Monday, February 27, 2012
Pac-12 winners and losers at NFL combine
By Ted Miller
Some former Pac-12 players impressed. Others didn't. Here are some notes from the NFL combine.
Let's start at quarterback. And let's start at the top. While former Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III put up stunning numbers at the combine, Andrew Luck wasn't too far behind.
Griffin's rare speed dominated the headlines Sunday, but Luck was no slouch, either. At 6-4 and 234 pounds, Luck ran the fourth-fastest time of the quarterbacks with an official 4.67. He also had the top broad jump (10-4), tied for the fourth-best vertical jump (36 inches), ran the fifth-fastest short shuttle (4.28), and had the third-best time in the three-cone drill (6.80).
Those results are even more impressive when you consider that Luck is one of the biggest quarterbacks to participate in drills. They also match up with what we see on tape, confirming his deceptive agility in the pocket (shuttles), underrated running ability (40-yard dash), and explosive lower-body strength (jumps) to throw with defenders hanging from his legs.
There has been a lot of discussion about the similarities between Luck's results and those of Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton from a year ago. Newton -- who was an inch taller and 14 pounds heavier -- clearly has the edge, but Luck's results are closer than anticipated.
Luck: 6-4, 234; 4.67 in the 40, 10-4 broad, 36 vertical
Newton: 6-5, 248; 4.59, 10-6, 35.
It doesn't appear the combine went well for former Arizona quarterback Nick Foles. Wrote ESPN's John Clayton: "Based on the way things went Sunday, it looks as though Tannehill, Osweiler and Cousins are competing for the Nos. 3, 4 and 5 spots among quarterbacks. Osweiler's the wild card. He's a 6-foot-6 quarterback with mobility and a decent arm. You get the feeling that Tannehill is the one quarterback of the three who could go in the first round, but more will be determined in school workouts and how the offseason goes for quarterback acquisitions."
Some observations from ESPN.com's Steve Muench:
- Arizona quarterback Nick Foles -- who is fighting for position on the board with the likes of Brandon Weeden (Oklahoma State) and Brock Osweiler (Arizona State) -- failed to stand out this morning. Unfamiliarity and a lack of timing with the receivers likely played a role, but he didn't show great foot speed in his drops and took too long to get the ball out on deeper throws.
- Oregon quarterback Darron Thomas looked overwhelmed, especially early on. His first pass was badly underthrown and his accuracy was inconsistent throughout.
- Arizona State wide receiver Gerell Robinson didn't perform as well as expected. He didn't make crisp breaks and he fought the ball, dropping at least two passes. Robinson also appeared to pull back on a ball that he could have gotten his hands on.
- UCLA TE Cory Harkey didn't put up great numbers, recording a 26.5-inch vertical jump and 9-foot-1 broad jump, in addition to an unofficial 5.09-second 40-yard dash. However, Harkey projects as a situational blocking tight end, so expectations weren't high. And while he didn't always field the ball cleanly, he helped himself by catching everything thrown at him.
- Stanford G David DeCastro and Baylor C Phillip Blake didn't shine in the edge-rush drill, but that's somewhat expected from players who line up on the interior. However, Utah OTs Tony Bergstrom and John Cullen both need to show a quicker kick step and slide more fluidly if they hope to make their living on the edge.
- The weigh-in did not go nearly as well for Washington RB Chris Polk, who has shed nine pounds since looking sluggish at the Senior Bowl and is now 5-101D2 and 215 pounds. However, Polk doesn't look the part physically and needs a lot of work in the weight room. His body is unimpressive. Not good for a player looking to hold on to a spot on Day 2.
The Pac-12 is likely to produce the first offensive tackle and offensive guard off the board. From Todd McShay: "OT Matt Kalil (USC) and G David DeCastro used impressive workouts to cement their status as the top prospects at their respective positions."
Kalil had the second-fastest 40-yard dash (4.99 seconds), 10-yard split (1.69) and 3-cone drill of all offensive linemen, and he showed great quickness and balance in his pass sets. He was quick out of his stance, ran tight loops on pulls and showed good snap on his short punch against the bags during drills.
As for DeCastro, he was by far the most impressive interior offensive lineman during drills. He was smooth and quick, posting the best 3-cone time (7.3) since 2008, as well as the third-best short shuttle (4.56) and fifth-best broad jump (8-foot-2) among 2012 linemen. His 291D2-inch vertical jump was also well above the average for guards (261D2) over the past four combines.
- Luck will have his pro day at Stanford on March 22. Foles is scheduled for March 19. And former Arizona State quarterback Brock Osweiler for March 16. Osweiler didn't work out at the combine because of a foot injury.
- Former Stanford TE Coby Fleener, the top TE in the draft, didn't work out because of an ankle injury. He'll perform with Luck on March 22.
- Former Oregon RB LaMichael James ran a 4.45 40-yard dash. That will help him. Former USC RB Marc Tyler ran a 4.76 40. That won't help him.
- Former Arizona wide receiver Juron Criner and Oregon State wide receiver James Rodgers ran two of the slower 40s among the receivers -- 4.68 and 4.67. That will hurt the 5-foot-7 Rodgers much more than the 6-foot-2 Criner.
- Former Stanford wide receiver Chris Owusu, riddled by injuries, particularly concussions, during his career, was a workout warrior, running a blazing 4.36 40 with a 4o.5-inch vertical leap.
- NFL.com's combine tracker is pretty cool.