Feb. 26, 2012 – 12:30 PM
I really like Robert Griffin III. His personality is infectious, he’s smart, engaging and this just in, he has a hell of an arm. In most drafts he’s going to be falling to at least 1.04, so if you need a QB, you have an opportunity to get a 1.01 talent at 1.04, but without the cost. If you have 1.04, you can hold in for value closer to the 1.01 for a coach in dire need for a QB … or simply draft him.
Here we go with the RBs. Again, all times are unofficial until later in the week when I’ll update them.
Terrance Ganaway, the big back out of Baylor ran his first forty at 4.63, about as expected.
Cyrus Gray, at a decent 206 pounds, ran a 4.41. A bit faster than I expected. 4.50 on his second attempt. The official time will be interesting.
Dan Herron out of Ohio State, a bit of a sleeper on many draft boards, looks a bit heavy and ran his first forty at 4.68, which hurts his stock. Second attempt at 4.65.
One of my favorite sleepers, Ronnie Hillman clocked a 4.41, which is pretty good. I’d like to see him a bit thicker than his listed 200. Second forty at 4.47.
LaMichael James has bulked up to 194 and ran a 4.37 on both forties, pretty much as expected. His size will still be an issue, but his speed isn’t.
The fast rising Doug Martin looks great at 5’9″ and 223. He ran a first forty at 4.57, a bit disappointing. He’s definitely thick and has an every-down body. I’ve seen him as high as the RB3 in this draft but most have him at RB4 or RB5. He’s likely to be the RB4 on my list unless Chris Polk can run a in the low 4.4s. He also pushed up the 225 press an impressive 28 times. He ran a 4.47 on his second attempt. If that sticks, he’ll raise his stock.
Isaiah Pead out of Cincinnati looks a little thin in the base but has a good upper body. He needs to add weight/muscle in the lower body. At 197 her ran a 4.41, which is a nice time.
Bernard Pierce, an intriguing back from Temple and a quality sleeper pick at 218 pounds ran a 4.50, which is not bad. I’d like to see him clock something in the 4.4s.
Chris Polk is receiving a lot of criticism for his work ethic recently, but it’s unwarranted in my opinion. He’s 5’10 1/2″ and 215 pounds and just ran a 4.46.
Lamar Miller, my RB2 ran a 4.38. Very nice. 4.41 on his second attempt as well. Miller looks like he can still add weight on his frame.
Tauren Poole, another good sleeper prospect at 5’10 and 205, clocked a 4.53.
Another nice sleeper pick, Robert Turbin from Utah State looks huge up top and is 5’10” and 222 pounds and just ran a low 4.4. He’s had injury issues, but he really looks good. Looks a bit like Richardson and pushed up the 225 bench press 29 times. He posted a 4.47 on his second run.
David Wilson, my RB3, ran a 4.40. This will solidify the top three running backs being Richardson, Miller and Wilson. In that order on my board. Miller is just a little light (205) to overtake Miller. Wilson’s second attempt was 4.43.
Feb. 26, 2012 – 9:30 AM
I should note that all the times here are unofficial in nature. It’s certain that they’ll be adjusted and I’ll have a full recap by the end of next week where I will also have my updated post-combine rankings.
Brian Quick remains one of my favorite sleeper receivers. 220 pounds at 6’3 1/2″ and ran a 4.48 on his first attempt and a 4.53 on his second. He looks a bit mechanical and not fluid in his style.
Rueben Randle just ran a 4.50 and a 4.56. I was hoping for something in the low 4.40s. Disappointing but I like his fram and the way he uses his body on the field.
Mohammed Sanu looks like a NFL receiver. A long strider with a well defined upper body. Ran a disappointing 4.65 and that could affect his stock as he is in the top five on many lists.
Kendall Wright ran a 4.45 on his first attempt and a 4.50 on his second. Disappointing in my book. Wright will stay at my WR3 in this draft after Blackmon and Floyd.
Tommy Streeter from Miami, a rising receiver, ran a nice 4.34 at almost 6’5″. He’s raw but looks the part.
Nick Toon runs two forties in the 4.5s. About as expected.
