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 DraftInsider.net will bring you complete coverage of what’s going on in and around the combine.
Update 3:30 PM EST – Cornerback quotes…
-Prince Amukamara, are you better than Patrick Peterson?
“That’s a good question. I’ll guess we’ll let the scouts decide that.”
Then the Nebraska cornerback was asked about his performance against Oklahoma State’s Justin Blackmon, who posted 157 yards on five catches against the ‘Huskers.
”He is a really good wide receiver,” Amukamara complimented. “He only got me on two plays. I was letting him open and just get on top of me. They were in the first half, and I corrected it in the second half. I then had a great second half.
- Colorado’s Jimmy Smith’s swagger was evident the moment he stepped on the podium.
“I’m a big, athletic, physical corner(back),” the 6-2 211-pound defensive back stated. ”I love to press. I have great speed. I have great ball skills. I’m a shutdown corner. ”
Is there any modesty in there Jimmy?
“Yeah it’s in there somewhere,” he grinned.
He also mentioned, “I have better ball skills than him (while referencing the comparisons to Nnamdi Asomugha).”
- Louisville’s Johnny Patrick had his share of up’s and down’s last month at the Senior Bowl in Mobile. The cornerback performed particularly well when the ball was in front of him and he could drive forward. He was beat repeatedly when asked to turn and run against speedy receivers.
“I don’t see it necessarily as a concern,” he said. “I know I need to improve. It’s something I’m working on right now to get better.
“I’m working on my deep ball drills, turning with the receiver, while the ball in the air. Things like that I have been doing those drills.”
2:35 PM EST
- Another TarHeel met the media. This time it was safety prospect, Deunta Williams. Williams also served a suspension this year, and he detailed the reason as to why. Williams asked a former teammate (unmentioned) to book him a trip and set him up in California for a vacation. No agents were involved, and he reimbursed the third party but it obviously broke NCAA rules.
- Williams also mentioned he has a broken fibula he suffered in North Carolina’s bowl game, and he will not be working out in Indianapolis.
- Top prospect Patrick Peterson measured in at 6′ and 219 pounds. Despite claims to the contrary recently, NFL teams have yet to mention a potential move to safety.
- West Virginia’s Brandon Hogan expects to run from scouts in April. No date was given, but he is only two months removed from ACL surgery.
2:00 PM EST
- The best way to describe Cam Newton’s workout among the quarterbacks is inconsistent, and that is being generous. He did make a few good throws. For the most part, his passes sailed high of their intended targets.
- Florida State quarterback Christian Ponder had a good session and was accurate all day. The timing on his throws was spot-on all day.
- Maryland’s Torrey Smith strung together a disappointing effort during the second session among wide receiver. If the speedy receiver was not running a straight go-route, he was unimpressive.
1:30 PM EST
- Yesterday, Pitt’s Greg Romeus made his way through the media room. Today, his defensive bookend, Jabaal Sheard, took the podium. Like Romeus, Sheard has been battling an injury while rehabbing. He detailed his issue with an elbow, which was a lingering program since high school. He had hyperextened the limb and a grow plate was broken. He had minimal issues with it the past few years, but he decided it would be best to have surgery and get it out of the way prior to entering the NFL. The procedure was performed Dec. 28. He has not been able to train and even stated that when he runs the forty at the combine, it will be the second time he has run the drill all offseason.
- A slightly surprising situation is hearing Virginia’s Ras-I Dowling state NFL teams have not had many conversations regarding his potential of playing safety. D0wling has tremendous size, but he has never played the position.
- Oklahoma’s Quinton Carter dropped two pounds off a chiseled frame since the Senior Bowl. He now weighs 209 pounds.
12:30 PM EST
- One of the two or remaining elite prospects faced the media. Questions were raised earlier in the week about concerns regarding the stability of Nick Fairley’s shoulder. The Auburn product seperated the AC joint in the contest against Georgia. He played through the injury for the rest of the season. Despite the previous injury, he did state he will do a full workout here at the combine.
11:30 AM EST
- After a somewhat aloof appearance in front of the media, Arkansas’ Ryan Mallett was back on the field, where he belongs, and looked terrific in what was one of the best combine workouts by a quarterback in the past five years. He made all the throws and did so with accuracy and speed.
- Ricardo Lockette kept momentum on his side after a wonderful forty-yard dash timing. During drills, he had one of the best sessions by an receiver. Alabama’s Julio Jones, Georgia’s A.J. Green, and Kentucky’s Randall Cobb all improved their stock based on today’s performances.
- Miami’s Brandon Harris is listed at 5-11 on the team’s official website. Apparently, he lost two inches on his way to Indianapolis measuring in at 5-9.
- Will Hill was an early entrant to the 2011 draft from Florida. His reasons for making the leap prematurely was to support his family (he has three children who are one-year old or younger). When Urban Meyer decided to leave it became the final nail in the coffin as Will didn’t want to go through a coaching change.
10:15 AM EST
Forties are commencing for one of the highlight positions to participate in the drill, the wide receivers…
- Georgia’s A.J. Green, Pitt’s Jonathan Baldwin, and Alabama’s Julio Jones all ran in the mid 4.4-second range.
- Two small school prospects blazed the track and impressed scouts. Fort Valley State’s Ricardo Lockette posted a sub-4.3 on some watches during his second forty yard dash attempt. Meanwhile, Abilene Christian’s Edmund Gates posted two efforts in the 4.3 range.
- By most accounts, Mississippi’s Jerrel Powe had a disappointing senior season after being considered a first round prospect by many entering the season. Power disagreed.
“I think I’m the best nose (tackle) in this draft, but we had a down season this year,” the 6-2 335 pound interior lineman stated. “I still think I bring a lot of talent to the table.”
- Pierre Allen of Nebraska had his issues at the Senior Bowl, as TFY noted in its coverage from Mobile. The primary issue was an inability to disengage from offenisve linemen. He also disagreed.
“I got off plenty of blocks at the senior bowl,” he vehemently stated. “I had my share of losing some battles, but everyone wins and loses some. They probably just seen a couple when I was losing.”
9:30 AM EST
- Last evening sources told DraftInsider.net that numerous teams are down on former North Carolina receiver Greg Little before he has even taken the field. Teams have found Little to be less than honest during the interview process, and that’s putting it nicely. Little, as you may remember, was suspended for the 2010 season after violating school and NCAA rules.
- Alabama offensive tackle James Carpenter underwent a precautionary MRI yesterday after his injury. Results proved negative.
(Make sure to follow SI.com’s Tony Pauline and TFY’s head scout Brent Sobleski on twitter @tonypauline & @brentsobleski)