Players as well as scouts, coaches, medical staffs and general managers from all 32 franchises have begun to descend on Indianapolis for the 2012 combine. Every day we’ll provide you with the news and notes swirling around the city. Update: Brandon Carr a Cowboy?? Riley Reiff to guard??
Sunday, February 26th
– Teams here in Indianapolis feel when the dust clears in free agency cornerback Brandon Carr will be the newest member of the Dallas Cowboys. The team will then look to use their first selection on an offensive lineman, but who? Last night we reported the Baltimore Ravens would likely target Cordy Glenn. They may need a back-up plan as word is Glenn continues to sky-rocket up draft boards and ending up with Dallas in the top half of round one is a real possibility.
– Sources have said a large part of the free agent market at the defensive back position hinges on whether or not the Detroit Lions sign Cortland Finnegan.
– More on the report from Adam Schefter of ESPN.com that Indianapolis Colts receiver Pierre Garcon turned down a five year offer from the team. Word tonight is the value of the contract hovered around the $35 million mark.
– The buzz around Indianapolis is receiver Marques Colston is looking for a contract in the range of $7 million per year.
– We’ve been told a number of teams have moved Riley Reiff from offensive tackle to guard on their draft boards.
– Three offensive linemen that have watched their draft stock take a major bump north after Saturday’s workout include tackle Bobbie Massie/Mississippi, Jeff Allen/Illinois whose being graded as a guard and Amini Silatolu/Midwestern State.
Saturday, February 25th
– The belief amongst most in Indianapolis has Bart Scott of staying put in New York if the Jets choose to cut him and switching locker rooms and helmets to play for the Giants. It would fill a Giants need at linebacker and fill Scott’s hopes to remain in New York.
– Lots of Baltimore Ravens talk in Indianapolis this evening. The Ravens have a large number of wide receivers on their official combine interview list. Will they take a receiver in the first? The belief is right now the pick for the team in round one could be Cordy Glenn after his lights out workout today.
– Speaking of receivers, a handful of scouts told us tonight they were less than impressed the interviews they had with South Carolina receiver Alshon Jeffery.
– Most feel the Ravens will be unable to resign linebacker Jameel McClain and the team that eventually signs him in free agency will be the Indianapolis Colts.
– Look for the Pittsburgh Steelers to make a move for free agent tackle Jared Gaither.
– Wake Forest offensive lineman Joe Looney, who tore a ligament in his foot the first day he arrived to Senior Bowl practices, was hobbling around Indianapolis on crutches with a boot still on his foot.
– Who will be the fastest man at the combine? Many have opined that title will fall on either Joe Adams or Jarius Wright of Arkansas. I was told yesterday the player that could run Chris Johnson type of times will be TJ Graham of North Carolina State.
– I’ve been told all along the New York Jets won’t look to shore up the offensive tackle spot in the early rounds of this years draft. Further proof came last night when I was told by several Jets sources the team has told Vladimir Ducasse he will be competing for the starting job at right tackle this summer. Ducasse, who struggled with the play book last year, has been training for the position in the off season.
– Despite suffering with flu type symptoms and missing almost a week of training Jonathan Martin/T/Stanford has decided to participate in the position drills. It was a last minute decision by Martin who initially planned to sit on the sidelines today but wanted to put his skills on display after being challenged by scouts.
– Sources have told us several red flags have been raised on offensive lineman Rishaw Johnson. His past off the field transgressions have been well documented but we’ve been alerted to a situation during the Shrine Game where Johnson’s roommate demanded to be moved to a different room after several situations occurred involving the Cal-Pa offensive lineman.
Friday, February 24th
– The word in Indianapolis is the St Louis Rams will do everything possible to move the second pick of the draft. We hear there have been exploratory talks with the Washington Redskins in the early going.
– If Peyton Manning is cut by the Indianapolis Colts word is the Redskins will be front and center with an offer for the future Hall of Famer.
– The operative word for the New York Jets veterans presently partaking in off season training is “speed”. We here Jets linebackers and offensive linemen have been instructed to drop weight in the off season as Rex Ryan wants a leaner, swifter squad for next season.
– Why was the Jets offensive line so bad last year and why did so many players underachieve? I was told part of the problem is the playbook was so thick and the blocking schemes so complicated many of the offensive lineman were over thinking all season.
