Archive for February, 2013

Twelve combine stars to review on tape

Thursday, February 28th, 2013

Colby Cameron could be one to watch in the late rounds of UDFA

The best thing about the combine for me is discovering players you haven’t focused on. You see a guy run a great forty, make the most of his chance to shine in the drills and then you go and dig out the tape. I remember a year ago seeing a ripped Robert Turbin running well in Indianapolis, finding a couple of videos immediately and being impressed enough to believe he could be a third round pick for this team. Low and behold, he ended up in Seattle (albeit in round four).

It’s not always positive though. Take Georgia’s Cornelius Washington. He ran a 4.55 at 6-4 and 255lbs. He had 36 reps on the bench press and a 39-inch vertical jump. Basically, that’s first round athleticism. So why did he only have 0.5 sacks in 2012? You watch the first video below and realise why. Never has the term ‘looks like Tarzan, plays like Jane’ been more appropriate. Sure, the game against Buffalo is only one performance. Yet that’s the game where he recorded his solitary half-sack for the season. It’s hard to justify even a 7th round grade on that evidence, even with the upside.

In other cases there won’t be a negative outcome. Over the next 7-10 days I’m going to be studying the following prospects. I wanted to put out a video of each to get us started today. Take a look for yourself and let us know what you think.

Cornelius Washington (DE, Georgia) vs Buffalo
He made headlines at the combine with a superb show of speed, power and athleticism. I’m sure I wasn’t the only person saying, “Cornelius Washington? Isn’t that the guy from Georgia?” Nobody really expected to see what happened in Indianapolis and given his ideal size and speed combination, he appeared to be a brilliant LEO. Yet you watch the tape below and think… when’s he going to start trying? It’s incredibly disappointing.

Sio Moore (LB, Connecticut) vs Rutgers
With 7.5 sacks last season and a further 6.5 the previous year, it’s hard to ignore Sio Moore. The Seahawks need to find multiple ways to improve their pass rush and a naturally attacking WILL linebacker would be of some benefit. He’s not the fastest (ran a 4.65) but he is big, strong and athletic.

Mark Harrison (WR, Rutgers) vs three opponents
I don’t really know how I missed this guy. The presence of Brandon Coleman in the Rutgers line-up is pretty distracting, but Harrison also has a lot of attractive qualities. He’s a big target at 6-3 and 231lbs with 4.46 speed. My assumption when watching this video for the first time yesterday was he probably won’t have good hands or much playmaking ability. I was wrong. This guy is one to keep an eye on.

Jon Bostic (LB, Florida) vs Vanderbilt
I spent no time on Bostic during the season, mainly due to his position as a roaming middle linebacker. Yet as soon as he ran an unofficial 4.50 I felt obliged to add him to my list of targets. He was later downgraded to an official 4.61, but I’m going to recycle all the Florida tape I have and keep an eye on him.

Chris Gragg (TE, Arkansas) vs Ole Miss
I liked Gragg going into 2012 and thought he could have a bit of a break-out season. Then Arkansas decided to have a year off from taking football seriously and everybody paid the price as a consequence. He was raw in 2011 and even looked a little awkward at times. When you run a 4.50 at 6-3 and 244lbs however, you want to go back and check out the tape. So hear it is…

Sanders Commings (CB, Georgia) vs Alabama
When I watched the SEC title game, Commings stuck out like a sore thumb. He looked the part. Big and physical yet quick enough to shadow Alabama’s talented receivers. It was a superb display. As with all corners who weigh around 216lbs though, you worry about speed. Then he runs a 4.41. At just a shade under 6-0, he doesn’t have the natural length this team has looked for at the position. Yet Commings is intriguing as a mid-round option and could even convert to safety.

Trevardo Williams (DE, Connecticut) vs NC State
He lacks the height and length you’d prefer at the LEO (only 6-1) but it’s hard to ignore 4.57 speed at 241lbs. I’ve not spent any time studying Williams although I have a couple of Connecticut games to get through. One is a two-sack performance against NC State that you’ll find below. He’s Jamaican-born with a sprinters background.

Colby Cameron (QB, Louisiana Tech) vs Texas A&M
This is the guy who broke Russell Wilson’s NCAA record of 379 consecutive pass attempts without an interception. The Seahawks love mobile quarterbacks who can move the ball around the field and don’t turn it over. There’s a little Kirk Cousins to Cameron’s game and he had a prolific final season in college with 31 touchdowns and just five interceptions. No tape is available yet but he was throwing the ball nicely in Indianapolis. I’ve included a Quinton Patton video instead to get a glimpse of what he has to offer.

Zaviar Gooden (LB, Missouri) vs Syracuse
I’ve been meaning to watch Gooden for some time, but since his combine performance I’m even more determined to do so. He’ll probably be the first player I really study. With 4.47 speed he automatically screams ‘Seahawks’ and he’d make a natural fit at the WILL. He had 27 reps on the bench press too so he’s strong enough to take on blockers. Gooden’s stock is rising.

Matt Scott (QB, Arizona) vs Stanford
One of Kip’s favourite guys. Another big, athletic quarterback who might be able to come in on the cheap and backup Russell Wilson. He seems to have possible trade-value down the line too. Since his man-crush on Russell Wilson, if Kip likes a quarterback I’m going to make sure I take a closer look.

Corey Fuller (WR, Virginia Tech) vs North Carolina
Both Fuller and Virginia Tech team mate Marcus Davis impressed at the combine. There’s currently no tape for Davis available although I have two Virginia Tech games stashed to go back and look at. Fuller ran a 4.43 and while he doesn’t have amazing size at 6-2 and 204lbs, he’s a player I’ll be trying to learn more about.

Kerwynn Williams (RB, Utah State) vs Louisiana Tech
Seattle had some success with Utah State guys last year, why not go back to the well? Kerywnn Williams is small (5-8, 195lbs) but he has 4.48 speed and could end up being a kick return specialist with special teams upside. Leon Washington won’t keep going forever, after all.

Mock draft Wednesday’s: 27th February

Wednesday, February 27th, 2013

This is without doubt the most fascinating, infuriating, unpredictable draft in a long time. If I was trying to palm this off as a proper prediction, it’d be a waste of time. The only people with any clue about how this might shake out are working in NFL war rooms. The rest of us are throwing darts blindfolded. You could argue that’s the case every year with mock drafts. This year though, it’s especially true.

There was a pretty substantial bombshell today with the news San Francisco would trade Alex Smith to the Kansas City Chiefs for the #34 overall pick plus change. So apparently the going rate for a guy who turns 29 in May and loves a checkdown is a borderline first rounder. Incredible. Andy Reid clearly feels he needs to hit the ground running (which he kinds of does) and doesn’t want to put his faith in a rookie. I can see the logic behind the trade. I just don’t get the price tag. It’s not like the 49ers would’ve been in any great rush to keep a backup quarterback earning nearly $10m for the next two seasons. The word ‘fleeced’ comes to mind.

Nevertheless, the deal will be finalised on March 12th. It likely rules out any shot of a quarterback going #1 overall and increases the chances of a left tackle being the pick instead.

So what are the big changes to the mock post combine?

Dion Jordan, Dee Milliner and Ziggy Ansah cemented their places in the top ten. Bjoern Werner and Damontre Moore are seemingly going the other way. Tavon Austin booked his place in the first round. Apart from that, the one big change is that everything became even murkier and unpredictable than it was before. The first couple of rounds are going to be pure entertainment. Shocks, gasps, surprises. Right from the top of round one.

Seahawks?

When I say the draft is fascinating, infuriating and unpredictable, it’s mainly down to the weekly confusion the #25 pick generates. I’m pretty comfortable thinking the Seahawks will draft a defensive lineman. It’s been spelt out to us anyway. And every single week I sit down to do a mock and can’t place a guy with this team. Nobody obvious jumps out. It’s very irritating. And it’s why I’ve looked at players like Khaseem Greene and Zach Ertz in the past, despite the big need for a pass rusher.

I went back and listened to Pete Carroll’s interview with John Clayton this week and one quote stood out… “We worked with Jason Jones last year and he got banged up a little bit. But that’s the right kind of move. We’ve got to find a guy in the draft here that can help us. We’d love to get a young guy, you know, we would really like to find the guy in the draft if it’s possible.”

When Carroll and John Schneider speak about the draft, they often say a lot without saying much at all. After the event you go back and have that moment of realisation. “Oh! That’s what they meant!” You think you’re getting a clue, only to interpret it a fraction incorrectly. Even so, we’ve got two months to go. We need to at least have a go at working this thing out.

I translate the above quote as an admittance that the ‘scheme’ and way of doing things is not considered a problem. That would mean they like the size up front in base while relying on the LEO to create pressure. They may well be a little more aggressive with Dan Quinn back on board, but I suspect that might just mean more creative looks from the same formations. “We worked with Jason Jones last year and he got banged up a little bit. But that’s the right kind of move” — that to me suggests that they’ll also continue to utilise more aggressive pass rush fronts on third, nickel and obvious passing downs. Maybe they like the idea of a specialist ‘three technique’ — it’s just that Jones’ injury issues prevented them from feeling the full benefit of his presence?

If they truly believe in that role and almost see it as an interior-Bruce Irvin, then maybe they would be open to spending the #25 pick there? After all, if that’s the big issue — better pass rush on key downs — why wouldn’t they?

Carroll also admitted in his interview with Clayton that he wanted another LEO and another defensive tackle, but it was the “that’s the right kind of move” reference to the Jason Jones position which really made me sit up and take notice. I could be a mile off here. They could have a third or fourth round guy earmarked for that role. It could even be a prospect like Margus Hunt. And they might just go after someone like Sylvester Williams or the best defensive end left at #25. Who knows?

Yet clearly they were optimistic about the inclusion of a specialist interior pass rusher last year even if it didn’t live up to expectations. If they intend to re-sign Alan Branch — not unlikely — then a move like that makes sense. So I gave in and put UCLA’s Datone Jones at #25. I’m honestly not just copying every projection by Derek Stephens — as I believe he was among the first to pair Jones with Seattle (and Khaseem Greene previously). Frankly, I’m not crazy about the pick. But Jones could, theoretically, replace his namesake. And I’m not here to choose my favourite players, but to discuss what the Seahawks might do once a week.

I tried to find physical comparisons for Datone Jones to see if I can feel a little better about this projection. He’s 283lbs and ran a 4.80 with an unofficial 1.63 ten-yard split. He benched 29 reps of 225lbs and a 31.5 inch vertical jumps. J.J. Watt — who only recorded six sacks like Jones in his final year in college — had a 4.81 forty at 290lbs with a 1.64 ten-yard split. Watt had 34 reps on the bench press but a 37 inch (!!!) vertical. Watt’s 20-yard shuttle (4.21) was also superior to Jones’ (4.32). So there are some similarities there. That’s the good news.

