NFL Offseason Thread: Combine Edition

Well, the NFL Combine is over and there wasn’t a thread started. I’m really starting to worry about you guys. Is it despair over the CBA talks? Have I offended you with my bombast? Is it Mel Kiper’s hair that’s the problem? Did you flip over the NFL Network and see too many slow-mo shots of packages flopping around under a wisp of spandex?

I didn’t watch as much of the Combine as I usually would but I’ve been catching up on replays the last couple days. Nothing has really stood out to me but I came away with a few impressions of some of the bigger names.

Marcell Dareus was by far the most impressive DL I saw in the workouts. The guy looks like a monster and he made Nick Fairley look like a child. I think he might end up being a top 3 pick if the game tape holds up. Fairley is a one year wonder and I’m pretty sure Dareus is the guy I’d want.

Von Miller was hugely disappointing. The guy is an athlete but I just don’t think he’ll manage in the NFL. His strength and speed are good but not special and he seems like he’ll get swallowed up easily but decent OTs.

Corey Liuget lived up to my expectations but didn’t entirely stand out. Perhaps this will help him slip down to the Bears.

Patrick Peterson was even better than advertised. He’s not just a workout warrior because he put up great tape but the numbers and the fluidity he showed in the workouts was almost eye popping. Definitely a potential #1 pick.

Julio Jones really came to this event ready to perform, he must have had an excellent trainer. Doing this on a broken foot is impressive but also curious. I want to watch his ball skills and film a bit more because it’s possible that he’s just a workout warrior. He was inconsistent in Alabama and has injury concerns. That said, he might slip to the end of the first round and make the Bears make a decision.

Martez Wilson had a blazing 40 time and has looked like one of the most athletic LBs out there. He’s always been a guy who looks much better out of pads than in them but I think he measured up well against Von Miller. They talk about him like a interior LB but I think he might end up outside because of his speed. The Combine numbers probably lifted him out of the 3rd or 4th round and into the end of the second at the latest, which probably takes him out of the running for the Bears.

Unfortunately I haven’t really seen much of the RBs or QBs yet, nor the OTs. I’ll be keeeping an eye out for those guys. I’m especially interested in seeing Jacquizz Rodgers and Gabe Carimi.

Supposedly Ryan Mallett was the best thrower at the workout. I saw some highlights and the kid was really poised, the interviews will be big for him though. I wouldn’t be shocked if he ended up going to one of those teams at the top of the second round, maybe even trading up into the back half of the first if Gabbert and Newton both go top 10.

I don’t ever watch the Combine, but I did catch some replays of Juan Castillo running a drill with some DBs. It was pretty amazing to me how stark the contrast was between guys who had really good footwork and those who didn’t, and with how important that is at CB/S, it was a pretty significant read on some guys. Fascinating stuff.

Joe Lefeged, the 20th ranked S or so according to ESPN, looked awful. Horrible footwork, obvious to even a layman like myself. Now I’m interested to see where he ends up going.

I never understood the desire to watch the Combine… but I kinda get it now.

I got the impression that Mallet didn’t really impress as much as people wanted in the throwing drills, better than Newton and Dalton, but not as good as Ponder and Kaepernick.

With the 49ers sitting at 7th and me wanting Von Miller, I can only hope two teams ahead of us pick QBs. The Bills and Cardinals are the best chances.

Since the Green Bay Packers won the Super Bowl, I, as a fan of your NFL Champion Green Bay Packers, don’t have the usual urgency to see who the Best Team in the NFL Green Bay Packers will be looking to draft. I can see, as a Bears fan, a team the Super Bowl winning Green Bay Packers beat in the Bears’ own stadium in the NFC Championship game, before the Green Bay Packers went onto to become the Champions of the NFL, why you would be starting the evaluation process this early. I, however, because the Green Bay Packers are the Super Bowl Champions, haven’t spent much time so far looking at potential players who could go on to play for the current NFL Championship Green Bay Packers.

God I hope 31 other teams agree with you and he falls all the way to the Packers. From the little I’ve read, his combine numbers were fantastic and his game film and production were very good too. Add in a Butkus Award, his team captainship, leading the Big 12 in sacks two years in a row, and a year of playing in the 3-4, and I have a hard time imagining he’ll fall out of the top 8 and/or become a bust.

More later, after I find more time for this stuff. Oh, and the Packers won the Super Bowl. In case I didn’t mention it earlier.

