Tag:2011 Combine
Posted on: February 27, 2011 2:38 pm
Edited on: February 27, 2011 6:32 pm

Mallett, Locker impress in 1st throwing session

Posted by Rob Rang

As bad as Ryan Mallett's press conference may have been yesterday, his performance in Sunday's throwing session at the Combine should quiet some of his critics.

Mallett effortless passing made him the unquestioned star of the first session, outshining the likes of Jake Locker, Andy Dalton and several others. Cam Newton, Christian Ponder and Ricky Stanzi are some of the big names that make up the second group.

Mallett's rocket arm and good accuracy was especially evident on the tougher throws such as the deep out, fly and post-corner routes. Perhaps just as importantly -- considering the character questions that continue to dog him -- was his big smile and obvious camaraderie with the other quarterbacks and receivers throughout the workout. Of all the players throwing and catching, Mallett looked like he was having the most fun.

Washington's Jake Locker also enjoyed a strong performance. As I've said on numerous occasions in the past, Locker is as frustrating to scout as any quarterback I've ever known. He struggled early on with his accuracy some of the simpler throws -- including the throws over the middle to receivers during the gauntlet drill and the curl routes early in his throwing session.

As the session continued, however, Locker got hot, nailing the deep ball and the post-corner -- generally considered the most difficult throw quarterbacks are asked to make here. These two routes require a combination of arm strength, touch and, of course, accuracy.

Unfortunately, not every quarterback enjoyed a strong performance Sunday. TCU's Andy Dalton's average arm strength led to many of his passes fluttering, affecting his accuracy. Dalton's stock shouldn't slip much from his mediocre performance. He is a quarterback who relies on timing, and, of course, he had none with a group of receivers who he was largely meeting for the first time today.

Fresno State's Ryan Colbun and Texas A&M's Jerrod Johnson struggled mightily. Each were consistently inaccurate on the variety of throws the coaches put them through.

This entry was cross-posted from Rob Rang's NFL Draft Blog. For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed.
Posted on: February 27, 2011 1:41 pm
Edited on: February 27, 2011 6:47 pm

Taylor, Locker are fastest QBs at combine

Posted by Eye on Football Staff

INDIANAPOLIS -- As expected, the two fastest quarterbacks at the NFL combine were Tyrod Taylor and Jake Locker.

Taylor led all quarterbacks with a 4.45 and Locker posted the second-best time with a 4.52.

Colin Kaepernick (4.53), Josh Portis (4.56) and Cam Newton (4.58) rounded out the top five. Blaine Gabbert, top-rated "traditional" quarterback, clocked in at 4.61.

Those times are unofficial as of right now -- NFL.com's Frank Tadych points out that if Taylor's time holds up, it would be the second-fastest at the combine since 2000 and Locker's would be the fourth fastest.

Considering how far Locker's stock fell over the past year, it's pretty impressive to see how quickly he's rebounding once getting in front of NFL execs.

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Posted on: February 27, 2011 11:07 am

Julio Jones burns up the combine 40 track

Posted by Eye on Football Staff

INDIANAPOLIS -- A.J. Green is by far and away the consensus top wide receiver in the 2011 NFL Draft, but Julio Jones' scorching (albeit unofficial) 4.39 40 time on Sunday will have people talking about a possible swap.

Green wasn't so shabby himself, running a 4.48 and then a 4.51.

Jones also posted a 4.41 on his other run, and probably vaulted himself into the top-10 of the draft in April with his blazing times -- Rob Rang and Chad Rueter had him going 14th and 10th, respectively, but any hope by the Rams that Jones could slip to them at that 14th spot has probably disappear.

Jones' speed probably isn't enough to warrant pushing him ahead of Green on a lot of draft boards, but it's certainly going to make things interesting in a draft class that's got some talent at wide receiver.

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Posted on: February 26, 2011 11:46 pm

Combine scene: Saturday

Posted by Andy Benoit

INDIANAPOLIS -- The show was stolen Saturday by Cam Newton (stolen is probably the wrong word – the media was more than happy to give it to him). The Heisman Trophy winning quarterback was extremely well coached and well prepared – and he benefitted greatly from following Arkansas quarterback Ryan Mallett at Podium C (Mallett’s press conference was essentially a train wreck).

