Tag:2012 Combine
Posted on: February 28, 2012 7:21 pm
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2012 NFL Combine: Full combine winners and losers

RG3 stole the show en route to helping St. Louis. (Getty Images)
By Will Brinson

We knocked out a slew of Winners and Losers posts while we were at the combine, and now that the combine's all wrapped-up, it only made sense to do a final one.

It also makes sense to point out that being a "winner" here doesn't mean that someone will be "a great NFL player" or that someone is "worthy of a top pick." It simply means that they separated themselves from the crowd and have boosted their momentum in the eyes of people who follow the draft.
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Winners

Stephen Hill: A bunch of folks were kind enough to have me on the radio while I was in Indy and Hill was the name I kept giving them: he played in Paul Johnson's offense at Georgia Tech, so there's limited exposure for him as a pass-catcher. But he's 6'4" and runs a 4.36 40, looked athletic in the catching drills at the combine and is already an unselfish player who's a proficient blocker. He's not in the first-round group with some other wideouts like Michael Floyd, Reuben Randle and Justin Blackmon, but he's got a shot at making that happen. At the very worst, he's probably pushed himself up into becoming a second-round pick if he performs well at GT's pro day.

Dontarie Poe: Poe was the big winner during Monday's defensive linemen and linebacker workouts, and he's one of the top gainers in terms of draft stock from the combine. There are definitely questions about his production at Memphis (30 starts, 21.5 tackles for a loss, five sacks and 98 total tackles in three seasons) and whether or not he can produce against elite competition. But he dominated the combine, running the 40 in a blazing (for a 346-pound guy) 4.98 seconds, benching 225 pounds 44 times and looking surprisingly athletic for a man of his size. It's entirely possible he could end up being taken in the top half of the first round now.

St. Louis Rams: Robert Griffin III would be a worthy candidate for this spot, because he wowed everyone with his performance on the field and electric personality at the podium. He's going to be the second player taken in the draft. (The only way he's not is if he goes first.) And that's where the Rams benefit -- there's already a report that the Redskins would give St. Louis two first-round picks (2012 and 2013) and a third- and fourth-round pick in 2012 to land Griffin. Which means the Rams, who have needs at many different areas, are in a position to get one of the biggest draft-day hauls in NFL history.

Josh Robinson: Robinson, the 139th-ranked prospect by NFLDraftScout.com, really cranked up his stock during Tuesday's workouts. He led all players at the 2012 combine with a 4.33 40 time, he finished first in the three-cone drill among defensive backs with 6.55 seconds, he finished first in the broad jump among defensive backs, and he finished second among defensive backs with the vertical jump. Rob Rang's actually expected Robinson to work out well, and the underclassman was motivated by the draft advisory board saying he wouldn't be picked in the first three rounds. He's doing good work to prove them wrong.

Morris Claiborne: Claiborne is the consensus top cornerback on almost everyone's draft board. And after Tuesday's workouts, that's even more the case. Janoris Jenkins beat Claiborne in the 40 and Dre Kirkpatrick beat Claiborne in the vertical jump, but Claiborne's the better overall prospect based on Tuesday's performance. Oh yeah: and he has no significant red flags. Jenkins has a pile of them (though he talked about them honestly, which is a plus) and Kirkpatrick's answers to his recent marijuana arrest should prompt further questions from teams.

Losers

Kendall Wright: Wright came into the combine as a top-three wideout on almost every board. With Justin Blackmon not working out, Wright had a shot to potentially even leap to the top of the wideout lists, particularly if he blazed his 40. But he didn't, running a 4.61, and possibly costing himself a shot in the first round. The good news is that Wright's still gets to perform at Baylor's pro day, where he'll have a pile of scouts on hand to view RG3. But in a year with a weak wideout class, Wright really didn't take advantage of an opportunity given to him at the combine.

