Once again, sorry to be in the bunker much of the last two weeks. It has been difficult to contact some of the guys I know who are tracking draftees, to get pieces of knowledge. Below is a list of ten key things to look for at the combine.
Ten Things to Look for at the Combine
1) How much will Derrick Harvey weigh?
Harvey is an explosive pass rusher, and is currently listed in the low 250's. If he comes in at 260+, I think many GM's and scouts looking for a 4-3 DE will feel better. However, a scout I spoke to last week said that he will be right at his playing weight last season, around 250-252. If this is true, he will need to show the ability to drop into coverage as a 3-4 OLB.
2) Which junior RB will emerge as the guy to become the second RB off the board?
I hate third-hand sources, but from what I've got, Mendenhall is going to run a sub-4.40. If this is true, he is the legitimate number 2 RB in this draft, and will challenge to crack the top 10 picks. Stewart and Jones will also make their bids.
3) Will Limas Sweed run the forty?
A couple of weeks ago, I began to drop Sweed on my Big 255 board, as reports are swirling that he will bypass the forty, ala Dwayne Jarrett in 2007. One of the guys I know from an AFC team said that he believes Sweed will surely pass, and this is going to raise more red flags with his ability to get off the line of scrimmage quickly.
4) Will Brian Brohm throw at the combine?
This is somewhat an unfair question, in that it leaves out Matt Ryan. However, Ryan is considered a top 5 lock, while Brohm could be all over the place in the first round this year, depending on the team. If Brohm throws, and looks sharp, he could secure himself a top 15 pick. However, if attempts to throw, and does not eclipse Henne and Flacco, he could see himself at the bottom of the first round. Scouts were not happy he bailed on the Senior Bowl, and if he avoids throwing at the combine, he could lose millions. He's stuck in a tough position.
5) How will Chris Long look and fare?
It seems like the Hot Tomale for the #1 overall pick right now is Chris Long. Many think he could be the pick with the least risk, and will fit into the Dolphins system.
From what I am hearing, Long is dropping weight, to get to 270, and become a 4-3 DE or jumbo-sized 3-4 Will linebacker. If so, he needs to post a quick forty time, and show an ability to drop into coverage. This week is a multi-million dollar week for Long.
6) What will be the pecking order for this CB class?
There are about 5 CB's in this draft who could be the first off the board: Jenkins, Talib, Rodgers-Cromartie, McKelvin, and Porter. The clocked times in the forty this week could be one major factor that separates one from the others. From media reports, Jenkins is looking very quick in his workouts. From a guy I have spoken to, Porter is going to run right at 4.35. Talib has possibly the most to gain or lose. How will the other guys run? It should be a fascinating week.
7) How will Mario Manningham do in workouts, and more importantly, in interviews?
Everybody knows that Manningham was an outstanding college WR. At the next level, coaches and scouts want to know: Is he is a willing blocker? Will he fit in well with their team and system? Will the diva-esque behavior in college continue in the NFL? He's got a lot of questions to answer in the sit-down interviews, and it should be very interesting to see how he does. Oh, and after all that: he's also got the height/weight/forty time as well.
8) Will Dorsey re-snatch the momentum gained by Ellis at the Senior Bowl?
Many NFL fans have a very short memory span. Glenn Dorsey was the most dominant college player in 2008. However, Sedrick Ellis was virtually unblockable at the Senior Bowl. The focus at the Senior Bowl goes back to Dorsey. However, this may not be resolved this week, as Dorsey is probably going to pass on nearly every event, and wait until his campus workout in mid-March. He's still recovering from injuries this season.
9) Is Malcolm Kelly the real deal?
The current consensus first WR off the board in the draft is Oklahoma junior Malcolm Kelly. However, is he truly the top guy? There is no doubt that he has excellent size, at 6'4", and has outstanding character. However, is he a 4.40 guy, or a 4.50 guy? If he decides to run, millions could be made, or lost, by hundredths of seconds on the clock. If Kelly has a lackluster forty, and average WR workout, the mantel then shifts to DeSean Jackson, who will surely run in the 4.35 or lower range.
10) Could Jerod Mayo bust into the first round?
The ILB class of 2008 is mediocre, at best. Outside of Dan Connor, there is not much to be excited about in the senior class. Junior Curtis Lofton will undoubtably be measured under 6', which is going to drop him on boards. That is not the problem with Jerod Mayo, who will stand around 6'1-6'2. Mayo is fast, very productive, and has excellent character. Mayo could bust right into the latter portion of Round 1 with a solid workout. One guy I have spoken to this week said the Mayo will make a LOT
of money at the combine, as one of the more impressive players.
There will be plenty of other stories to follow, but these ten will make a big impact could draft day in two months.
[ Edited by MadDog49er on Feb 18, 2008 at 6:33 AM ]