As the media has slowly filtered out of Indianapolis, workouts continue in full force. Skill positions spotlight the day. Players will continue to take the podium and interview with the last contingent of reporters. All the while TFY’s own Tony Pauline and Brent Sobleski are still present to give continual updates throughout the day. Check back regularly!
– Throughout today’s workout sessions, Arizona State product Chris McGaha uncharacteristically dropped several passes. Sources have told TFY, the wide receiver recently discovered through a series of Combine examinations he possesses 20-60 vision. He had never been previously apprised of the situation and is currently slated to have Lasix surgery this coming Tuesday to correct the small setback.
– Georgia’s Jeff Owens almost tied the mark Arkansas’ Mitch Petrus put up two days ago with his own 44 reps on the bench press, falling one short of the guard’s impressive 45.
Quick results from the running back workouts…
– California’s Jahvid Best broke the 4.4 barrier twice in the forty yard dash and was clocked with a best of 4.34. Fresno St.’s Ryan Matthews finished twice in the 4.45 range. Both looked good in drills.
– Georgia Tech’s Jonathan Dwyer timed poorly with a best in the low 4.7 area, but the running back showed terrific footwork in drills.
– Mississippi’s Dexter McCluster disappointed while running in the mid 4.5 range, but he was spectacular in drills.
– Auburn’s Ben Tate was fast in the forty yard dash with a hand timing of 4.46 but showed much slower in drills.
Eric Berry, S Tennessee
– Measured in at 5-feet-11-inches tall and weighed 212 pounds.
– Berry explained his father’s recent medical issues as the primary reason for declaring early. Former Defensive Coordinator Monte Kiffin also played a role, “You [Eric] would be a fool to come back.”
– Kiffin’s presence in Berry’s game cannot be underestimated either. The safety credits his coach, “He helped in the mental part of the game. He always told us exactly why certain plays were chosen.” The Cover 2 system employed last year also helped him tremendously as he played in the box more than he had in recent years.
– Berry believes he can play every position in the secondary effectively, even being a true cover corner.
– Last year’s production dipped and the top rated prospect was asked why, “Teams looked at me like the plague…” and they never threw towards the safety.
– As motivation the All American took the worst thing written about his game every preseason, posted it in his bathroom, and read it every morning before starting his day.
– While Berry did contribute offensively while at Tennessee, he simply felt “…DB comes more naturally.”
– Studies game film on every top secondary player in the NFL and tries to “….pick different things from different players” and incorporate those aspects into his own skill set.
Joe Haden, CB Florida
– Measured in at 5-feet-10.5-inches and weighed 193 pounds.
– When approached about what weaknesses he still has to work on while only playing cornerback for three seasons, Haden discussed needing to know the “concepts of offense” to a better degree.
– Haden was a quarterback entering college and was recruited as such by other major programs including Ohio St., Michigan, and Boston College. His first choice was actually for the University of Virginia, but they did not accept early graduates at the time.
– Transitioning to his new position in college, one he never played in high school, Haden believes it is a “lot easier tackling” than it is to be tackled. “At least you can see what is going on and can’t be blindsided.” In fact, he felt run support was the easiest part of playing the position.
– The cornerback has already had some discussions with Atlanta and Houston.
– A full workout is expected, and he plans to run in the 4.37/4.42 range. As a side note, Haden has trained with his father since the seventh grade. His father ran track initially, then became a body builder, and has been teaching his son many of the drills seen here at the Combine since said time.
– Credits former teammate Percy Harvin as his toughest opponent claiming there were plenty of days in practice where the secondary got “beat down”.
Earl Thomas, S Texas
– Measured in at 5-feet-10.5-inches tall and weighed 208 pounds. His current weight is his heaviest. Generally he played for the Longhorns between 198-200 pounds.
– When asked about coverage responsibilities, Thomas was not tasked with doing as such. Instead, the secondary relied on their defensive coordinator who would shout out numbers on their wrist bands. If calls needed to be killed, it was done by the linebackers.
– Acknowledged NFL teams are slightly concerned about his height at the position, and it is less than ideal.
– Thomas will participate in a full workout here in Indianapolis.
Recap of wide receiver group two…
– Southern Methodist’s Emmanuel Sanders really stood out in all areas. He was fast, ran good routes, and caught the ball exceptionally well.
– After a slow start, Notre Dame’s Golden Tate really picked it up and has locked himself into round one.
– Ohio’s Taylor Price also had a solid session. After running well Citadel’s Andre Roberts had some uncharacteristic drops. Meanwhile, USC’s Damian Williams looked very average all afternoon.
Akwasi Owusu-Ansah, CB Indiana (PA)
– Following up on a story first reported by TFY, Owusu-Ansah stated he will get surgery on his shoulder after his pro day which has yet to be determined. To reiterate AOA dislocated his shoulder in the fourth contest of this year, played through said injury, and had it re-aggravated in the last game of the season.
