Work outs begin tomorrow for the offensive lineman and tight ends. Today both positional groups took on the bench press, which is probably more relevant for these guys than anyone else.
Tyron Smith has a superb wing span and he’s edged over 300lbs for the combine after methodical weight gain. These things aren’t the greatest combination for bench pressing – long arms make it difficult to lift and if he’s added quick weight, it won’t necessarily translate to arm and chest muscle. Therefore, Smith’s 29 reps at 225lbs today is quite simply stunning.
Top-ten pick material and by far the offensive lineman with the most potential in this class.
Nate Solder has similar issues with long arms (he’s 6-8) and only managed 21 reps, which is understandable and just highlights Smith’s achievements further. Derek Sherrod and John Moffitt both benched 23 times, while small school diamond Will Rackley benched 29 reps – as did Baylor’s Danny Watkins. USC center Kris O’Dowd had an impressive 31 reps.
Two prospects I’m particularly high on – Rodney Hudson and James Carpenter – benched 27 and 23 reps respectively. Mike Pouncey didn’t participate.
Interior offensive line has been a big issue for a while for Seattle, in fact ever since the ill-fated day Steve Hutchinson left for Minnesota. The Seahawks are simply not good enough at the guard position. Being able to make aditions in free agency would indicate the level of importance the front office value the position in terms of the draft. Instead we’ll go into April’s event unsure as to the team’s intentions, with no new CBA on the horizon.
It’ll be hard to pass on Mike Pouncey. I often wrote on this blog during the 2010 season about his major improvents as a center for Florida after some initial concerns snapping the ball. He will start in year one at center or guard. He may not achieve the high levels witnessed by his brother Maurkice in Pittsburgh, but he will still have a fine career in the NFL and lock down a position for years (health permitting). Miami, Kansas City and Philadelphia all pick before Seattle and it’ll be something of a coup if he falls to #25.
If the team don’t want to draft a guard in round one or haven’t the option, I still think Rodney Hudson is the best bet at #57. He’s 299lbs at the combine, he’s completely mastered his technique in college and for me he’s going to be a long term high-end starter in the NFL. I think he’s possibly the most polished offensive lineman in this class.
NFL.com is good for combine video at this time of year. Here’s some highlighted links:
Michael Lombardi produces a top-ten mock draft minus AJ Green. The prospect of Green landing in St. Louis to catch passes from Sam Bradford is scary. On the plus side it could encourage a drop for Julius Jones – who is another hugely talented receiver.
Candice Caldwell has a twitter review on the recent NFLPA/NFL discussions. It’s almost certain a new agreement won’t be in place before the draft and this appears to be a long way from a positive conclusion. What should be an exciting time just before free agency begins is anything but.
Todd McShay has a combine report for ESPN:
A heads up for the weekend combine coverage – work commitments mean only reaction will be possible to Saturday’s offensive line and tight end work outs. I will be watching closely work outs that take place on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. I’d like to hear your thoughts too in the comments section.