Back in action

Prospects slowly matriculated into the media room initially, and then came in at rushed pace.  Brent Sobleski  is present keeping everyone updated along the way.   This morning the offensive linemen and specialists are on display with a few tight ends and quarterbacks thrown into the mix.    Highlights of several conversations are provided from the future NFL contributors.  Check back for continual updates throughout the day.  

Ciron Black, LSU

– Measured in at 6-feet-4-inches tall and weighed 327 pounds.

– Immediately  mentioned his willingness to showcase his footwork and how it should be viewed as an area of strength in his game.    Obviously, it is an area on which this prospect has struggled and he is looking to impress scouts.

– Of the teams he has already met, they view him in a multitude of different manners.   Some have him listed purely as a tackle.   Some have him purely as a guard prospect.  Some believe the LSU product is versatile enough to play both effectively.

– During his workouts leading up to the Combine, the tackle has been working on the technique and nuances of playing the strongside if called upon by his future team.   Also, improvement in his hand placement was a notable concern as Black trains.

– Keeps in contact with his former Bayou Bengal Andrew Whitworth, who has helped to teach this prospect how to break down plays and protection.

– Listed former Florida Gator Jarvis Moss, Ohio State Buckeye Vernon Gholston, with current SEC pass rushers Carlos Dunlap and Antonio Coleman as the best pass rushers he faced during his long collegiate career.

– The Cleveland Browns have already shown some interest and met with this prospect.   In particular, they were most interested in his background information.

Anthony Davis, Rutgers

– Previous weight issues became the topic du jour.   Today, the talented protector weighed in at 323 pounds.   Previously, he was reprimanded and sent to second string prior to his junior year for showing up five pounds overweight.   Ironically, he weighed 320 at that time.

– After showing up at Rutgers initially at 366 pounds, Davis discussed the strict regiment he suffered through his first two years on campus.   Waking up each day at 5:30 AM, Davis worked out and kept to a strict diet.  When question if he could balloon up again, David flatly denied the possibility stating, “I’d have to force feed myself to get back to that weight.”

– Admitted his need to work in all areas of his game but will prove he has a “passion every time on the field.”

Trent Williams, Oklahoma

– Measured in at 6-feet-4-inches tall and weighed 315 pounds.

J.D. Walton, Baylor

– Measured in at 6-feet-2-inches tall and weighed 300 pounds.

– After transferring from Arizona State, this pivot started from his sophomore year at Baylor.   From the onset, he was tasked with calling defensive fronts and blocking assignments.

– Admitted the aforementioned transfer was due to being alone for the first time and home sickness set in.   When questioned if it would still be a problem, even at the NFL level, Walton pointed out he has been living alone and working out in Atlanta over the past few months.

– The pivot felt his footwork, particularly working double teams while getting the second level, was his biggest concentration as he prepared for this process.

– Regarding Baylor’s dominant zone blocking scheme, Walton felt it played to his strengths by being asked to play out in space often thus showcasing his movement skills.

– A “bunch of [NFL] teams” have been asking how much he has played guard.

Bryan Bulaga, Iowa

– Measured in at 6-feet-5-inches tall and weighed 314 pounds.   Also, his arm length was measured in at over 33 inches.   For comparison sake, this prospect would have had the shortest arms among the pure tackle prospects found at the Senior Bowl.

– Regarding his “mystery illness”, Bulaga defined his issues as a case of thyroiditis.   As he described it, the condition is a viral infection in the thyroid which causes a loss of energy and weight loss.    His weight did drop to 302 pounds as a result.   The offensive tackle admitted to not feeling comfortable until the Michigan State contest this past season.   Recently he was given a full bill of health from doctors at the University of Iowa and the Mayo Clinic.   Statements from these physicians have already been sent to all the teams prior to his Combine appearance.

– The highly ranked blocker will perform a full workout here in Indianapolis.

Mike Iupati, Idaho

– Measured in at 6-feet-5-inches tall and weighed 331 pounds.

