The annual sojourn to the city of Indianapolis has begun for the league’s 32 franchises who will be joined by 325 prospective future employees. For the next six days we will bring you complete coverage of what’s going on in and around the combine.
UPDATE 4:30 PM EST: More Cam Newton and some workouts
– TFY spoke with people from Cam Newton’s camp about the quarterback’s reluctance to speak to the media today at the combine. No convincing reason was given as we were told Newton’s heavy interview schedule with NFL teams and general managers is taking its toll.
– Starting with bench press results, Tyron Smith completed 29 repititions. Indiana’s James Brewer finished with 25.
– Specialists performed earlier today. Most of the place kickers did well. All of the top guys converted 12 of 15. Kai Forbath graded the highest hitting on all of his FG attempts from more than 50-yards. Most of them had the distance to convert from 60-plus yards.
4:00 PM EST
Time to update two previous DraftInsider stories…
– A month ago, TFY reported Stanford’s Owen Marecic had a disinterest in the entire draft process, because he has fantastic academic career he can alternatively choose. Today, he disputed those claims. “I’m 100 percent focused on football,” he claimed.
– Early in December, sources intimated Oregon State’s Jacquizz Rodgers had already decided to enter the NFL draft as an underclassmen. Rodgers immediately refuted the report. When asked about it during his media session at the Combine, Rodgers stayed true to his original statement. At the time, he had not made up his mind. The decision came much later in the process.
– Cameron Jordan is one of the top rated defensive linemen in a loaded draft class. He is prepare to showcase his abilities during his stay in Indianapolis. The collegiate five technique is planning to participate in a full workout.
3:35 PM EST
As two highly recognizable running backs spoke with the media, surprising size numbers were discussed…
– A double-take was required to realize Wisconsin’s John Clay was at the podium. He has shed 30 pounds recently due to a better diet. He discussed that he did not eat well with a minimum of meals each day. Each of those meals were large and added pounds. The running back is now a svelte 231 pounds.
– Former Heisman trophy winner, Mark Ingram, is listed at 5-10 and 215 pounds. Well, he the 215 mark was absolutely correct. He was actually a full inch shorter at a self-described 5-9 according to his NFL measurements.
3:00 PM EST
– The ripple effects of USC’s suspension continue to be felt all the way to the midwest. After weighing in at 307 pounds, Tyron Smith stated he had gained 20 pounds since the end of last season. During the extra time the Trojans would usually be in post-season play and practice; Smith changed his diet. He cut junk food and began to eat a healthy and balanced diet. The tackle admitted his drastic change in body-type and what he tipped the scales even surprised him.. His low was 285 pounds last season.
2:45 PM EST
– The PSAC conference has two prospects here in Indianapolis. Brandon Fusco was already highlighted in an earlier interview this week on TFY. California of Pennsylvania quarterback Josh Portis has been one of the most impressive interviews to date. Portis was originally recruited to Florida. After being caught cheating on a pop quiz, he was suspended. He decided to leave and transfer to Maryland. A lack of playing time forced another tranfer into the Division II level. Portis has plenty of physical ability with a strong arm and fantastic athleticism. He expected to run in the 4.5 range during his 40-yard dash attempts. “I’m going to put on a show,” he continually smirked.
– Florida State quarterback Christian Ponder will participate in throwing drills.
2:00 PM EST
– Utah State cornerback Curtis Marsh, who sat and watched the Senior Bowl with an injured hamstring, is schedule to complete a full combine workout.
– Whereas, Notre Dame tight end Kyle Rudolph plans the exact opposite. Rudolph described his ability to run with a previously torn hamstring is currently at 75-80 percent. He will not participate in any of the physical activities here in Indianapolis.
– Missouri quarterback and potentially the top signal caller chosen, Blaine Gabbert measured in at 6-4(3/8’s) and 238 pounds. He describes himself as a competitor and will partake in all of the drills.
1:00 PM EST
– A.J. Green, a potential top ten pick, stated “I want to be mentioned with the best.” Green measured in at 6-3.5 and 211 pounds earlier today.
– Nebraska guard Keith Williams talked about facing former teammate Ndamukong Suh every day in practice last year, “It was a bear fight.”
– Two questions follow Texas A&M quarterback Jerrod Johnson as he continues the draft process. Why was he benched and what do teams feel about his throwing mechanics? He answered both Friday. He stated injury and momentum were the reasons behind not starting the rest of the year. His response to mechanics proved interesting. Teams have not been overly concerned with his throwing motion. Instead they are more worried about his footwork, because Johnson has shown a tendency to throw everything from his shoulder. So how sound the joint is has been questioned. Johnson has countered by working with the same QB coach Tim Tebow employed last draft season, Zeke Bratkowski.
– Once Pitt wide receiver Jonathan Baldwin leaves Indianapolis he will return to training. He will be training with the likes of another Panthers’ alumni, Larry Fitzgerald as well as Roddy White and Greg Jennings.
11:35 AM EST
– Auburn’s Nick Fairley may be the number one overall selection in April’s NFL draft. The defensive tackle has been rebabbing a small shoulder seperation he suffered during the season. Although it is not considered serious, it has hampered his ability to participate in the bench press, an event he will not participate in at the combine. Otherwise, Fairley has looked good in his training regiment. He has weighed 298 pounds and has appeared very athletic.
11:30 AM EST
– The first suspended North Carolina TarHeel entered the media room. Greg Little was the first to face the fire. Although he didn’t address the allegations directly, he did mention he was “very remorseful” and was upset that he basically started the entire process. What was surprising is that the running back turned wide receiver weighed in at a svelte 231 pounds.
– Pitt offensive tackle Jason Pinkston discussed teammate Jonathan Baldwin claiming the wide receiver has a 42-inch vertical. As a sidenote, Pinkston had a large role in potentially recruiting Owen Marecic to the Panthers. Marecic eventually chose Stanford despite a large contigent of family in Pittsburgh.
11:00 AM EST
– Cameron Heyward was recently cleared to run and is close to receiving the okay to bench. The Ohio State product has already been re-examined by Dr. James Andrews since his surgery. The defensive end is expecting to do his pro-day workout for NFL teams March 30th. There is a chance he will participate in the benchpress on said date.
– LSU defensive tackle Drake Nevis, who missed the Senior Bowl with plantar flaciatis, is ready to go and is planning to fully participate with a combine workout.
– Julio Jones is already considered one of the top wide receiver prospects in the draft. Unlike many top prospects in years past who are advised against running, the Alabama product is expected to run his 40-yard dash in Indianapolis.