Here’s the bad news.

2008 combine. 6-4, 271lbs. 4.82 forty yard dash with a 1.60 ten-yard split. A 34-inch vertical jump and 31 reps on the bench press. The player in question? Lawrence Jackson. So there are similarities there too.

I suppose what I’m trying to argue here is Jones isn’t an insane athlete. The question is whether he can be effective to even 40-50% of the level of J.J. Watt, or is he just another Lawrence Jackson coming out of California? He might be somewhere in the middle, which wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing. Yet if they do place quite a high level of importance on that niche three-technique role, Jones is probably the most likely fit. And he can still feature off the edge or even as a starter at the three if needed. Perhaps by being more aggressive, they’ll look to use a swing pass rusher, lining up all over the place?

Either way the object of these mocks is to look at different scenarios. This is one we haven’t projected yet. And I’m still dreaming there’s a way to get at Sheldon Richardson. It’d be costly, though. I need to get over that already.

In round two I’ve added a guy who can provide some edge rush depth and a player both Kip and I are big fans of — Ohio State’s John Simon. Again, this pick probably relies on Branch being re-signed (or another big tackle). There are worse suggestions out there than adding Jones and Simon to the pass rush.

I’m currently going through prospects who stood out at the combine who didn’t get much attention pre-Indianapolis. One of the guy I’ve got Seattle taking in round four this week is a good example. He’s 6-3, 231lbs and runs a 4.31. As you’ll see in the tape at the top of this article, he can play a bit too. I’ve also put some Cornelius Washington tape at the bottom of the piece, as a lot of people wanted to see what he looked like at Georgia. Big thank you to JMPasq for putting it together for us.

First round

#1 Luke Joeckel (T, Texas A&M)
Alex Smith. Ok. I still think Joeckel will stave off a challenge from Eric Fisher to be the best left tackle available.
#2 Sharrif Floyd (DT, Florida)
Floyd has a ton of upside. He could play the one or three technique in Gus Bradley’s scheme.
#3 Geno Smith (QB, West Virginia)
They seem ready to move on from Carson Palmer. That regime needs to put down some roots.
#4 Dion Jordan (DE, Oregon)
Limitless potential. The next great young pass rusher? He could be.
#5 Dee Milliner (CB, Alabama)
Officially, now the complete cornerback prospect.
#6 Ziggy Ansah (DE, BYU)
He shined at the combine and would be an asset as Cleveland adjusts to the 3-4.
#7 Matt Barkley (QB, USC)
After the fiasco of 2012, don’t expect Arizona to do anything but draft a quarterback here.
#8 Kenny Vaccaro (S, Texas)
Would they trade up for one of the top two quarterbacks? Probably.
#9 Star Lotulelei (DT, Utah)
I suspect we’ll discover in the next few weeks that Lotulelei will be able to continue his career as planned. Let’s hope so.
#10 Sheldon Richardson (DT, Missouri)
Prototype three-technique. Brilliant.
#11 Eric Fisher (T, Central Michigan)
He could go earlier especially if Arizona doesn’t take a quarterback in round one.
#12 Lane Johnson (T, Oklahoma)
He has so much potential, the Dolphins might have to consider this if he falls to #12.
#13 Desmond Trufant (CB, Washington)
The Buccs could be aggressive to fill this need.
#14 Xavier Rhodes (CB, Florida State)
Running a 4.4 at his size will get teams very excited.
#15 Barkevious Mingo (DE, LSU)
Tremendous athlete but the 2012 tape is pretty mediocre.
#16 Tavon Austin (WR, West Virginia)
They want weapons on offense. Here’s a weapon.
#17 Chance Warmack (G, Alabama)
David DeCastro and Chance Warmack is a pretty good guard combo.
#18 Bjoern Werner (DE, Florida State)
Werner’s fall ends here and this would be a good fit in Dallas’ new 4-3 defense.
#19 Alec Ogletree (LB, Georgia)
Some team will convince themselves over this.
#20 Jonathan Cooper (G, North Carolina)
Assuming they get a tackle in free agency, this is step two in improving the offensive line.
#21 D.J. Fluker (T, Alabama)
I’m not a fan personally, but then I was never really a fan of Andre Smith either.
#22 Eddie Lacy (RB, Alabama)
If they’re losing Steven Jackson, then they’ll need a big, physical runner to win in the NFC West.
#23 Cordarrelle Patterson (WR, Tennessee)
His work out at the combine summed it up – loads of upside, but equally so frustrating.
#24 Travis Frederick (G, Wisconsin)
More than anything they need to bolster the offensive line.
#25 Datone Jones (DE, UCLA)
He could be a pimped up Jason Jones. Maybe that’s what they’re looking for?
#26 Zach Ertz (TE, Stanford)
Donald Driver’s retired, Jermichael Finley might be cut. They could go for a pass catcher here.
#27 Manti Te’o (LB, Notre Dame)
Someone will take a shot in round one.
#28 Matt Elam (S, Florida)
He did well enough at the combine to warrant a place in round one.
#29 Khaseem Greene (LB, Rutgers)
Just a terrific football player.
#30 Gavin Escobar (TE, San Diego State)
Even if Tony Gonzalez returns, it’s time to start planning ahead.
#31 Johnathan Hankins (DT, Ohio State)
More size up front for the Niners.
#32 Kevin Minter (LB, LSU)
Tough shoes to fill, but the Ravens often look for value in round one.

Second round

#33 Jacksonville – Jesse Williams (DT, Alabama)
#34 Kansas City – Jonathan Cyprien (S, Florida International)
#35 Philadelphia – John Jenkins (DT, Georgia)
#36 Detroit – Jarvis Jones (DE, Georgia)
#37 Cincinnati – DeAndre Hopkins (WR, Clemson)
#38 Arizona – Menelik Watson (T, Florida State)
#39 New York Jets – Keenan Allen (WR, California)
#40 Tennessee – Blidi Wreh-Wilson (CB, Connecticut)
#41 Buffalo – Mike Glennon (QB, NC State)
#42 Miami – Damontre Moore (DE, Texas A&M)
#43 Tampa Bay – Sylvester Williams (DT, North Carolina)
#44 Carolina – Kawann Short (DT, Purdue)
#45 San Diego – Justin Hunter (WR, Tennessee)
#46 St. Louis – Larry Warford (G, Kentucky)
#47 Dallas – Shawn Williams (S, Georgia)
#48 Pittsburgh – Markus Wheaton (WR, Oregon State)
#49 New York Giants – Alex Okfaor (DE, Texas)
#50 Chicago – Tyler Eifert (TE, Notre Dame)
#51 Washington – Phillip Thomas (S, Fresno State)
#52 Minnesota – Corey Lemonier (DE, Auburn)
#53 Cincinnati – Arthur Brown (LB, Kansas State)
#54 Miami – Ryan Swope (WR, Texas A&M)
#55 Green Bay – Giovanni Bernard (RB, North Carolina)
#56 Seattle – John Simon (DE, Ohio State)
#57 Houston – Jordan Reed (TE, Florida)
#58 Denver – Johnthan Banks (CB, Mississippi State)
#59 New England – Dallas Thomas (G, Tennessee)
#60 Atlanta – Tank Carradine (DE, Florida State)
#61 San Francisco – Brandon Williams (Southern Missouri)
#62 Baltimore – Terron Armstead (T, Arkansas Pine-Bluff)

Projected Seahawks third round pick: Zaviar Gooden (LB, Missouri)

Projected Seahawks fourth round picks: Mark Harrison (WR, Rutgers), Sanders Commings (CB, Georgia)

Cornelius Washington (DE, Georgia) could also be a mid-to-late round option. Here’s his tape vs Buffalo from 2012, he is wearing #83 (courtesy of the man — JMPasq):

The two players I’d hate to leave this draft without

Wednesday, February 27th, 2013

Last year we knew that Seattle needed a quarterback.  Insider whispers as well as vague comments from our coach and GM implied this quarterback search would not be early.  I still remember John Schneider saying there was one great quarterback “that nobody was talking about.”  Intrigued, I began a writeup series studying the late round quarterbacks to see what was out there, and if possible, find out if this mythical quarterback really existed.

None of my non-internet friends are Seahawks fans.  I have a friend who is a Packers fan, and I have a friend who is a Broncos fan, and neither spend much time following the NFL Draft.  If I ever want to talk Seahawks without typing, it means talking my family members ears off, mostly my brother.  Which I’m sure they appreciate, for the first 30 seconds or so.  Maybe.

One day, I mentioned to my father that I was looking into late round quarterbacks, and mentioned to him the existence of “the one” whom our GM cryptically spoke of.  Instantly, he mentioned Russell Wilson.  “Insisted” might be a better word.  “You have to see him.  I think he’s the real deal.”

I had faintly heard of the name, only to remember how Rob had dismissed it.  I trust Rob’s judgement, and combated my dad’s enthusiasm.  My dad is about as great a football savant as any dad is.  He ain’t Bill Belichick.   Although to his credit, he did predict Giants over Patriots before that same season.  So he might have ESP.  Can’t rule that out.

I am not ashamed to admit, I had never watched Russell Wilson before that point.  I don’t follow college football so much as follow the prospects, and Wilson had never been on any prospect watch lists.  In retrospect, I think that blank slate played to my advantage, because I broke down his tape without preconception.  It took less than one drive before my enthusiasm for Wilson exceeded his.

I mentioned Wilson a few times here and there on the blog.  I promised to write a special article on him but never got around to it.  However, on the draft board section of the Seahawks.net message boards, I was singing Wilson’s praises, and at one time was even caught with my pants down when Brandon Adams (of 17power) posted a Russell Wilson love letter I sent him in the fieldgulls comments.  I defended Wilson there, I told everyone who would listen at Seahawks.net that he was the guy.  I told them that his height wouldn’t hurt him because of the release point, the line he was playing behind, the skill he showed with throwing lanes, his spontaneous genius and his incredible feel for the game.  I even went so far as to say that he was “the Tom Brady you could see coming” at Mockingthedraft.

But I was more cautious with sharing that sentiment here, outside of ranking him #3 on my quarterback rankings ahead of Ryan Tannehill, and espousing my love for the pick right after it happened.  I really wish I had gushed more, and sooner.  It is my greatest regret of the 2012 draft season.

