Sunday, 28 February 2010

POTD: Mardy Gilyard, WR, Cincinnati

By Kip Earlywine

I've come pretty close to covering what I think are the realistic options for Seattle at #6 and #14. I still have a few 1st round names to go, but I'm going to start covering 2nd, 3rd, and 4th round options from now until draft day. If you've got a player you want me to look at, be sure to post it in the comments (Toby Gerhart is next). I thought I'd do a preview of Gilyard, who really caught my eye today in WR drills. He reminds me so much of Deion Branch, its kind of scary. See for yourself.

Height: 6'0"
Weight: 187 lbs.
40 time: 4.56/4.62


  • Snappy hands, catches and secures the ball lightning quick
  • Reaches top speed very quickly
  • Effortless, smooth runner
  • Concise routes
  • Very quick
  • Good over the shoulder catching ability
  • Accomplished kick returner
  • Highly productive, consistent


  • Slight Frame
  • Average speed
  • Not overly physical
  • Body catches a little too often
  • Not especially shifty
  • Not a big YAC threat
  • Comes from spread offense
  • Not a #1 WR

My thoughts:

Branch hasn't exactly had a sterling career since joining the Seahawks, but that's partly due to injuries, partly due to a lack of chemistry with Hasselbeck, and partly due to an iffy scheme fit with Holmgren and Knapp. Seattle will probably have a new QB in a year or two, and a new scheme is already here. Jeremy Bates runs a New England-ish offensive scheme and GM John Schneider has gone on record saying that he thinks Deion Branch will be a good fit for the new system. However, Branch is unlikely to capitalize on this, as he is oft-injured, over 30, and might have played his last snap in Seattle.

Branch's would-be successor, Deon Butler, is a bit of an oddity in that he has the skills of a slot WR and the speed of a deep threat but the size/frame for neither. He's also a Tim Ruskell holdover and its unclear exactly how the new regime views him. If Carroll and company do not view Butler as their Eddie Royal, they may attempt to add one between rounds 2-4. Gilyard is incredibly similar to a young Branch, and other receivers might fit the role as well. Jordan Shipley of Texas has drawn many comparisons to the Patriots' Wes Welker. I'd consider Gilyard and Shipley to be "outside looking in" guys at this point, but both are certainly worth keeping an eye on just in case.

I'm not a combine detractor, but I agree with its critics that some of the skill position drills are basically worthless. Watching a WR catch 5 passes in 5 seconds as if from a conveyor belt tells us nothing about his ability to catch them in a real game. So while admittedly I don't take anything from these types of drills, I thought Gilyard stood out in them. I really liked his discipline and the quickness with his hands.

When I went to look up footage of him online in real games, I saw the same thing. Like Deion Branch, he attacks the ball with his hands, and very quickly secures the ball into his body while keeping the ball under complete control. Not many WR can do that as well as Gilyard can. I was impressed. I could summarize Gilyard's entire skillset in just one word: Crisp.

Gilyard is not a #1 WR, and he's not the Brandon Marshall type that both Schneider and Carroll covet, but he could fit nicely for Bates. For Cincinnati he was a good security blanket type with some big play ability. In the NFL, he could be an 60-80 catch a year #2 if placed in the right offense. Whether the Seahawks take him or not depends completely on how they view Butler and what role they see him in, if any. Gilyard figures to be taken in round 2-3.

Live combine updates

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.

Saturday, 27 February 2010

Saturday combine review

By Rob Staton
Lot's has been happening at the combine today. We saw the third group take their turn to get measured (defensive line/linebackers), the QB/RB/WR group prepared to work out tomorrow and we saw the offensive lineman and tight ends begin drills included the most important 'mirror drill' and not the so important forty yard dash. I've listed a collection of video links at the bottom of this article which show the prospects working out and being interviewed - recommended viewing.

Let me offer some thoughts on what we've seen so far. I find it hard to get too carried away by offensive lineman working out at the combine. They aren't going to be running forty yards in a straight line in the NFL, so running a fast time means little to me. What I want to see is good mirror skills, quick feet and and a strong punch. You don't earn a strong punch doing weights - it's a technique. Out of all this group of offensive lineman, only Charles Brown has convinced me he's capable of offering that based on college tape.

Bruce Campbell looks like a machine. We expected a physical beast and it's exactly what we've got. He's run well, benched well, measured well. You can almost hear Al Davis salivating from here. People will thrust him up their mock drafts and anoint him one of the starts of the combine. Something to remember here - Campbell has suffered a handful of injuries that have led to missed time. He's relatively inexperienced anyway. You'd be investing in raw athleticism, but you'd have to mould it into a starting left tackle. Great physical qualities don't always equate to great performance.

Russell Okung has performed the most complete work out amongst lineman. He benched 225lbs 38 times (two more than Campbell) he ran a very solid forty yard dash and he has the prototype size and build. He talks a good game in interviews. If you're looking for someone who is probably at their peak entering the draft - Okung is your man. However, I don't think he has much upside. He's sloppy in pass protection at times - that can be worked on. But do you want to spend a high pick on a tackle in that position? When I watched him, I didn't see a dominant force. Prospects like Anthony Davis might not have wowed anyone with a sluggish forty time and an average bench press - but he's only twenty years old and with good coaching could be a real force in the NFL. He has a very high ceiling, he needs refining but his pass protection is very good even now. Okung suffered a groin injury during work outs and didn't complete all of the drills.