As Hamlet mentioned, the Packers being Super Bowl Cahampions OINFL champs for the 13th time…just sayin’) I am not looking at who might the Packers pick up because there is so much going on before that. But I have been paying attention to the Badgers and they seem to have been acquitting themselves quite well…except for John, who was flat out slow for an RB. I think he ran 4.8 or 5.0…seriously slow. He will still probably get drafted, though.

Scott Tolzien apparently impressed enough, especially in interviews where he will almost certainly be drafted now, probably fifth or later, when before he was pretty iffy. JJ Watt very much impressed everyone it seems, but still may fall out of the top 10 since he is seen as more of a 3-4 and the top of the draft is mostly 4-3 teams.

Lance Kendricks showed some good stuff in the drills, combining both strength and speed, but he also was the lightest Tight End, so he will porbably go second or third round.

Carimi and Moffitt did nothing special but nothing alarming either and will probably be late first, middle second rounders, respectively.

Nile Brinkley didn’t impress with a fairly slow time for a DB and probably won’t get called.

We’ll see. I understand that I’m a bit on an island here with this opinion but all the raving has forced me to give the guy a close look. I’m really not seeing the hype. He’s fast and was productive in college but he seems to play a little soft and I don’t see him getting leverage on quality tackles in the NFL. He’s been compared to DeMarcus Ware, but unless he packs on a bunch of muscle I’m not sure he’ll be that effective and frankly Ware is a little overrated and gets punked in the run game somewhat. That said, I’m a 4-3 guy and I don’t usually spend a lot of time picking apart stand-up 3-4 OLBs. In the short amount of film I’ve seen J.J. Watt and Robert Quinn looked more effective and NFL ready on the edge. That said, the LB class on a whole sucked pretty big so Miller might be the tallest midget.

Mallett is toxic, or, at least, that’s the word around the combine. He says it’s a jilted agent that’s smearing him, but word around Ann Arbor is that he was a little prick before he left for Arkansas.

Eh, maturity is a developing thing. A couple teams might be soured but most will only care about what he puts on tape. Plenty of players and especially QBs are pissy little punks in college and the NFL, some of the best ever were. What he did as a freshman really doesn’t mean that much.

I wonder if Greg Little will be available for the Bears in the 3rd round. Maybe Marvin Austin in the 2nd? Those UNC guys are all looking like great value picks at positions of need, but I worry that even if they do slip between the cracks the Bears high-brow mentality will keep those guys off their radar.

Kiper has updated his Mock draft once again and since we’re past the Combine with the Draft being the next big milestone this seems like the thread to post in as opposed to starting a fresh one. Here’s the highlights, as in the previous threads let me know what you want to see and I’ll cross post it here for you if you aren’t an Insider.

This is by far the biggest and most notable change from before. Kiper had him all the way down around 10 before and he seems to be connecting the same dots I connected a while back regarding the impact of the new rookie wage scale. I think that Newton is probably more likely to launch to the top of the draft either to Carolina or someone trading up, but it’s clear that if salaries are capped that teams high on these QBs might be newly willing to trade up and pay them #1 overall money.

These three players are all apparently linked. Kiper had Bowers at #1 previously and he had Dareus at #8, they’ve essentially flip flopped. I actually liked what I saw of Dareus more than Fairley so I’m in agreement with bumping him up but I think someone getting Bowers down around the 8th or 10th pick would be a major steal.

I know this thought isn’t original, but if Peterson falls this far it’s a travesty. The guy looks like he’s going to be incredible and I’d be tempted to draft him #1 overall if I were making the picks. Considering how top CBs are paid it seems like there’d be less history of great ones slipping, it’s not like great CBs are a dime a dozen.

I’ll just throw this out there now. He’ll be a bust. He’s basically Cedric Benson, he’s got too many miles on him and has been a beneficiary of a great line and a generally productive offense. Running backs on great talented teams tend to disappoint and Ingram will continue that trend. If Miami makes this pick they’ll regret it. Wait until the 2nd round and take the best available guy and you’ll be better off, let someone else make the mistake.

I haven’t seen much of anything of Solder thus far. I missed him at the Combine and I don’t think I saw a minute of a Colorado game this season. His write up from Scouts Inc reads pretty perfectly and this is probably the lowest I’ve seen him projected. If the Bears get him here I’d consider that a very lucky turn of events. He’s smart and durable and sounds like a Mike Tice guy and with Carimi apparently moving up the boards following his Pro Day he’s probably not in the cards. I hope to get a closer look at some of his video soon.

