With our new format here at DLF, blog updates will be easier to churn out and I’ll be able to keep you more up to date with news and notes from combine. As is always the case, my goal here is not to rehash every time, weight or measure of every participant but, instead, to keep you abreast of valuation interesting events, surprises and relevant chatter.
We get started on Friday, Feb. 25 so check back early and often. I’m especially looking forward to the RB weights and measures this year.
Sunday, Feb. 27 3:45 PM
DeMarco Murray put up a nice 40 of 4.38.
Sunday, Feb. 27 3:15 PM
RB Shane Vereen is my pick to out produce his drafted position and ran a 4.51, about as expected. Nice second attempt at an unofficial 4.47.
Ryan Williams came in at a disappointing 4.55 with his first attempt, but I really like his stride. He also plays much faster than his timed 40. Will be interesting to see if he can put up a better time with his second attempt. 4.59 on his second.
RB Daniel Thomas isn’t going to run. Very disappointing. Not fully recovered from him hamstring strain and will do everything at his pro day.
Sunday, Feb. 27 2:00 PM
Running backs are on the field and the 40s are coming up, really excited to see this group run even if I don’t believe it’s a strong group. I look for thickness, build, fluidity and hips primarily.
Cam Newton just jumped 35″ in the vertical. So-so, but it doesn’t much matter.
RB Roy Helu Jr. just clocked an unofficial 4.43 which is surprising – was hoping for high 4.40s.
RB Kendall Hunter, who I have been high on as a small back (not something I’m known for), is nicely built but his quads aren’t as big as I was hoping for. Seems a bit thin in the lower body. But did run a 4.47.
Ingram is a solid looking back, even at a smaller height than I expected. He has a high stepping 40 and clocked a disappointing 4.58 on his first attempt. I expected mid 4.4s with his lower weigt. .
RB Mikel Leshoure ran a 4.56 which is pretty good for his size. Was hoping for low 4.5s but that is a good time for him and should solidify his spot as a top 3 drafted back in fantasy, probably the 2nd off the board in the NFL draft.
Sunday, Feb. 27 1:20 PM
Oregon’s Jeff Maehle catches the ball well away from his body. He isn’t fast, but he’ll have a place in the NFL.
Torrey Smith displayed decent hands in the combine and can catch the ball away from his body, but looked tentative running. I wanted to see more speed in the gauntlet as it shows confidence in your hands.
Titus Young was somewhat disappointing in the gauntlet, again not using his speed and slowing down to ensure that he catches the ball. I’d like to see more speed from those like Young and Smith that are highly billed.
Note to self: WR Jimmy Young (TCU) looked great in the gauntlet drill, displaying good hands and nice speed all the way through the drill.
Sunday, Feb. 27 12:50 PM
Julio Jones is crushing the competition at this year’s combine. He won’t jump Green in NFL draft, but he’s secured the #2 WR off the board status and I still believe he’ll be in the top 10. Jones just jumped a ridiculous 11’3″ in and nailed a 38.5″ vertical … this compared to A.J. Green’s 10’6″ and 34.5″ respectively. That all said, he’s still a WR and unless you are in a PPR league, they are very hard to draft in the top 5 of your draft.
Edmund Gates, who could be this year’s combine workout warrior, jumped a respectable 10’10”.
Newton ran an unofficial 4.58 in the 40, very nice.
WR Torrey Smith runs a 4.37 and that could be good enough for him to slip into the 1st round.
WR Titus Young runs an unofficial 4.43. Some expected him to be in the 4.3s but I had him in the low 4.4s so this holds his draft stock. I will say though that he is more thickly built and well defined than I expected.
RB Shane Vereen, by the way, put up an insane 31 reps of the 225 lb. press. He’s 210 lbs. himself, so this is an amazing score.
WR Hankerson continues to struggle on the field in drills. Just looking a bit clumsy. Starting to wonder about him being more of a possession receiver.
Kaepernick is really helping his stock this AM. He can really spin it and he’s putting it on a rope, leading the receivers very well. His mechanics though are a bit sloppy and he looks very loose – not in a good way.
Locker has a gun as well but not nearly as much control or touch. Ran an unofficial 4.52, nice!
Mallett looks to have the best arm from my perspective thus far … but needs touch.
Gabbert did run a 4.61 but won’t be throwing unfortunately.
WR Jonathan Baldwin looks a little lanky and clumsy in and out of his breaks. That is why I like my WRs in the 6’1″ – 6’3″ range and not much taller. No doubt that he has skills and tape on him is relatively impressive so not going to lower his draft grade thus far.
WR Jerrell Jernigan ran in the low 4.50s and has looked really good, not great, in all drills thus far – he is slightly raising his stock. I like his quick hips out his breaks.
WR Edmund Gates ran in the mid 4.3s and looked good doing it. Outside of his speed, he has not been impressive in catching and route drills.
Thus far, I’ve been relatively unimpressed by all the receivers not named Green and Jones. It has been said that Jones won’t get past St. Louis with their 14th pick and that makes a lot of sense. That said, I think Jones has raised his stock now into the top 10. Just too many WR needy teams out there. For fantasy, it’s a risky proposition but you could have done much worse in the past, Green and Jones looks as solid as you’re going to get.