When the 2012 draft finally came, it was a pretty interesting experience.  Watching day one of the draft among a hundred or so Seahawks fans and a couple of radio talk show personalities, I told everyone within earshot of me that they’d love the Bruce Irvin pick, even if I wasn’t sure of the value at the time.  I never thought he’d be a first rounder, but Irvin was one of just two players I badly wanted to see Seattle walk out of the draft with.  When I wrote my draft reaction that night on this blog, I mentioned that the other player I felt we had to have was Russell Wilson.  I even joked that it would be something if Seattle took Wilson with their next pick in the second round.

I didn’t really expect Wilson to be picked at #75.  I thought they might try for him in the 4th.  Funny enough, my brother had to work that next day and I ended up watching day two with my dad, the very same person that tuned me into Wilson in the first place.  I truly believed that Wilson was the next great quarterback, but even worse, he was there for the taking.  That third round was agonizing.  Would somebody take him before the Seahawks?  When that Marine spoke the word “Russell” we were already on our feet screaming and high fiving.  It was an unbelievable, almost spiritual experience.  I guess it was a nice father-son moment too, something I will always remember.

We weren’t the only ones celebrating.  John Schneider and Pete Carroll, who were on camera during the draft, seemed quite enthused after the pick themselves.  Pete Carroll held a press conference, during which he compared Russell Wilson to Fran Tarkenton, even saying that he had spoken with Tarkenton’s former coach about him.  But it was John Schneider who said something most awesome, during a radio interview I believe.  He mentioned that there were two players it would have hurt to walk out of the draft without:  Bruce Irvin and Russell Wilson.  The same two players that were my favorite out of that entire draft.  It was pretty cool hearing that.

That experience taught me that sometimes a player can be great even if he doesn’t have the measurables, even if he’s not “cool to like.”  Sometimes you just see greatness, and while there are many productive players who do not see their games translate to the next level, it seems like the truly special ones usually find a way.

If there is something I learned from last year, it’s that I’ll never hide my feelings about a prospect again.  I don’t care if it makes me look silly or out of touch.  I will tell you what I’m seeing, and I’ll tell you who this year’s Bruce Irvin and Russell Wilson are.  The guys it would hurt to walk out of the draft without.  You might think I’m way off the mark, but I don’t care.

Here it goes.

Seattle needs to increase their pass rush in the interior, and they need to boost their pass rush depth on the outside as well.  There is a nice “pocket” in the draft for pass rushing end types in the middle rounds, guys like Corey Lemonier, Armonty Bryant, Cornelius Washington, and a few others.  That depth as a pocket pushing defensive tackle is less evident, which is why I think Seattle will probably be forced to grab a defensive tackle fairly early, and highlighted the early round options a few days ago.   Truth be told, this isn’t a great year to find a pass rush defensive tackle.

Then I went back and re-watched a favorite of mine.  A hybrid defensive lineman in a 4-3 front, he played strong side end, LEO, and the 3-tech.  A star for a major program during a quietly great season, he is generally considered too small to play defensive tackle and is too slow to play end at the NFL level, by the same people who thought Russell Wilson was too short to be an NFL quarterback.  And yet this undersized wonder was by far the most unblockable 3-tech I’ve seen in his draft, hands down.  Playing most of his snaps at strong side end, he was no less disruptive there.

Though because of his 6’1″ height and lack of weight, coupled with below average foot speed, many have projected him as a 3-4 outside linebacker.  And I’m sure he’d be great in such a role.  A common comparison for John Simon is Mike Vrabel, who funny enough, is Simon’s assistant head coach at Ohio State.

But as a 4-3 prospect, Simon is seemingly ignored.  Like Wilson, Simon is a diamond in plain sight, a player who’s fantastic ability in a 4-3 defense is overlooked because conventional thinking says he can’t succeed in the same capacity at the next level.

Simon weighed in at 257 at the combine.  It seems likely that Simon dropped weight for the combine to appeal to 3-4 teams looking for an outside linebacker.  According to an interview he had this time last year, he played the 2011 season at 270 pounds.  That’s just ten pounds lighter than JJ Watt, and it’s actually two pounds heavier than Justin Tuck.  The game film of Simon shows that he’s a better run defender than you’d think against drive blocks, even beating a drive block double team at the 3-tech spot to force a tackle for loss.  He actually looks very much in his element as a 3-tech, but he’s no slouch as a strong side defensive end either.  While it’s true that Simon lacks footspeed and highly mobile quarterbacks can run around him from a defensive end spot, the same is true for JJ Watt.  And I’d say he’s done okay for himself.

Simon may not always be a maestro against the run, but it’s clear he at least has surprising strength to anchor and has a nose for the football.  He won’t even come close to Bruce Irvin’s forty time or Red Bryant’s size, but I could see him being an undersized yet still highly effective Jason Jones type player- one who rotates between the 3-tech and the 5-tech.  He might need to add weight, but he’d only need to add six pounds on his playing weight to hit 276- the weight that Jones played at during last season.

I think Simon can pull it off, and if he does, I think he’ll be a complete player for the Seahawks.  His upper body strength and ability to both push the pocket and shed blocks is incredible.  And remarkably consistent.  This is a guy who gets pressure or quarterback movement on most of his pass rushing snaps.  More than anyone in this draft, John Simon is a badass in the phone booth.  You will not contain him for long without a double team.

Simon is more than a special talent.  He’s also a special person and leader.  Ohio State coaches have said he’s one of the best leaders they’ve ever seen come through the program.  Simon injured his shoulder in week two, but downplayed the injury to coaches and still went on to post 9 sacks in 11 games, including four sacks in his final college game, after which his shoulder gave out, forcing him to sit out the season finale.  When coaches asked about his health earlier in the season, he replied “I’ll be ready. My shoulder is far away from my heart.”  All this for a team on probation with no chance for a national title or bowl game.

Listen to Urban Meyer gush about Simon.

“He makes all of us look in the mirror and ask ourselves ‘are we doing enough for our team’?”  Meyer also joked about naming his son after John Simon, and has called Simon “Tebowish” as a leader, both on the field and off it during workouts.  Usually when a coach gushes about one of his players this much, it’s worth paying attention to.  Just ask Bret Bielema.

Whereas Wilson is the first person at the building to break down film, Simon is well known to be the first person at the building to begin his workout routines, often dragging some less enthusiastic teammates with him.  Simon is the ultimate competitor, the kind of leader a young up and coming defense needs.

Simon did not boost his draft stock at the 2013 combine.  My other “must have” played did.

Last year I scouted four Texas A&M games for my Ryan Tannehill scouting report.  Sometimes when you scout for a specific player other players will jump off the screen and grab your attention.  In every game I watched, his go to receiver was a physically ordinary looking white possession receiver, Ryan Swope.  Players of certain races at certain positions have long had to battle mindless stereotypes, but Swope actually seemed to further them.  With skinny arms and legs and the face of a high school intern, Swope hardly seemed the type destined for NFL stardom at first glance.

And yet game after game, Swope was making plays.  He finished that season with 1207 receiving yards- the most in Texas A&M school history.  He also had 11 touchdowns.  Sneaky fast and six foot tall, Swope was a frequent deep threat, but he was also extremely quick out of his breaks as a slot receiver and knew how to find soft zones, sit in them, and present his quarterback a target.   In other words, he was a total passer’s pet.  Between Swope’s strong 2010 and 2011 seasons, he helped make Ryan Tannehill a top ten draft pick.

During the 2012 season I discovered future and present megastar Johnny Manziel midway through his upset of Alabama.  Once again, the favorite target of choice was Ryan Swope.  I thought that was pretty neat, and thought to myself that Swope was probably going to be a 4th round steal for some team.

There is no shortage of quality options at wide receiver in this draft.  I had Swope on my list to review, but he was pushed to the back of my list because like many I foolishly assumed he was an average athlete.  Then I heard about the rumors that Swope was doing shockingly well in his pre-combine workouts.  I decided to go bump him up the priority list and see if the athleticism would be there on tape.  I had never really looked closely at Swope before, I just knew he was a difference maker on game days.

I was surprised by what I saw.  Swope wasn’t just making catches, he was making yards after the catch too.  With quick feet and faster change of direction skills than you’d think, he can at times remind you of Golden Tate.  He doesn’t just have to run around defenders either.  And at 6’0″, 205 pounds, you had better wrap up when you tackle him. This coupled with his multitude of deep scores, it was plainly evident that his athleticism and elusiveness was far better than I had assumed.  But even I was stunned when he posted a 4.34 40-time and a 37″ vertical.  That is damn impressive for anybody, but even moreso for a six foot receiver at 205 pounds.

But of course, Swope is more than a playmaker.  He’s a great route runner and improvisor- one who flourished with Manziel and Tannehill, both of which are mobile, creative quarterbacks.  I wonder who else has a mobile, creative quarterback in need of a receiver who knows how to get open on improvised plays?

He’s also tough, intense, smart, and fiercely competitive.  And despite measuring slightly small hands, he’s about as trustworthy catching the ball as they come.  Just watch that video above and notice how Swope is constantly trying to soak in the moment, even firing up the crowd before a game.  See how he celebrates every big play.  And if you watch the game compilations, you’ll even see him put a few defenders on their ass if their not looking for him.  Many evaluators glance over that stuff, but Pete won’t.  You can plainly see how much Swope enjoys competing, and winning.

The common refrain is that every white wide receiver is invariably compared to another white wide receiver, usually a better one.  You hear “Wes Welker comparison” and assume it’s lazy.  But just this one time, I think it’s justified.  In fact, I’d compare him to someone else, someone better.  Steve Largent.  Same competitiveness.  Same quickness.  Same intelligence.  Same reliability.  Same impressive production.  Same chip on the shoulder.  Same love of the game.  And like Largent, he might just kick your ass if you don’t watch yourself.  And like Largent, he might be a 4th round pick.  I’d take him much sooner than that, obviously.

I think Ryan Swope is destined to be pretty good, but he’s also the exact kind of receiver Russell Wilson needs.

Combine wrap up and day seven thoughts

Tuesday, February 26th, 2013

Sheldon Richardson... we can but dream

The combine is over for another year and this is always a pretty exciting time, more so than the event itself. The work-out’s highlight prospects you know little about, make you want to dig out the tape again. Cornelius Washington being a great example (I’ve put the request in for some game tape so stay tuned).