– Initially asked about a potential transition to the offensive tackle position, “It’s coming along.”   NFL teams have told him he needs to be versatile.  Iupati responded, “Just give me time to learn.”

– His performance at the Senior Bowl was relatively mediocre to which he admitted, “That was not me.  I simply did not want to get beat.”

– The large interior blocker was a junior college transfer.   Initially a non-qualifier coming out of high school, Iupati did not play JC ball.   Instead, he was spotted by a coach on the Vandals’ staff at a barbecue in which he knew some of the athletes.  Idaho offered him a Prop 48 deal as a recruit the next day.    A deal Iupati initially turned down.  Why?  He did not want the burden of paying back a loan, or his parents having to pay back loans.   He was eventually persuaded by his parents to attend Idaho to get his education.

– Iupati already spoke with the Bills, Rams, and Falcons.

Charles Brown, USC

– Measured in at 6-feet-5-inches tall and 303 pounds.

– Already talked with both the Chargers and Seahawks.   Brown admitted to not speaking with former coach, Pete Carroll, and instead was grilled by the team’s new offensive line coach Alex Gibbs.   To which Brown feels he would fit in well with Gibbs’ particular system

– As a former tight end, Brown was questioned on his ability to sustain weight.   Brown smiled and said he could keep weight on easily but in college, “I didnt’ have the money to play for meals.”

– Also stated teammates Clay Matthews III and Everson Griffen are the “best defensive ends I’ve ever seen”.

– Has worked extensively on his hand placement this off season.

Brandon Carter, Texas Tech

– The Red Raiders’ offensive system immediately became the topic of choice.   Carter has had discussions with four former linemates all currently playing in the NFL.   He has been told the transition is actually quite easy because of their requirements to play on the island at all five line positions in said system.   Their advice was that it is actually harder getting used to double teams and having help so close.  Carter reiterated , “It’s easier than what we do.”

Ed Wang, Virginia Tech

– Weighed in at 314 pounds.

– Discussed his transition to the next level and feels Virginia Tech provides a solid base because of their “pro ready system”.  A system which is predicated on “inside zone powers and six man protection.”

Rob Gronkowski, Arizona

– Gronkowski vehemently stated his back injury is fully healed and 100% healthy.   The tight end elaborated on his issues.  His L2 and L3 lumbar discs were bulging and required a microdiscectomy.   He has since been given a full bill of health and will participate on bench here at the Combine.

– An individual pro day will be held at the end of March for Gronkowski as he continues to regain his conditioning prior to said injury.

Roger Saffold, Indiana

– Already spoke with a litany of teams including:  Jacksonville, Buffalo, Indianapolis, Miami, Oakland, and San Diego.

– Credits his former line coach, Bobby Johnson, helping him mature greatly after his freshman year on campus.

– Saffold believes he has seen a lot in his extensive starting experience but did admit he has not seen a lot of a three man front.

– After lingering lower back problems earlier in his career, the blindside protector played without pain for the first time this season.   He was forced to wear a back brace each night in previous years.   He even elaborated on the pain caused from the condition, “I couldn’t even put on socks.”

Jared Veldheer, Hillsdale

– The small school product feels he was never given a look by bigger schools because he came out of a Wing T system in high school and was never shown proper footwork or technique.   As such when entering football camps, this potential blindside protector relied on footwork learned while playing basketball.   Obviously, his attempts did not go well at the time, and he landed at Hillsdale where his brother had already attended.

Jeff Byers, USC

– Measured in at 6-feet-3-inches tall and weighed 301 pounds.    He mentioned weighing in as heavy as 307 pounds just this past week.

– Splitting time between both guard and center this year, Byers admits it can take a few snaps to transition back and forth between the positions.

– Patterns his game after former Denver great, Tom Nalen, and hopes he gets the opportunity to interview with Seattle and offensive line coach Alex Gibbs.

– No issues were found in medicals from previous injuries in 2005 and 2006 where a hip and his back gave this lineman troubles.