You can see all the results so far from work outs by clicking here.

Watch the offensive lineman running the forty yard dash by clicking here.

Meet Bruce Campbell here.

The all important mirror drills can be witnessed here. Look out for #5 Charles Brown (OT, USC) and #6 Bryan Bulaga (OT, Iowa) and #10 Bruce Campbell (OT, Maryland). Brown looks real smooth and the best of the three by some stretch for me - footwork is vital because if you can get into position quickly, you're not always having to make adjustments. Watching tape, this was a major strong point for Brown in SoCal last year.

If you want to see the measurements for the defensive lineman, this is the place to be.

Jimmy Clausen talks to the NFL Network's Jason La Canfora.

La Canfora also speaks to Sam Bradford about his shoulder.

Clausen or Bradford? Who do you prefer?

Trent Williams had a very good day. He says it was only "ok".

POTD: Mike Iupati, G, Idaho

By Kip Earlywine

Height: 6'5"
Weight: 331
Official 40: 5.26

(note, in this senior bowl video, Iupati plays both RG and LG. Look for the guy with the big hair)


  • Love his nastiness and intensity. He plays angry.
  • Very rare combination of size, power, athleticism, and effort
  • Is at times utterly dominating in the run game
  • Good angle blocker and could fit in both man and zone schemes
  • Still lots of room for improvement- all-pro potential
  • Long arms
  • Durable
  • No character concerns, seems like a very nice and humble guy

  • Stands straight up when blocking, has leverage issues; not a natural knee bender
  • Relies on upper body strength too much and often forgets to chop feet in stalemates
  • Hand use needs work
  • Not the quickest feet
  • Can be beaten in pass pro
  • Definitely not a left tackle but could be drafted as one (like Branden Albert was)
  • Didn't utterly dominate at Senior Bowl like he did against WAC competition

My thoughts:

I couldn't find a good compilation video to link, but some of you may have seen clips of Iupati on NFL network and ESPN. Against WAC competition, he's simply a man amongst boys. He tosses defensive linemen around like rag-dolls and he even has his moments against stronger competition (USC). Iupati is a relentless run-blocker. His passion for the game and intensity reminds me of Aaron Curry's. However, Iupati's success came against one of the weaker division I conferences, and because of that, the Senior Bowl was pretty huge for him. I know a lot of commentators raved about Iupati at the Senior Bowl, but I thought his performance was a bit of a mixed bag, personally. He gave up an easy sack and had an obvious hold that wasn't called on another play. In the running game, he was stonewalled on the majority of plays and while Iupati fights hard, he's not skilled at breaking stonewalls. He did have a couple pancakes though, which is pretty impressive given Senior Bowl competition.

Given how impressive Iupati can be at times, I was very surprised to see how poor his footwork and leverage are. He stands straight up in run blocking, and in pass blocking he only barely bends his knees. He has a nice nasty streak in the running game but I noticed he tends to use his arms to finish blocks instead of his legs. If he can be taught to play lower and rely on his lower body more, his potential in the running game is Hutch-like. Hutch however, was and is a first rate pass protector, and Iupati has some issues. In addition to the lack of knee bend, he doesn't move his feet enough and once a defender manages a swim on him, he's in trouble. Anyone that thinks Iupati is an NFL left tackle probably doesn't know what they are talking about.

I think Iupati is ideal as a RG in the NFL. His pass protection isn't terrible, but his skillset is clearly more run oriented, and the right side of the line tends to be side teams place the tight end most plays and its considered the running side of an offensive line. This coincides with a need by Seattle. The zone scheme running game lives off of runs up the middle, and a Iupati/Spencer (or Unger)/Sims interior would be elite in the running game. Seattle really doesn't have a right guard at the moment, though finding an adequate one shouldn't be hard for Gibbs. If Iupati falls to #40 (doubtful), he should be considered and would provide a huge boost to the running game. I probably wouldn't take him at #14 though, I think that would be a bit of a reach, and there are other areas of bigger need with players of greater value that should be expected to be there.

Latest from the combine

By Rob Staton
As I type this I'm sat in a stadium waiting to work on an English soccer game, so updates will be sporadic. I'll try and get as much down now as I can now but expect a greater analysis later today. You can watch live coverage from Indianapolis by clicking here. Bruce Campbell, having already impressed in the bench press and measurements, ran a 4.79s forty yard dash. This isn't a surprise - he has to be a candidate for Oakland at #8. LSU return specialist also ran an unofficial 4.27. Trent Williams (OT, Oklahoma) ran a high 4.82 which wasn't expected. Anthony Davis (OT, Rutgers) ran a 5.38 and a 5.41. Not great times, but nobody owns Davis' upside in pass protection amongst offensive lineman. He isn't going to be asked to do much 40 yard running in the NFL either. Bryan Bulaga ran a 5.26 and a 5.30. Mike Iupati similarly managed a 5.26 and a 5.29.