But it’s not just the unknowns that you need to check back on. It’s some of the big names too. Damontre Moore had a disastrous combine and could sink as a consequence. A few weeks ago he was pretty much a consensus top-20 pick, but what if he’s there at #25? I think it’s incredibly unlikely this team would draft any defensive end running a 4.95, but what if it was just a bad day at the office? What if he improves at the Texas A&M pro-day? These are the kind of questions you have to ask. We have to find out if a pathetic combine display is the real truth here and recalculate his stock.

Datone Jones is getting a lot of publicity at the moment and he did have an impressive work out. Yet I feel obliged to feather the breaks a little bit here. Running a 4.80 at 280lbs is not insane, difference making athleticism. Cam Jordan ran a 4.69 despite weighing a little more in 2011. J.J. Watt ran a 4.81 at the combine, but weighed 290lbs. If Jones needs to add weight to be a permanent interior feature, he’s not going to get any faster. On tape I watch his run defense and cringe at the thought he could be an every down three-technique for Seattle. As we’ve discussed before, being able to match-up with San Francisco is paramount for the Seahawks. And that means being big, aggressive and nasty up front to combat one of the leagues best offensive lines and a dominating power-running game. Can Jones deal with Mike Iupati? Or maybe even a double team? If he’s below average against the run, is he a good enough pass rusher to compensate? There are about ten UCLA games out there, we need to get into them and decide if the sudden hot favourite amongst mock drafts really is a realistic option at #25.

Barkevious Mingo’s tape was rank average in 2012. Flashes of quality, flashes of anonymity. A classic nearly man for the most part, he just did not impact any games last year. None. And while Bruce Irvin might’ve been a specialist for West Virginia, he made two or three plays a game that made a difference. Irvin’s sack numbers were right up there with the best college football had to offer. Mingo on the other hand was more reputation than production. I watched five LSU games recently and thought ‘meh‘. Mingo, Bennie Logan, Sam Montgomery — they all kind of played like they were coasting along. “We’re LSU, we’re going to the NFL, we’re the s**t.” That’s the impression I got. Other people like Mike Mayock watch the tape and make the same judgement. Then you see his combine performance and he looks incredibly athletic. You realise that there are a few teams out there who probably fancy their own Bruce Irvin. And if Irvin can go at #15 overall, then why can’t Mingo? So what’s his range? Is he a realistic option to drop into the 20′s? And is he an option for the Seahawks?

The defensive backs performed today and there were some interesting results. Who ever thought David Amerson would run a 4.44? He had a disastrous 2012 season but as a possible converted safety, that kind of speed will do. Dee Milliner’s 4.37 guarantees him a spot within the top-six picks I’d say. The only question mark with Milliner was straight line speed. Now there’s absolutely no reason to suggest he isn’t the complete cornerback prospect. He’s not a beast like Patrick Peterson or Morris Claiborne, but certainly good enough to be a pimped-up Joe Haden. Xavier Rhodes helped himself with a 4.43. Will Desmond Trufant make it passed Tampa Bay at #13 now that he’s run a 4.38? Tyrann Mathieu managed a 4.50 but yeah, the ridiculous off-field issues. I’m even more of a fan of Sanders Commings for Seattle after his 4.41. But what happens to Johnthan Banks after a 4.61? Not good for a potential first round pick, but not a death sentence given Joe Haden’s awful combine in 2010.

Tomorrow is mock draft day and it’ll be fun to see how things have changed after everything that happened in Indianapolis. I wanted to end today with an interview between John Clayton and Pete Carroll (see below). Seattle’s Head Coach is nothing but honest (again), admitting he has to get an interior pass rusher and another LEO. They seem to be the two top targets, although he does admit linebacker and receiver are also needs. This could be a classic smokescreen especially if they add a veteran LEO in free agency (Umenyiora? Avril? Freeney?) or a defensive tackle (Melton? Starks?). Assuming they don’t make the big splash, then it stands to reason that the first round pick is probably going to be a defensive lineman of some kind. They’ve attacked key needs so far, that probably isn’t going to change this year. And they need pass rush help more than anything.

Free agency begins on March 12th and it’ll be fascinating to see if the Seahawks re-sign Alan Branch. I suspect they’ll want to stay big and stout up front on first and second downs — they’ll need to against the 49ers and Rams. Signing Branch takes a lot of the bigger-bodied tackles in the draft out of the equation. Then the priority could be replacing Jason Jones with a more dynamic rusher inside. That’s where Datone Jones could fit. For me, that role is ideally suited to him. Is it worth a first round pick? Perhaps, if it helps Seattle get off the field on third down. I just need to be absolutely sure Jones is ‘special’ enough to go that early. I’m still a sceptic, for now.

Alternatively, they could go after another LEO. I think it’s more likely they pursue a Corenlius Washington or Corey Lemonier in the mid-rounds rather than spending another first round pick. But what if that unexpected player falls? Is Barkevious Mingo for example better value than Datone Jones? Or maybe there’s a defensive tackle they can rely on to play in any situation — Sylvester Williams for example — who is big enough to defend the run at a decent level but also offer one or two impact players as a pass rusher per-game? Is Kawann Short an option? Or a player we’re not talking about, but should be?

Finally, is there any way what so ever they can find a deal to trade up and get Sheldon Richardson? It’s probably a pipe dream, but watching his interview at the combine made me want him in Seattle even more than before. I can’t see him getting past Carolina at 14 as a worst case scenario. But man, it’d be good to see him in Seattle. If only…

Scouting Combine: Day Seven open thread

Tuesday, February 26th, 2013

This is an open thread to discuss the defensive back work outs today. You can watch live from 6am PST by clicking here.

Congratulations Cornelius Washington. You just got noticed.

Tuesday, February 26th, 2013

I tuned into the combine yesterday just in time to catch Cornelius Washington’s vertical jump.  I had no idea who he was.  He was standing there getting ready for his high jump, and I’m just wondering if he might be able to beat Robert Turbin in an arm wrestling contest, because the guy was ripped like an action hero from a comic book.  Within half a second I noticed that Washington stood out athletically, just from his build and muscle tone.  But even thinking to myself that he looked like the best athlete up there, I had no idea he was just about to destroy the combine to the extent that he would.

Washington posted one of the best vertical jumps of all front seven participants:  39″.  He then clocked an official 4.55 forty, which was the best of the entire defensive end group.  Officially listed at outside linebacker, Washington is 6’4″, 265 pounds and has 34″ arms.  He’s clearly more of a defensive end than a linebacker, although he has the movement skills to play either one.  Washington’s 10’8″ broad jump was tied for the best among all defensive ends (Barkevious Mingo, Devin Taylor).  His 10 yard split was 1.60, which was narrowly beaten by several ends but is still considered pretty good.  Washington then left everyone (except Margus Hunt) in the dust with 36 reps on the bench press, a number that was far ahead of the front seven pack.  Washington looked fast during drills.  I personally thought that only Auburn’s Corey Lemonier moved quicker during drills.

Basically, Cornelius Washington just had the combine that everyone thought his teammate (Alec Ogletree) would have.  Actually, it was probably better than even that.

And it didn’t go unnoticed.

…Cornelius Washington, the hybrid linebacker/defensive end from Georgia. He had a solid week at the Senior Bowl and an even better Senior Bowl game yet he came to Indy as a sixth- or seventh-round player. He can rush the passer and he just ran 4.50.

He is moving up draft boards. One defensive coordinator said, “This is the kind of guy I came to Indy to find. Now I’ll go back and study him. We’re all looking for the Bruce Irvin in this draft.”

Despite playing for a major program like Georgia and being a phenomenal athlete, Washington has registered only 10 total sacks over four seasons at Georgia.  He’s probably been moved around to play linebacker some, which hurts his production, but his tackles and tackles for loss numbers aren’t high either.  Georgia is loaded with pass rusher talent, so it’s not unthinkable that Washington could have been buried on that roster to some degree.

As of today, there aren’t any game compilations of Washington on youtube.  The best I could find was this brief highlight, and also a team highlight reel that probably give you 20-30 snaps with #83 on it.  I guess you could go through Jarvis Jones’ and Alec Ogletree’s videos looking for him too.  In a year where even small school prospects are usually getting compilation videos, Washington doesn’t have one.  Maybe because he’s never really produced enough in a game to merit the effort?

Grading Washington’s draft stock is really hard to do.  Not only is he lacking production, but the games he has played in haven’t given evaluators a ton to go off of.  But that said, he sure looked a hell of a lot like Brian Orakpo today.

Washington (2013):  6’4″, 265, 4.55 forty, 1.60 10-yard-split, 39″ vert, 36 reps on bench press, cartoonishly ripped arms

…….Orakpo (2009):  6’3″, 263, 4.63 forty, 1.58 10-yard split, 39.5″ vert, 31 reps on bench press, cartoonishly ripped arms

I’m really looking forward to getting some tape to look at down the road, I think it’s pretty likely we’ll get access to some before the draft.  Based on how he looked in the drills yesterday and based on what little I saw on youtube, I think he has some promise and the physical gifts do seem to translate at least somewhat.  He has very obvious appeal to the Seahawks, and probably the 31 other NFL teams as well.

Random thoughts on day six at the combine

Monday, February 25th, 2013

Oregon's Dion Jordan put on a show in Indianapolis

If you want to go through day six of the combine as it happened, check out the live blog we did earlier. I wanted to add a few general thoughts based on what happened today…

- Dion Jordan should be a top-10 pick. Everything just seemed so effortless. When you watch the tape, you see flashes of pass-rushing brilliance. So why were Oregon asking him to drop into coverage so much? Let the guy fly. I couldn’t be more excited to see how he works out acting as a pure pass rusher without some of the other responsibilities. Jordan’s 4.60 forty yard dash was so impressive and he stood out like a sore thumb in the other drills. Everything was easy. Quick feet, fluid hips, violent hands, perfect balance. The only question mark is an injured shoulder and he’ll have surgery on Wednesday to rectify a torn labrum. It’s likely to keep him out for a few months. Even so, it’s difficult to imagine him getting past Cleveland at #6 and he could go sooner. Possible #1 pick? Don’t rule it out just yet.

- Ziggy Ansah looked like a fish out of water during the Senior Bowl drills. I remember watching the footage from Mobile, checking on a couple of games and wondering what all the fuss was about. And since then, he hasn’t put a foot wrong. He dominated the Senior Bowl game and just carried on at the combine. He ran a 4.63 despite weighing 277lbs. To put that into context, he weighs 30lbs more than Dion Jordan and ran only 0.03 seconds slower. He doesn’t have a counter move or the technical quality to beat blockers with his head. He’s probably not going to be setting up blockers three plays in advance. Yet in terms of athletic potential, he’s an exciting player. And when you compare him to Bjoern Werner and Damontre Moore (who both underwhelmed), part of you wants to ignore college production and swing for the fences. Somebody will do that. We’ll see if it proves to be a sound decision. It’s difficult to see him getting out of the top-10, just like Dion Jordan.