– I’ve been told two Rutgers players will be red flagged for injuries at combine. Offensive lineman Desmond Wynn has shoulder issues that will send up red flags and defensive lineman Justin Francis has serious leg issues that will warrant extensive examinations.
– More on our tweet from Nick Perry earlier today. I’ve been told he’ll tip the scales over 270lbs and run in the low 4.7’s on Monday. Keep close watch on his 10-yard split as it could be exceptionally low (1.52/53 area), which is something teams will look for.
– The scouting report being passed around to teams on Courtney Upshaw of Alabama includes a quote from the Tides head coach. Nick Saban emphatically refers to Upshaw as the “meanest player he’s ever coached” and someone that “would never back down in a fight.”
– Staying on underclassmen from the defensive side of the ball, I’ve been told Whitney Mercilus will measure in just under 6-feet, 4-inches; a positive sign as many thought he was at least an inch shorter. Those familiar with the Illinois pass rusher expect a huge workout from Mercilus.
– Ryan Broyles has been running forty’s in recent weeks and turning in surprisingly solid times for a player that suffered a major knee injury four months ago. The hope is Broyles will be close to 100% sometime in May.
– Several teams project Wisconsin junior center Peter Konz to guard.
– A number of scouts told me that they feel Konz’ teammate, Kevin Zeitler, is the best run blocker in this draft.
Thursday, February 23rd
– While many are anticipating the workout of Alabama’s Courtney Upshaw word is the Jacksonville Jaguars, who own the 7th selection and Buffalo Bills, owners of pick number 10, have shown the most interest of the early drafting teams.
– Marvin Jones/WR/California continues to impress in pre-combine training. We’ve heard all along Jones has been running forty times in the low 4.4-second (4.42) area.
– I’ve been told look for Shea McClellin/DE-OLB/Boise State to tip the scales just over 250-pounds (he was 248lbs at the Senior Bowl). McClellin is another that’s timed well during workouts, stopping watches as fast as 4.65 seconds.
– Devon Still has looked very athletic in training recently. Those who have seen him think he’ll show enough movement skills during his combine workout to peak the interest of 3-4 teams who will project Still to defensive end.
– Two linemen that have not looked good thus far are the Florida State pair of Andrew Datko and Zebrie Sanders. Datko was described as slow with bad feet. Sanders? Knock-kneed and unbalanced.
– As of last week I was told from those close to the situation that Vontaze Burfict is planning to complete his combine workout. There are some who think there’s no way the linebacker will fully participate in the combine workout. Hopefully Burfict decides to participate.
– With all the high profile training facilities around the nation its ironic that three of the top prospects in this years draft; Justin Blackmon, Morris Claiborne and Kendall Wright all chose to stay on campus and work with coaches at their respective college’s in preparation for the combine.
– Moving towards free agency, sources have said they expect the New England Patriots to load up once the free agency season opens.
The 2012 NFL Combine is almost upon us all. The anticipation of 40-times and cone drills is nearly unbearable. Thus, it is time for the mock which is dubbed uncanny — a pre-Combine edition.
TFY contributor Brent Sobleski stepped up to the plate and predicted the first two rounds of the NFL draft.