The defensive lineman and linebackers have been measured too, here's some of the stats and I'll update as I get further information:

Gerald McCoy (DT, Oklahoma)
Height: 6'4"
Weight: 295lbs

Terrance Cody (DT, Alabama)
Weight: 354lbs

Carlos Dunlap (DE, Florida)
Height: 6'6"
Weight: 277lbs

Sergio Kindle (LB, Texas)
Height: 6'3"
Weight: 250lbs

Everson Griffen (DE, USC)
Height: 6'3"
Weight: 273lbs

Jerry Hughes (OLB, TCU)
Height: 6'2"
Weight: 255lbs

Friday, 26 February 2010

POTD: Trent Williams, T, Oklahoma

By Kip Earlywine

Height: 6'5"
Weight: 315 lbs.
Official 40: 4.82


  • Good athleticism
  • Fast off the snap
  • Properly squares body in pass pro
  • Decently quick feet
  • Long arms
  • Uses angles well and moves defenders out of running lanes
  • Occasionally shows good short area quickness
  • Could fit both zone and man schemes
  • Mostly durable
  • No character concerns that I could find


  • Sometimes makes big mistakes in pass pro that lead to brutal sacks
  • Can look silly against the edge rush sometimes
  • Gives up a lot of ground on inside moves
  • Very little knee bend
  • Weak punch?
  • Concussion and knee injury in 2009
  • Only 1 year experience at left tackle
  • Probably best if drafted as a right tackle

My thoughts:

Maybe its unfair to hold it against a prospect for one big mistake, but if you watched the video, you saw that it was none other than Williams who made the embarrassing mistake which led to Sam Bradford's infamous shoulder injury. When Williams gets beat, sometimes its so badly that he almost doesn't lay a finger on the rusher, and that is worrisome. Most of the time, Williams looks like a quality tackle, but if you want to be a left tackle in the NFL, you simply can't allow pressure to arrive so easily and emphatically, even if its only every now and then. Its something NFL teams don't have any tolerance for. So for that reason, Williams will probably be drafted by a team that is satisfied with left tackle but could use a talented right tackle.

Williams does have some talent. He moves well and watching his mistakes it almost looks like his problems are mental more than physical. It won't surprise me if the Seahawks target Williams hoping that Gibbs could fix some of his issues. Mike Mayock lists him 4th in this class behind Okung, Davis, and Bulaga. Williams could be a quality RT for the Seahawks, but would the Seahawks ignore LT to do that? I have a really hard time seeing it. If Williams falls to #40 somehow, I think for the sake of pure value, he'd be worth taking, but I wouldn't take a RT any earlier than that, personally. Williams won't fall that far anyway. Teams like SF and others will be interested in upgrading RT and with a mid to late 1st, that is probably where I could see Williams going in a draft environment that is as tackle starved as its ever been.

Dez Bryant & Bench press figures

By Rob Staton
News is fitering through that Dez Bryant won't work out at the combine. That's worrying - a guy who's not played since week two of the college season and no reported injury issues (it's now being claimed a 'tweaked hamstring' is the reason he won't work out). It was very important for Bryant to work out in Indianapolis. Michael Crabtree was a top ten pick despite missing the combine, but he'd just completed a second successive Biletnikoff award winning season.

Some of the numbers from the standard 225lbs bench press are also leaking out for the offensive lineman. Bruce Campbell, unsurprisingly, benched impressively - raising the bar 34 times. Just compare it to some of the other prospects - Anthony Davis managed 21 attempts, Bryan Bulaga 26, Charles Brown 21 and Mike Iupati 27. Everyone expected Campbell to wow scouts in Indianapolis - he's been described as an offensive lineman version of Vernon Davis. The Maryland prospect has injury history - it will scare some teams off. Others will be watching his performance this week and putting him a lot higher on their draft boards. The only prospect I know who benched more was Russell Okung - who managed a beastly 38 attempts. I'm not Okung's biggest fan (I think he deserves a mid/late first round grade) but that's impressive power.

QB, WR, RB - measurements

By Rob Staton
I'll update this as the information comes in. Big news for Sam Bradford though - he weighed in 14lbs heavier than expected. He needed to add weight to answer some of those durability concerns. He had the frame to do it. He's close to ideal size/height now. This has to help his stock. Jimmy Clausen came in at 6025 - I'll let you decide whether you round that up to 6'3". Either way, it's good news for the Notre Dame quarterback - he's taller than both Matt Stafford and Mark Sanchez. Dez Bryant's wingspan matches that of Michael Crabtree last year at 34 inches - big positive for him.

Sam Bradford (QB, Oklahoma)
Height: 6'4"
Weight: 236lbs

Jimmy Clausen (QB, Notre Dame)
Height: 6'3"
Weight: 222lbs

Colt McCoy (QB, Texas)
Height: 6'1"
Weight: 216lbs

Tim Tebow (QB, Florida)
Height: 6'2"
Weight: 236lbs

Jevan Snead (QB, Ole Miss)
Height: 6'3"
Weight: 219lbs

Dez Bryant (WR, Oklahoma State)
Height: 6'2"
Weight: 225lbs
Arms: 34 in.