Newton’s stock will likely rise after this weekend, though talking to people in the know, there are concerns about his accuracy. He has a rifle of an arm, at least. But the belief is that Newton’s running game will not translate to the NFL the way many expect. Thus, his precision passing becomes all the more important.

Earlier in the afternoon, I had an opportunity to meet with a highly respected front office exec. One of the most interesting things that came out of the conversation was his assertion that the tight end position is facing extinction. He named another big-time exec who believes tight ends will soon go the way of the fullback. This isn’t necessarily shocking; many can look at the game and figure that the No. 3 receiver will soon become a cog in every starting lineup. But don’t be surprised if this change occurs quicker than expected.

Friday night I joined the Football Outsiders crew at Scotty’s Brewhouse near Conseco Fieldhouse. Peter King (one of the greatest people in the industry, by the way) was holding court with a room packed full of hardcore football fans. George Atallah, NFLPA spokesman and Domonique Foxworth, the Ravens’ player rep, were both there. The media has been saying for months that fans don’t care about the details and legalese of the labor strife– they just want to know when football will be played. But if last night is any indication, this is simply not true. Fans care very much about the labor strife. The evening at Scotty’s lasted two and a half hours. The first hour of the Q and A was solely about the labor situation. And all of the Q’s were coming from fans.

Albert Breer of NFL Network was on hand. Interestingly enough, just about everything he told the room seemed to be favorable to the players. Foxworth was openly surprised (and appreciative) by Breer’s candor. It put a mild damper on the whole evening hearing about how a lockout is inevitable (this was prior to the union decertification rumblings , of course). But that’s fitting, given that labor talk has dominated the discussion all week here.

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Posted on: February 26, 2011 10:48 pm
Edited on: February 26, 2011 11:09 pm

Report: Two agents led from combine in cuffs

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Multiple outlets are reporting that a big-name player-agent -- or two of them -- was escorted from the NFL combine Friday in handcuffs after he (or they) illegally watched the workouts with passes not meant for them.

According to the National Football Post’s Aaron Wilson, the agents refused to leave the restricted area at Lucas Oil Stadium and eventually police had to lead them out.

Apparently, the agents obtained the passes from a sponsor employee, and after that employee was discovered, that person was sent home by the employer.

At this time, there is no police report of the alleged incident.

Pro Football Talk spoke to one of the alleged agents and the NFL, and both parties denied that the incident had occurred.

Until we get names and acknowledgments, this could end in one of two ways. Either it’s true and rival agents (most likely) will be extremely pissed at the flaunting of the rules that most of them follow, or it’s false and somebody is spreading malicious rumors.

And it’s like Pete Prisco wrote Friday after four of the most powerful agents in the game stood together at the NFLPA meeting to show how they were all in the labor fight together. So much for unity, eh?

Like Prisco wrote, “Those guys would stab each other in the back in a minute.”

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Posted on: February 26, 2011 6:48 pm

Newton wins the press conference

C. Newton had a strong performance in front of the media today (Getty). Posted by Eye on Football staff

INDIANAPOLIS -- Say this for former Auburn QB – and potential No. 1 pick in April’s NFL Draft – Cam Newton: he’s got a perfect sense of timing.

Immediately after what many described as a disastrous news conference featuring Arkansas’ Ryan Mallett, Newton talked to a mass of media and, for the most part, came off quite well. Yes, he referred to himself in the third person multiple times, and yes, he read from a prepared statement at the beginning of his presser – some reporters found that a bit strange – but otherwise, he showed his charisma and parried questions regarding alleged off-field incidents with more grace than Mallett.

"My biggest thing is everybody has a learning process that they go through,” Newton said. “For me, that learning process happened three years ago, the mistakes that I made Florida, the trials and tribulations that I went through at Blinn College, has made me the person that I am today."

The question that was most blunt occurred near the end of his presser when a reporter asked if he stole a laptop while at Florida and if he stole items out of a teammate’s locker.