- Margus Hunt ran an official 4.60 at 277lbs, a day after benching 38 reps of 225lbs. His stock was floundering a bit after a disappointing Senior Bowl. Everything we saw from Ansah during the game, we wanted to see from Hunt. Instead he was on the periphery throughout, offering no threat off the edge and struggling to contain against the run. This will give him a little kick start. As a 26-year-old rookie, he’s unlikely to generate too much hype. If he needs real technical coaching that takes a year or two, that’ll be problematic. So he’s probably at best a second or third round pick. If he was a few years younger, he’d be a first round lock based on upside. It’ll be fascinating to see where he lands. He has both exceptional and mediocre tape.

- Datone Jones showed some athletic quality during drills, moving with freedom at 283lbs. However, I think the hype factor has gone a little over the top. He ran a 4.80, which is pretty good. But it’s not a Henry Melton-esque 4.64. I remember getting very excited about Cam Jordan in 2011, and he ran a 4.69 at 287lbs. When I watch UCLA tape, I don’t think Jones is quite the player Jordan was coming into the league. He’s more consistent in terms of breaking into the backfield, but there’s a lot of ineffective rushes where he fails to identify the play call (eg, attacking the quarterback after he’s handed it off or struggling on a read option). One of the biggest issues I have with Jones remains his positional fit. What is he? He’s already had to add weight (he was 260lbs a couple of years ago) so can he add more to play as a three technique? Or is he maxed out? Is he a left end? A five technique? I’m not sure. I still think as we stand here today his best fit for the Seahawks would be as a replacement for Jason Jones. And I’m not convinced they’ll spend a first round pick on that particular role. I’m not writing Jones off though and will go back and watch 4-5 UCLA games again to try and get a better angle.

- Bjoern Werner and Damontre Moore are trending downwards. Werner looked like just a guy out there, running a middling 4.82. He lost weight during the summer to max out his speed, and this is the result? For me, he’s better off trying to add the weight again to play the five technique. Slimming down to force his way into 4-3 end or even 3-4 linebacker territory has been a mistake. Someone will take him in the top-15 I suspect, but he’s not a guy you really want to bang the table for. Moore had a disaster today. He ran a pathetic 4.95, seemingly got injured on his second attempt and then pulled out of the drills. All this just a day after recording 12 reps on the bench press. What was more concerning was just how unrefined he looked compared to the other dynamic pass rushers on show. I really don’t know what to make of him today. Every coach and scout will be going back to the tape over the next few weeks. I suppose we better do the same.

- I’m getting off the Alec Ogletree bandwagon. What a mediocre performance today! He ran an official 4.70, looked sluggish during drills and looked like a guy who’s been busy collecting DUI’s instead of working his backside off for the combine. Which of course, is exactly what he has been doing. For a player who has shown such dynamic athleticism at times (I know others disagree) this was a complete let down. All the off-field stuff was already making me question how bad this guy wants to be a great footballer, but today left very little doubt. If I was running a front office, he wouldn’t be on my draft board. Shame.

- Zaviar Gooden on the other hand ran a 4.47 and based on what little evidence the NFL Network let us see, he excelled in the other drills too. This was a player I already planned to go back and study (only seen one game so far) but at that speed he’s almost an automatic option for Seattle. It’ll be interesting to see how he matches up in terms of instincts, coverage and blitz ability.

- Khaseem Greene had a really solid work out too and remains a first round option for Seattle despite running a 4.71. Nobody would ever say Greene looked faster than that on tape, so nothing changes in that regard. I don’t think the Seahawks are pigeon-holed into 4.4/4.5 guys playing at the WILL. After all, they’ve started Leroy Hill there for three consecutive years under this regime. Greene can go sideline-to-sideline, he can cover underneath, he blitzes better than most OLB’s and he’s an impact player — recording a laundry list of sacks, turnovers and splash plays. Everything about Greene’s game is superb, he just doesn’t run a 4.47 like Zaviar Gooden. Last year the Seahawks knew there were multiple options in terms of fast, instinctive linebackers — Zach Brown, Bobby Wagner, Lavonte David, Mychal Kendricks. This year, the depth will be scarce and minimal even in round two. If you’re banking on Gooden being there later in the draft, realise that every rebuilding team in the NFL is trying to copy Seattle right now. Taking Greene at #25 wouldn’t be a flashy choice, but it’d lock down that position for years and put another leader on the defense.

- I though Kevin Reddick, Manti Te’o and Kevin Minter did well today. All three players are solid on tape and should have good careers at the next level. Just don’t expect Ray Lewis.

- Of the defensive tackles, it was a pretty unremarkable day. Sheldon Richardson didn’t look quite as good as I expected. Sharrif Floyd did fairly well. Johnathan Hankins needs to get on a pro-conditioning programme but moved quite freely despite looking like an out of shape Andre Smith. Sylvester Williams looked pretty good. The most impressive of the bunch was probably Brandon Williams to be fair. He ran a 5.37, but he is massive. And during the drills, he leapt around like a 250lbs defensive end. If only there was more Missouri Southern tape to get a better look at this guy. Montori Hughes also had a solid day.

- Barkevious Mingo is an interesting case. Today he ran a 4.58 which he kind of had to given he weighs just over 240lbs. He also tested well in the other drills and looked extremely athletic. On the other hand, I’ve watched five LSU games in the last seven days and came away thoroughly unimpressed. Daniel Jeremiah described him as the best high-five and butt-slap prospect in the draft — essentially meaning he’s a classic nearly man, but not a finisher. He flatters to deceive, playing in fits and starts. I think getting him away from Sam Montgomery will be vital to rectify some of those issue, because Montgomery appears to be living in his own little world. But can Mingo be special? Mike Mayock says he’s a 25-40 range guy. Does today’s display, along with Damontre Moore’s disaster, push him back into the top-15? And is he an option for Seattle if he falls?

- Shame on the prospects who worked out but didn’t run the forty. I’m looking at you, Bennie Logan and Kiko Alonso.

- I want to see more of Cornelius Washington, pass rusher at Georgia. He ran a 4.55 today. He had 36 reps at 225lbs. Intriguing.

- Corey Lemonier ran a 4.60 and he started the 2012 season on fire. Then he disappeared, along with everyone else on the Auburn roster. At his size you’d expect a quick time, but he looked good today. I previously had him in the round 3-4 range and he’s admitted that’s the grade he received from the draft committee. I’m not sure I’d adjust that based on today, but like Washington he’s another LEO to monitor.

- To conclude, I don’t think we’re any clearer to knowing what the hell the Seahawks are going to do at #25. This is the funkiest draft I’ve ever written about. I’m still struggling to convince myself there’s a defensive tackle they’d be willing to draft in round one once the big three (Floyd, Richardson, Lotulelei) are gone. It’s a deep class, sure. But it’s full of guys you like in January and then by April, you feel like you can do better. The top defensive ends will go early. I still think linebacker is an option (Khaseem Greene). I’d love to know what they thought about the tight ends, especially given none really put on an explosive performance. Would they entertain Zach Ertz running a 4.7? Or a Tyler Eifert, Gavin Escobar type? I think the depth at receiver continues to make that a much more likely second round option.

I’ll have an open thread on the blog tomorrow to discuss the final day of the combine as the defensive backs perform. On Wednesday, it’s mock draft day.

Scouting Combine: Day Six live blog

Monday, February 25th, 2013

Hit refresh for the latest from Indianapolis as it happens. You can also watch live yourself by clicking here.

HEADLINES

- Khaseem Greene runs an official 4.71, while Alec Ogletree clocks a 4.70

- Dion Jordan runs an official 4.60 and looks really impressive in drills

- Ziggy Ansah records an official 4.63, while it’s a 4.58 for Barkevious Mingo

- Sheldon Richardson is a little disappointing in drills and runs a 5.02

- Sharrif Floyd runs an official 4.92

Today the defensive linemen and linebackers work out. Given Seattle’s needs at defensive tackle, linebacker and maybe even defensive end, this is a crucial day in the lead up to the draft.

One of the big things on the NFL Network right now is to get a former GM or coach to compile a top-ten mock draft. We’ll update our full two-round projection on Wednesday as usual, but I thought I’d put together a quick top-ten myself based on what we’ve learnt so far and what I think we’ll see today…

#1 Kansas City – Luke Joeckel (T, Texas A&M)
#2 Jacksonville – Sharrif Floyd (DT, Florida)
#3 Oakland – Sheldon Richardson (DT, Missouri)
#4 Philadelphia – Dion Jordan (DE, Oregon)
#5 Detroit – Dee Milliner (CB, Alabama)
#6 Cleveland – Ziggy Ansah (DE, BYU)
#7 Arizona – Matt Barkley (QB, USC)
#8 Buffalo – Geno Smith (QB, West Virginia)
#9 New York – Cordarrelle Patterson (WR, Tennessee)
#10 Tennessee – Bjoern Werner (DE, Florida State)

The pick at #5 was influenced by this early report today…

Interesting times. I’ve also moved Sheldon Richardson up to #3 in anticipation of today’s work out. He benched 30 reps of 225lbs, as many as Jesse Williams managed despite weighing 25lbs more. He moves like a linebacker so should post an excellent forty time and perform well in the mobility drills. Ansah and Jordan (if they work out) should do well too. I’ll post live updates below.