Arrelious Benn (WR, Illinois)
Height: 6'1"
Weight: 219lbs

Jordan Shipley (WR, Texas)
Height: 5'11"
Weight: 193lbs

Demaryius Thomas (WR, Georgia Tech)
Height: 6'3"
Weight: 224lbs

Golden Tate (WR, Notre Dame)
Height: 5'10"
Weight: 199lbs

Mike Williams (WR, Syracuse)
Height: 6'1"
Weight: 221lbs

Damian Williams (WR, USC)
Height: 6'0"
Weight: 197lbs

C.J. Spiller (RB, Clemson)
Height: 5'10"
Weight: 198lbs

Jahvid Best (RB, California)
Height: 5'10"
Weight: 199lbs

LaGarette Blount (RB, Oregon)
Height: 6'0"
Weight: 241lbs

Toby Gerhart (RB, Stanford)
Height: 6'0"
Weight: 231lbs

Jonathan Dwyer (RB, Georgia Tech)
Height: 5'11"
Weight: 229lbs

Ryan Matthews (RB, Fresno State)
Height: 5'11"
Weight: 218lbs

Joe McKnight (RB, USC)
Height: 5'11"
Weight: 198lbs

Thursday, 25 February 2010

Tim Tebow pre-combine interview

By Rob Staton
The quarterbacks, receivers and running backs will take their turn to meet the press, speak to teams and get measured up tomorrow. Tim Tebow is in Indianapolis - he won't throw, but he says he'll run a forty yard dash. I posted footage earlier in the week showing how Tebow has been working on adjusting his throwing motion to suit a more traditional pro-style action. We can endlessly debate the merits of Tebow's pro-prospects until April 22nd. However, this interview conducted with the NFL Network today just about sums up Tebow as an individual. Open, honest, willing to take criticism and show what he's been working on. How many other prospects would do this for the camera?

Put Tebow's on the field performance in another person and I'd say a 3rd or 4th round pick. Even still, I wouldn't bet against the Florida quarterback making himself a success in the NFL.

Seahawks met with Charles Brown

Danny O'Neil from the Seattle Times reports that Alex Gibbs interviewed Charles Brown (OT, USC) yesterday. Not sure how many players the Seahawks have met with, but Brown was one of them.

Offensive lineman measurements

By Rob Staton
The second day of combine activity is taking place in Indianapolis for the offensive lineman, tight ends and place kickers. To see a full schedule for each group, click here. The second group (Quarterbacks, running backs and receivers) have arrived and will be measured tomorrow. Work out drills take place on day four for each group, meaning we'll see the lineman and tight ends participate on Saturday.

There were clearly some big story lines out there today, none more so the news that Charles Brown weighed in at 303lbs. It was imperative that he USC offensive tackle arrived in combine having added bulk to his 6'5" frame. He's achieved that and if he performs well in drills, there's no reason why his stock won't rise dramatically. Remember, another former converted tight end ended up going second overall last year after a good performance in Indianapolis (Jason Smith). It's unlikely Brown will boost his stock to that extent, but he could certainly secure a top 20 selection. For more on Brown, check out Kip's POTD article below and my earlier article.

For a full list of how the lineman measured up, click here. For further information such as wingspan and hand size, just click on each prospects name. I've noted some of the bigger name prospects' statistics below:

Anthony Davis
Height: 6'5"
Weight: 323 lbs.
Arm Length: 34 in.
Hand Size: 10 1/8 in.
College: Rutgers

Bruce Campbell
Height: 6'6"
Weight: 314 lbs.
Arm Length: 36 1/4 in.
Hand Size: 10 1/2 in.
College: Maryland

Russell Okung
Height: 6'5"
Weight: 307 lbs.
Arm Length: 36 in.
Hand Size: 10 1/2 in.
College: Oklahoma State

Trent Williams
Height: 6'5"
Weight: 315 lbs.
Arm Length: 33 1/4 in.
Hand Size: 9 3/4 in.
College: Oklahoma

Charles Brown
Height: 6'5"
Weight: 303 lbs.
Arm Length: 35 1/4 in.
Hand Size: 11 3/8 in.
College: USC

Bryan Bulaga
Height: 6'5"
Weight: 314 lbs.
Arm Length: 33 1/4 in.
Hand Size: 9 1/4 in.
College: Iowa

Jason Fox
Height: 6'7"
Weight: 303 lbs.
Arm Length: 34 1/2 in.
Hand Size: 9 1/2 in.
College: Miami

Mike Iupati
Height: 6'5"
Weight: 331 lbs.
Arm Length: 34 3/4 in.
Hand Size: 10 5/8 in.
College: Idaho

Maurkice Pouncey
Height: 6'4"
Weight: 304 lbs.
Arm Length: 32 1/2 in.
Hand Size: 10 in.
College: Florida

Vladimir Ducasse
Height: 6'4"
Weight: 332 lbs.
Arm Length: 34 3/4 in.
Hand Size: 9 5/8 in.
College: Massachusetts

POTD: Charles Brown, T, USC

By Kip Earlywine
I didn't plan to do Brown the same day as his combine weigh in, but his name was next on the list, and it happened to be today. Seems like I've had a lot of luck with timing lately.

Brown is a player I've wanted to look at for a while, since Rob has said so many nice things about him and he has arguably more connections to Carroll and our system than any player in the draft.