I still think Leonard Hankerson has a chance to be a great receiver but he comes with a lot of risk. His speed was a surprise as I expected him to run in the mid 4.5s, not mid 4.4s. He just looked raw in his positional drills. Look it him on tape though and he shines so I’m inclined to hold his value and perhaps give him a slight increase because his speed is better than expected.
QB wise, this is a very risky group in my opinion, top to bottom. The top selected QB could easily under-perform the 4th or 5th QB taken over the long haul. If you’re QB needy on your fantasy team, you probably have to take Newton in the top 5, perhaps Gabbert if he goes to a good starting situation, but you’ll have to hold your breath. Newton has star power, there’s no denying that – I just don’t like my QBs being the first to say it.
Morning Notes 10:20 EST
Couldn’t wait for this AM and was up bright and early to take it all in.
WRs and QBs are on the field and already there have been some surprises. The WR grouping is nice as three of my favorites are in the first group, A.J. Green, Julio Jones and Leonard Hankerson. All their 40s are in the book but I haven’t seen the official results yet. The fastest of the the times are:
A.J. Green – 4.48. A bit disappointing but he certainly looks the part and it won’t hurt hist stock
Julio Jones – 4.39. Again, unofficial but that is an incredible time for a receiver of his size
Leonard Hankerson – 4.45. A nice surprise. He has a great upper body and shoulder definition.
In the gauntlet, both Green and Jones looked pretty good, showing good use of their hands away from their body to bring in the balls. Hankerson was disappointing, displaying slow hands and allowing the balls to get in on him too often.
WR Greg Little looks like a beast out there. He also pushed up the 225 lb . press 28 times which is great for a receiver. The guy is huge and reminds me more of a TE than a WR. He did fairly well in the gauntlet as well. 40 times were in the 4.5s. Plenty good enough to be on the rise.
Cam Newton jumped an impressive 10’6″. Not a surprise, just confirmation that he is a great athlete. In between his ears is likely to be the deficit and he is not helping himself nearly every time he opens his mouth.
Saturday, Feb. 26
Positional and agility drills kick off today, but unless you’re in the market for an offensive lineman or tight end, not too much to see today. A couple of TEs have a lot to gain today in what is a weak TE class, but Saturday is a day for getting chores done around the house so that you don’t have anything to pull you away come Sunday when the QBs, WRs and RBs take the field.
More updates as they occur, stay tuned.
Friday, Feb. 25
The weight and measurement part of the combine is always an exciting time for me, I most certainly need a life. College football players usually look very good in pads and on and media guides are famous for making it appear that kickers are built more like linebackers. All mystery is removed when the players step to the scale.
And as there always is, there have already been a few surprises.
Having watched a lot of NW college football, I’m quite familiar with Oregon State running back Jacquizz Rodgers is electric, there is no doubt about that fact. What there is also no doubt about now is just how small he really is. The diminutive back measured in just shy of 5’6″ but an incredible 196 lbs. His fantasy value takes a big hit but could be a late 2nd round fantasy surprise for someone willing to take the risk. It won’t be me though.
Top RB Mark Ingram measured in at just over 5’9″ and a cut 215 lbs. The height is a disappointment to me as I was hoping for a full inch+ taller, but his bulk earns extra points. Ingram did well to shed extra points in the days before the combine and it should help his speed and mobility.
RB Ryan Williams similarly measured in under expectations at 5’9 3/8 but, again similar to Ingram, a cut 211 lbs. The bulk slightly raises his fantasy value but doesn’t directly speak to the injury concerns that keeps likely Williams the third RB off the board.
No real surprise with Mikel Leshoure at 5’11” 1/2 and 227 lbs. My concern with Leshoure is that he was going to measure in below 5’11”.
My biggest surprise comes in the form of Cal’s Shane Vereen who measured over 5’10” and a rocked up 210 lbs. A good combine performance and we could be looking at the combine riser for 2011. Stay tuned!
On the receiver front, all eyes were on A.J. Green and Julio Jones. Both measured in slightly less than expected, but raising no real concerns.
A.J. Green came in at 6’3 1/2″ and a lean 211 lbs. Green has never been a gym rat and is shows.
On the other hand Julio Jones measured in at 6’2 1/2″ and, as billed, 220 lbs. Unlike Green, Jones looks well defined and thick and offers more physicality than Green. At 9 3/4″, Jones has hands that are a full 1/2″ larger than Green’s. All eyes will be on the 40 times of both of these elite athletes.
Jonathan Baldwin measure in less than expected at 6’4 3/8″ and 228 lbs., getting a bump UP in value on my board. I prefer to have my receivers less than 6’4″ in most cases and one of Baldwin’s knocks on my board was being excessively tall. Losing an inch off his height makes him more appealing in my book.
Turning our attention to the quarterbacks, there were no real surprises of note. A minor surprise came in the form of hand size, in that Ryan Mallett’s hands measured in at an enormous 10 3/4″.
Jake Locker came in just shy of 6’2 1/2″ and 231 lbs. He looked better than I saw him last and seems to have trimmed down, something that will serve him well in his timed mobility drills.
No real surprise from the Cam Newton camp other than he continues to do his best to jeopardize his rising stock value. Newton is likely all he is billed to be, especially if you ask him. Any team that drafts Newton will be drafting a significantly sized entourage and ego as well. I wonder if Buffalo can provide the glitz that Newton needs. Time for a collect call to Marshawn Lynch.
Tune in tomorrow for a review of the day’s events. Tomorrow is where the fun really starts!
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