Unofficial 40 yard dash times (Group 1 – defensive linemen):

NOTE – The number in brackets is the ten yard split

Ziggy Ansah (DE, BYU): 4.62 (1.56) & 4.65 (1.57)
T.J. Barnes (DT, Georgia Tech): 5.22 (1.91) & 5.22 (1.88)
David Bass (DE, Missouri Western): 4.85 (1.67) & 4.84 (1.70)
Josh Boyd (DT, Mississippi State): 5.00 (1.67) & 5.18 (1.75)
Armonty Bryant (DE, ECOK): 4.78 (1.66) & 4.85 (1.67)
Michael Buchanan (DE, Illinois): 4.72 (1.59) & 4.71 (1.62)
Everett Dawkins (DT, Florida State): 5.00 (1.73) & 5.05 (1.73)
Lavar Edwards (DE, LSU): 4.82 (1.64) & 4.81 (1.64)
Sharrif Floyd (DT, Florida): 4.93 (1.73) & 4.87 (1.68)
Kwame Geathers (DT, Georgia): 5.40 (1.88) & 5.50 (1.91)
William Gholston (DE, Michigan State): 4.93 (1.73) & 5.06 (1.76)
Malliciah Goodman (DE, Clemson): 4.87 (1.65) & 4.90 (1.70)
Cory Grissom (DT, USF): 5.25 (1.74) & 5.35 (1.82)
Johnathan Hankins (DT, Ohio State): 5.28 (1.82) & 5.13 (1.80)
Jordan Hill (DT, Penn State): 5.15 (1.75) & 5.22 (1.75)
Montori Hughes (DT, UT-Martin): 5.13 (1.83) & 5.29 (1.80)
Margus Hunt (DE, SMU): 4.65 (1.62) & 4.60 (1.62)
Chris Jones (DT, Bowling Green): 5.30 (1.83) & 5.34 (DNR)
Datone Jones (DE, UCLA): 4.84 (1.63) & 4.84 (1.63)
Dion Jordan (DE, Oregon): 4.53 (1.57) & 4.63 (1.60)
Joe Kruger (DE, Utah): 4.88 (1.75) & 4.82 (1.75)
Corey Lemonier (DE, Auburn): 4.60 (1.58) & 4.53 (1.57)

Dion Jordan and Ziggy Ansah will be top ten picks. The little mock I did earlier at the top of this post was basically a review of what we expected to see today and neither player disappointed. Incredible.

Both players managed a sub-1.60 ten-yard split to go with blistering runs. Every mock draft will have them in the top ten from now until April.

Jordan in particular. Wow. I wouldn’t rule him out as a #1 pick option. Unlimited upside.

Margus Hunt also performed extremely well, that will give him a little kick start after a disappointing Senior Bowl. He ran in the early 4.6′s, benched 38 reps of 225lbs yesterday. All this at 6-8, 277lbs.

Armonty Bryant had one of the most bizarre running styles you’ll probably ever see. He looked like Scooby Doo pursuing a sandwich.

First Pete and John sighting of the day:

Corey Lemonier was the final player to run among the first group. He ended with a bang — matching Dion Jordan’s unofficial 4.53. If the Seahawks don’t grab a LEO to cover Chris Clemons in free agency or round one, then Lemonier could be in to play.

Seattle’s new defensive line coach Travis Jones was out on the field running mobility drills:

No big surprises during the first set of drills. Ziggy Ansah, Datone Jones, Margus Hunt, Dion Jordan and Corey Lemonier moved really well. Johnathan Hankins had to be stopped at one point to go over the drill again, something I’ve never seen before. His frame is extremely sloppy.

Now it’s onto the bag and cone drill, hurdling objects.

Everett Dawkins looked really good for his size and handled the bags perfectly. Sharrif Floyd kicked one of the bags over but generally moved well.

Johnathan Hankins looked a lot better in the second drill. Given how flabby he is, the guy can move. He needs to tone up though.

Datone Jones is a superb athlete. I just wonder if he’s maxed out at 283lbs. To play inside consistently you have to think he’d have to add another 10lbs.

The linemen are now onto the dummy drill where they get a chance to flash a swim and club move.

My favourite part of this drill? The coach in charge has a football on a stick and kind of waves it a bit to mimic a snap. It’s totally unnecessary, but I bet that guy loves dusting that thing off every year. I wonder if he ever got to the airport and thought, “Oh my god… I’ve left it in the garage!” I’d love to see that get through customs too.

Back to the football. Another drill, another chance for Datone Jones to look the best. Sharrif Floyd, Johnathan Hankins and Dion Jordan also looked effortless and explosive. Joe Kruger, William Gholston and Malliciah Goodman were underwhelming.

Armanty Bryant dominated at a small school, but he looks distinctly average in drills today. William Gholston really does not look all that impressive today. He’s fumbling through the drills a bit.

In the punch drills, Montori Hughes and Dion Jordan were the best. This was the first drill where Datone Jones rushed a little bit and had to be told to slow down.

We’re now back to the mobility drills and a few the bigger players are looking tired.

Brandon Jenkins (DE, Florida State) didn’t run a forty yard dash but he’s done the other drills. And he hasn’t looked particularly good so far.

In the current cone drill, Dion Jordan is sprinting around like a cornerback. His lean, change of direction, explosion and ability to go through the gears is incredible. This is one of the all-time great work outs.

Johnathan Hankins is getting better and better as the drills go on. Datone Jones seems to be tiring. LSU’s Lavar Edwards has flashed so far, he’s one to go back and have another look at after the combine.

That’s the end of the drills for the first group of defensive linemen. They’re moving on to the vertical jump. Coming up next, the likes of Sheldon Richardson, Barkevious Mingo, John Simon, Bjoern Werner, Jesse Williams and Sylvester Williams.

Unofficial 40 yard dash times (Group 2 – defensive linemen):

NOTE – The number in brackets is the ten yard split

Bennie Logan, Star Lotulelei, Kawann Short, Jesse Williams, John Simon and Alex Okafor are not running the forty yard dash.

Barkevious Mingo (DE, LSU): 4.53 (1.60) & 4.53 (1.55)
Sam Montgomery (DE, LSU): 4.79 (1.64) & 4.68 (1.64)
Damontre Moore (DE, Texas A&M): 4.87 (1.69) & DNF
Sheldon Richardson (DT, Missouri): 5.00 (1.77) & 4.97 (1.69)
Akeem Spence (DT, Illinois): 5.13 (1.67) & 5.15 (1.69)
Devin Taylor (DE, South Carolina): 4.75 (1.60) & 4.84 (1.59)
Bjoern Werner (DE, Florida State): 4.79 (1.68) & 4.81 (1.66)
Brandon Williams (DT, Missouri Southern): 5.25 (1.79) & 5.31 (1.80)
Sylvester Williams (DT, North Carolina): 5.00 (1.73) & 4.93 (1.72)

The number of non participants was very disappointing. We knew guys like Alex Okafor bailed at the last minute, but what’s the excuse for players like Bennie Logan and Jesse Williams?

One player who completely bombed? DaMontre Moore. He doesn’t look good in shorts with a really unrefined frame. He managed just 12 reps on the bench press yesterday and now a 4.89 forty. In his second attempt he pulled up with an apparent hamstring injury, but I suspect it may be more a damaged ego.

Bjoern Werner also doesn’t have the best physique and didn’t run a great time (4.79-4.81)

Barkevious Mingo matched Dion Jordan’s time from earlier but really had to run fast given his middling 2012 tape and lack of production. You watch Jordan and you can see his best is yet to come. You watch Mingo and you wonder how he fits. So while Jordan is trending upwards today, I’m not sure Mingo will get the same kind of boost.

Sheldon Richardson didn’t run as fast as I expected. In fact, Sylvester Williams posted a quicker time despite carrying an extra 20lbs.

We’re now onto the mobility drills again. Brandon Williams is moving well despite his massive size. Bjoern Werner tripped up and looked a little stiff.

Sylvester Williams looked incredible on the first drill. No waste bend, moved around freely. If only he wasn’t 25 this year, he’d be a top pick.

Bennie Logan, who didn’t run a forty, is now working out. Why?

Damontre Moore is out of the drills with the suspected hamstring injury mentioned earlier.

Onto the bag drills and Brandon Williams is again putting on a clinic, making light work of his huge size. He tip toes around like a 260lbs lineman.

Bjoern Werner, Devin Taylor, and the two Williams’ again all impressed in the rip and club drills. Surprisingly, Sheldon Richardson looked pretty average.

The NFL.com coverage has now moved away from drills to have some thoughts from Mike Mayock. Great timing, guys.

The official forty yard dash times are in for the defensive lineman:

Ziggy Ansah – 4.63
Armonty Bryant – 4.86
Michael Buchanan – 4.78
Everett Dawkins 5.06
Lavar Edwards – 4.80
Sharrif Floyd – 4.92
William Gholston – 4.96
Malliciah Goodman – 4.87
Johnathan Hankins – 5.31
Jordan Hill – 5.23
Montori Hughes – 5.23
Margus Hunt – 4.60
Chris Jones – 5.33
Datone Jones – 4.80
Dion Jordan – 4.60
Joe Kruger – 4.83
Corey Lemonier – 4.60
Barkevious Mingo – 4.58
Sam Montgomery – 4.81
Damontre Moore – 4.95
Sheldon Richardson – 5.02
Devin Taylor – 4.72
Bjoern Werner – 4.82
Sylvester Williams – 5.03
Brandon Williams – 5.37
Trevardo Williams – 4.57

The linebackers are about to run the forty yard dash, including Alec Ogletree and Khaseem Greene.

Tony Pauline is reporting the Star Lotulelei heat problem is not as grim as first feared:

“Lotulelei did not fail his physical but rather was given an incomplete designation pending the consultation with the specialist, the person said, adding it was Lotulelei’s decision to withdraw from drills after hearing the doctors’ recommendation that he sit them out.”

Lotulelei’s agent, Bruce Tollner, said in a statement Sunday that his client will visit a specialist later this week and is expected to participate in every drill at his pro day March 20. Tollner said Lotulelei will continue to interview with teams in Indianapolis.”

Tollner and doctors who examined Lotulelei are hopeful the situation will prove to be similar to that of Carolina Panthers defensive end Frank Alexander, who was pulled from combine drills last year following an abnormal test but was then cleared by specialists.”

One player a lot of fans are talking about today is Datone Jones. I thought I’d put some tape out there while we’re going through a lull in proceedings waiting for the linebackers to start. So here’s his performance vs Stanford in the PAC-12 title game:

Unofficial 40 yard dash times (linebackers):

Oregon’s Kiko Alonso is not running the forty yard dash. Why? Arthur Brown has also decided not to run. Again, disappointing.

Sam Barrington (LB, USF): 4.78 & 4.75
Steve Beauharnais (LB, Rutgers): 4.81 & 4.79
Jon Bostic (LB, Florida): 4.50 & 4.57
Jamie Collins (LB, Southern Miss): 4.60 & 4.59
Zaviar Gooden (LB, Missouri): 4.50 & 4.56
Khaseem Greene (LB, Rutgers): 4.67 & 4.69
Gerald Hodges (LB, Penn State): 4.72 & 4.84
A.J. Klein (LB, Iowa State): 4.68 & 4.75
John Lotulelei (LB, UNV): 4.75 & 4.78
Brandon Magee (LB, Arizona State): 4.69 & 4.66
Kevin Minter (LB, LSU): 4.82 & 4.81
Nick Moody (LB, Florida State): 4.72 & 4.69
Sio Moore (LB, Connecticut): 4.62 & 4.63
Alec Ogletree (LB, Georgia): 4.62 & 4.62
Sean Porter (LB, Texas A&M): 4.78 & 4.78
Keith Pough (Howard): 4.87 & 4.87
Kevin Reddick (LB, North Carolina): 4.72 & 4.66
Bruce Taylor (LB, Virginia Tech): 4.94 & 5.06
Manti Te’o (LB, Notre Dame): 4.81 & 4.80
Chase Thomas (LB, Stanford): 4.88 & 4.87
Cornelius Washington (LB, Georgia): 4.53 & 4.50
Tom Wort (LB, Oklahoma): 4.69 & 4.75

Alec Ogletree wasn’t as explosive as expected, running in the 4.6′s unofficially. I thought he’d be quicker than that.

