Saturday, February 23, 2013
Afternoon Day 3 combine quick hits
By Field Yates & Mike Rodak
INDIANAPOLIS -- Day 3 of the 2013 NFL combine is in the books, and the action really picked up from a player perspective.
On-field workouts began, with the offensive line impressing in particular during the 40-yard dash. While it's fair to ask how much those times truly apply to an offensive lineman's game, the sub 5-second figures we saw speak to the improving athleticism we are witnessing among many O-line prospects entering the NFL.
Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o drew what many reporters have described as the largest crowd ever for a player at the combine, and handled himself with dignity in the wake of the scandal relating to his fake girlfriend. He was honest, showed remorse for the way things transpired, and appeared genuine in his words. From a Patriots perspective, Te'o doesn't project to be on their radar because of depth at the position he plays, regardless of how the team feels about his off-field incident.
Passing along a few more quick hits from the day:
Vollmer paves way for Werner. Despite not attending the combine the year he was drafted by the Patriots in the second round, tackle Sebastian Vollmer has established himself in the NFL. Florida State defensive end Bjoern Werner, who spoke at the combine on Saturday and like Vollmer is German-born, looks to follow a similar path. Vollmer is six years older and the two haven't met in person, but Werner said they have spoken on the phone and are represented by the same agency.
Gragg catches eyes. Each year a player raises his draft stock with standout measurables in the physical events, and tight end Chris Gragg of Arkansas is making headlines early in the process. He posted a 4.50 40 to go along with a 37.5- inch vertical jump; both marks are the best at the combine thus far. The 22-year-old was an early entrant after logging 22 catches for 289 yards and three touchdowns in 2012.
Secondary still to come. Just two position groups have yet to meet the media here in Indianapolis: the cornerbacks and safeties. Cornerback is a position that could be a top focus for the Patriots in both the draft and free agency, and Sunday will provide us with the opportunity to familiarize ourselves with some of the top prospects. Alabama's Dee Milliner is considered the best cornerback and a sure-fire first-round pick, while others could creep into the first round with a strong pre-draft showing.