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Posted on: February 26, 2012 10:39 am
Edited on: February 26, 2012 1:23 pm
 

RG3's official 40 time is 4.41, Luck in 4.67

Griffin keeps wowing everyone in Indy. (Getty Images)
By Will Brinson

INDIANAPOLIS -- If you thought it was impossible for NFL people to fall more in love with Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III, you thought wrong. RG3 proved exactly why on Sunday, shredding the 40-yard dash and looking as fast as expected en route to running an official 4.41 40-yard dash.

Andrew Luck, not exactly known as a speedster, was perhaps more impressive with his unofficial 4.59 40 time, later changed to a 4.67 official time.

Griffin's time (both officially and unofficially) was the second-fastest by a quarterback since 2006, with only Reggie McNeal's time of 4.35 in 2006 beating him out. Russell Wilson of Wisconsin ran a 4.50 40 for the second-fastest time of the day, and Jordan Jefferson of LSU ran a 4.59.

The bump up from unofficial to official doesn't matter too much; Griffin got below 4.4 seconds on an unofficial time and that's all people around the league really need to see.

Griffin ran track at Baylor (and in high school) and his performance at the combine -- on the field, in front of the mic, wherever -- has only continued to cement his status as a lock for top-five status in the NFL draft.

It would be stunning, honestly, if RG3 fell further than the second pick. There's a strong belief that the Rams will hold an auction for the No. 2 pick and that someone will pay a hefty price to move up and grab Griffin.

Which is why folks in St. Louis should be enjoying this almost as much as teams who are chasing Griffin are.

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Posted on: February 26, 2012 2:56 am
Edited on: February 26, 2012 2:58 am
 

Owens catches 3 TD passes in IFL debut

Posted by Eye on Football staff

Terrell Owens, looking to get back into pro football, did just that Saturday night in his debut for the Allen (Texas) Wranglers of the Indoor Football League, the Dallas Morning News reports.

Owens caught three passes for 49 yards and three touchdowns in Allen's 50-30 opening victory at home over the Wichita Wild.

“I think I did all right,” Owens told the Morning News. “I’m just really trying to keep myself in shape for the most part. I feel like I’m healthy enough to play football. There’s not anything that I can’t do.”

The 38-year-old was on the field for 38 plays and was targeted five times in front of a crowd of 5,711. Wranglers owner Jon Frankel told the Morning News that the crowd was larger than the total home attendance for the 2011 season.

Owens hasn’t caught a pass in an NFL game since Dec. 12, 2010 and is using the IFL club as a hopeful springboard to an NFL tryout. He possesses an opt-out clause, in case an NFL franchise offers him a contract. However, after having a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his knee repaired last year, he hasn’t received much interest from NFL teams.

Facing some press and man-to-man coverage, Owens did not catch a pass in the third or fourth quarters.

 

Posted on: February 25, 2012 7:17 pm
 

Report: Pats 'likely' to franchise tag Wes Welker

Welkers will reportedly get the franchise tag from New England. (Getty Images)
By Will Brinson

We've mentioned Wes Welker's name several times over the past few weeks. Once as our pick for the top available free-agent wide receiver and previously as a player on whom the franchise tag would probably be used.

And that appears to be the case: according to a report from Adam Schefter of ESPN, the Patriots "are likely" to utilize the franchise tag and place it on Welker before the March 5 deadline, in order to prevent Welker from hitting the open market. If Welker signed his tender, he would receive a guaranteed, one-year salary of $9.5 million.

There was some belief that the Patriots wouldn't commit that much cash in guaranteed money to Welker and would let him test the market and then attempt to re-sign him at a lower rate than what Welker reportedly wants (it's believed he wants to be paid somewhere in the range of $14 to $15 million per year).

Ian Rapoport of the Boston Herald reported on Saturday that the logic behind the Patriots change of heart is that the market for Welker in free agency would be "incredibly active."