Height: 6'5"
Weight: 303
Unofficial 40: 5.06


  • Fast off the snap
  • Very good initial quickness
  • Pulls well
  • Reaches 2nd level quickly
  • Very polished, makes few mistakes; a coach's dream
  • Great technique, footwork, and hand use
  • Long arms
  • Good at diffusing stonewalls in the run game
  • Gives up his outside shoulder but beats edge rushers anyway
  • Does a good job "locking on" in both pass pro and run blocking
  • Above average athleticism
  • Left tackle skill set
  • Prototypical zone lineman


  • Aura of a finesse player, rarely dominates
  • Doesn't seem to hold 2nd level blocks terribly long
  • Will he still move the same now that he's 18 lbs. heavier?
  • Frame is maxed out or very close to it
  • Less total upside than some other tackle prospects

My thoughts:

Brown probably wins the award for "most polished lineman in the 2010 draft." His backpedal is compact and disciplined. His hand use is textbook. He puts himself in good position and executes. He reminds me of a Marine fresh out of boot camp; he displays the kind of polish that can only be obtained through relentless drilling and practice. We never get to see Brown perform a cut block (on youtube), but we can probably assume he's pretty good at that too given how precise he is at everything else.

I think it will be interesting to see how Brown performs in the athleticism drills at his new weight. If he still looks like an amazing athlete at 300+ lbs, he will shoot up draft boards.

Brown is a prototypical zone lineman in every way. From his size to his athleticism, to his technique to his modest upside. Brown is not going to be the next Walter Jones, but what he does represent is a low risk chance for an average to above average starting NFL left tackle who will probably have a long career, which is very valuable. A good comp (listed on wikipedia) is Maurice Williams (6'5", 302 lbs). Williams was the 43rd overall pick in the 2001 draft, and was a vital part of a very good Jacksonville offensive line from the early to mid 2000's. He was an immediate starter as a rookie and at one point he started 64 straight games. He never made a pro-bowl, and at 31, he might be out of football, but he had a very nice career especially for his draft position. Brown is better than Williams coming out of college, and figures to be drafted a little higher, but I think the comparison is pretty close. If you are looking for a safe pick that would immediately upgrade the offensive line, Charles Brown is a great option.

Big news for Charles Brown

By Rob Staton
There's never been any doubt about Charles Brown's ability. He was superb for the USC Trojans in 2009 as Pete Carroll's blind side blocker. Not many prospects have shown the kind of hand punch that Brown flashed at the college level and he's a perfect fit for teams looking for a more agile lineman to fit a zone blocking scheme.

The only issue was his size. Not many teams were ever going to invest a high pick in a guy weighing his list 285lbs. There was room on his frame to add some muscle and get bigger, the challenge was actually doing it ahead of the scouting combine. Good news for Charles Brown then that he weighed in an impressive 303lbs in Indianapolis. He's an inch shorter than listed in SoCal at 6'5", but he measured nicely in terms of wingspan (35 1/4 inch arms) - crucial for prospects who intend to stay at left tackle in the pro's.

I've been a fan of Brown's for a long time. I compiled my first 2010 mock draft at the start of November and had Brown listed as a potential top 15 pick - to the Seahawks. If he performs in drills as well as he's shown physically this week, he's a sure fire lock to go in the first round. He has to be on the radar for Seattle at #14 and his stock is likely to grow very quickly.

How did the other lineman compare? Get ready for Bruce Campbell to shoot up boards when he explodes in work outs. He weighed in at 314lbs, 6'6" and a wingspan of 36 1/4 inches. That's incredible. Anthony Davis weighed in at 323lbs and reportedly looked very toned - that's important because he's had trouble with his weight. Bryan Bulaga looks the part but his arm length at 33 1/4 inches is a concern. Not many starting tackles have arms that short in the NFL.

Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Scouting Combine begins & Wednesday links

By Rob Staton
The Scouting combine officially starts today, with the first group of prospects (offensive lineman, tight ends and kickers) arriving in Indianapolis. Each group conducts a four-day plan, with work outs falling on the final day. I've listed the itinerary below as it occurs to the best of my knowledge:

Day One
-Medical checks/X-Rays
-Team interviews

Day Two
-Injury assessment
-Media interviews
-Wonderlic test
-Team interviews

Day Three
-NFLPA meeting
-Physcological test
-Team interviews

Day Four
-Generic work-out (40 yard dash, bench press, broad jump etc)
-Position specific work-out

This means we'll see the start of work outs on Saturday. You can watch the action as it happens live on the NFL Network and online by clicking here. Coverage begins at 9am EST.

Over the next couple of days we'll be focusing on what to look out for. Don't forget to follow Seahawks Draft Blog on twitter by clicking here and if you ever have anything to say - feel free to let me know in the comments section on any of the articles - it's the best way to get in touch and guarantee a response. You can also email via

Mel Kiper posts his pre-combine big board. The one noticeable thing I've picked up in recent weeks is the quiet slide of Russell Okung (OT, Oklahoma State). I make no secret that I don't think he's the dominant force a lot of people argue. Despite Kiper being one of those voices earlier in the year, Okung has fallen from as high as 6th overall at the end of December to 12th overall now. He began the year 14th on Kiper's big board. I think he deserves a late first round grade.

Kiper joins Todd McShay for the latest edition of their 'First Draft' podcast. There's a lot of combine talk here - what they think will happen, who will run the fastest, what teams will take out of the drills/interviews etc. Kiper says it's vital Jonathan Dwyer (RB, Georgia Tech) runs well. I couldn't agree more. Dwyer is wrongly tagged as a power back because of his size. He added bad weight before the 2009 season seemingly for his increased role in GT's triple option offense. Dwyer says he's lost 17lbs since the season's end - he needed to. His best chance of going in the first two rounds is to run well and prove he's back to his 2008 size.