Vontaze Burflict: We mentioned it on Monday afternoon, but it Bears repeating, because Burflict is almost certainly the biggest loser of the entire combine. There was plenty of discussion, based on Burflict's play on the field, that he could be a first-round pick. That's laughable at this point, and it's possible that Burflict could even go undrafted. He ripped his old coaches, he ran the slowest linebacker 40 time and he didn't look like the elite talent people claim to have seen on tape.

Michael Brockers: The hype surrounding Brockers hit a fever pitch after the LSU defensive lineman weighed in at 322 pounds, 16 LBs higher than when he left college. That's also 80 pounds higher than when he enrolled at FSU. But then on Monday, Brockers looked shockingly unathletic during the various workouts, and certainly has "plenty of red flags" for teams to examine between now and the draft. If he can push his stock back up, he's still a candidate to land as high as the Panthers at No. 9 overall, but it's possible that without a strong pro day, his JPP-like boom-or-bust status could end up scaring away a lot of teams.

NFL Trends: That's a shorter way of saying "teams want big, athletic, pass-catching tight ends and also want safeties who can cover them." Because that's a major trend we saw in 2011, with the development of Rob Gronkowski and Jimmy Graham. There are two problems that became clear at the combine. One, there are not a lot of really talented tight ends. (Pete Prisco blames college football.) If someone reaches for one of the top three tight ends -- Orson Charles, Coby Fleener and Dwayne Allen -- it could be a big-time reach. The same goes for the safety class which, as Rang wrote on Tuesday, is particularly weak. Mark Barron out of Alabama is a real talent but couldn't work out, and Notre Dame out of Harrison Smith didn't blow anyone away either.

Jonathan Martin: As previously mentioned, Martin declared himself the best tackle in the draft ... and then promptly came out flat in his workouts. In fact, it's unlikely that anyone actually considers him the second-best tackle in the draft, with both Matt Kalil and Riley Reiff. 40 times aren't really important for tackles (relative to other positions), but Martin didn't look strong and he didn't look like the upside-riddled offensive lineman who spent his career protecting Andrew Luck.

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Posted on: February 27, 2012 8:45 pm
Edited on: February 28, 2012 11:33 am
 

2012 NFL Combine: Monday's winners and losers

Poe looked light for a 348-pound beast. (US Presswire)
By Will Brinson

The media section of the combine is done and we've made our way back from Indy. But that doesn't mean there aren't still judgments to make. On Monday, the defensive linemen and linebackers worked out on the field and, generally speaking, it was a good day for some guys. But not for everyone. Let's examine.

Winners

Dontari Poe: The Memphis defensive lineman's stock is skyrocketing right now. Poe was great in interviews over the weekend, ran a 4.98 40 time, led all defensive linemen with 44 reps on the 225-pound bench and had a respectable 29.5 vertical. A veteran offensive-line coach told our colleage Bruce Feldman that he took plays off, but "has definite first-round talent." Poe was previously considered likely to land in the latter part of the first round, but with the Panthers desperate to improve their run defense and pass rush by plugging a powerful defensive tackle in the middle of their defensive line, Poe's a sneaky candidate for a top-10 pick.

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Melvin Ingram: Ingram's our top outside-linebacker prospect and currently the 16th-overall prospect in the draft. That shouldn't change after his Monday combine workouts. Ingram ran a 4.79 40, benched 28 reps and flashed athleticism with a 34.5 vertical jump and a 109 inch broad jump. Ingram also surprised in his interview portion; we'd spoken with him on the phone and weren't particularly impressed, but he was quite engaging with the media on Saturday. Ingram could quite easily push himself into the top-15 of the draft.

Luke Kuechley: Did you know that last year, the Boston College linebacker had seven games with 15 tackles or more? His lowest output of the season was nine tackles in BC's final game, but he managed to pick up a 45-yard interception for a touchdown. And that was coming after he injured his elbow late in the season against NC State. Keuchley was fantastic at the podium Sunday, and even better on Monday. He ran a 4.58 official 40 time, the third-fastest time for all linebackers. He pressed 225 pounds 27 times. He had the third-highest vertical jump at 27.5 inches. And he had the fifth-highest long jump at 123 inches. If the only knock on Keuchley was his athleticism, what's there to dislike now?

