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.