By Rob Staton
I'll be following the action from Indianapolis closely today as the quarterbacks, running backs and receivers work out. I'll keep updating this blog post as events happen, so stay tuned and hit refresh. We've already seen Jarrett Brown (QB, West Virginia) run a very good 4.53 forty yard dash. Not many of the quarterbacks are working out today, but there's some big name running backs who will be hoping to run fast times - last year was a disappointing work out for running backs trying to make quick times. Keep an eye on Jacoby Ford (WR, Clemson). You can watch live here.
Noticeable WR's running the forty yard dash 9:15am EST
Dezmon Briscoe: 4.63 & 4.61
Arrelious Benn: 4.53 & 4.48
Riley Cooper: 4.52 & 4.53
Jacoby Ford: 4.28 & 4.27
Mardy Gilyard: 4.56 & 4.62
Benn didn't explode out of the blocks but got to his top speed quickly. Ford glided his way to 4.28 and 4.27 with the minimum of effort - he has amazing speed and could offer teams an immediate special teams threat and a deep option. He ran at 24mph, reaching top speed right at the end of his run.
After the first group ran the forty yard dash, they moved on to passing/catching drills. I don't take a lot out of these work outs. They're fun to watch, but I'll be damned if I'm going to made a judgement on someone's ability as they, for example, run a gauntlet (the drill where you run a straight line catching passes as you run along). No pressure, no specific route, having to drop the ball to catch the next one. How does this translate to anything? People say it shows good hand/eye coordination, but for me it doesn't translate to the game at all. Give me game tape when a guy is in coverage, running through traffic and in a pressure situation - that's when hand/eye coordination is really tested. I'm keeping my eye on measurements, athleticism and just finding out a little more as to how these guys carry themselves.
In between work outs there was some discussion about whether the Seahawks would consider drafting Jimmy Clausen (QB, Notre Dame) sixth overall. The NFL Network's Vic Carucci suggested it was a distinct possibility. He also said that Clausen had interviewed well and dispelled some of the concerns teams may have had about his personality. Clearly Sam Bradford (QB, Oklahoma) and Jimmy Clausen are different characters. Just watching the work outs, Bradford was quietly contemplative, mainly stood on his own taking things in. Clausen spent a lot of time chatting to Eric Decker (WR, Minnesota) sharing some laughs and generally looking relaxed. Clausen said he'll throw April 9th on his pro-day and described interviews as "crazy". Amongst the questions he was asked: "If you had to choose, are you a dog or a cat?" Welcome to the NFL combine.
Noticeable QB's running the forty yard dash 11:20am EST
Tony Pike: 4.92 & 4.98
Colt McCoy: 4.77 & 4.81
John Skelton: 4.95 & 4.89
Jevan Snead: 5.01 & 5.06
Tim Tebow: 4.70 & 4.72
Dan Le Fevour: 4.67 & 4.64
No real surprises here. Tebow ran fairly well, he was never about breakaway speed in Florida. He's a power runner, not a speed guy. He's in incredible shape though athletically. Jevan Snead didn't look in the same kind of shape. It's incredible that a year ago he was a hot tip to go first overall. What happened?
Noticeable receivers running the forty yard dash 11:45am EST
Brandon LaFell: 4.60 & 4.59
Carlton Mitchell: 4.44 & 4.42
Taylor Price: 4.43 & 4.43
Andre Roberts: 4.40 & 4.46
Jordan Shipley: 4.57 & 4.60
Golden Tate: 4.36 & 4.37
Damian Williams: 4.53 & 4.55
Mike Williams: 4.45 & 4.56
We've had the first shock of the day. Golden Tate managed a 4.36 and a 4.37 in the forty yard dash. At his media day, he said he expected to run a 4.5. This will help Tate's stock. There are still issues with his game (body catches a lot, blocking non existent) but those times will raise eye brows. Brandon LaFell's times are disappointing and pairs with a sub standard 2009 season. He has a lot of potential but he's running out of justifications for a sloppy year. Damian Williams wasn't explosive, but he's the most precise route runner on offer and could go in round one.
Noticeable RB's running the forty yard dash 2:00pm EST
Jahvid Best: 4.39 & 4.33
LaGarrette Blount: 4.62 & 4.69
Anthony Dixon: 4.67 & 4.65
Jonathan Dwyer: 4.59 & 4.69
Toby Gerhart: 4.53 & 4.58
Montario Hardesty: 4.49 & 4.58
Stefan Johnson: 4.66 & 4.71
Ryan Mathews: 4.41 & 4.49
Dexter McCluster: 4.55 & 4.56
Joe McKnight: 4.49 & 4.42
Charles Scott: 4.72 & 4.67
C.J. Spiller: 4.28 & 4.27
Ben Tate: 4.45 & 4.46
A lot of mocks have pinned Jonathan Dwyer (RB, Georgia Tech) in the first round for quite some time. I've always been very doubtful of that. He added 'bad' weight in 2009 and looked a lot heavier than he did the previous season when he was the ACC offensive player of the year. Buffalo's new head coach Chan Gailey (Dwyer's former coach at GT) told the media in Indianapolis this week that Dwyer struggles with his weight. He's listed at 229lbs for the combine, but watching him work out on the broad jump he still looks far too heavy to me. I've maintained for a while that he looks, to me, like a third round pick at best - and that might be generous. Nothing I've seen here has convinced me otherwise. He ran a bad 4.69 in the forty yard dash.
C.J. Spiller (RB, Clemson) ran a 4.28 and a 4.27 to confirm his lightning speed. Make no mistake, he's a legitimate high pick. Don't rule out a match at #7 with Cleveland. People will see that time and think Chris Johnson. The only differences between Spiller and Johnson heading into the league? Spiller has a better college resume and is a greater blocker and pass catcher, but Johnson had a better frame and avoided getting knicked up.
The hype around Ryan Mathews (RB, Fresno State) is unwarranted in my opinion. When I watched the tape from 2009, I didn't see an explosive running back. I didn't see great speed or size, an ability to break off or push the pile. He's a jack of all trades and master of none. He ran a 4.41 and a 4.49 in the forty yard dash, which is quite good for him. People say he's a sure fire first rounder because of that. Why? Ben Tate ran a 4.45 and a 4.46 at 220lbs (similar size). Is he now a sure fire first round pick too? Tate offers a more physical presence, he plays harder. I gave both prospects a middle round grade. Tate is better value if Mathews' stock is really going up.
Bench Press: Defensive lineman and linebackers
Ndamukong Suh managed 32 reps of the 225lbs bench press, beating fellow prospect Gerald McCoy (23). Briane Price bettered both by making 34 reps. Sean Wetherspoon, despite weighing a significantly trim 239lbs, managed an impressive 34 reps too. Brandon Graham (31) and Everson Griffen (32) also beat the thirty reps mark, but Terrance Cody and Derrick Morgan opted not to lift. Rolando McClain managed 24 attempts.
Final updates for the day - some video links to check out:
Golden Tate didn't just run well, he interviews well too.
Tim Tebow is incapable of a bad interview. Nobody matches his character.
Here are the all important running back forty yard runs.
Damian Williams talks about the combine experience. He's asked about Seattle too.