Mychal Kendricks: Kendricks rated as the sixth-best inside linebacker on NFLDraftScout.com's prospect board coming into the combine. His stock got a huge boost as he dominated Monday's combine workouts for linebackers. Kendricks finished first in the broad jump (127 inches), first in the vertical jump (39.5 inches), first in the 40 (4.47) and he also benched 225 pounds 24 times. His workout in Indy could very well make him the third inside linebacker off the board come April, behind only Kuechley and Alabama's Dont'a Hightower.

Nick Perry: The USC defensive end, ranked as the No. 2 DE by NDS, is tagged with the while "one-year wonder" concern and there are also issues with him potentially taking plays off. Before the combine, he was pegged as a potential late first-round pick, but he could climb draft boards between now and April. He was faster than UNC's Quinton Coples in the 40, he benched more reps and he finished with the best measurements of all defensive linemen on both the vertical jump as well as the broad jump. In a weak defensive-end class, Perry could lock himself into the first round with a strong push towards the draft.

Losers

Vontaze Burflict: When listing the weekend winners and losers from the combine, we noted "Arizona State" as a loser. Well, Burflict, the most notable Sun Devil prospect, really separated himself on Monday. And not in a good way: Burflict ran an official 5.09 40 time, which was 12th-slowest among all defensive linemen and linebackers. He was the only linebacker who topped five seconds on the 40, and as Feldman reported Monday, one scout said simply, "I wouldn't touch him." Rob Rang thinks he could be falling to into "third-day" territory for the draft.

Quinton Coples: Coples had a decent 40 time, but he was unimpressive on the broad jump (109 inches), the vertical jump (31.5 inches) and the bench press (just 19 reps). Coples is a guy that's taken heat for his on-field hustle, so seeing him come in to the combine motivated and dominate teams would've been a reason to allay some of those fears. Instead, Coples is proving that this defensive end class simply isn't that impressive.

Michael Brockers: Yesterday, Brockers was the big winner. Then Monday happened, and Brockers just didn't look like the athlete we expected him to be. As Rang noted, Brockers has "plenty of red flags" and looked surprisingly slow during his 40-yard dash, clocking a snail-like 5.36. Brockers joked on Saturday that he's seen his 40 time dip since adding weight, but he never mentioned anything about a 5.3-second range. Expecting him to blow up the workouts with his freaky athleticism, we were prepared to plop him into the No. 9 spot in our next draft to the Panthers. Now, that's much less certain.

Anyone Who Wants Robert Griffin: The Browns, Dolphins and Redskins are the three most popular landing spots for RG3. But the Seahawks and the Chiefs -- and the ever-popular "mystery team" -- are out there as well. In short, with RG3 now gone from Indy, the market is even crazier than it was before he got there. Griffin, in our mind, will go No. 2 overall. There's a 99.5 percent chance, with the only way he doesn't go second being a 0.5 percent chance that the Colts bypass Andrew Luck. And when he does, it's going to cost whoever got there a pile of picks to do so.

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Posted on: February 26, 2012 6:40 pm
Edited on: February 26, 2012 6:41 pm
 

2012 NFL Combine: Weekend winners and losers

Brockers stock is climbing quickly, and he hasn't even worked out yet. (US Presswire)
By Will Brinson

INDIANAPOLIS -- We broke down the winners and losers from Thursday and Friday's action -- primarily media work, -- already. Check them here.

Now let's make some knee-jerk reactions to what happened on Saturday and Sunday at the combine, when actual drills that may not actually determine whether or not someone's good at football took place.