Pat Kirwan lists his ten things to bare in mind ahead of the combine. Kirwan: "When you watch the combine on NFL Network, you will see players run around in shorts, move in and out of cones, slap bags, roll on the ground and simulate football moves. It's not football and it does very little to convince most NFL coaches that they learned anything about the football skills of these prospects. I do find it revealing, however, that you can see the desire to compete when the players go through the drills."

Joe Haden (CB, Florida) runs us through his typical day leading up to the combine. Haden has opted to work out at home in Maryland with his father rather than train at one of the many 'camps' that the top prospects seem to congregate on. Haden certainly appears level headed and grounded, a nice compliment to his on-field talent.

Colt McCoy won't throw at the combine. It might be easier to list who actually will throw in Indianapolis. Reports are blaming an injury he picked up in the BCS Championship - but that seems a stretch for what appeared to a minor issue. Prospects don't enjoy throwing in an unnatural environment. I think it'll matter little for McCoy - who never looked like a NFL quarterback in his time at Texas.

Mike Mayock has moved Earl Thomas ahead of Eric Berry in his defensive back rankings. I think the two share similar qualities but also very similar weaknesses. I maintain that I don't think Berry warrants a pick at the very top of the draft and is more likely to go between picks 10-20.

POTD: Earl Thomas, S, Texas

By Kip Earlywine

Height: 5'10"
Weight: 195
Unofficial 40: 4.41


  • Consistent and productive
  • Good range
  • Quick
  • Good instincts, plays smart, smooth, does the little things
  • Good tackler
  • Shows some nice athleticism
  • Ball hawk skill set (reads eyes, good anticipation, etc)
  • Good in coverage


  • A little undersized

Sound Bites:

"Thomas isn't a huge guy but can cover a tremendous amount of real estate."

-Mel Kiper

My Thoughts:

Safety is one of the hardest positions to evaluate. A player can be hard to identify pre-snap, and they are constantly off the screen. So any of these safety previews are going to be extra light on content and insight. Apologies.

Earl Thomas, in a nutshell, looks like a 2nd round Tim Ruskell pick. The kind that was nothing but a stud in college and continued to play well in the pros despite some limiting factor (in this case, size). He looks really natural and pretty much does everything you'd want from a safety. Thomas won't be a 2nd rounder though, he'll probably go mid-1st round. His size deficiency is only a minor concern and his well rounded skillset and few flaws will make him one of the safest picks in the draft.

I'm not sure how I'd feel about the Seahawks drafting him though. He looks like a very good safety, but not a superstar, and since safety is one of the lowest impact positions on the defense, my tendency is to wait til the 2nd round or later to address that position. The Seahawks need impact with their 1st round picks, not more "sure things" with lower positional value. Not to begrudge Thomas. He's a deserving 1st round pick to a team that needs safety above everything else, and he will certainly have many suitors between picks 10-20.

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Updated two-round mock draft: 23rd February

By Rob Staton
The combine begins tomorrow so this is my final projected mock draft before the event takes place. We can debate the merits of work outs and how much you can truly learn from watching a guy perform in shorts - but prospects can undoubtedly boost or hinder their stock in Indianapolis. Draft boards will begin to take shape as we move towards the various pro-days. Whatever anyone says - this is hugely important date on the NFL calendar, it's fascinating and teams rightly value this opportunity to compare prospects physically and do their homework through interviews and socialising.

Speculation continues to suggest St. Louis will look to acquire a quarterback before the draft, allowing them to potentially select Ndamukong Suh or Gerald McCoy first overall. It's still largely unclear what direction the Rams will go under new ownership. One thing is for sure though - St. Louis must find a new quarterback. Spending a fortune on another defensive lineman, however good Suh/McCoy could be, will not help the Rams turn the page on a record that reads six wins in three years and no winning seasons since 2003. Quarterback is the most important position in the NFL and having passed on Matt Ryan (to select Chris Long) and Mark Sanchez (to select Jason Smith), the Rams will be wary of strike three.

Round One

#1 St. Louis: Sam Bradford (QB, Oklahoma)
The Rams have to bring in a quarterback this off season who can take this team forward. Six wins in three years isn't good enough for this franchise and another expensive lineman won't take this team to the next plateau. They have a decent offensive line, they have a very good running back. Time to get a franchise QB.

#2 Detroit: Gerald McCoy (DT, Oklahoma)
McCoy gets the nod here simply because he's quicker and more disruptive up the middle. Detroit would have a tough decision to make with both Suh and McCoy on the board.

#3 Tampa Bay: Ndamukong Suh (DT, Nebraska)
If the Rams take a quarterback, it appears likely the top two defensive tackles will go #2 and #3. The Buccs' defensive line needs the kind of jolt someone like Suh could bring.

#4 Washington: Jimmy Clausen (QB, Notre Dame)
The 'Skins have to find a long term franchise quarterback. Drafting Clausen offers the best possible opportunity to turn a new page in 2010 and not need to witness a lame duck season from Jason Campbell.

