Tag:2011 Combine
Posted on: February 25, 2011 3:14 pm

Pre-draft workouts in jeopardy without a CBA?

Posted by Will Brinson

The NFL combine is critical for teams to evaluate potential draftees, but it's not the whole shebang, either. Pro days at individual schools and, perhaps MOST importantly, individual workouts with candidates give teams a good idea of whether a player represents a sound investment.

The last two could be in serious jeopardy, though, according to what's leaking out of NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith's meeting with a group of agents at the combine, where the one thing Smith apparently didn't discuss was the mediation that went down in D.C. recently.

He only told, according to our own Mike Freeman, the group of agents there was "some" progress while prepping them for lockout contingencies.

That's good news only in that if a ton of mediation-related information started leaking out right after his talks with agents -- and it would if he talked about it -- the owners might not take too kindly to him violating the media blackout.

The owners might not be too thrilled with some of the reports about what kind of access they'll have to rookies, either.

Adam Caplan of FOX Sports reports that, according to agent sources present during Smith's presentation, teams won't be able to talk to agents about rookies at pro days during a lockout.

Even worse is the news that Aaron Wilson of the National Football Post reported -- the individual meetings with teams might disappear entirely.

"[I'm] being told teams will not be able to do individual pre draft workouts," a source told Wilson. "The union considers that communication in regards to financial situations for the players.

"[I] don't see that happening."

Contradicting all of that, though, is NFLPA spokesman George Atallah.

"We'd be hard pressed to stand in the way of a player doing something he needs to do," Atallah said Friday.

But that's the Catch-22 -- the players need to talk with teams to make more money (and, inherently, so do the agents) and teams need to talk to players in order to figure out who they want to draft. Unfortunately, the labor cloud keeps looming and we have to keep wondering when the next public dust-up will occur.

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Posted on: February 25, 2011 2:23 pm

Little on UNC probe: It will 'haunt me forever'

Posted by Andy Benoit

INDIANAPOLIS -- One of the more intriguing storylines of this draft is the amount of North Carolina Tar Heels who a) are projected to go in the first few rounds and b) carry "character baggage" as a fallout from the NCAA agent violations.

Wide receiver Greg Little -- the 14th-ranked WR by CBSSports.com -- was one of two Tar Heels who achieved the rare "permanently ineligible" designation (the other was DE Robert Quinn, our seventh overall prospect, who is soaring up the mock draft boards and could soon be projected to go No. 1 overall).

Little and Quinn received travel accommodations and jewelry from agents, then lied about it all to investigators. NFL teams have undoubtedly had questions for Little about his conduct, and, naturally, the media has been the same way. To Little’s credit, he was very direct in answering it at his combine press conference Friday.

"It was tough to know that essentially I started the whole investigation," Little said. "And that was one of the things that was very bearing and very hard to deal with. It was something that will haunt me forever to know that my team could have won the national championship [had] I played along with them."

Little was asked how he got in the situation in the first place. He shrewdly used that as an opportunity to shift the spotlight to his personal growth.

"Without saying this the wrong way, I think it was one of the best things that ever happened to me in my life," Little said. "It was a very pivotal point and a defining moment in my life where I said, 'Hey, this is not who you are. This is something that you've done. You've made a mistake.' But you have to move on, and that's what I'm doing. This has definitely been a great start to my path of redemption. I'm just out to prove that even though we make mistakes, you can still progress and go through."

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Posted on: February 25, 2011 1:24 pm
Edited on: February 25, 2011 1:31 pm

Hot Routes 2.25.11: Happy birthday, forward pass

Posted by Will Brinson

Got a link for the Hot Routes? Hit us up on Twitter (@CBSSportsNFL).
  • So, the forward pass turned 78 years old today. Two things: 1) It's really held up well in it's old age, and 2) Can you imagine how many billions of dollars the NFL would be fighting over if it hadn't been invented? Because I bet it would be like five. Except without the billion part.
  • Leonard Hankerson wants to carry on the "tradition" of "The U." He must not have watched the movie about what happened there. Just kidding, as you can see, he seems like a nice kid.

Posted on: February 25, 2011 12:48 pm

De Smith honors media blackout in agent meeting

Posted by Mike Freeman

INDIANAPOLIS -- Union head DeMaurice Smith briefed agents on Friday about the ongoing labor talks. An agent in the room told CBSSports.com that Smith said some progress was made but Smith declined to speak with agents specifically about the mediation talks with the league.

The agent stated Smith declined many questions from agents about the mediation discussions. In fact, the agent said, Smith started the meeting with the specific ground rules he wouldn't talk about the mediation. (First rule of Fight Club: you don't talk about Fight Club.)

It's actually smart of Smith not to discuss the mediation talks. The minute he does with agents, it would get out to the media.

Smith instead spent much of the meeting with agents discussing contingencies if there is indeed a lockout. Agents were told to instruct players to save money and get private health insurance two measures most players have long since done (or tried to do).