Khaseem Greene ran the time I was expecting — in the 4.6′s. He’s a good enough athlete on tape but you never expected to see a 4.5.

Zaviar Gooden ran a great 4.50 while Jon Bostic was also impressive with a 4.5.

It’s worth remembering that Brian Cushing ran a 4.74 at the combine.

Cornelius Washington — more of a pass rusher from Georgia, ran a 4.50 (unofficial) with a 1.62 ten-yard split.

The NFL Network is doing it’s usual trick of showing highlights of earlier drills while current guys are on the field. They kindly showed some of Alec Ogletree and Manti Te’o going through some of the mobility work and both looked pretty stiff.

Finally back to the live feed… Khaseem Greene looked really fluid in the bag mobility drills. He’s looking really sharp out there.

They just ran a catching drill where five guys in a row got in wrong. Can’t say this has been a particularly eye catching work out so far. Ogletree has been a big disappointment.

Official 40 yard dash times for the linebackers:

Zaviar Gooden – 4.47
Manti Te’o – 4.82
Jon Bostic – 4.62
Jamie Collins – 4.64
Khaseem Greene – 4.71
Kevin Minter – 4.81
Sio Moore – 4.65
Alec Ogletree – 4.70
Kevin Reddick – 4.70
Chase Thomas – 4.91
Cornelius Washington – 4.55

I still don’t understand why Kiko Alonso is out there running drills but didn’t compete in the 40.

Zaviar Gooden and Khaseem Greene looked really smooth in the catching drills, showing great back pedal, change of direction skills and burst.

A.J. Klein tripped up during his drill and appeared to injure his ankle.

Ogletree is now officially on a 4.70 which is a big surprise. Greene was given an official 4.71.

Zaviar Gooden’s 4.47 stands out and he’s likely to get interest from the Seahawks. But I wouldn’t rule out anyone running in the 4.6-4.7 range. After all, Brian Cushing ran a 4.74.

This statistic is pretty interesting for Greene and his stock.

The linebackers are now onto the bag drills. What can I say? Greene continues to impress. Great lean round the edge, quick feet despite the fact he’s added size for the combine.

Ogletree seems to be starting to try too hard, just tripped up on his attempt. Kevin Minter and Manti Te’o both look quick despite their 4.8′s earlier.

FREE AGENCY UPDATE

Anyone want Desmond Bryant still? Take a look at the mug shot from his recent arrest. My word.

The drills are starting to wind down so we’ll call it a day for today. I need some food after six hours. Tomorrow I’ll be starting an open thread and will have all the vital defensive back info available later in the day. Hope to see you there and thanks for getting involved.

Star Lotulelei has a heart condition

Sunday, February 24th, 2013

Hard to say how this effects his draft stock, although suddenly that issue is barely significant. According to his agent he’ll work out at the Utah pro-day on March 20th. He could have surgery to rectify the problem and make a swift and full recovery. It could potentially improve his quality of life and be no issue at the next level. But it’s something teams will look into.

In other news…

The defensive linemen completed the bench press drill tonight. You can see the results here, although a lot of high-profile pass rushers didn’t take part (Sharrif Floyd, Johnathan Hankins etc). Margus Hunt and Brandon Williams both managed 38 reps. Sheldon Richardson and Jesse Williams had 30 reps (excellent for Richardson). DaMontre Moore had 12 reps.

Jason La Canfora is reporting that a trade for Alex Smith between San Francisco and an unnamed team is essentially complete. It cannot be rubber stamped until the new league year begins on March 12th. Several members of the media present at the combine have speculated that Kansas City would trade for the 49ers quarterback. Smith for the Chiefs? It almost seems like a foregone conclusion at this point. Compensation is unlikely to be much more than a 4th or 5th round pick.

Randy Starks is likely to be franchise tagged, according to Gregg Rosenthal. He could’ve been one of the few free agents Seattle went after. A terrific run defender for his size, Starks can also penetrate and collapse the pocket. This would be a wise move by Miami.

Bob McGinn from the Journal Sentinel is quoting the opinions of unnamed scouts on certain prospects. You can read into this whatever however you want, but McGinn made a similar post last year absolutely hammering Robert Griffin III. Sometimes scouts have an agenda, whether it’s to lower a guy’s stock or whatever. So this might be a lot of hot air. It’s interesting to read, nonetheless.

If you missed it earlier, don’t forget to check out Day Five of the combine as it happened.

Scouting Combine: Day Five live blog

Sunday, February 24th, 2013

Hit refresh for the latest from Indianapolis as it happens. You can also watch live yourself by clicking here.

HEADLINES

- Tavon Austin runs an official 4.34, the same as Ryan Swope

- Cordarrelle Patterson runs an official 4.41 but didn’t look comfortable, dropping passes and running awkward routes

- DeAndre Hopkins only managed a 4.57 but is the most impressive during drills

- Robert Woods had a 4.51 but like Hopkins really impressed during the work out

Quarterback unofficial forty yard dash times (first group):

Tyler Bray (QB, Tennessee) – 5.00 & 5.07
Colby Cameron (QB, Louisiana Tech) – 4.83 & 4.66
Mike Glennon (QB, NC State) – 5.00 & 5.00
MarQueis Gray (QB, Minnesota) – 4.69 & 4.72
Landry Jones (QB, Oklahoma) – 5.03 & 5.03
Colin Klein (QB, Kansas State) – 4.81 & 4.78

Biggest surprise from the first group? Landry Jones running a sharp 1.69 ten yard split. Quick, move him to defensive end.

Next up it’s the first group of wide receivers, including Tavon Austin, Steadman Bailey, DeAndre Hopkins and Justin Hunter.

Keenan Allen is not working out today. Marshall’s Aaron Dobson also didn’t run the forty.

Wide receiver unofficial forty yard dash times (first group):

Tavon Austin (WR, West Virginia) – 4.25 & 4.31
Steadman Bailey (WR, West Virginia) – 4.57 & 4.50
Alan Bonner (WR, Jacksonville State) – 4.50 & 4.47
Josh Boyce (WR, TCU) – 4.38 & 4.38
Marcus Davis (WR, Virginia Tech) – 4.40 & 4.53
Corey Fuller (WR, Virginia Tech) – 4.38 & 4.37
Marquise Goodwin (WR, Texas) – 4.25 & 4.29
Cobi Hamilton (WR, Arkansas) – 4.47 & 4.59
Chris Harper (WR, Kansas State) – 4.57 & 4.46
Mark Harrison (WR, Rutgers) – 4.47 & 4.47
DeAndre Hopkins (WR, Clemson) – 4.50 & 4.50
Justin Hunter (WR, Tennessee) – 4.44 & 4.41
Brandon Kaufman (WR, Eastern Washington) – 4.53 & 4.59
Tavarres King (WR, Georgia) – 4.43 & 4.44

That’s an incredible (albeit unofficial) forty performance from Tavon Austin. That will do his stock the power of good. Anyone hoping he can be a DeSean Jackson type with a little Percy Harvin can feel a little more satisfied today.

Perhaps it’s time to start contemplating how early Austin could go in the draft?

Bucky Brooks admitted on the NFL Network that adding 0.08 to the unofficial times is usually a good indication of the official number. EVen still, a written-in-stone 4.33 or 4.35 would be excellent news for Austin.

Texas’ Marquise Goodwin also ran a 4.25 with a 1.49 ten-yard split. His second attempt was an unofficial 4.29. He looked completely relaxed.

Rutgers’ Mark Harrison ran two 4.47′s at 231lbs. Impressive.

DeAndre Hopkins managed two 4.50′s which was about expected. Steadman Bailey’s two times of 4.57 and 4.50 were a little surprising. He plays faster than that.

Justin Hunter ran an unofficial 4.41 but he weighs less than 200lbs at 6-4.

That concludes the first group of forty yard dash times. The quarterbacks and receivers will now go through passing/catching drills. That’ll be followed by the running backs running the forty yard dash, and then the second group of quarterbacks and receivers.

First sighting of Pete Carroll and John Schneider watching today’s drills together:

As the quarterback and receiver drills got underway, Tyler Bray looked a lot heavier than college. Almost like a different player compared to his time in Tennessee.

Tavon Austin is carrying on the momentum of his forty yard dash, showing sharp hands in the toe-tap drill.

Mike Glennon floated his deep ball a on the downfield drill. It was ugly. He threw back-to-back awful passes that forced the receiver to stop and wait for the football. That’s not good given he’s in shorts with no pass rush.

Bray looked excellent as expected, but he has a terrific arm. DeAndre Hopkins did well to chase down one of Bray’s throws and make a difficult catch. Steadman Bailey followed suite moments later making an equally impressive full-stretch grab.

Seattle’s offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell was down on the field for receiver drills:

I don’t really like the gauntlet drill, but Austin and Bailey both showed really nice hands.

Hopkins looked really sharp. In all the tape I’ve watched on the three, Austin, Bailey and Hopkins barely had any drops.

While the drills are going on, there’s a lot of positive Twitter chatter about Matt Barkley.

Of course, there’s no way of knowing how qualified this unnamed scout it. Matt Miller is the guy who last year declared Russell Wilson to be one of the worst picks in the entire draft. I think he’s employed by professional Google Search Spoiler B******r R****t. Even so, it was only a matter of time until Barkley’s stock started to trend upwards again. I had him going to the Cardinals in my most recent mock draft. I’ve had him at #1 to Kansas City too. He’ll be a top ten pick. There’s also this:

However, Somers isn’t quoting any sources here. That might just be his opinion due to all the media-bashing of Barkley. That wouldn’t surprise me. I remember the utter defiance of the Detroit Lions’ beat writers in 2009. They consistently talked down the chances of Matt Stafford being the #1 pick.