Looking at a lot of these third tier receivers, it’s shaping up to be exactly as I expected. There’s not a lot of separation between the group and it’s going to be very difficult to choose the one that will have the best career.
RBs about to take the field …
Feb. 26, 2012 – 7:30 AM
Sunday AM notes as the skill positions are on the field.
Robert Griffin III did run the 40, and logged two impressive performances, one in the 4.38 range. Very nice.
Michael Floyd looks great this AM. He’s big, looks the part and ran two forties in the 4.44 range. This will raise his stock as his speed is confirmed. Looked very comfortable in the gauntlet drill as well.
Justin Blackmon looked big during the gauntlet and didn’t run the 40 as expected. Looked okay in the gauntlet but not overly comfortable. You can tell that he’s got great hands though.
The workout warrior of 2012 is WR Stephen Hill. Ran an unofficial 4.30 forty and followed up with a 4.31, and looked great doing it. In the gauntlet drill, he was the best in the group. Ran fast, straight and showed very comfortable and quiet hands catching out in front of his frame. Hill doesn’t have many receptions coming from the spread offense, but every evaluator will be trying to get their hands on Georgia Tech’s tape for further review.
Arizona’s Juron Criner looked good in the gauntlet drill. I like him as a sleeper this year. Probably a late 3rd or 4th rd. selection.
Stephen Hill is catching everything thrown his way, into his frame or outside of it. He’s going to be a mid second round selection in fantasy at this point. He’s on the map now.
Justin Blackmon is not having a good day with his hands. He’s looked uncomfortable in the gauntlet and now in the fly (deep ball) drill, dropping another one. He’s fighting his hands. Likely won’t affect his draft stock much as too many teams at the top of the first need receiver help and there’s little question that Blackmon will hear his name called early. But if he has a poor pro day, he could lose his spot at the top of the receiver list.
Andrew Luck did perform in the vertical and broad jump, performing well on both. No one cares much. He is what he is.
Mayock is in love with Reggie Jefferson’s arm saying that he can “rip” it. He certainly does, but that’s about all he does. He just doesn’t project well in my book.
Kirk Cousins is having a good showing today, especially with the top three QBs not throwing. He looks comfortable and I really like his release. He’s fluid and he’s obviously been working on his drop footwork.
Ryan Lindley looks a little heavy and slower than expected. Of course, he’s known for his arm so that’s not likley an issue, but I would have liked to have seen a bit lighter physique.
Andrew Luck runs the 40. No one really cares. 4.60 range for those that do.
Dwight Jones looks a little heavy and is listed at 230. Runs a 4.57 unofficial forty on his first attempt. Would have liked to see something closer to 4.50 but that’s probably unreaslistic considering his size/bulk.
Part II coming up shortly.
Feb. 25, 2012 – 2:30 PM
So here I sit watching combine coverage. I figure as long as I’m watching, I might as well be blogging as well. Just rapid fire thoughts based on what I’m hearing and seeing. Too often articles are overly thought out, planned and anything but raw. With plenty of good discussions underway on NFL.com, it makes for a good opportunity for a free form discussion on many topics that I feel are important to fantasy coaches.
I’m very disappointed in how many athletes aren’t working out this weekend. Especially Robert Griffin III. What an opportunity he had to show his competitive level, leadership and confidence. I very much agree with Brian Billick who exclaimed that everyone knows that the top QBs can throw, it’s not going to hurt their stock. So show the attendees your confidence and competitiveness. It doesn’t change my rankings any but Griffin III missed an opportunity. For Justin Blackmon, it’s probably a sound business decision, but I still want to see him run here. Richardson not running is a let-down as well.
The Tight Ends have been performing today. I’m not overly impressed. The position does appear to be getting faster and they’re starting to appear more like bigger wide receivers than prototypical tight ends. And for tight ends in general, it’s more about the pro system that they’ll be installed into more so than it is their pure ability. Everyone will be gunning for the next Gronkowski and it’s likely a fool’s errand in fantasy to do so.
Discussion going on about Trent Richardson and his true value. Again, I agree with Coach Billick who stated that he may have a hard time getting Richardson into his top ten. With the needs of many of the teams in the top ten, do they really have the flexibility to spend a pick on a position such as RB that has been proven to be somewhat of a luxury pick?