Bottom line: a lockout is coming barring a last second miracle. The union knows it. The league knows it. Nothing happened in this meeting changes that belief.

This was cross-posted from Mike Freeman's FreeStyle blog. For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed.
Posted on: February 25, 2011 12:04 pm

NFL giving 'unprecedented' early draft invites

Posted by Jeff Reynolds

In what one source labeled an "unprecedented" move, the NFL has begun offering invitations to players they hope will attend the 2011 NFL Draft in New York. The fear is the NFLPA will boycott the event, which one prominent player representation firm deemed "a strong possibility."

At least two players likely to be drafted early in the first round received invites on Thursday; typically, the league hands out these offers to the top eight to 12 prospects three weeks prior to the draft.

Gil Brandt, who has personally extended the invites for the NFL, said he began talking to "several" players as far back as last summer. Brandt said more than one player verbally committed to attend the 2011 draft, but he conceded the NFLPA might advise them against it if a work stoppage extends through April.

The urgency has been caused by the looming likelihood of an NFL lockout. Prospects are considering boycotting the draft in the event of a lockout and the NFL, ever mindful of the public relations angle, will try to get players to commit to attending the event before a lockout begins.

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 25, 2011 11:30 am

Cowboys reportedly taking a look at Cam Newton

Posted by Will Brinson

Cam Newton might be, as one scout told CBSSports.com's Mike Freeman, the "black Ben Roethlisberger," but for the purposes of the NFL combine, he's Tim Tebow 2.0. Which is to say, EVERYONE is going to be asked about him.

That includes the Dallas Cowboys, who are reportedly going to meet with Newton (as a reminder, our 11th-ranked prospect and No. 2 quarterback) even though they've already got their own "entertainer," Tony Romo, on the roster.

That's according to a report in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram on Friday that cites "at least two members of the [Cowboys] front office" who said they were meeting with Newton before the draft.

Look, the Cowboys have the ninth-overall pick in the draft. They HAVE to meet with Newton, because not doing so would be a failure to handle their due diligence, even though Romo's locked in as their guy.

But they're not going to draft Cam Newton in that spot.

Why? Well, for starters, they have bigger needs, particularly on the defensive end. And unless Jerry Jones is just head-over-heels for Newton, he knows that an upgrade in the secondary or the defensive line -- Rob Rang has Dallas taking Prince Amukamara and Chad Reuter has them nabbing Marcell Dareus from Alabama -- will benefit the Cowboys more in the immediate future.

Additionally, drafting Newton would send some whacked-out messages. First, that the Cowboys are ready to win right now as currently constructed (i.e. they just don't need an upgrade anywhere). Secondly, and yes in direct opposition to the first part, that the Cowboys aren't ready to compete, because they're looking so far in the future in terms of the quarterback position instead of making a play to be competitive in the NFC East right now.

And, of course, there's the whole issue of blowing up Romo's spot by using a top-10 pick to take another "franchise quarterback" -- there's no way that would end well.
Posted on: February 24, 2011 3:46 pm
Edited on: February 24, 2011 5:57 pm

Rex Ryan: 'I guarantee we'll do it this year'

Posted by Eye on Football Staff

INDIANAPOLIS -- Rex Ryan (Live!) is underway at the combine and, as usual, the media's hanging on his every word, as the Jets coach drew a tremendous crowd for his 3:30 PM EST press conference.

And, shortly after calling GM Mike Tannenbaum a "diva" for his performance on CSI: New York, Ryan did what's become expected of him lately: guarantee a Super Bowl victory for the Jets.

"I thought we'd win it the first two years," Ryan said. "I guarantee we'll do it this year."

It's really nothing new from the Jets coach, but you don't have to tell him that.

"I’m not afraid to stand up here and say we're going to get it done," Ryan said. "I’m going to try to will a championship. Anything it takes."

For starters, it's probably going to take at least a new CBA deal and some free agent signings -- not to mention a good draft.

But while rolling eyes at Rex's proclamations have become the reaction du jour now that he's guaranteed a title so many times, it's still tough to dismiss the success he's had in his short run with the Jets and their strong chance to compete for a title in 2011.

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Posted on: February 24, 2011 3:09 pm
Edited on: February 24, 2011 3:16 pm

Torrey Smith is a decently athletic dunker too

Posted by Will Brinson

Torrey Smith, the fourth-ranked wide receiver and 40th overall prospect on CBSSports.com' board, is big-play machine.

You can see it when you check out his performances at Maryland, you'll see that at the combine when he torches his 40-yard-dash time, and you'll see it once he gets in the NFL.

But if you'd like other proof that he has some athletic ability, how about watching him perform in an impromptu dunk contest during his final year at Maryland? (H/T: The Big Lead) Smith, by the way, projects to the Ravens in both the Rang and Reuter mock drafts.

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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