Said Newton: “Sir, I'm going to let you know right now what I did in the past is in the past. My sole focus is to perform at this year's Combine. I'm not going to entertain anything that happened in my past. I'm all about the future. I'm trying to prepare today to make my future as best as it can be."

He was also asked about his father, who has been accused of trying to sell his son’s services for $180,000.

"My father is just like any other father that wants the best for his son. He wants to see his son succeed in every way possible."

But perhaps the most interesting aspect of the NFL combine for Newton this week is that he’s planning to participate in all the workouts (including, gasp, throwing to unfamiliar receivers).

"My biggest thing first is to prepare for the NFL,” Newton said. "I know it's going to be a challenging transition. I have been working out with three unbelievable coaches. During that time I felt as though I wanted to do something at the Combine. I wanted to come out here and compete, because that's what I feel like I wanted to do … have fun competing."

Yet, as well as he performed at his session with the media, ESPN’s Adam Schefter writes that Newton wasn’t perfect during one of his team interviews.

From Schefter:

According to the source, an NFL assistant coach questioned Newton about why he disobeyed his coach's orders in the BCS National Championship Game, when Newton ran a quarterback sneak toward the end of the game rather than take the knee that he was instructed. Newton was not expecting the NFL to ask him about the incident, and did not have a favorable reaction to it, according to league sources. He got defensive, and even referred to it Saturday. Asked about the interviews, Newton said, "Each and every team keeps you on your toes."

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Posted on: February 26, 2011 4:21 pm
Edited on: February 26, 2011 4:35 pm

Bowers not doing himself any favors

Posted by Rob Rang

Clemson defensive end Da'Quan Bowers will not win himself fans among scouts with his decision to not work out at the Combine despite the fact that he characterized himself as "100 percent" and "willing to compete with anyone, any where" in his Q/A session with the media.

Bowers underwent surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his right knee following the season and explained that he "wanted as much time to prepare for [the workouts] as others."

The reality is that despite leading the country with 15.5 sacks, scouts have questions about Bowers' burst.

Bowers benefitted from an aggressive Clemson defensive scheme which often utilized twists and stunts, freeing him up to rack up sacks while his defensive tackles absorbed blockers. Bowers, himself, acknowledged the play of his teammates who "did all of the dirty work."

By not working out here, Bowers risks losing some of the buzz his monster junior season had created. North Carolina's Robert Quinn and Missouri's Aldon Smith, in particular, are expected to work out exceptionally well and have each demonstrated a greater first step as pass rusher than Bowers.

Bowers' Pro Day is March 10.

This was cross-posted from Rob Rang's NFL Draft blog. For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed .

Posted on: February 26, 2011 3:33 pm
Edited on: February 26, 2011 10:34 pm

Ryan Mallett's press conference...ouch

Posted by Andy Benoit
R. Mallett (US Presswire)
INDIANAPOLIS -- The Ryan Mallett press conference was one of those scenarios where everyone in the room is eventually looking at each other with wide eyes that seem to say, “Ehhhhhh…..there’s something not right about this guy”. Obviously, it’s pure speculation.
The former Arkansas quarterback was immediately asked about the drug abuse allegations (“Wow, first question, huh?” he said.) He wouldn’t discuss it but did acknowledge that the timing of these reports was not a coincidence.

Mallett said he could throw the ball 80 yards and touted his collegiate numbers when asked one of those “prove it” questions. With proper body language, it would have been confidence speaking. But from Mallett, it unfortunately seemed more like arrogance.

All in all, the buzz around the media center is that Mallett’s content wasn’t great and his delivery was even worse. Mallett has one of those clichéd chips on his shoulder, but not the kind of chip that could one day inspire him. More like the kind of chip that makes a group of reporters decide there’s just something they don’t like about you.

Mallett is the fifth rated quarterback on NFL Draft Scout, but his stock will almost certainly drop barring an amazing workout Saturday.

And here is Pete Prisco's blog post on the matter -- in which Prisco compares Mallett to Marshall Mathers.

Also, here's the link to the video of Mallett's appearance.

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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