Blog Entry

2012 NFL Combine Day 1: Winners and losers

Posted on: February 24, 2012 1:45 am
Whatever you say, Mr. Ryan. (Getty Images)
By Will Brinson

INDIANAPOLIS -- Forgive us for not primarily focusing on draft-related players in this edition of knee-jerk judgments. But on the first day of the NFL combine, there were relatively few players of note to talk to; none of the interior linemen made appearances with the media, there were some lonely kickers and punters present, and not all of the tight ends showed up.

Most of the media sessions were spent chatting up various general manages and coaches, every single one of whom was asked about Peyton Manning and/or Andrew Luck. Or their own quarterback.


Andrew Luck: Luck isn't even in Indianapolis yet (that we know of) and he's already getting swooned over, as Mike Freeman wrote earlier on Thursday. The only flaw that people can find is his arm strength, and even that's a stretch. More good news is that his former coach, Jim Harbaugh, thinks he'll handle the pressure of all the expectations surrounding him just fine. Don't expect the hypemobile to drop speed between now and late April.

St. Louis Rams
: On Thursday night, we told a St. Louis radio station that Jeff Fisher would be sitting back and smoking a cigar by the time Robert Griffin III finished running his 40-yard dash. That's because Fisher and the Rams will be holding an auction for Griffin, the clear-cut, second-best (if second ...) quarterback in the draft. Everyone in Indy's glowing about the kid and he hasn't arrived yet either. And everyone interested should get involved. If the Browns, Dolphins and Redskins don't get involved, they're doing themselves a disservice, because RG3 is going to good in the NFL. Make the move, pay the picks and reap the benefits. Fisher's willing to do just that.

Green Bay Packers: There seems to be a lot of speculation about teams wanting Packers backup quarterback Matt Flynn around Indy right now. (The Browns, Dolphins and Seahawks could all be interested parties.) Now that Green Bay's locked up Jermichael Finley for two more years, they can, if they want, apply the franchise tag to Flynn and then trade him for the best offer they get from one of the interested teams. As long as they get more than whatever the compensatory pick would be, they win in this deal.

Pittsburgh Steelers: Shortly after Kevin Colbert stated that he wanted wide receiver Mike Wallace to retire as a Steeler, Pittsburgh managed to restructure Ben Roethlisberger's contract. Making Ben more expensive in the future might not help in the future, but it means right now the Steelers can keep Mike Wallace. The No. 1 wideout in Pittsburgh's gotten flak as the heat's cranked up on the possibility of him leaving, but the fact remains that he's the team's best wideout. Antonio Brown is a stud -- the only guy who we know that loves Brown more than we do is fantasy expert Dave Richard -- and he'll keep improving. But Brown doesn't become team MVP without Wallace keeping top cornerbacks away from his side of the field.

LaRon Landry: Holy muscles, Batman. Did he hijack Ryan Braun's FedEx package or something? We kid, we kid. (But no, seriously: we're joking.) On the first day of young football playing fellas flexing their muscles for the public, Landry stole the show with his ripped Twitter pics.


Jonathan Martin: Forgive us for not loving everyone out of Stanford, or for not giving Martin credit for having confidence. But the athletic offensive tackle won't be participating in most of the drills at the combine, because of food poisoning. (We asked him what he ate, and he didn't remember, but said it was in Arizona. Fear not, consumers of spicy shrimp cocktails.) Martin also repeatedly said he's the best tackle available in the draft, and said "without a doubt" he's better than Matt Kalil. Competition is fun, and confidence is good, but we're not sure why he's talking a big game if he's not participating in the drills.

Mark Sanchez: As Clark Judge noted, "Sanchez should be worried." That's because Rex Ryan came out and made no bold guarantees (a staple of the combine for Ryan) regarding the job security of his starting quarterback. It's OK for Rex to downplay the interest the Jets could have in Peyton Manning; Manning's not a free agent yet, and there are roughly 25 NFL teams that will at least discuss what Manning could do to their franchise. But the lack of guarantees for Sanchez during a tumultuous offseason should be concerning for the Jets current starting quarterback.

Kevin Kolb: Like Sanchez, Kolb didn't exactly get ringing endorsements from the guys who cut his checks. Ken Whisenhunt and Rod Graves didn't explicitly say they'd think about dumping Kolb (due a roster bonus on March 17) if Manning became available, but they sure didn't slam the door on the idea. 

Tight Ends: This is the new position that's redefining the NFL, right? Well, um, here's the problem (as also noted by's own Pete Prisco): where were these guys during their big combine day? Rob Gronkowski was the story during the Super Bowl, and for a week after. Jimmy Graham shattered records. Vernon Davis was the guy who made Alex Smith great. And Orson Charles, the third-rated tight end by, said he's happy to sit and learn behind someone like Tony Gonzalez?Love the attitude. Love it, and Gonzo's the man. But if you're a coming into college and someone tries to steer you away from playing tight end in college, don't listen to them. Or listen to them and stop playing basketball?