The last time New England used the franchise tag, things did not go smoothly. Logan Mankins, one of the defendants in the Lockout Lawsuit, held out for seven games after the labor crisis was resolved.

And there's a chance that a similar stand-off could occur with Welker if the two sides don't reach a long-term deal. Welker's critical to the Patriots offense -- he has 554 receptions and 6,105 receiving yards since 2007 -- but he would also like to be paid like one of the top wideouts in the game and given his age and previous injury history, the security of one more big contract.

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Posted on: February 25, 2012 6:13 pm
Edited on: February 25, 2012 6:18 pm
 

Devon Still: 'I'm the best DT in this draft'

Still doesn't lack for confidence. (US Presswire)
By Will Brinson

INDIANAPOLIS -- NFL prospects are, by the nature of the combine, forced into comparisons. The top group of guys at every position want to be the best. And many of them think they're the best. Like Devon Still, Penn State defensive tackle, who isn't interested in hearing all the hype surrounding LSU tackle Michael Brockers.

Still was asked how the defensive tackle class shapes up and said that "hands-down" he's the best DT in the draft.

"I think hands-down I'm the best defensive tackle in this draft," Still said. "I was able to take over a lot of games this season. Just the production I had -- I was able to disrupt plays even if I wasn't making the statistics."

Still was speaking specifically of Brockers. And Brockers, who met with the media later on during the day, was asked specifically about Still, but declined to make his opinion on the comparison known ... for know.

"If he said that, he said that," Brockers said. "I can’t really go back and comment on that statement. We’ll see Monday."

Monday's when the defensive tackles, defensive ends and linebackers take the field for the drills. For now, we'll simply have to rely on our own rankings: Still is the 10th-best player in the draft according to NFLDraftScout.com ... and Brockers is eighth.

Brockers is also the top defensive tackle in the draft. For now.

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Posted on: February 25, 2012 5:43 pm
Edited on: February 27, 2012 12:13 pm
 

Crennel: Chiefs 'crazy not to consider' Peyton

KC would be 'crazy not to consider' Manning, according to their coach. (Getty Images)
By Will Brinson

INDIANAPOLIS -- As we've noted throughout the week, there are lots of Peyton Manning-related questions for the players, coaches and general managers in Indy for the combine. Most of the comments resulting from the Peyton questions have resulted in vague answers of the ducking variety.

But not new Chiefs coach Romeo Crennel. Asked if there would be any consideration" for Manning, Crennel stated that he couldn't talk about someone on another roster ... and then proceeded to talk about someone on another team's roster.

"I'm not supposed to talk about anybody else's players and he's still a player with Indianapolis," Crennel said. "But with a talent like that I would be crazy not to consider it if he were available."

Crennel's boss, Scott Pioli, had been less forthcoming the day before.

"I would never talk about a player that's with another team, even if he's projected to be a free agent," Pioli said. "There are NFL tampering rules that prevent me from talking about that."

Crennel's comment was precisely what Pioli wanted to avoid: a direct comment about a specific player currently under contract with another team. An NFL spokesman told CBSSports.com that the league will not comment on potential tampering charges

Ed. Note: A previous version of this story contained a comment from the NFL that was the result of a miscommunication. We apologize for the error.

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Posted on: February 25, 2012 3:49 pm
Edited on: February 25, 2012 3:52 pm
 

LSU's Brockers up to 322 pounds for combine

Brockers somehow put on another 15 pounds before the combine. (Getty Images)
By Will Brinson

INDIANAPOLIS -- Between the time he came to LSU as a freshman in 2009 and the time he left after the 2011 season, Michael Brockers gained more than 50 pounds. (Although Brockers might try to tell you it's closer to 30.) Since the end of the season, he's gained another 15 pounds, clocking in at 322 pounds on Saturday at the combine.

But the weight is, as NFLDraftScout.com's eighth-ranked prospect put it on Saturday, "good." Brockers, who won't run the 40 or bench at the combine, said that the addition of any weight is primarily muscle-based.