|Analysis: Despite all of the posturing by Colts’ owner Jim Irsay and his current quarterback, Peyton Manning, it’s hard to imagine Indianapolis going in a different direction even at this juncture. It’s been Andrew Luck all along.|
|2||St. Louis||Matt Kalil||OT/USC|
|Analysis: The slot has already been discussed as a likely trade spot for a team to leap up and grab quarterback Robert Griffin III. Matt Kalil isn’t a consolation prize. He’s a franchise left tackle to protect Sam Bradford’s blindside. Roger Saffold can simply slide inside to guard or move to right tackle if Jason Smith is eventually cut.|
|Analysis: Minnesota will sit at No. 3 and wait to see which top talent slides to it. Age and inconsistency have plagued a secondary the Vikings have already invested heavily, but Mo Claiborne is hard to surpass to replace Antoine Winfield|
|4||Cleveland||Robert Griffin III||QB/Baylor|
|Analysis: Colt McCoy proved he wasn’t the answer at quarterback last year in the Cleveland, and the Browns need a tremendous talent boost among their annually awful offense. It all starts with the quarterback, and Cleveland hopes RGIII will be there without having to trade up to acquire his services.|
|5||Tampa Bay||Riley Reiff||OT/Iowa|
|Analysis: Greg Schiano was a surprise hire by Tampa Bay, but there is nothing surprising in how he built the Rutgers program. Defense and toughness in the trenches is where Schiano will start, and Riley Reiff fits the bill perfectly.|
|6||Washington||Michael Floyd||WR/Notre Dame|
|Analysis: Michael Floyd may not be the top rated WR in this class by many, but he is an ideal fit in a west coast offense. His physicality, route running and size make him a better option for the Redskins’ offense than his peer, Justin Blackmon.|
|7||Jacksonville||Justin Blackmon||WR/Oklahoma State|
|Analysis: Jacksonville, now under the supervision of the offensive minded Mike Mularkey, should jump at the opportunity to finally acquire a legitimate top target (something the team has lacked since Jimmy Smith). Blackmon will certainly help in Blaine Gabbert’s maturation under center.|
|8||Carolina||Quinton Coples||DE/North Carolina|
|Analysis: Coples, simply put, is an enigma. He has all the tools to be a dominant end, yet he never put it all together at North Carolina. His overall talent and positional value keep him hovering around the top ten, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see him slide on draft day.|
|9||Miami||Ryan Tannehill||QB/Texas A&M|
|Analysis: Miami desperately wants to upgrade its quarterback position. The team hired Mike Sherman to be its offensive coordinator. Sherman coached Ryan Tannehill in college and recently compared him to Aaron Rodgers and Brett Favre. It could all be a massive smokescreen, but the possibility is just too logical.|
|Analysis: Demetrius Bell, the Bills’ starting left tackle, is looking for a big payday. Bell may not receive the compensation he’s searching for in Buffalo. His replacement last year, Chris Hairston, was severely outmatched. Jonathan Martin is a strong run blocker with enough athleticism to play the blindside at the next level.|
|11||Kansas City||Trent Richardson||RB/Alabama|
|Analysis: Over the past two seasons, new offensive coordinator Brian Daboll rode Peyton Hillis and Reggie Bush as both posted career numbers. Jammal Charles is expected to return, but it’s hard to pass on a talent like Trent Richardson at this point if there is even some uncertainty at the RB position.|
|Analysis: The Seahawks shall be searching for an QB, but they’re slotting isn’t favorable. Instead, the team can take the next step with an unit which already ranked ninth overall in total defense. Courtney Upshaw would bring toughness, pass rush ability and versatility to Pete Carroll’s front seven.|
|13||Arizona||Mike Adams||OT/Ohio State|
|Analysis: Both of Arizona’s starting offensive tackles from last year’s squad are free agents. Neither may be retained by the Cardinals. Mike Adams is a bruising tackle with all the natural gifts to immediately start at left tackle.|
|Analysis: Dallas is in dire need of an upgrade within its secondary. The Cowboys lost multiple leads throughout the season, in part, to their 23rd ranked passing defense. Kirkpatrick is a tremendously talented cornerback who will have to answer multiple questions about potential off-the-field concerns.|
