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Old 03-01-2012, 02:32 AM    (permalink
Matthew Jones
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Default Combine Observations (Offense)

Here are a few thoughts I have regarding the offensive participants at the Combine this year:

Quarterback

Why didn't Brock Osweiler throw at the Combine? Is this some kind of ploy in order to convince people that Osweiler is a top prospect who doesn't want to jeopardize his draft position by having to deal with undesirable receiving options such as Michael Floyd and Stephen Hill? Osweiler's tape doesn't suggest anything near a first-round draft grade; his decision to sit out suggests that he was either unprepared or unwilling to let talent evaluators actually see what he had. What are you hiding, Brock? My guess is plodding footwork and an inconsistent release point, but both of those aspects of quarterbacking seem like things that can be disguised during the pre-draft process; remember once upon a time when Tim Tebow decided to throw the ball the right way for a few months? The one-on-one, QB-to-WR drills would likely have benefited Osweiler's stock; it's not like he would have had to go through progressions or make decisions with the football. Everything would be just like Arizona State, where all Osweiler had to do was use the rocket launcher attached to his torso to power the ball to predetermined targets.

In Robert Griffin III's case, the decision to sit out the throwing session is understandable because his stock is at an all-time high after dominating a series of drills that have little application to the quarterback position; entry to the Hall of Fame is not determined by a vertical jump or 40-yard dash. It's also sneaky that Griffin would call himself a competitor and then opt to, well, not compete; he is a shrewd businessman and marketer. Very impressive interviews from someone who looks increasingly likely to be selected with the second overall pick; Griffin's style of play reminds me of Michael Vick, and that's not necessarily a bad thing.

Running Back

Bernard Pierce is one of the backs who boosted his stock in Indianapolis; didn't know he had 4.49 in him. His upright running style remains cause for concern, though. Robert Turbin runs with more authority than Pierce and makes defenses try harder to bring him down, but can we stop talking about his arms already? The last running back workout which caused everyone to get this giddy over a second or third-day pick was Chris Henry, although Turbin was far more productive as a collegiate athlete. Another power back who figures to draw interest in the same pick range as Pierce and Turbin is Chris Polk, although I'm curious to hear how his interviews went following some nasty rumors regarding his demeanor at the Senior Bowl.

I'm a little bit disappointed in how Dan Herron and Chris Rainey performed. Herron will most likely end up being undervalued as a hard-running, in-your-face short yardage back similar to BenJarvus Green-Ellis and Marion Barber after running a 4.66; Rainey's 40-yard dash was supposed to make us forget about his off-the-field behavior, but he ran a 4.45 at 5'8" and 180 pounds. He projects as a dynamic change-of-pace player in the NFL, but was expected to run a sizzling time in the 4.3 range.

Sorry Marc Tyler, but your interview under the influence and 4.76 are probably going to leave you disappointed.

Wide Receiver

Everyone's talking about Stephen Hill, and rightfully so. 6'4" and 215 with a 4.36? He's like Jon Baldwin without the character concerns, and is headed towards being a first-round pick in April. Mohamed Sanu is one of the guys he passed; Sanu has size and a well-rounded game, but most likely prevented himself from being a first-round pick by running a 4.67. His ability to separate will be called into question, and Sanu also has a history of drops. There's no way Hill is getting ahead of Michael Floyd though, especially after Floyd ran a 4.47. Floyd's character must be thoroughly investigated, but on the field, he's got a game that's eerily similar to Larry Fitzgerald's and will most likely end up going in the top ten or twelve picks. Let's stop all that nonsense about him being a late first-rounder.

This was an ugly year for receivers overall. Joe Adams ran a 4.55 after being hyped as a 4.3 guy and second-round pick, but that's not going to happen now. His teammate Greg Childs was one of the few who avoided a stock hit after posting the same time as Adams; Childs' medical evaluations will also play a significant role in determing his final draft position. Other wideouts who ran slower than expected were Juron Criner (4.68) and Kendall Wright (4.61); what happened, Kendall? Just when your stock was at an all-time high. Wright still deserves to go in the first round, though; he's faster than that. Dwight Jones drew some negative reviews regarding his hands and coachability, and has one of the most difficult-to-project stocks in the class; he could be Braylon Edwards, but it looks like he'll be selected after Tommy Streeter.

Alshon Jeffery came in at 216 pounds, and proceeded to do...nothing. He can lose the weight, but can he keep it off after the big payday? Great talent, but not someone I'd risk my job for. Someone will fall for it, though.

Tight End

There were three top tight end prospects going into the Combine, and I'm still confused as to how to rank them. Dwayne Allen was always more of a football player than a workout warrior, but that 4.89 is not going to help his stock; he'll go somewhere in the second round as an all-around option who has lined up as an H-Back, inline, as a flanker, in the slot, and split out wide. Orson Charles and Coby Fleener had an opportunity to impress and instead chose to sit out the 40. Michael Egnew is very intriguing physically at 6'5", 252; he ran a 4.62, but never seemed to have the type of impact I thought he would in games. Both Martin Rucker and Chase Coffman were more successful in Missouri's offense, and neither panned out.

Offensive Line

Riley Reiff's arms didn't measure as long as expected and he now faces concerns over whether he projects better to tackle or guard. He's a tackle, but not an elite one; a little bit of a waist-bender who doesn't play with a great deal of power. The two players aren't particularly similar, but he could end up carrying a grade similar to Anthony Castonzo as a solid-but-unspectacular long-term option on the end of the line. I can see why someone would draft Reiff in the top ten, but I'd rather land an impact player at another position. Mike Adams is more talented, but his character seems a little bit suspicious. We can stop talking about his bench press numbers, though; players with long arms rarely put up a ton of reps. Remember Nate Solder? Also, Zebrie Sanders killed his stock after looking unrefined and unathletic; weren't those supposed to be his strengths?

Peter Konz is still the best center in the draft; sorry David Molk, but you're going to be a fourth-round pick at best. Konz is a lock for the first round, and should end up going in the top twenty or so picks.
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Last edited by Matthew Jones : 03-01-2012 at 02:39 AM.
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