"I guess I'm just blessed to have this body frame and still be able to be quick," Brockers said before acknowledging that the weight does slow him down some. "Oh yeah. When I went from 280 and I jumped up to 310 my 40 time went from like 4.8 to five-flat."

Brockers, who said he'd probably need to put on even more weight if he wanted to truly play defensive tackle in the NFL, is a guy analysts are fawning over at the combine. He's got the combination of size, speed, success, raw talent and ability to play multiple positions is enticing.

"I'm all over the board," Brockers said. "Since I played so many positions at LSU, I feel like I'm all down the line. I played the five [technique]. Not on passing situations, really more run situations."

Some teams to watch for Brockers are the Panthers at No. 9 overall; Carolina's definitely going defense and his biggest need  gave up the 25th most rushing yards per game in the NFL in 2011 and the eighth-most yards per carry in the NFL.

"I play the run, and I feel like I'm a force in the middle," Brockers said.

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Posted on: February 25, 2012 2:51 pm
 

2012 NFL Free Agency: Tight End Rankings

Shiancoe leads what is a fairly unimpressive group of free agent tight ends. (US Presswire)
By Josh Katzowitz

Leading up to the start of free agency on March 13, we're compiling the best 2012 NFL free agents by position. These are the tight ends.

Originally for this post, I listed Jermichael Finley for the No. 1 spot on this list. Obviously, he was an easy call, because he was so obviously the best tight end on the market. Now, though, he’s a signed a two-year deal with the Packers worth about $7.5 million per season, and therefore, the free agent tight end class of 2012 suddenly has grown awfully weak (let’s face it, it wasn’t all that great with Finley on top either).

The best tight ends in the game -- guys like New England’s Rob Gronkowski, New Orleans’ Jimmy Graham, San Francisco’s Vernon Davis and Finley -- are safely secure with their respective teams, and those teams who actually are looking for tight ends will have to draw on a list with very few, if any, top-line playmakers. Considering Gronkowski and Graham are helping to redefine the position, that’s not great news. Nevertheless, here we go.

1. Visanthe Shiancoe

Breakdown: Since catching 56 passes for 566 yards and 11 touchdowns when Brett Favre was throwing to him, Shiancoe’s production has decreased the past two seasons, especially in 2011 when he caught 36 passes for 409 yards and three touchdowns. Since he made $4.5 million last season, it doesn’t seem likely the Vikings will re-sign him. Especially since the Vikings seem high on Kyle Rudolph. But unless Favre is planning to return for another season (and let’s face it, we can never rule out this option), the value of Shiancoe isn’t as high as it once was.

Potential Landing Spots: Giants, Browns

2. Martellus Bennett


Breakdown: Though Bennett doesn’t have impressive receiving numbers, that’s not what he’s called upon to do. Instead, he’ll be one of the more valuable tight ends in free agency because he’s top-notch run blocker. Bennett oftentimes is overshadowed by his teammate Jason Witten, but his worth to the Cowboys is evident every time Bennett steps on the field (it also seems evident, though, that Bennett’s time in Dallas is finished). But in order to get paid tons of money, he needs to show he can catch the ball, and that’s something missing from his arsenal at this point.

Potential Landing Spots: Bears, Broncos, Jets, Bengals

3. Joel Dreessen


Breakdown: Dreessen is a solid tight end, and he’s been an important cog for the Texans as quarterback Matt Schaub, receiver Andre Johnson and running back Arian Foster have turned Houston into a consistent top-10 offense in the past three years. He’s not a big-time pass catcher, but he’s a solid run-blocker (as Foster, Ben Tate and Derrick Ward likely would attest). The Texans would like to keep their two tight end set, but assuming Owen Daniels can stay healthy, Dreessen becomes a little more expendable in Houston.
Fred Davis
Potential Landing Spots: Chiefs, Jets, Giants, Texans, Redskins

4. Fred Davis

Breakdown: He’s actually a pretty good candidate to be franchise-tagged by the Redskins (safety LaRon Landry (and his muscles!) is another candidate), and considering he caught 59 passes for 796 yards in 12 games last year in the best season of his career, Davis is a potential emerging star. Unfortunately for Davis, he was suspended for the final four games of the season for a failed drug test, and if he happens to fail another one, he’d be suspended for a year. So, there’s a little bit of a gray cloud following him around, and teams that need a tight end might shy away from a potential off-the-field problem like that.