Winners

Michael Brockers: Brockers isn't the number one defensive tackle on Devon Still's list, but Still isn't the guy evaluating the talent and making the picks in the upcoming draft. And the people who are evaluating the talent and making the picks are starting to fall in love with Brockers as a high-end talent with a ton of upside. (The NFL Network's Mike Mayock called him "special" and believes he'll end up being a "top 10-to-12 pick.") Clark Judge wrote on Saturday that Brockers is the next boom-or-bust draftee and we tend to agree with him. (The theory is he can be the next Jason Pierre-Paul; if you want to see prescience at work, check out this Prisco piece from 2010.) He's gained 80 (!) pounds since he was a freshman in college, and it's all "good" weight. He's a physical freak. And the possibility of boom is going to ramp up his draft stock.

Matt Flynn: Mike McCarthy said of Flynn: "It's his time to play." And word on the street is that the Packers won't be using their franchise tag on Flynn, primarily because it goes against the spirit of the franchise-tag rule (you're not supposed to use it with the intention of trading it). So it appears that Flynn will hit the open market and be free to sign with whatever team can't make a move up to grab Robert Griffin III with the Rams No. 2 pick.

Stephen Hill: The gigantic (6'4") Georgia Tech wide receiver wasn't even a top-five wide receiver in this class heading into the combine. And he's still behind guys like Justin Blackmon and Kendall Wright. But his stock is climbing, and it's climbing quickly. Hill looked good on pass-catching drills, and he ran the fastest 40-time of any offensive player at the combine (4.36 seconds). Hill's stock was low primarily because he played college in Paul Johnson's offense, which netted him a whopping 59 catches. In his college career! Of course, 28 of those came in 2011, when he averaged a mind-blowing 29.3 yards per catch.

Andrew Luck: It's not that Luck needed to boost his stock in the eyes of anyone. He's Andrew Luck and everyone knows he's good. But he beat out Robert Griffin III in the broad jump and he displayed a lot of athleticism that many folks forgot he had in the wake of the swooning over the 2011 Heisman winner out of Baylor. The combine represented a lot of potential downside for Luck, simply because the expectations are already so jacked up. Luck's 4.59 unofficial 40 time might sound familiar, since it's the exact same time that Cam Newton posted last year.

Kirk Cousins -- Cousins is one of the many outsiders looking in when it comes to a quarterback class that really revolves around Luck and Griffin. That's understandable. And the Michigan State grad didn't exactly make a mark as the lock-job third guy in the class over the weekend, as that honor still belongs to Ryan Tannehill. But he did make a great impression on everyone in Indy, looking sharp in the throwing drills and sounding like a 10-year NFL veteran in interviews.

Losers

Tight Ends: No one truly dominated the tight-end workouts on Saturday, but here's the thing: the potential draft picks actually have upside. You know who doesn't have upside? The list of guys on our colleague Josh Katzowitz' free-agent tight-end rankings. Many teams already have talented tight ends. But given the way that the NFL's going -- it's the year of the tight end! -- teams are going to want and land the next difference-making tight end. Is that guy in this group, which Mayock called "a bad class"? Ehhhhh. But as Pete Prisco recently wrote guys like Clemson's Dwayne Allen, Stanford's Coby Fleener and Georgia's Orson Charles will be "in demand" come draft day anyway.

Arizona State: First there was Brock Osweiler (we prefer the nickname "Brockweiler") not throwing and not running and generally not doing much. He did talk to the press and say that he gets stereotyped for being 6'7" quarterback, which, if you play at ASU, is like being stereotyped for being a billionaire. Or Jon Hamm. Then there's Vontaze Burflict, who declared himself the best linebacker in the draft ... right before he threw his coaches under the bus by saying they "messed [him] up."

Chris Rainey: Rainey's a burner, no question. That was evident when he ran the second-fastest time 40 time for running backs at the combine. Except his time was 4.45, which more than three-tenths of a second slower than Rainey said he'd run. And that's not a lot of time. But Rainey said he would "definitely" get in the 4.1 range. Nevermind that it's really hard to do that, what does it say about a guy when he's already whiffing on guarantees, before he even gets in the NFL?

Janoris Jenkins: Honesty is a good thing, especially with NFL teams who will find out about players no matter what. But that doesn't mean that Jenkins looked good when he told reporters that he has three arrests on his records and four kids at the age of 23. And even though he said he's done with marijuana "forever," there are going to be a lot more questions coming his way from teams. At least those that still even have him on their draft board.