|Analysis: Michael Brockers is a raw prospect, but he has the length and ability to stuff the run which will help solidify a Philadelphia interior that played soft at times. The Eagles also have the opportunity to develop Brockers behind the likes of Cullen Jenkins and Mike Patterson. Derek Landri and Trevor Laws are both free agents.|
|16||NY Jets||Nick Perry||DE/USC|
|Analysis: Since NYJ head coach Rex Ryan implemented his attacking defense, the Jets have not had a constant edge rushing presence in their version of the 34. The team’s last attempt to address the problem in the draft was Vernon Gholston. Obviously, the team is still looking for the answer.|
|17||Cincinnati (from Oakland)||Peter Konz||OC/Wisconsin|
|Analysis: Both starting guards are free agents in Cincinnati. Peter Konz can play both guard and center at a high level. Kyle Cook has been consistent at center, but he also could be upgraded. Konz is the physical type of lineman Cincinnati usually covets.|
|Analysis: David DeCastro is very highly rated, but he does possess some holes in his game. The Chargers won’t complain since the team’s entire offensive line is in question. DeCastro immediately upgrades one of the guard positions.|
|Analysis: Chicago has been searching for a large target to compliment the wide receivers already on the roster. Kendall Wright doesn’t fit that mold, but his explosive ability is hard to deny for a team which doesn’t possess a legitimate top target of any size or shape.|
|20||Tennessee||Janoris Jenkins||CB/North Alabama|
|Analysis: The uncertain fate of Cortland Finnegan helps make this selection. Janoris Jenkins has top ten ability, but he developed a few bad habits against inferior competition. The former Florida Gator would help build one of the better young secondaries in the NFL alongside Jason McCourty and Alterraun Verner.|
|Analysis: The Bengals and running back Cedric Benson have yet to sit down and negotiate a possible return. Benson, a free agent, is already on the wrong side of 30 years. Lamar Miller could provide added insurance or start out of the gates.|
|22||Cleveland (from Atlanta)||Dwayne Allen||TE/Clemson|
|Analysis: Cleveland lacks offensive play makers, period. The team is in need of wide receivers, but tight ends are currently en vogue around the league. Dwayne Allen can provide match-up problems for opposing defenses while rotating among the Browns’ numerous two-tight sets.|
|23||Detroit||Stephon Gilmore||CB/South Carolina|
|Analysis: Ndamukong Suh and Detroit’s defensive line gets all of the attention, but the Lions’ secondary has been woeful in recent years. A defense is built from front to back, but cornerbacks still need to cover at least a little bit. Stephon Gilmore would be a step in the right direction. Gilmore has all the physical ability to be a No. 1 cornerback in the league, but he’s struggled with inconsistency.|
|Analysis: Pittsburgh head coach Mike Tomlin already decided to move Marcus Gilbert from right to left tackle. Willie Colon restructured his contract. Maurkice Pouncey is the rock in the middle. Brandon Washington is a massive yet athletically gifted guard/tackle who should fit in nicely with the Steelers revamped offensive line.|
|25||Denver||Devon Still||DT/Penn State|
|Analysis: Broderick Bunkley was a nice surprise for Denver in 2011, but he is a free agent. The Denver defensive interior was very thin on the depth chart past Bunkley. Devon Still is arguably the most well rounded defensive tackle in the class and should start immediately.|
|26||Houston||Alshon Jeffrey||WR/South Carolina|
|Analysis: It was easy to see the difference in Houston’s offense when Andre Johnson wasn’t available. Johnson has been a workhorse, but he needs a running mate. Kevin Walter has never proven to be that guy. Alshon Jeffrey should pair with Johnson to become a scary combination.|
|27||New England (from New Orleans)||Melvin Ingram||DE/South Carolina|
|Analysis: Is there a more perfect prospect for Bill Belichick to mold? Ingram has the ability to play defensive tackle, defensive end, outside linebacker and inside linebacker. The South Carolina product should add a consistent pass rush, something New England lacked over the past few seasons.|
|28||Green Bay||Whitney Mercilus||DE/Illinois|