Stevie Johnson: We've thought he'd get the franchise tag from Buffalo at minimum. But in listening to Bills head coach Chan Gailey, that's just not happening. Or it might; but Gailey's description of Johnson was quintessential "we're sorry to lose Stevie." He said he wouldn't miss Stevie until Stevie was gone and then cited the "business" of the game. Those aren't the words of a coach who's pumped to be celebrating a new contract for his franchise wideout.

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Since: Mar 4, 2012
Posted on: March 7, 2012 11:00 am

2012 NFL Combine Day 1: Winners and losers

On the Steelers, they had to do the cuts they did, there's no getting around it they are getting older as a team. They have to get younger and faster speicially on the defence side of the ball. And on the combine is there ever any Winners really !! The combine in my oppion does tell you what kind've football player they are, it might tell you how fast they are and if they lied about there height. But other than that you wont know how good a player is tell he's in front of you on the field in pads!

Since: Apr 15, 2008
Posted on: February 24, 2012 2:45 pm

2012 NFL Combine Day 1: Winners and losers

 Win/Win Redskins & Jeff Fischer. If Fischer trades the pick Rams get a lot of picks, and Skins get RGIII. If Rams trade Bradford Redskins get their quarterback, and again Rams get a bunch of picks. Either way Skins get a great QB, and Rams can rebuild. Redskins & Rams are the best trading partners at this point.

Since: Oct 20, 2011
Posted on: February 24, 2012 12:45 pm

2012 NFL Combine Day 1: Winners and losers

BnnerCa, i guess you did not notice Fisher's total disdain for the run first, throw last QB when he had Vince Young in Tennessee, don't believe the Rams will be trading Bradford anywhere. They need to get some competent recievers and an o-line that won't get the QB killed.

Since: Sep 2, 2006
Posted on: February 24, 2012 11:50 am

2012 NFL Combine Day 1: Winners and losers

RG111 would be the PERFECT fit for the Redskins. He has the abilities that the Shanahans thought they had in John Beck. He is great at throwing on the move. Kyle loves to roll out his QB's. The 'Skins' have a very shaky offensive line so his abilty to scramble would be invaluable. He will be good for maybe as many as 3 or 4 extra first downs per game because of his legs. He sees the field excellently. He has a young, solid trio of RB's. He has a possible top receiver in Hankerson and a deep threat with Armstrong.

Since: Dec 19, 2007
Posted on: February 24, 2012 10:56 am

2012 NFL Combine Day 1: Winners and losers

I'm not sure RG III is a fit with Redskins - they don't run a West Coast offense - Cleveland does and Seattle would make it work.  Dolphins are in a bind for QB no matter what - best hope for Fins is that Peyton returns to 90% and signs there.

The cost in picks is greater for Washington and Seattle - and then again how far down do the RAMS want to go.  Cleveland's #4 pick is a good spot for RAMS.  Then Washington at #6 - Seattle might have to part with a player plus picks.  Dolphins will have to sacrifice too much.  They are a Peyton Manning or Matt Flynn away from being competitive in AFC East.

But for sure the RAMS make out big time even if they do the untalked about - trade Bradford to the above mentioned Brown, Fins, Skins, Seattle for their #1 picks plus.

RAM fans do you trade Bradford to Cleveland for their 2 #1s and start over?  Think RG III indoors on turf for 8 games plus outdoors in Seattle, Arizona and San Francisco for 3 more gaves a year in warmer climates.  That leaves 5 games in unkown locations per year.

How exciting for RAMS fans next year with Fischer - RG III and a couple of free agents like Vincent Jackson and 2 more draft picks at interior O-line.  Sounds exciting to me!!!!

Since: Jun 20, 2007
Posted on: February 24, 2012 10:35 am

2012 NFL Combine Day 1: Winners and losers

if they want, apply the franchise tag to Flynn and then trade him for the best offer they get from one of the interested teams. 

What if they don't get an offer and they franchise him?  You think they are going to pay a backup 14.4 million???  That's a risky proposition

Since: Jan 16, 2012
Posted on: February 24, 2012 10:02 am

2012 NFL Combine Day 1: Winners and losers

The business side of the NFL dictates that Stevie Johnson is too immature to get the franchise tag from the Bills......same with DeSean Jackson and the Eagles.

Since: Sep 11, 2007
Posted on: February 24, 2012 9:39 am

2012 NFL Combine Day 1: Winners and losers


Say it ain't so!  Writers taking things out of context?  Now you might have gone and destroyed any faith in the media I had left (were it not for the fact that I did NOT have any faith left in the media in the first place)!

Since: Aug 30, 2007
Posted on: February 24, 2012 8:39 am

2012 NFL Combine Day 1: Winners and losers

 If the , and don't get involved, they're doing themselves a disservice, because RG3 is going to good in the NFL.
Complete speculation.

Since: Jun 21, 2007
Posted on: February 24, 2012 7:53 am

2012 NFL Combine Day 1: Winners and losers

About Stevie Johnson.  God, some writers are so blatant about taking things out of context.  Gailey was not implying at all that the Bills do not want him. In fact, if it's the same interview where he mentioned the "business" part of the game,  he actually cited several times that the Bills would love to keep him, and that he is very important to the Bills.  He was just making a point that during negotiations, it's smart not to act too needy when talking about any player.

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