I find it interesting that a majority of Kiper’s analysis deals with the Panters’ position and not whether Gabbert is worth the #1 pick.

If I were a GM, there is no way I would use a top 10 pick on Gabbert. While it is nicer this year (the potential rookie wage scale will make it less drastic on a bust) to take a chance, I’m just not loving me Gabbert. I do really like his quick release, strong arm (he sure should have used it more this year), and size, but his production has been poor, he’s in a one read spread offense, and he’s not the quickest in picking up the blitz. When you compare his performance to Chase Daniel’s in the same system, Gabbert never realized his potential.

He’s an outstanding project QB. One who may need a couple years on the bench to develop before he’s ready for the NFL. And I really don’t think he’d be worth picking in the top 10 and hoping.

One more thought. I constantly disagree with GM’s decisions, so I expect Gabbert to go very early, possibly #1. But I think the way some teams (like Carolina) have handled their QB’s is just awful. I think so many teams rush their development of young QB’s that they ruin their potential, when the better thing to do would be to give them a couple years to learn. I, were I a GM, would be much more comfortable using a second round pick to get a Matt Flynn or a Kevin Kolb than using my first rounder on a project QB. But that’s just me.

I think the best value in this draft at QB is Christian Ponder. He’s certainly an injury risk, but I think he has a good chance of being a very good starting QB in the NFL.

Yeah, Kiper’s newest mock is really interesting. If Gabbert does go #1, that shuffles the deck a little bit. Kiper’s main argument seems to be, that, because of the CBA and rookie salary limits, it makes more financial sense to take a quarterback at number one, and that, in itself, is a very good reason right there. The Panthers do need a quarterback, and if they’re high on Gabbert over Newton, I guess there’s that. It also means that the new coach wants his own kid to work with, instead of some old has been.* Then again, having two, young quarterbacks with potential isn’t a bad thing, especially not in today’s brutal NFL.

Peterson should be the number one pick, if everything I’ve heard about him is accurate. I’d love to see him in a Lions uniform.

*Sarcasm.

I’d love it if Peterson dropped to the 9ers. I can also see them trading into the back end of the first to pick up their desired QB, I’m hoping for Ponder or Kaepernick. They’d still need a pass-rushing OLB for the 3-4 defense, maybe Dontay Moch will be available in the third round, and NT Sione Fua in the fourth.
If the first rounder is a pass rusher, then I’m looking at Ras-I Dowling, Korey Lindsey or Shareece Wright in later rounds for a CB.

I just really hope they don’t draft a QB at #7. I don’t like Gabbert or Newton that high, and I don’t like Locker or Mallett anywhere.

Omniscient,

Can you post who Kiper currently has the Packers taking? Thanks!

Green Bay PackersRecord: 10-6
Brooks Reed, OLB, Arizona
At about 260 pounds, Reed is a productive player who profiles well as a rushing 3-4 outside linebacker who could help take some pressure off Clay Matthews in Dom Capers’ system. A smart player with above-average quickness, he’s a sleeper in this class, as a player who can get after the passer, but also shows instincts as a guy who can drop into coverage.

Really? I have Reed at #140 on my board; a good, valuable pick in the third round.

I love it if the Pack got him in the 3rd, and actually wouldn’t mind him in the 2nd. But first? No way. If Ayers is there, grab him, but I’d rather wait on a guy like Dontay Moch, Sam Acho, or even a later rounder, than reach for Reed.

One of the facets that Kiper highlighted in his First Draft Podcast is that Carolina is without a second round pick. That puts them in a bit of a pickle as far as the QB position goes. If the new management decided they need a QB they won’t have the option to wait and take a Dalton, Kaepernick or Ponder at the top of round 2. So, assuming the see QB as a must have, the first pick could be a QB regardless if he would be over drafted by a half a dozen picks. The rookie scale would make reaching on a guy like that less painful.

Personally, I think I’d try waiting anyways if I were the Panthers. You might be able to get one of the top guys as late as the top of the 3rd if you wait, I find it hard to imagine that Mallett, Locker, Dalton, Kaepernick and Ponder with ALL be gone in the first 2 rounds.

Is there some reason they can’t just trade down?

Well, they gotta find a partner for that. Usually easier said than done.