#5 Kansas City: Rolando McClain (LB, Alabama)
Don't be swayed by recent negative reviews of McClain in some quarters. It's not like Tyson Jackson was getting a top five grade this time last year. The Chiefs are committed to creating a strong 3-4 defense but lack that presence at inside linebacker. McClain can be an impact player for Kansas City.

#6 Seattle: Anthony Davis (OT, Rutgers)
The Seahawks have to get younger (and better) at the games premium positions. With the top two quarterbacks off the board, they could look at offensive lineman, pass rushers and playmakers. Davis isn't an obvious fit for the Alex Gibbs' zone system, but he has Ryan Clady-type potential and good coaching could make him a dominant force.

#7 Cleveland: Joe Haden (CB, Florida)
The Browns could fight the board and go offense with both Dez Bryant and C.J. Spiller available, but Haden is the best cornerback in this class and fills a need.

#8 Oakland: Jason Pierre-Paul (DE, USF)
We know how Al Davis' drafts. The three prospects to keep an eye on - JPP, Bruce Campbell and Taylor Mays. All expected to run fast time at the combine and flash the physical qualities Davis looks for.

#9 Buffalo: Bryan Bulaga (OT, Iowa)
The Bills need to improve their offensive line. Bulaga will interest teams as a left tackle, but like Jake Long he could be an all-pro on the right hand side.

#10 Jacksonville: Eric Berry (S, Tennessee)
I expect the Jaguars to explore every trade avenue possible to move down. If they can't move away from this spot - Berry makes sense as Jacksonville are looking to rebuild their secondary.

#11 Denver: Carlos Dunlap (DE, Florida)
Dunalp's size makes him a perfect option at five technique end in the Broncos 3-4.

#12 Miami: Dan Williams (DT, Tennessee)
Williams' ability to play the coveted 3-4 nose tackle position will make him a desirable pick for teams using the scheme.

#13 San Francisco: Trent Williams (OT, Oklahoma)
The 49ers will consider drafting a right tackle to compliment Joe Staley on the left hand side.

#14 Seattle: Dez Bryant (WR, Oklahoma State)
The Seahawks need playmakers. Nate Burleson is a free agent and Deion Branch may not be with the team much longer. Houshmandzadeh, Butler and Obomanu won't cut it alone. Bryant is capable of being a force in the NFL.

#15 New York Giants: Derrick Morgan (DE, Georgia Tech)
Morgan has great potential, but amongst the cluster of 3-4 teams and alternative picks - he might suffer a slight fall on draft day. This would be a perfect fit for both prospect and team.

#16 San Francisco: Earl Thomas (S, Texas)
Would the 49ers use Thomas as a cornerback or a safety? His long term future may be at corner, but he's a much needed playmaker in the secondary.

#17 Tennessee: Brian Price (DT, UCLA)
The Titans are another team who will likely look to upgrade their defensive line. Price is a penetrative interior force.

#18 Pittsburgh: Taylor Mays (S, USC)
This is one of the few places Mays could go and have a real impact. Playing behind a good pass rushing defense, Mays and fellow Trojan Troy Polamalu could create the most intimidating secondary combo in the NFL.

#19 Atlanta: Kareem Jackson (CB, Alabama)
What price a trade with Jacksonville to take Joe Haden? Jackson's stock will rise after the combine and he could go higher than this.

#20 Houston: C.J. Spiller (RB, Clemson)
If Spiller runs a super-quick forty yard dash, he could be a top ten pick. Alternatively, teams are wary of spending high picks at the running back position so he might suffer a slight fall.

#21 Cincinnati: Arrelious Benn (WR, Illinois)
Bad quarterback play and inconsistent hands has hurt Benn's stock, but this is still a guy touted as a top 15 pick at the start of the year. A tight end like Jermaine Gresham is also a possibility.

#22 New England: Jared Odrick (DT, Penn State)
The Patriots are in the process of major changes on their defensive line. Drafting the versatile Odrick gives New England some options long term.

#23 Green Bay: Russell Okung (OT, Oklahoma State)
Kyle Rota's scouting report on Okung is an absolute must read and highlights some of the reasons why Okung might not be a top ten lock. He would've been a late first round pick as an underclassmen, nothing this year has proved otherwise in my opinion.

#24 Philadelphia: Everson Griffen (DE, USC)
The Eagles need a better pass rush, that was evident in their playoff defeat at Dallas. Griffen's stock is difficult to project, he could rise up the boards with an impressive combine.

#25 Baltimore: Devin McCourty (CB, Rutgers)
McCourty is one of a handful of cornerbacks who could really boost their stock in Indianapolis.

#26 Arizona: Charles Brown (OT, USC)
Brown could go a lot higher than this if he shows up at the combine above 300lbs and puts on a show.

#27 Dallas: Kyle Wilson (CB, Boise State)
The Cowboys would like to add a playmaker to their secondary. Wilson would also double up as a return specialist.

#28 San Diego: Brandon Graham (DE, Michigan)
Graham is flexible enough to play in either the 4-3 or the 3-4. San Diego could use another pass rusher off the edge and Graham is par value here.

#29 New York Jets: Dominique Franks (CB, Oklahoma)
Rex Ryan loves adding to his secondary. The Jets have a consistent pass rush and collecting talented defensive backs will make New York very difficult to beat.