– The cornerback will participate in everything here in Indianapolis, sans the bench.
– Weighed in at 207 pounds.
Major Wright, S Florida
– When this talented underclassman put his name in with the NFL Advisory Committee, he received a grade of “no later than a 3rd”.
Josh Pinkard, CB/S USC
– Measured in at 6-feet-1-inch tall and 214 pounds.
– The versatile cover man was invited to the Combine a year ago but wanted to return to school to prove he can stay healthy “two years running”. Unfortunately, this did not occur and Pinkard is now just two months removed from an ACL tear. Overall, the knee checked out medically, is healing well, and there has been no swelling.
– Prefers safety which he stated is his more natural position.
Barry Church, S Toledo
– Although this prospect is working out as a defensive back, he plainly stated he feels his skills are better suited to linebacker and is comfortable playing in the box. Three teams in particular are looking at the former Rocket as a linebacker: Seattle, Atlanta, and Cleveland.
Times from the second group of receivers…
Brandon Lafell LSU – 4.64, 4.59
Carlton Mitchell South Florida – 4.44, 4.46
Preston Parker North Alabama – 4.69, 4.67
Taylor Price Ohio – 4.42, 4.40
Andre Roberts Citadel – 4.44, 4.47
Emmanuel Sanders SMU – 4.38, 4.42
Jordan Shipley Texas – 4.60, 4.65
Golden Tate Notre Dame – 4.40, 4.38
Damien Williams USC – 4.47, 4.55
Kyle Williams Arizona St. – 4.41, 4.41
Mike Williams Syracuse – 4.60, 4.55
Quick results from this morning’s workouts….
– West Virginia’s Jarrett Brown was clearly the best of all the passers. His outs had zip, and they were accurate. He also threw the deep ball quite well.
– Troy’s Levi Brown had a solid session. Western Michigan’s Tim Hiller, BYU’s Max Hall, and Oregon St.’s Sean Canfield struggled.
– Clemson’s Jacoby Ford looked terrific and really elevated his draft stock. After running a great forty times, he then ran good routes and caught the ball well. Kansas St.’s Brandon Banks also performed well showing great quickness. Illinois’ Arrelious Benn had a solid outing.
Brian Price, DT UCLA
– Measured in at 6-feet-1-inch tall and 303 pounds.
– The highly decorated defensive tackle will participate in a full workout here in Indianapolis.
– Most teams have been looking at the interior defender as a potential 43 tackle, yet surprisingly Price has already had a meeting with the 34 based Pittsburgh Steelers.
– Currently working in the off season with former Vikings’ sackmaster Keith Millard to improve his pass rush ability. When quickly asked by about how he will counter NFL linemen after initial pass rush move, Price stated he likes to use a club rip.
Toby Gerhart, RB Stanford
– Weighed in at a svelte 231 pounds, a few pounds lighter than his listed playing size.
– The issue of racial comparison was brought up by one particular writer, and Gerhart was quite frank in his response. “I get compared most often to John Riggins or Mike Alstott. I pattern my game more after Eddie George and Corey Dillon.”
– The large back also mentioned concerns with his contributions in Stanford’s passing attack this past year. “I was most often used as a blocker. And I need to learn to not lead with my head and strike with my hands more.”
– A two sport star, Gerhart plainly stated, “Baseball is done for me now.”
Sean Lee, LB Penn St.
– Will compete with a full workout.
– Lee knows his biggest questions surround his previous medical issues. He stated with authority his legs and knees are currently 100% healthy.
Wide Receiver Group A times:
Jarrett Brown QB/West Virginia – 4.59, 4.59 forty yard dash.
Seyi Ajirotutu WR/Fresno St. – 4.56, 4.55
Alric Arnett WR/West Virginia – 4.50, 4.49
Brandon Banks WR/Kansas St. – 4.40, 4.41
Chris Bell WR/Norfolk St. – 4.53, 4.50
Arrelious Benn WR/Illinois – 4.56, 4.53
Nyan Boetang WR/California – 4.75, 4.73
Dezmon Briscoe WR/Kansas – 4.54, 4.68
Riley Cooper WR/Florida – 4.53, 4.59
Marcus Easley WR/Connecticut – 4.41, 4.39
Jacoby Ford WR/Clemson – 4.25, 4.28
David Gettis WR/Baylor – 4.46, 4.47
Mardy Gilyard WR/Cincinnati – 4.59, 4.65
Shay Hodge WR/Mississippi – 4.60
Donald Jones WR/Youngstown St. – 4.52
– Nebraska center Jacob Hickman declined a Combine invitation. Instead, he has decided to retire from his football career.
– Meanwhile, Stanford’s Matt Kopa is also on the list but did not report. As reported by TFY earlier in January, the offensive tackle is attempting to gain another year of eligibility for the Cardinal.
– The same applies for Utah running back Matt Asiata who is also going back to college for another year.