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: February 28, 2007, 08:31:51 AM

2007 NFL Scouting Combine Review
Scott Wright
President, NFL Draft Countdown

   Well, after all of the buildup the 2007 NFL Scouting Combine in now in the books and as always there were successes, surprises, disappointments and everything in between. The following is a quick position-by-position look at some of this year's notable performances, both good and bad:

   Any potential for huge storylines from this position went out the door when both JaMarcus Russell of L.S.U. and Brady Quinn of Notre Dame opted not to work out in Indy. These two did manage to make some headlines however... Russell weighing in at a soft 265lbs. raised some concerns over his work ethic and conditioning, which could perhaps be the start of his turn through the NFL Draft ringer with people trying to tear him down. In Quinn's case he did opt to lift and put up 24 reps, which is one more than Jay Cutler drew so much positive notice for a year ago. Also, the consensus from scouts and decision makers in Indy was that Quinn's stock is not falling as the media reports have suggested. Among the other attendees Drew Stanton of Michigan St. was reportedly impressive, especially in interviews, and he may be locking himself in as the #3 signal caller in this draft. Trent Edwards of Stanford is another guy who drew positive notice and will be an interesting prospect to keep an eye on over the next couple of months.

Running Backs
   Not only did Adrian Peterson of Oklahoma amaze everyone with his 4.40 time in the forty and great overall workout but he did it all only hours after learning that his brother had been shot and killed. By all accounts Peterson solidified his spot in the Top 5 overall with that performance. Marshawn Lynch of Cal did what was expected of him with his 4.46 clocking and still looks like a mid-1st round pick while Kenny Irons of Auburn and Antonio Pittman of Ohio St. also ran very well notching 4.45 and 4.40 marks, respectively. One of the biggest stories of the entire Combine however was Chris Henry of Arizona, who defines the term workout warrior. Despite coming out after his junior year with a less than impressive on-field resume Henry wowed scouts his a 4.40 time at 230 lbs. There is a good chance that nobody made more money in Indianapolis than Chris Henry. Former Minnesota Gopher Gary Russell headlined the disappointments with his 4.8 times.

   About the only thing to get excited about here was Brian Leonard of Rutgers but that's enough after what he did. Checking in even lighter than he was at the Senior Bowl, Leonard ran much better than most expected which at least leaves open the possibility that he could play running back at the next level. The guy's simply a football player and is a mortal lock for round two.

Wide Receivers
   Calvin Johnson. Calvin Johnson. Calvin Johnson. There is no doubt that CJ was the story of this position, if not the entire Combine, after he showed up at a chiseled 6-5, 239 lbs. and proceeded to run a 4.35. If Johnson wasn't in the running for the #1 overall pick before he certainly is now and his performance in Indy cemented his status as an elite prospect. Perhaps the shocker of the draft was Jason Hill of Washington St. running a 4.32 because had you asked any scout prior to the Combine what the biggest knock on Hill was the answer to a man would have been timed speed. As expected Robert Meachem of Tennessee clocked a 4.39 and both Dwayne Bowe of L.S.U. and Sidney Rice of South Carolina were in the 4.5's while Ted Ginn Jr. of Ohio St. (injury) and Dwayne Jarrett of USC (choice) opted to wait for their Pro Day's to show their stuff. There were a number of excellent performances among the wide receivers and guys like Aundrae Allison of East Carolina, Anthony Gonzalez of Ohio St. and many, many others probably deserve to be recognized as well. Finally, Yamon Figurs of Kansas St. notched the fastest time of any player at this year's Scouting Combine with his 4.30 clocking.

Tight Ends
   Heading into the Combine Greg Olsen of Miami (FL) and Zach Miller of Arizona St. were running neck-and-neck for the top tight end spot and for a place in round one but now they are heading in opposite directions. Olsen was one of the early stars of this year's event, running much faster than most expected (4.51) and looking excellent in drills. As good as Olsen was Miller was just as bad however and the 4.8's he racked up in the forty are going to hurt him badly. Olsen is now far and away the top player available at his position, a lock for the first round and maybe even the Top 20-25 overall while Miller could be on the verge of falling out of round two. Other than that the big story from the tight end position was a couple of small school prospects in Michael Allen of Division III Whitworth and Kevin Boss of Western Oregon, who both held their own and proved they belong. Two months from now though the story on Draft Day will still be how Olsen shined and Miller, for lack of a better word, tanked in Indianapolis.

Offensive Linemen
   Even though most had him penciled in as the Lions pick at #2 overall Wisconsin's Joe Thomas opted to work out anyway and in doing so he may have even thrust himself in contention for the #1 pick. Thomas was nothing short of outstanding, clocking a 4.92 and excelling in drills, which only confirmed everyone's high opinion of him. Tony Ugoh of Arkansas also did real well and might find a home in round one now after showing off his athleticism in multiple drills and tests. Top sleeper Allen Barbre of Missouri Southern St. also tested off the charts athletically and had the fastest forty among the offensive linemen with a 4.84 time. At guard Justin Blalock of Texas put up an impressive 40 reps on the bench press and ran much better than everyone expected (5.10). In the pivot Ryan Kalil of USC continues his ascent up draft boards and while it's tough for centers to crack the first round it looks like he has a very good chance to do just that.