With respect to Richardson, many are jumping to an “elite” tag and have been for some time. I’m not in that camp and I’ve tried to be. Michael Irvin is comparing him to Marshall Faulk. Child, please! I do understand what he’s saying in that Richardson does most things very well and, in that way, is very Faulk-like. But looking at the recent history of first running backs off the board, history is not on the side of Richardson, at least for him reaching “stud” status in fantasy. I do see elite strength, but I don’t see elite vision or speed. Good vision and good speed but just not enough combination to rate as elite for me, especially on tape. I do believe he’s better than other such first backs off the board such as Knowshon Moreno and Mark Ingram, but to what degree? Moreno has been a bust and I don’t think Ingram is ever going to be a RB1. If you need a running back, he’s obviously your choice and he’s very good. But if you need a quarterback, I don’t believe you pass on Luck or RGIII for Richardson.
I think Vincent Jackson is going to end up back in San Diego one way or the other. There will be plenty of suitors for his services, but I think he wants to stay in San Diego.
Peyton Manning is as good as gone. I just don’t see how he sticks in Indi unless he wants to be a one-team player. And while I feel that may be the case with Manning, his brother has two rings now and don’t think that Peyton doesn’t want one last chance at another one himself. It won’t be with the Colts. Arizona should be first on his list as I believe they have enough of a foundation and talent pool to make a jump.
Matt Flynn may be sticking with Green Bay, at least for now. They’ll keep him one way or the other so that they can get compensation for him rather than outright releasing him. Smart move and he’ll be starting somewhere in 2012. My guess is for the Dolphins.
Seattle is trying to lock up Marshawn Lynch for four years rather than using their tag. It’s a risky proposition as Lynch has been streaky. But he really came into his own in 2011 and he’s still young. If he’s reasonable about his market value, it could be a win-win.
Another Randy Moss watch it seems. He’ll end up somewhere and as much as I’d like to see him back in New England, I think he’ll find a home in Philly. Vick has the arm strength, the offense and the scheme to utilize his talents. Speaking of Philly, I just don’t see them bringing back DeSean Jackson. He’s worn out his welcome.
Arian Foster may not get tagged. Risky move by the Texans if they decide to go that route. In the end, I think he’ll be tagged and Ben Tate will need to wait one more year.
I expect Mike Wallace to return to the Steelers. It’s all a political game in the media right now, but it will get done in the end. The Steelers and Roethlisberger know that they can’t lose Wallace as a deep threat.
Cedric Benson is as gone as any player could be. Cincinnati will certainly look to a running back in the draft but I expect that it will be in the second round. Their first round selection will likely be a notable receiver or on the offensive line.
More a bit later ….
Feb 24, 2012
Now it starts getting fun! Let’s jump right into some of the weights and measurements from today’s weigh-ins. The players currently are listed in loose order based on my current rankings. A full update will follow next week after I’ve compiled all data and viewed all workouts.
|Ryan Tannehill||Texas A&M||6040||221|
|Brandon Weeden||Oklahoma State||6040||221|
|Brock Osweiler||Arizona State||6067||242|
|Ryan Lindley||San Diego State||6040||229|
|Kirk Cousins||Michigan State||6030||214|
What a great day for Robert Griffin III who measures in taller than listed in college. The chances he overtakes Andrew Luck as the first quarterback off the board now goes up a little. That being said, there’s little chance Luck won’t be selected first. Brock Osweiler coming in at less than 6’7″ is a good thing. Russell Wilson measuring in at less than 5’11” hurts his stock further and his weight (204) doesn’t help either. I still like Wilson’s heart and his desire to be great. Houston’s Case Keenum measures in taller than I expected and he’s hanging on the board for now.
|David Wilson||Virginia Tech||5100||206|
|Doug Martin||Boise State||5090||223|
|Cyrus Gray||Texas A&M||5100||206|
|Dan Herron||Ohio State||5100||213|
|Ronnie Hillman||San Diego State||5090||200|
|Robert Turbin||Utah State||5100||222|
I didn’t expect Trent Richardson to come in at less than 5’10”. It’s a bit of a shock to me, but it won’t affect his draft status. Was pleased to see Chris Polk measure in as expected without much additional bulk. His stock has taken it on the chin as of late and I don’t think it’s deserved completely. LaMichael James has done his work and has raised his stock by adding weight. Doug Martin is a specimen and he could sneak into the first round with a good performance on Sunday. Keep an eye on the rising Robert Turbin.
