a strong workout Saturday, Clarett could move back into the first day of the draft.

As for the fullbacks, Texas A&M's Keith Joseph and North Carolina's Madison Hedgecock are in impressive physical condition and showed off their strength on the bench with 27 and 29 reps, respectively. Louisville RB Lionel Gates had the best bench press of the running backs with 23.

Cedric Benson (Texas), Ciatrick Fason (Florida) and Kay-Jay Harris (West Virginia) elected not to participate in the strength portion of the workout. Benson will not participate in any of the drills here, opting to do all of his work at his on-campus workout March 23. Fason might take part in one or two aspects of Saturday's workout but will do the majority of his work in Gainesville, Fla., March 9. Harris will bench on campus March 11, but will do all other aspects of the running back workout here Saturday.

Wisconsin RB Anthony Davis is well-built for his size but was even shorter than most anticipated at 5-foot-6 5/8. When his height was announced in the conference room this morning there was a buzz of disbelief from the scouts and coaches in attendance.

Offensive tackles

Four offensive tackle prospects opted out of the bench press, three because of injuries Adam Terry (strained oblique), Michael Watson (right shoulder) and Erik Pears (torn labrum). Trai Essex did not work out because his pro timing day is so soon. Terry's on-campus workout is March 16, Watson's is March 11, Pears' March 23 and Essex's March 4.

Of the other 28 tackle prospects, 12 were scheduled to lift Friday morning because they were running late due to medical examinations. Those include Anthony Alabi, Calvin Armstrong, Khalif Barnes, Alex Barron, Jammal Brown, Chris Colmer, Jonathan Colon, Jon Dunn, Sam Lightbody, Michael Munoz, Frank Omiyale and Rob Petitti. Petitti lost some much needed weight and did a good job of getting down to 347 pounds, but still could stand to drop another 10 or so pounds.

Ray Willis gets the "intensity award" for the biggest commotion made during his bench press attempts. He had one of the best results from the OT group with 27 reps, an impressive showing for a prospect with such long arms (35.4). Willis was just edged out by Adam Kieft, who finished with 28. "Reach" is a big test for offensive tackles, and Barron more than passed with 37.6 inches. This has to be one of the tallest OT classes in NFL combine history, as 10 of the 28 stand taller than 6-foot-7, and three of those stand 6-8 or taller. Sam Lightbody is the tallest at 6090.

Offensive guards

Willie McNeill was a no-show, and there seems to be confusion as to why. Nick Steitz did not lift because of a sore throat. He has three pro timing days at Oregon (March 3, 10 and 31) to make up for it. Elton Brown is simply not working out and will have one shot in Charlottesville, Va., on March 23.

Eleven guard prospects had their lifting sessions pushed to Friday. Those include Logan Mankins, Chris Myers, Leon Robinson, Joe Berger, Clinton Brooks Jr., Doug Buckles, Jonathon Clinkscale, Dylan Gandy, Justin Geisinger, Nick Kaczur and Chris Kemoeatu.

Brooks Jr. has the most impressive frame of any of the guards. He has great height for a guard at 6-5 and has the longest reach of any of the linemen who measured Thursday. He always has possessed the talent, but the knock on was that he's an underachiever who doesn't work hard enough and is too inconsistent.

Evan Mathis looks to be in peak physical condition. He played guard and tackle at Alabama and is tall enough to play both in the NFL. He also was impressive on the bench with 35 repetitions. Scott Young has set the bar on the bench press with 43 reps. It's even more impressive when considering he has a relatively long reach of 34 inches.

Centers

None of the 13 center prospects opted out of the bench press, but five were moved to Friday morning: Jason Brown, Geoff Hangartner, Drew Hodgdon, Scott Mruczkowski and Ben Wilkerson.

The only two with 30 or more reps were Eric Ghiaciuc (30) and Rob Hunt (31). Ghiaciuc provided comic relief for the afternoon when he used a reverse grip during his bench press attempt. He claims he has been using the unorthodox style for two years now, and the NFL officials in attendance simply shook their heads and allowed him to proceed.

David Bass played the majority of his career at guard before moving to center with nine games remaining in his senior season. He is working out with the centers this week and has gotten off to a good start. He is in great physical shape, has excellent overall size for the position, has the biggest hands of all the center prospects, and had an impressive outing on the bench with 29 reps.

Punters and place-kickers

Thursday's events were more of a formality for the punters and kickers. Height, weight, arm length and hand size don't play a great role in evaluating kickers and punters, and they also are exempt from the bench press.

Friday will be a much more critical aspect of the scouting process for those positions, as the punters and place-kickers will kick from inside the RCA Dome with hundreds of NFL personnel officials and coaches looking on. Historically, punters and kickers have struggled mightily in these workouts. The pressure of the event combined with the new and much harder footballs seem to be two of the best theories as to why.
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Old 02-25-2005, 03:31 PM   #2
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Re: Combine update 2/25

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Scouts and coaches say Clarett seems to be a changed man. Maybe the failures and fallouts of the last two years have finally humbled him. If he continues to impress in interviews and has a strong workout Saturday, Clarett could move back into the first day of the draft.
Or maybe his agent told him that if he can keep his fat mouth shut for four days, he can get a job.
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Old 02-25-2005, 03:36 PM   #3
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Re: Combine update 2/25

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Originally Posted by BrudLee
Or maybe his agent told him that if he can keep his fat mouth shut for four days, he can get a job.
LOL I was thinking along those same lines when I read this article.
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Old 02-25-2005, 03:56 PM   #4
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Re: Combine update 2/25

lol.

Alright, just let them run and give us the 40 times, they know thats all we care about, lol.
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Old 02-25-2005, 04:52 PM   #5
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Re: Combine update 2/25

Clarett would get a job - I hope it's backup on the skins. He could surpass Portis one day as our franchise back. I love how everyone just forgets how he lead Ohio State to a national championship embarrassing Miami. The nearly unchanged team besides Clarett wasn't even able to rank in the top 10. He has size and speed - if we could get him late first day I'd consider it a steal.
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Old 02-25-2005, 05:01 PM   #6
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Re: Combine update 2/25

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Originally Posted by Daseal
Clarett would get a job - I hope it's backup on the skins. He could surpass Portis one day as our franchise back. I love how everyone just forgets how he lead Ohio State to a national championship embarrassing Miami. The nearly unchanged team besides Clarett wasn't even able to rank in the top 10. He has size and speed - if we could get him late first day I'd consider it a steal.
I see your point, but they actually were a top ten team. They were like 10-1 at one point. If I remember correctly, it came down to the last game against michigan as to who would represent the big ten in the rosebowl. Michigan smashed them and went on to get smashed by USC.
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Old 02-25-2005, 05:19 PM   #7
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Re: Combine update 2/25

They didn't finish in the top 10 whereas they finished #1 the year before. That's a big drop for seemingly the same team. Clarett, from what I remember, played a VERY good game in the big games too!
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