Potential Landing Spots: Redskins

5. Jeremy Shockey


Breakdown: It was only four years ago when Shockey was considered an elite tight end, good for about 60 catches, 600 yards and six touchdowns per season from 2004-07. He’s been hurt (literally) by injuries, and after the Saints released him in 2010, he was solid enough  last season in Charlotte (though the team did like the toughness he brought to the squad). Shockey has talked about wanting to play in Miami -- he’s also talked apparently about retiring, though it seems like everybody is denying it at that point -- but with Anthony Fasano already entrenched as the Dolphins tight end, Shockey probably would have to be content to play as the No. 2 tight end. He made $4 million last season, and in order to return to the Panthers to play with tight end Greg Olsen, he’d probably have to take a paycut.

Potential Landing Spots: Dolphins, Giants, Panthers
Shockey

6. John Carlson


Breakdown: Carlson missed the entire season with a torn labrum in his shoulder, so there will be plenty of caution surrounding him, even though he’s caught at least 50 passes in two of his first three seasons in the league. Making matters worse, Carlson said in January that he’s not completely healed, estimating that he was only at 90 percent. “Obviously missing the season is not ideal,” he told the Tacoma News Tribune. “But that was the situation I was in. I feel really good. I didn’t beat my body up over the course of the season and my shoulder is repaired.” Carlson is also a solid run-blocker, and he seems like one of those guys who could move into the top-10 of tight ends around the league.

Potential Landing Spots:Seahawks, Rams

7. Jacob Tamme


Breakdown: Like most everybody inside the Indianapolis franchise, Tamme suffered without Peyton Manning around. Playing in place of the injured Dallas Clark, Tamme caught 67 passes for 631 yards and four touchdowns in 2010. Last year, those numbers dropped to 19 for 177 and one. Which obviously is not the kind of season you want to have in a contract year, but it reflects Tamme’s position on the team and, probably, in the league. He’s a solid backup, the No. 2 tight end in a two-tight end set. He has talent, but it’s unclear how much of that was reflected off Manning. He could be a low-risk, somewhat-high reward guy for the right team.

Potential Landing Spots: Colts, Dolphins, Broncos, Bengals

8. Honorable Mention


Unrestricted free agents: Scott Chandler, Reggie Kelly, Daniel Fells
Restricted free agents: None

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Posted on: February 25, 2012 2:27 pm
 

Orson Charles decides not to run 40-yard dash

Charles bailed on running the 40 Saturday. (Getty Images)
By Will Brinson

INDIANAPOLIS -- We declared Georgia tight end Orson Charles, the third-rated tight end prospect on NFLDraftScout.com's board, one of the winners from the second day of the combine in Indy, primarily because he beasted the bench press exercise.

And we expected to see Charles pick up some more momentum on Saturday by posting a fast 40 time, but he's decided not to run at the combine. According to Josh Norris of Rotoworld, Charles decided not to run because his training was delayed due to his decision to enter the draft.

Charles is participating in all the receiving drills and obviously did well for himself on Friday. And he'll run at Georgia's Pro Day, which is believed to take place some time in April (it's yet to be scheduled).

Still, seeing Charles lose some of the positive momentum he gained on Friday by not running on Saturday is a touch disappointing.

Especially given that, as Pete Prisco wrote earlier in the week, the 2012 tight end class is a shallow one, even though the revolution of tight ends as pass catchers and offensive weapons is underway across the league.

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com