|Justin Blackmon||Oklahoma State||6010||207|
|Michael Floyd||Notre Dame||6030||220|
|Alshon Jeffery||South Carolina||6030||216|
|Dwight Jones||North Carolina||6030||230|
|Jeff Fuller||Texas A&M||6040||223|
|Brian Quick||Appalachian State||6040||220|
|Stephen Hill||Georgia Tech||6040||215|
Justin Blackmon continues to surprise by weighing in at only 207 pounds. I think his stock takes a small hit and not running on Sunday will hurt him a bit more. If Michael Floyd lights it up on Sunday, there’s a chance he pulls even with Blackmon if a team is looking for more size at the position. I don’t see Blackmon falling because he’s a pure play-maker, but he hasn’t had a good February.
Alshon Jeffery dispels all rumors that his weight was ballooning, proving once again you can’t believe combine chatter. Rueben Randle is really starting to make some noise and I like his size. I’m pulling for him on Sunday to run well. Keep an eye on Brian Quick and Stephen Hill come Sunday as well. Hill could really light things up and sneak into the second round if he runs a fast forty, as expected. He could be 2012’s workout warrior.
No real surprises here. Coby Fleener is now my top tight end after watching further tape. He’s got a great get-off and I like his movement in space, as well as his ball skills. Dwayne Allen, as expected, comes in a bit smaller than his listed height. Standing in a TSA security line next to him, I had him pegged at 6’3″ (I’m 6’2″ and was nearly eye to eye with him). Orson Charles continues to move up on many experts’ lists, but he’ still number three on my list.
Feb. 21, 2012
As much as I love the combine, it can also be frustrating. As has become somewhat standard, many high profile players have decided that they aren’t going to perform on-field drills. The line of thinking is that if you are nearly assured of being selected very highly due to your college resume’ the likelihood is that you’ll only damage your stock with any sub-par performance.
As of this writing, we have a number of new developments:
Andrew Luck will likely be doing very little come the weekend. He’s already off the charts in terms of value and can’t be much, if any, higher. Personally, I want to see him throw and perform and I’m disappointed. But his decision comes as no suprise.
RGIII has not yet decided if he will throw during drills. Read this as he has decided but is not saying. Like Luck, I’d really like to see him perform and prove to us that he deserves to be considered for the first pick rather than just saying it.
Justin Blackmon looks like he’s not going to run. Very disappointing but I suppose not that surprising and a good strategic move. His stock would surely drop with a poor forty and he’s certain to be a top five pick as is.
Feb. 20, 2012
As I mentioned in yesterday’s entry, I do like this year’s rookie field. But it’s not even so much about the talent of the draft as it is the possibilities and potential outside of the first round.
Every year, it’s the same routine. Higher profile players get drafted into poor situations and their respective draft value falls as a result. At the same time, lower profile players are drafted into seemingly better situations and see their respective fantasy prospects rise. 2012 has enough talent depth such that there will exist a sweet spot in the early second round that will provide some intriguing opportunities. I have observed that in most years, this point exists at/near pick #14. After this point is where your work really begins. If you’re lucky, one of the aforementioned good players in a poor situation will fall to you allowing for a perfectly executed BPA (Best Player Available) strategy. You can count on at least a few reach picks before this point that will push value down the board.
As the draft draws out, many simply employ a hope-for-the-best approach by selecting what they have derived as the next best player. Many others simply resort to sticking to their own team needs and drafting within the position of need in the same fashion. For myself, when I get to this point, I much prefer to move to another part of my list. This list is comprised of those players which most would consider a reach at that point but to me, what I consider to be high quality sleeper candidates. These are players that I have identified through multiple resource points to be of high character, underrated abilities but with a very tangible NFL skill-set. I would much rather reach for one of these types rather than the mediocrity that is commonly selected at this point in the draft. While it is a high risk strategy, it can also be a high reward strategy. It’s up to you to identfy the proper time for a selection of this sort and it will differ from year to year based on the talent available.
