The players, coaches and front office people have long left Indianapolis as the final chapter has been written on the 2011 NFL combine. Yet there was plenty of buzz lingering around the corridors of the convention center, in Lucas Oil Stadium and at the JW Marriott. Here are some of the more interesting notes.
– The general consensus coming out of the combine is eight defensive ends will be selected in round one. In our pre-combine rankings of the position we gave nine defensive ends a first round grade.
– The situation at safety is the polar opposite. Those we have spoken with say the first safety will not be selected until the third frame starts.
– We’ve heard from a number of sources that teams were not impressed with the interviews turned in by Auburn quarterback Cam Newton. Some of the reviews have been pretty severe to be honest. Newton’s Auburn teammates who were on hand in Indianapolis were also grilled pretty hard by teams about the character and type of person their former quarterback was during their interviews.
– Another player receiving negative reviews on his performance during combine interviews was Colorado cornerback Jimmy Smith. We hear teams were so turned off that Smith could fall out of round one. Smith did not look good in position drills nor turn in the performance scouts expected during his workout. We’ve been told by people who were at the Carson, California facility where Smith was training the cornerback skipped workouts the two weeks prior to the combine.
– During our combine report on the receiver workout we mentioned some of the problems Titus Young struggled with on Sunday, primarily his balance. Sources told us Young was not dedicated to pre-draft training and was another prone to missing workouts.
– On the other hand sources have said Maryland receiver Torrey Smith did interview quite well at the combine. Two people described the Terp playmaker as a genuinely nice kid. That said a number of receiver needy teams said they were disappointed in Smith’s combine workout. They felt he was going to be faster in the forty then he timed and showed unpolished football skills during position drills.
– Sources have told us a number of teams are wondering and questioning why Hampton defensive tackle Kenrick Ellis did not participate in position drills after running poorly in the forty. His official electronic times were 5.27/5.37 seconds, towards the bottom end of the defensive line group. On his behalf Ellis did not complete the workout (vertical jump/broad jump/shuttles), which would legitimize any injury he may have claimed to be suffering from.
– After his terrible workout at the combine sources now believe Wisconsin running back John Clay is undraftable unless he pulls a rabbit out of the hat on pro-day. Clay’s marks were worse than we originally reported. His forty times were 4.92/4.96 seconds electronic, his vertical jump of 29-inches was the worst of the running back group while his other numbers (broad jump/shuttles/3-cone) ranked near the bottom of the position.
– Patrick Peterson is drawing rave reviews for his combine performance, but was it good enough to satisfy one of the draft’s top players? Maybe not. We spoke with a member of his team as we left Indianapolis on Tuesday and they told us Peterson was desperate to run in the 4.2-second area yet that was not going to happen at a body weight of 219-pounds. Just prior to the combine Peterson tipped the scales at 212-pounds and was running under 4.3-seconds with regularity. So will he run again at the LSU pro-day? We hear it is not a foregone conclusion he won’t.
– Speaking of Peterson, we posted on Tuesday he ranks atop the draft board of the Dallas Cowboys, which should come as no surprise to anyone as we reported from the Senior Bowl in late January he was the teams number one target. In Indianapolis came word that certain factions of the Cowboys front office feel the franchise should rid themselves of former number one pick Terence Newman, who’ll be 31-years old this season and is a player whose skills have diminished. So what happens if Dallas cannot trade up and acquire Peterson? The general consensus is the team will look at players on either the offensive or defensive line when they are on the board with pick number nine. We have speculated the choice could be Cameron Jordan, assuming the Cal senior is still available and were previously told it could be another PAC Ten player, Tyron Smith of USC. Some league insiders said not so fast. Dallas showed no interest at the combine in the veteran offensive linemen that will be available for free agency once the free agency period starts, assuming it does. And yes- there were talks between teams and agents in Indianapolis about veteran players that will eventually be on the open market. One scenario had Dallas potentially trading out of the ninth pick, moving down in the first round then taking an offensive lineman later in the frame. Granted, most of this was spoken about over the weekend before Prince Amukamara turned in his very solid workout Tuesday morning.
– One must wonder if the St Louis Rams were happy to see Julio Jones turn in such a good combine performance. Prior to leaving for Indianapolis sources had told us the team will be targeting receivers and interior offensive linemen with their opening selections and the Jones was a first round target. The Alabama junior may now be out of the teams range.
– Villanova offensive tackle Ben Ijalana, who missed the Senior Bowl and combine recovering from bi-lateral sports hernia surgery, now hopes to workout for NFL teams on April 6th.