Wideouts: It wasn't a good weekend for the wideouts, Hill excepted. Justin Blackmon didn't work out, Kendall Wright looked slow and/or was just asked about RG3, and while Michael Floyd addressed his off-field issues, it's not like he looked so sharp that everyone simply forgot about them.  This might help the Bears and teams that are actually looking for a wideout, but it's looking a lot more risky to invest an early first-round pick in a wide receiver this year.

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Posted on: February 26, 2012 5:34 pm
 

Kirkpatrick on bust: 'Wrong place and wrong time'

Kirkpatrick had to explain his arrest at the combine. (Getty Images)
By Will Brinson

INDIANAPOLIS -- Dre Kirkpatrick made headlines shortly after the BCS title game when he was arrested and charged with possession of marijuana while in Bradenten, Florida. Earlier this month, those charges were dropped.

Kirkpatrick, who was in the passenger side of the car being driven by former Alabama football player Chris Rogers at the time of the arrest, was asked about the bust at the NFL combine and said it was a "wrong place and wrong time" thing.

"It was me being in the wrong place at the wrong time," Kirkpatrick said. "The guy that left the marijuana in the car turned himself in and didn’t want to put me in a bad situation. He signed an affidavit saying that I was unaware of the marijuana being in the car and I was unaware of it."

We're going to gloss over some of the inconsistencies here -- Who gets in a car with someone they don't know in a strange city? How did you not know a guy who played on the same football team as you did? Why does the police report indicate that Kirkpatrick and Rogers were both "under the influence of drugs"? -- in favor of focusing on another Kirkpatrick quote.

This quote came in response to being asked if he'd had any touchdowns scored on him in 2011.

“One," Kirkpatrick said. "The Florida game. It was the first one I have ever given up."

Ha, ha. Ever. That's funny. Because, you know, it means for the entirety of Kirkpatrick's life. And surely that's not right. Turns out, it's true.

"Yes, sir. Ever," Kirkpatrick said.

The play in question was an Andre Debose 65-yard touchdown catch from John Brantley on the Gators first play from scrimmage.

“He ran a fade route on me and I was playing over aggressive," Kirkpatrick said. "Just didn’t measure my steps."

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Posted on: February 26, 2012 1:07 pm
 

Coples attempts to explain issues with hustle

Is Coples effort an issue. (US Presswire)
By Will Brinson

INDIANAPOLIS -- There are lots of questions about whether or not UNC defensive end Quinton Coples gives 100 percent on every play. And Coples was asked those questions almost immediately when he stepped to the podium in Indy for his combine media interview.

His logic for explaining away the perceived slacking that scouts and teams and people who watched football attached to his game is pretty outstanding, provided that you appreciate people who use insane excuses.

"I can see where it can look like that on film, but overall I felt like I did the right job and did the right thing sacrificing for my team and that was important to me at the time," Coples said. "I think I have long strides and things of that nature so it may come fast to me in the game and film will slow it down a little bit. People have their own opinions and some people don't even think it was a problem."

Think about that: Coples is so fast and so in-tune to the game of football, that the game simply starts to crawl for him and when you watch film it appears as if he's not trying. Except here's the problem: that's not how it works.

If the game slows down for you, you look faster. Not slower. A sign of a supernatural understanding of the game isn't "moving around lethargically," it's "doing things before anyone could imagine you doing them."

Here's the issue though: it's hard to blame Coples for not trying too hard his senior season. He was busted by the NCAA, eventually cleared, moved to defensive tackle for Marvin Austin, watched his coach get fired and spent his entire season answering questions not about his skill as a football player, but rather about potential NCAA penalties and UNC's issues off the field.

His effort is definitely an issue, and this won't be the last time Coples has to discuss it. But it's also kind of hard to blame him for checking out a little early, given everything that UNC went through.

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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 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 2:27 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