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Center prospect goes down at combine

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Old 02-27-2005, 01:14 AM   #1
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Center prospect goes down at combine


Tough break for this guy

League officials are forever griping about the number of prospects who annually decline to participate in all of the on-field drills here. The events of Saturday, though, might make it even more difficult for coaches and general managers to convince players that it is in their best interests to complete every event. Nebraska center Richie Incognito, a center prospect who bypassed his final year of college eligibility to enter the draft and who was considered a first-day pick, suffered what appeared to be a very serious knee injury in an afternoon drill. Incognito's knee caught in the artificial surface of the RCA Dome -- which was rated one of the worst surfaces in the league in a recent survey by the NFL Players Association, and which is scheduled to be replaced this offseason -- and he went down in a heap. Incognito was removed from the field on a cart and immediately scheduled for an MRI exam. If the injury is as serious as some scouts described it, there may be a chance Incognito doesn't even get drafted.

Other combine notes:

He was already projected as a prospect to be chosen in the top half of the first round, but Maryland defensive end/linebacker Shawne Merriman is a physical specimen who might be off the board in the top 10 picks now. Merriman measured 6-feet-4 and 272 pounds on Saturday and looked like his frame could handle another 10-15 pounds with no problem. He is certainly a "cut" player, a guy with a live-looking body and, in a league where so many teams are going to a 3-4 defensive front and seeking hybrid "edge" players, his stock figures to skyrocket. Merriman can play in a two-point stance, then move up to end and put his hand on the ground in "nickel" situations, and some scouts feel he could even play middle linebacker. The defensive coordinator for a team that went deep into the playoffs in 2004 suggested that Merriman is good enough to start for his unit right now.

One defensive end prospect who said he would like to try playing some linebacker in a 3-4 front, but probably won't be afforded the opportunity, is former University of Georgia star David Pollack, the leading sacker in SEC history. Pollack is 6-feet-2 and 265 pounds and might lack some of the athleticism to play in the two-point stance. Pollack seems to have alleviated the concerns of some scouts, though, that he might lack the overall size and quickness to play end at the NFL level. "What always jumps out about him," said an AFC defensive line coach, "is that he has a huge motor and he always make the big play at crunch time. He's one of those guys who might not look pretty, but he gets the job done."

Defensive end Marcus Spears of LSU, whose stock rose dramatically because of his strong practices preceding the Senior Bowl all-star game, suffered a minor knee injury during his preparations for the combine. As a result, Spears will not work out, and some teams feel he might need minor arthroscopic surgery. Spears still insisted Saturday that he will be ready for his on-campus workout next month.

Scouts are anxious to see quarterback Jason Campbell of Auburn throw on Sunday. One of the more physically imposing quarterback prospects here, Campbell checked in at 6-feet-4 and 230 pounds, and just looks like an athlete. Campbell progressed very nicely in the past two years, really made strides in his senior season, and seemed to quickly pick up the offense at the Senior Bowl game. With an eye-opening workout on Sunday, he could perhaps squeeze into the first round, but the second stanza is more likely. "He's just a kid who carries himself really well," said Houston Texans offensive coordinator Chris Palmer. "There's a nice even keel to him, both as an athlete and a person. He isn't a guy who gets rattled."

Not surprisingly, the biggest quarterback here just in terms of physical size is former Arkansas standout Matt Jones, a four-year starter. Jones measured 6-feet-6 and 242 pounds and looked more like a tight end than a quarterback. It is obvious that Jones wants a shot to play quarterback in the NFL, but some teams have other plans for him. Jones lined up at wide receiver in the Senior Bowl game and, while he will work quarterback drills on Sunday, could get some "repetitions" as a pass-catcher, too. "I see what guys like Hines Ward and Antwaan Randle El have done in Pittsburgh, two guys who were very successful college quarterbacks and made the move to wide receiver in the NFL, and that shows me it can be done," Jones said. "I'm not going to kid anyone because, if I had my (preference), it would be to play quarterback. But I'm going to do what scouts want me to do because, bottom line, I just want to play football."

Oklahoma defensive end Dan Cody was very candid in addressing the issue of a bout with clinical depression that actually forced him out of football during his sophomore year with the Sooners. "It's something that I think I've put in my past," Cody said. "But I think back about it sometimes, trying to understand it and how it all occurred, and realize that it made me a tougher person now. You have to lean a lot on your family, on God and, I guess, on yourself, too. It gives you a different perspective, I can tell you that."

The top tight end prospect, Heath Miller of Virginia, is a receiver capable of getting deep up the middle of the field and is also superb in "red zone" situations. But a few scouts reiterated on Saturday that Miller, an underclassman, must dramatically upgrade his blocking skills. "It looks," said one scout, "like he's a willing blocker at times. He just isn't a very good blocker. He's got to work harder at it."

The last word

"They're strange but they make sense. It's a thing where team psychologists have to take a look at it. If they show a picture and ask whether it looks like cat or dog, I don't know how I'm supposed to answer. I answer dog because I like dogs more. I'm sure that question means something to somebody. What that might be? Somebody smarter than me probably knows." -- Purdue quarterback Kyle Orton, commenting on the various psychological tests administered by NFL teams
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Old 02-27-2005, 02:51 AM   #2
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Re: Center prospect goes down at combine

i was watching the combine on NFL network and they talked about the OL Incognito.
they say he just sprained his knee, they showed him walking without a limp after the MRI.

he should be able to work out next month.
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Old 02-27-2005, 02:53 AM   #3
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Re: Center prospect goes down at combine

I wouldnt be surprised if they talk about moving the combine to a better field to try and attract more people.
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Old 02-27-2005, 03:08 AM   #4
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Re: Center prospect goes down at combine

that field is getting redone this year i heard...
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Old 02-27-2005, 09:31 AM   #5
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Re: Center prospect goes down at combine

I can not believe the wealthy NFL, with 31 other stadiums, countless practice facilities, decided to have the combine at the RCA dome. Voted the worst playing surface by the NFL players. The NFL regularly pays to re-sod grass fields before a playoff game or a super bowl at the cost of over $500k for one game. I can not see how changing the sight of the combine be that difficult or as expensive. I am sure there are facilities that would offer to have it for free. Poor planning.
Shouldn't these guys be timed and measured on grass anyway? I hear the RCA dome is an unrealistically fast surface.
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Old 02-27-2005, 10:49 AM   #6
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Re: Center prospect goes down at combine

The reason for having it there likely was to attract more players for the purpose of running the 40. Indianapolis is known for the fast surface, so they probably figured they could convince more of the skill position players to work out by having the combine at that location.
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Old 02-27-2005, 12:09 PM   #7
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Re: Center prospect goes down at combine

This stinks. We need a center and a prospect goes and gets hurt. We are cursed.

What about St Louis. Dont they still have the fast turf?

Either way why has the combine always been in Indy?
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Old 02-27-2005, 12:51 PM   #8
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Re: Center prospect goes down at combine

Incognito - even though his name is absolutely horrible, Matty (I THINK) said in another thread how he has some real off the field problems.
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Old 02-28-2005, 12:52 AM   #9
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Re: Center prospect goes down at combine

Originally Posted by Daseal
Incognito - even though his name is absolutely horrible, Matty (I THINK) said in another thread how he has some real off the field problems.

Yeah he got kicked off the team at Nebraska.
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