Defensive Linemen
   After not taking part in the Senior Bowl this was everyone's first chance to get an up-close look at Clemson's Gaines Adams and he did not disappoint, running a 4.64 and looking fabulous in drills. With Jamaal Anderson opting to wait for his Pro Day to do anything it looks like Adams has passed him and is the top defensive end available at this point, at least for now. Adam Carriker of Nebraska just continues to impress, Jarvis Moss of Florida looked good and Tim Crowder of Texas performed much better than expected and may go higher than most think. On the other side of that coin Georgia's Quentin Moses continues his freefall after only managing to run in the 4.8's and he has almost certainly fallen out of Round 1 and maybe even Round 2 while LaMarr Woodley did not take part and continues to lose ground as well. At defensive tackle Alan Branch lived up to the hype, running a 5.09 at 324 lbs. and Amobi Okoye of Louisville was impressive again as well so these two will battle to be the first player chosen at their position. DeMarcus "Tank" Tyler of N.C. St. did not run real well but he put up a Combine best 42 reps in the bench press while Justin Harrell and Turk McBride of Tennessee both helped themselves as well.

   This is not a great crop of linebackers and the performance of the top prospects just confirmed that for the most part. Once again Patrick Willis of Ole Miss was the class of the position, just like he was in Mobile at the Senior Bowl, and may have moved into the Top 20 overall picks. Paul Posluszny of Penn St. was solid and did what was expected of him but his teammate Tim Shaw was actually more impressive, running a 4.49 forty. One guy who did not live up to the hype was Lawrence Timmons of Florida St., who measured in two inches shorter than he was listed at in college and ran a disappointing 4.59 forty yard dash. Jon Beason of Miami (FL) didn't come through with the great time most were expecting either and only managed a 4.72 while Jon Abbate of Wake Forest, another junior, was horrendous after measuring in at a shade under 5-10 and failing to run under a 5.0 forty. The stars of this position were actually some relative unknowns, with Antwan Barnes of Florida International (4.44) and Quincy Black of New Mexico (4.50) displaying terrific athleticism and really giving their draft stock a major shot in the arm.

   There were so many great performances from this position that it's hard to know where to start so I will go right to the top, where Leon Hall of Michigan answered any questions about his speed with a 4.39 clocking. One of the Combine's stars this year was Chris Houston of Arkansas, who ran a 4.32 and also threw up 26 reps on the bench, which is phenomenal for a cornerback. Needless to say Houston's stock is soaring and he looks like a sure-fire first rounder now. Others who ran sub-4.4 forties include Marcus McCauley of Fresno St. (4.39), Eric Wright of UNLV (4.36), Jonathan Wade of Tennessee (4.36), Josh Wilson of Maryland (4.39) and, perhaps surprisingly, Kenny Scott of Georgia Tech (4.39). One guy who might have hurt himself was Darrelle Revis of Pittsburgh, who opted not to work out and as a result may have lost a lot of momentum and fallen behind others, at least for the time being. Also, Daymeion Hughes of Cal only managed a very disappointing 4.65 and will likely experience a big drop because of it. Aaron Ross of Texas was also very solid, especially in the defensive back drills, and he certainly deserves positive notice as well. Overall there was a lot to get excited about here and cornerback is quickly shaping up to be one of the strongest and deepest positions in the entire '07 Draft.

   Does a 213 lb. two-way safety who is built like a Greek God and runs a 4.35 sound like something that might interest you? If so LaRon Landry of L.S.U. is your guy and after the show he put on in Indy the Top 10 is not out of the question. Meanwhile Reggie Nelson of Florida did about what was expected of him but no more and the same can probably be said for Michael Griffin of Texas. A guy who did really help himself though was Sabby Piscitelli of Oregon St., who is built like a linebacker but ran better than a lot of the cornerbacks in attendance. This was a solid group overall but it was pretty clear that Landry is in a class all by himself.

Kickers / Punters
   The main guy from a special teams perspective is Colorado K Mason Crosby and while he was solid he failed to stand out and really impress like you'd expect from such a highly touted kicker. Basically it was the same story as at the Senior Bowl and personally I'm not sure he's been as impressive in the last year as Mike Nugent was in his final 365 days prior to the 2005 NFL Draft. Justin Medlock of UCLA just continues to impress and he's kind of underrated at this point while Nick Folk of Arizona has an undeniably strong leg. At punter Baylor's Daniel Sepulveda is the cream of the crop but Adam Podlesh of Maryland was probably the best at his position in Indy while Brendan Carney of Syracuse helped himself as well. Among the long-snappers it appears that Virginia Tech's Nick Leeson was the best of the bunch and could even be drafted.


Hall of Famer
Posts : 2821
#1 : February 28, 2007, 09:47:51 AM

Thanks for posting, good read!

NFC South BBS Viva la Grudenistas!  GO GATORS!!!


Practice Squad

Posts : 0
#2 : February 28, 2007, 10:42:26 AM

Good Read! Thanks for the info
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