|Analysis: Whitney Mercilus led the nation in sacks last year with 16. Clay Matthews III had a down season, in part, due to Green Bay’s lack of a true bookend. Mercilus may be better with his hand in the dirt at the moment, but some scouts believe he can be an outside linebacker in the Packers’ version of the 34.|
|Analysis: Ray Lewis can’t play forever. He just can’t. Eventually time will catch up with the future Hall of Fame linebacker. Dont’a Hightower is ideal replacement as a thumping mack linebacker in the middle of Baltimore’s imposing 34 defense.|
|Analysis: Too much of the blame fell on Alex Smith’s shoulders after the NFC championship game. The quarterback didn’t necessarily cost the 49ers a trip to the Super Bowl, but a lack of play makers on the outside surely did. Rueben Randle quietly went about his business this year at LSU. He has the size and surprising initial burst off the line to become a top target in the NFL.|
|31||New England||Fletcher Cox||DT/Mississippi State|
|Analysis: Brandon Deaderick, Kyle Love, Shaun Ellis and Gerard Warren surrounded Vince Wilfork in Super Bowl XLVI. Those names don’t exactly invoke Richard Seymour. Or even Ty Warren. Fletcher Cox has the length and versatility to mold into a top 34 DE.|
||Luke Kuechly||LB/Boston College|
|Analysis: A former Boston College assistant coach once described Luke Kuechly’s instincts for the football as “Ed Reed-like.” Despite the Giants tremendous run to another championship, a gaping hole exists at MLB (sorry, Chase Blackburn). Kuechly is smart, productive and a Boston College product — everything Tom Coughlin loves.|
|33||St. Louis||Mohamed Sanu||WR/Rutgers|
|35||Minnesota||Zach Brown||LB/North Carolina|
|36||Tampa Bay||Alfonzo Dennard||CB/Nebraska|
|39||Washington||Brandon Weeden||QB/Oklahoma State|
|44||Kansas City||Josh Norman||CB/Coastal Carolina|
|46||Philadelphia||Vontaze Burfict||LB/Arizona State|
|47||NY Jets||Alameda Ta’amu||DT/Washington|
|48||New England (from Oakland)||Kelechi Osemele||OG/Iowa State|
|49||San Diego||Joe Adams||WR/Arkansas|
|50||Chicago||Mike Brewster||C/Ohio State|
|51||Philadelphia (from Arizona)||David Wilson||RB/Virginia Tech|
|53||Cincinnati||Bobby Wagner||LB/Utah State|
|57||Denver||Brock Osweiler||QB/Arizona State|
|58||Houston||Jerel Worthy||DT/Michigan State|
|59||New Orleans||Kevin Zeitler||OG/Wisconsin|
||Jayron Hosley||CB/Virginia Tech|
|61||Baltimore||Stephen Hill||WR/Georgia Tech|
|62||San Francisco||Andre Branch||DE/Clemson|
|63||New England||Leonard Johnson||CB/Iowa State|
|64||NY Giants||Orson Charles||TE/Georgia|
|2nd||George Iloka||Boise State||4Sr|
|2-3||Harrison Smith||Notre Dame||5Sr|
|3rd||Markelle Martin||Oklahoma State||4Sr|
|3-4||Trenton Robinson||Michigan State||4Sr|
|4th||Antonio Allen||South Carolina||4Sr|
|5th||Christian Thompson||South Carolina State||4Sr|
|5-6||Duke Ihenacho||San Jose State||5Sr|
|6th||Josh Bush||Wake Forest||5Sr|
|6th||Brandon Hardin||Oregon State||5Sr|
|6th||D’Anton Lynn||Penn State||4Sr|
|6th||Charles Mitchell||Mississippi State||4Sr|
|6-7||Cyhl Quarles||Wake Forest||5Sr|
|7th||Johnny Thomas||Oklahoma State||4Sr|
|FA||Donovan Richard||South Carolina State||5Sr|
|FA||Lance Mitchell||Oregon State||5Sr|
|FA||Jerrell Young||South Florida||5Sr|
|FA||Tysyn Hartman||Kansas State||5Sr|
|FA||Dominique McDuffie||Appalachian State||4Sr|
|FA||Kelcie McCray||Arkansas State||5Sr|
|FA||Emmanual Lamur||Kansas State||5Sr|
|FA||Drew Astorino||Penn State||5Sr|
|FA||Sean Baker||Ball State||5Sr|
|FA||Eddie Elder||Arizona State||4Sr|
|FA||Marcus Lott||Coastal Carolina||4Sr|
|FA||Nick Sukay||Penn State||5Sr|
|FA||Latarius Thomas||Eastern Michigan||6Sr|
|FA||Rick Volcin||Norfolk State||4Sr|
|FA||Matt Johnson||Eastern Washington||5Sr|
|FA||Eddie Whitley||Virginia Tech||4Sr|
|FA||Vidal Nelson||James Madison||5Sr|
|FA||Daniel Eaves||North Dakota State||5Sr|
|FA||Wade Bonner||Mississippi State||5Sr|
|FA||Ter’ran Benton||Iowa State||5Sr|
|FA||Deshawn Shead||Portland State||5Sr|
|FA||Bryan Blanfort||Southeast Missouri State||5Sr|
|FA||Reshaude Miller||Morgan State||4Sr|
|FA||Devonte Reynolds||Norfolk State||4Sr|
|FA||Andre Lyles||Fayetteville State||4Sr|
|FA||Matt Merletti||North Carolina||5Sr|
|FA||Kendrick Presley||Southern Mississippi||4Sr|
|FA||Terrence Parks||Florida State||4Sr|
|FA||Doug Wiggins||Western Michigan||5Sr|