#30 Minnesota: Lamarr Houston (DT, Texas)
Disruptive interior presence who is capable of collapsing the pocket. This could be an area of need for the Vikings soon.

#31 Indianapolis: Sean Weatherspoon (LB, Missouri)
Watching tape of Missouri, I was never blown away by Weatherspoon. He put in an eye catching display at the Senior Bowl, however, and some teams will appreciate his athleticism and ability to start as a rookie.

#32 New Orleans: Sergio Kindle (LB, Texas)
The Saints could use Kindle creatively, as a linebacker most of the time but an edge rush on passing third downs.

Round Two

#33 St. Louis: Brandon LaFell (WR, LSU)
Having found their franchise quarterback in round one, the Rams find a potential #1 receiver.

#34 Detroit: Anthony Dixon (RB, Miss State)
The Lions will look to add a running back regardless of Kevin Smith's recovery. Dixon is pure power.

#35 Tampa Bay: Mike Williams (WR, Syracuse)
This would be a huge gamble due to Williams' character concerns, but his talent warrants a selection this high.

#36 Kansas City: Cam Thomas (DT, North Carolina)
The Chiefs continue their commitment towards building a strong 3-4 defense by finding a nose tackle.

#37 Washington: Bruce Campbell (OT, Maryland)
The Redskins need to add to their offensive line in free agency or the draft.

#38 Cleveland: Eric Decker (WR, Minnesota)
Browns GM Tom Heckert watched Decker personally on a few occasions in 2009. Coming from Philly, he understands the true value of having playmakers on offense.

#39 Oakland: Patrick Robinson (CB, Florida State)
Al Davis loves to draft defensive backs. He also loves to draft guys who run fast forty yard dash times. Robinson fits the criteria.

#40 Seattle: Chad Jones (S, LSU)
The Seahawks target a presence in the secondary like Jones, who has a great combination of size and speed.

#41 Buffalo: Rob Gronkowski (TE, Arizona)
Chan Gailey needs a good blocking tight end for his offense.

#42 Tampa Bay: Demaryius Thomas (WR, Georgia Tech)
Thomas' injury could push him down draft boards, but if he recovers in time he'd offer a big target for Josh Freeman.

#43 Miami: Brandon Spikes (LB, Florida)
The Dolphins need an inside presence.

#44 New England: Alex Carrington (DE, Arkansas State)
Having accumulated second round picks, the Pats continue to add to their defensive line.

#45 Denver: Maurkice Pouncey (C, Florida)
The Broncos need a center and Pouncey is par value.

#46 New York Giants: Jahvid Best (RB, California)
Not a huge need for NYG, but the Giants would be able to control Best's touches and get the best out of him in a three-pronged rushing attack.

#47 New England: Aaron Hernandez (TE, Florida)
Tom Brady would love throwing to Hernandez.

#48 Carolina: Damian Williams (WR, USC)
The Panthers go for value and take the under rated Williams.

#49 San Francisco: Jerry Hughes (DE, TCU)
Hughes did a great job for TCU in 2009, but opinion is mixed on his pro-prospects.

#50 Kansas City: Jermaine Gresham (TE, Oklahoma)
Two knee injuries could concern teams enough to force Gresham into round two. He has clear first round talent, though.

#51 Houston: Jerome Murphy (CB, USF)
The Texans will consider adding to their secondary if they go offense in round one.

#52 Pittsburgh: Perrish Cox (CB, Oklahoma State)
The Steelers might look to add a cornerback and Cox is worth the 52nd overall pick.

#53 New England: Ricky Sapp (LB, Clemson)
I like Sapp enough to put him in round one, but he's a difficult prospect to judge in terms of how teams would use him.

#54 Cincinnati: Mike Iupati (OG, Idaho)
Iupati's agility and size gives him first round potential. However, he still struggles with leverage and this could keep him in round two.

#55 Philadelphia: Nate Allen (S, Georgia Tech)
The Eagles need a safety, although this might be half a round too early for Allen.

#56 Green Bay: Donovan Warren (CB, Michigan)
Warren's stock is mixed. Some rank him as a first round pick.

#57 Baltimore: Mardy Gilyard (WR, Cincinnati)
The Ravens' have a number of options at receiver this off season but if they reach the draft having not made a move, I think they'd consider a prospect like Gilyard.

#58 Arizona: Jason Worilds (DE, Virginia Tech)
The Cardinals, looking to continue improving their defense, consider Worilds as a pass rushing outside threat.

#59 Dallas: Jordan Shipley (WR, Texas)
Pure Jerry Jones style pick.

#60 San Diego: Joe McKnight (RB, USC)
McKnight is my third favorite running back in this class. I have teams passing on Dwyer and Matthews, although Dwyer has lost weight and can improve his stock substantially by running well at the combine.

#61 New York Jets: Corey Wootton (DE, Northwestern)
Wootton's ability to play five technique end will appeal to the Jets.

#62 Minnesota: Brett Ghee (CB, Wake Forest)
The Vikings add to their secondary after spending their first pick on the defensive line.

#63 Indianapolis: Tsyon Alualu (DE, California)
Alualu is capable of playing off the edge or in the interior.

#64 New Orleans - Golden Tate (WR, Notre Dame)
I don't buy talk of Tate going in round one or even the early second round.