The receivers are now running routes. Hopkins continues to impress in a big way. He looks bigger in shorts than he does on the field. We’re seeing smooth cuts and breaks, plus sharp hands. He might not be running as fast as Austin right now, but Hopkins has been among the most impressive players today so far.

Greg Cosell is sitting in on the broadcast with Matt Smith and Bucky Brooks. He’s also talking like Michelle from the film ‘American Pie’. “This one time… at Band Camp…”

The second group of quarterbacks and receivers are preparing for their drills. Among those competing — Geno Smith, Ryan Nassib, Tyler Wilson, Cordarrelle Patterson, Quinton Patton, Ryan Swope, Terrance Williams and Robert Woods.

Austin is having a really sharp work-out here. He looks muscular, strong and smooth. Steadman Bailey just ran a pretty awkward out-route, although it was also a poor throw by the quarterback.

Mike Glennon has had an inconsistent day. Some bad throws earlier, now he’s on the money. Today is pretty similar to what you see on tape.

If you missed it yesterday, it’s not good news for Dion Jordan. He’s going to compete tomorrow but will then require surgery. He’s expected to miss 3-4 months.

Some other breaking news today, prospective free agent defensive tackle Desmond Bryant of the Raiders was arrested in Miami for ‘criminal mischief’. Not good news for anyone hoping he’d land in Seattle.

Louisiana Tech quarterback Colby Cameron did a good job today, running a 4.6 and throwing well too, particularly on the post-corner route. He could be a later round option if the Seahawks want to take a quarterback.

DeAndre Hopkins just made a stunning catch on a deep ball from MarQueis Gray. Real fingertips stuff. Crazy catch.

Pete Carroll and John Schneider are still watching closely. Along with the Harbaugh’s…

Mike Mayock says some scouts had Marquise Goodwin down for a 4.19 forty time. It’ll be interesting to see the official electronic times. Mayock wasn’t impressed by Goodwin running routes, citing he struggled to track the ball and get his head turned properly.

Cordarrelle Patterson managed a 37-inch vertical jump at 6-2. Mayock says physically he’s a top ten pick but he’s unsure a lack of production will get him there.

Interesting Tweet:

Quarterback unofficial forty yard dash times (second group):

E.J. Manuel (QB, Florida State) – 4.62 & 4.63
Ryan Nassib (QB, Syracuse) – 4.84 & 5.06
Matt Scott (QB, Arizona) – 4.66 & 4.69
Geno Smith (QB, West Virginia) – 4.56 & 4.60
Tyler Wilson (QB, Arkansas) – 4.96 & 4.94

Great times for E.J. Manuel (nearly 240lbs) and Geno Smith. I’d say Smith in particular looked much smoother than expected. Matt Scott also ran an impressive 4.66. Not quite the positive news for Tyler Wilson who looked slow and strained and only just avoided hitting the 5-second mark. Ryan Nassib also underwhelmed with a 4.84 or 5.06. Not good.

Wide receiver unofficial forty yard dash times (second group):

Aaron Mellette (WR, Elon) – 4.47 & 4.47
Cordarrelle Patterson (WR, Tennessee) – 4.37 & 4.40
Quinton Patton (WR, Louisiana Tech) – 4.46 & 4.50
Denard Robinson (WR, Michigan) – 4.34 & 4.45
Da’Rick Rogers (WR, Tennessee Tech) – 4.56 & 4.44
Lanear Sampson (WR, Baylor) – 4.43 & 4.44
Ace Sanders (WR, South Carolina) – 4.53 & 4.59
Kenny Stills (WR, Oklahoma) – 4.34 & 4.28
Ryan Swope (WR, Texas A&M) – 4.44 & 4.38
Conner Vernon (WR, Duke) – 4.59 & 4.47
Markus Wheaton (WR, Oregon State) – 4.34 & 4.40
Terrance Williams (WR, Baylor) – 4.46 & 4.59
Marquess Wilson (WR, Washington State) – 4.41 & 4.47
Robert Woods (WR, USC) – 4.44 & 4.44

I’m not sure if there was an issue with the timer, but there were some crazy differentials between the first and second attempts and that shouldn’t happen. Da’Rick Rogers and Conner Vernon improved their times by 0.12 seconds on the second run. Terrance Williams on the other hand ran a second attempt 0.13 seconds slower than the first go-around. No idea what was going on there and we’ll have to wait for the official times later today.

Cordarrelle Patterson confirmed his speed at 6-2 and +200lbs. It’ll be interesting to see him run routes later.

Denard Robinson was quick but why isn’t he being worked out as a running back? He basically played QB/RB at Michigan and he’s the same size as Chris Johnson. Ryan Swope, Kenny Stills and Markus Wheaton all ran quick times that’ll help their stock. Marquess Wilson also put in a good show. Robert Woods was also quick enough to give his stock a boost. He’s good enough to be a first round pick.

Quinton Patton and Woods looked good in the toe-tap drills, making a sharp cut and get both feet down with minimal effort. Cordarrelle Patterson looks a bit awkward, just as he does on tape. He just ran a deep route that looked painfully difficult. It doesn’t help that he’s wearing baggy T-shirt/shorts for the drill.

Geno Smith, like Mike Glennon, is floating the deep ball too much.

Ryan Swope doesn’t look like a wide receiver. He looks like he should be working in Blockbuster’s. I’d still take a chance on him being a productive unnatural type via the middle rounds. Markus Wheaton showed great catching technique in the gauntlet. Ace Sanders struggled and took a ball in the face for good measure. I want to see Cordarrelle Patterson extend his arms to catch the ball. Everything is into the body. He’s all speed an upside, the technique leaves a lot to be desired.

Official 40 times are now in for the receivers:

Marquise Goodwin – 4.27
Tavon Austin – 4.34
Steadman Bailey – 4.52
Josh Boyce – 4.38
Justin Hunter – 4.44
DeAndre Hopkins – 4.57
Mark Harrison – 4.46
Chris Harper – 4.55
Cordarrelle Patterson – 4.42
Quinton Patton – 4.53
Da’Rick Rogers – 4.52
Denard Robinson – 4.43
Terrance Williams – 4.52
Markus Wheaton – 4.45
Conner Vernon – 4.68
Ryan Swope – 4.34
Kenny Stills – 4.38
Marquess Wilson – 4.51
Robert Woods – 4.51

I suppose the big headline is Ryan Swope is officially as quick as Tavon Austin. So pick your poison. Austin in round one, or Swope later.

The receivers are now running 10-yard routes. Robert Woods continues to look like the most impressive player out there — he’s showing the same crispness as Hopkins and equally strong hands. And just as I said that… Woods drops a back-shoulder pass.

Justin Hunter had a vertical jump of 39.5-inches. He had a poor 2012 season but has impressed athletically in Indianapolis. It’s still hard to get behind him given how sloppy he looked for Tennessee. Former NFL Scout:

I thought Patterson hurt himself today. He might still be a top-15 pick based on upside, straight line speed and the ability to score any time the ball’s in his hands. However, you’re going to have to coach him up in a big way. Otherwise he’ll wing it, which is pretty much what he did at Tennessee. And winging it in the NFL will kill a quarterback.

The final group to work out today will be the running backs.

Running back unofficial forty yard dash times (first group):

Montee Ball (RB, Wisconsin) – 4.62 & 4.65
Kenjon Barner (RB, Oregon) – 4.44 & 4.46
Le’Veon Bell (RB, Michigan State) – 4.52 & 4.56
Giovani Bernard (RB, North Carolina) – 4.50 & 4.50
Rex Burkhead (RB, Nebraska) – 4.69 & 4.75
Knile Davis (RB, Arkansas) – 4.30 & 4.31
Andre Ellington (RB, Clemson) – 4.59 & DNP
Jonathan Franklin (RB, UCLA) – 4.47 & 4.50
Mike Gillislee (RB, Florida) – 4.50 & 4.50
Ray Graham (RB, Pittsburgh) – 4.72 & 4.71
Jawan Jamison (RB, Rutgers) – 4.62 & 4.50
Onterio McCalebb (RB, Auburn) – 4.27 & 4.21
Joseph Randle (RB, Oklahoma State) – 4.63 & 4.63
Theo Riddick (RB, Notre Dame) – 4.66 & DNP
Zac Stacy (RB, Vanderbilt) – 4.50 & 4.60
Stepfan Taylor (RB, Stanford) – 4.78 & 4.72
Cierre Wood – 4.50 & 4.53

The average time for a running back over the last few years has been 4.59.

Watching the running backs this year was pretty underwhelming. It lacked the star power we’ve seen in recent years. There’s a few players here that’ll be productive at the next level, but unless Eddie Lacy makes it into the first round were unlikely to see any of the group go early.

Ontario McCalebb’s 4.21 is slightly undermined by his sub-170lbs size. LeVeon Bell’s times were impressive given his size. Knile Davis ran two 4.3′s and he was always a fast guy, but he had a bad 2012 season with fumble problems. He really had one good year in college. Andre Ellington appeared to get injured during his forty yard attempt. Montee Ball’s 4.6′s are good enough — he will be a productive player at the next level. I’d take a chance in the middle rounds.

Official 40 yard dash times for the running backs:

Montee Ball – 4.66
Kenjon Barner – 4.52
LeVeon Bell – 4.60
Giovani Bernard – 4.53
Rex Burkhead – 4.73
Knile Davis – 4.37
Andre Ellington – 4.61
Jonathan Franklin – 4.49
Mike Gillislee – 4.55
Ray Graham – 4.80
Jawan Jamison – 4.68
Onterio McCalebb – 4.34
Joseph Randle – 4.63
Theo Riddick – 4.68
Zac Stacy – 4.55
Stepfan Taylor – 4.76
Kerwynn Williams – 4.48
Cierre Wood – 4.56

Matt Flynn update

Peter King just said on the NFL Network that he thinks Seattle will release Matt Flynn. He didn’t believe they would pay his salary to keep him and would choose to save some back by releasing him. King didn’t expect much of a trade market.

I believe the team would make a $1.25m overall saving if they cut Flynn. It doesn’t sound much, but paying $7.25m for a backup is unnecessary. Personally, if they do cut Flynn I’d consider drafting a quarterback and letting him compete with a veteran to be the backup.

And we have to remember here, paying the starter peanuts and the backup $7.25m is an odd dynamic. That could play a part in any decision.

End of the day

Things are starting to wind down in Indianapolis and the NFL Network isn’t even showing live coverage of the running back drills, they’re speaking to Scott Pioli. We’ll call it a day for today, but remember we’ll be live blogging again from 6am PST tomorrow. Hope to see you there for the all-important defensive lineman and linebacker drills.