I was very disappointed to see the top quarterbacks elect not to throw. As one of the experts on the NFL Network pointed out, it’s not as if anything we see at the combine with the top quarterbacks is going to change what we’ve all seen on tape. We know that Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III are elite within their position, so show the confidence and competitive desire to get in there and sling it around. I wasn’t that excited about the prospects of seeing them throw as I was seeing them out there competing with the others, having a good time just going through the drills. Same goes for Trent Richardson and Justin Blackmon.
But while I say that, I fully understand why they are coached not to work out. Just look at past years, the fall-out from poor workout times and the stories that follow. Ultimately, the stock of top athletes in their respective positions has nowhere to go but down. Kendall Wright begins to overtake Justin Blackmon on some experts’ boards, but then runs a forty in 4.6 range and the chatter begins. Blackmon chooses not to run and seemingly his draft stock remain unaffected due Wright’s fall.
And even in some cases, this can affect third tier athletes such as Dwight Jones out of North Carolina, who had a dismal outing. Moving up charts due to a productive 2011 and good size, Jones’ stock has cratered after after displaying a nonchalant, unfocused and lazy attitude on the field over the weekend. A top MLB prospect, Vontaze Burfict executed a perfect series of CLMs (Career Limiting Moves) by backing up his sloppy play with ridiculously bad interviews and no accountability. Burfict may now fall to day three of the draft.
It’s no wonder that some of these athletes decide that they’ll just forgo the entire experience, let their college production speak for them and work out on their school’s pro day.
But for us here at DLF the work continues, and the NFL Combine is only one piece of information I use to rank the rookies. In fact, it’s a relatively small piece considering the amount of weight put on tape review and on-field performance. Beyond that, I do put some stock into how the players look on the field, given their positional needs. In certain drills such as the gauntlet, I’m looking for line discipline and the use of dominant and off-hand usage with each catch. Does the receiver snatch the ball naturally or let it get into his body? Does he reverse his hands or force his dominant hand? Each position has its own needs.
But let us do the work for you. You care about the rankings and not all this other rubbish… so let’s get to it.
|2||Robert Griffin III||Baylor|
|3||Ryan Tannehill||Texas A&M|
|4||Brandon Weeden||Oklahoma St.|
|5||Kirk Cousins||Michigan St.|
|7||Ryan Lindley||San Diego St.|
|8||Brock Osweiler||Arizona St.|
|11||Kellen Moore||Boise St.|
|3||David Wilson||Virginia Tech|
|4||Doug Martin||Boise St.|
|9||Cyrus Gray||Texas A&M|
|10||Robert Turbin||Utah St.|
|11||Ronnie Hillman||San Diego St.|
|12||Dan Herron||Ohio St.|
|15||Vick Ballard||Mississippi St.|
|1||Justin Blackmon||Oklahoma St.|
|2||Michael Floyd||Notre Dame|
|4||Stephen Hill||Georgia Tech|
|7||Alshon Jeffery||South Carolina|
|8||Brian Quick||Appalachian St.|
|9||Dwight Jones||North Carolina|
|11||Jeff Fuller||Texas A&M|
Have your own ideas about who from this list will surprise , or someone that isn’t on this list? Let’s hear it! I’ll be starting a short series of draft sleepers to keep track of starting shortly.
You can find Jeff on Twitter at @dlf_jeff