At this early date and prior to the combine, here are a couple of players that I’m tracking for inclusion upon this list:
Russell Wilson, QB
Small quarterbacks very rarely ever amount to anything in the NFL. For every Doug Flutie and Drew Brees there are two dozen that fail. But there’s always exists the next great small quarterback that excels despite his size. For a smaller quarterback to succeed, he has to have a big arm, pocket presence and the ability to slide to the open window. He has to have the mentality of a bigger quarterback, a big heart, great leadership skills and the ability to play beyond his size. Most of all, he has to be a workhorse in the film room with the cliche’ M.O. of being first to the office and the last out. Russell Wilson is just this sort of player. If he’s three inches taller, he’s the third quarterback off the board; at five inches taller, he may be the first. A nearly 73% completion percentage, 33:4 TD:INT ratio and an unstoppable work ethic elicits a closer look. He’s the type of player I’d love to add later in the second round of a fantasy draft.
Ronnie Hillman, RB
San Diego State.
A little ball of electricity, I’d love to see Hillman add 15 lbs. of lower leg mass and further upper-body definition. I’m eager to see what Hillman’s official measurables are this week and am hoping that he can run in the 4.45 range for his 40. He was ultra productive for the Aztecs with 36 rushing TDs in his two years and he’s more than capable in the passing game as well. He excels at getting small through the hole, gets up field quickly and has a decent leg drive considering his size. With excellent lateral agility and a nice jump cut, should Hillman be able to add weight to his frame he could surprise at the next level if the stars align. No doubt he’s trying to follow in the footstepts of another great Aztec running back by the name of Marshall Faulk.
Brian Quick, WR
I’ve been excited about Brian Quick for some time but haven’t been able to move him into my top ten until I see more of him during the combine. Even then, I have often wondered if I am having a hard time highlighting him within my top ten because I want to keep him as my own secret. He’s been getting good press of late and he’s certainly not unknown by many experts. He’s big, relative fast and I very much like his ball skills. He’ll need to learn to be more physical at the line of scrimmage and develop a more diverse route tree, but he’s got the skills to be a difference maker at the next level. I would have liked to see what Quick could do against better competition in college but isn’t that what makes for a great sleeper? If he can run anywhere close to his projected 4.50 forty time, he’ll improve his draft stock immensely and could rise nicely during the draft.
Feb 19, 2012
Here we are again! The 2012 NFL combine gets under way on February 22nd and ends on February 28th.
The 2012 field of rookies has me somewhat excited. In fact, I like this particular group quite a bit more than many previous years. It’s not so much that there is elite talent at every position but, instead, the depth of the field is intriguing. Specifically, if you hold a pick outside of the 1.05, you’re going to have a chance at a nice player. I could make a very strong case for trading out of a 1.04 or 1.05 selection, depending on your team needs, in order to trade back and add additional selections.
While my tape review is yielding minor movement within my tiers (to be updated later), there isn’t likely to be any changes that are so significant such as to drastically change what I would consider to be the first round of rookie selections. Faster or slower forty times at the receiver position could be material for certain players but my tape review has found most second and third tier players to be stable almost irregardless of a standard forty time. A forty time that surprises, whether high or low, could be meaningful and I will be sure to update you here to any such event.
Justin Blackmon remains clearly at the top of the receiver position. Mark my words here – there will be some very good fantasy receivers taken in the second round of fantasy drafts this year. Determining who they will be prior to them achieving that status is going to be nearly impossible at this point. The top receivers are good, no doubt, but that third tier is big, rangy and has talent.
At the running back position, it’s as clear that Trent Richardson will be the first back off the board, in the NFL and in fantasy. It seems that every scout and draft expert is hailing Richardson as the next elite talent since Adrian Peterson in 2007. Let’s just say that I don’t see it that way. Richardson has a high degree of talent and ability, but I don’t believe his talent is “elite.” What I do like about Richardson is that in addition to being a high character player, he also performs very well in most all pertinent areas now, prior to being drafted. There remains little doubt that Richardson will hit the ground running. I’m on record now as saying I do not believe he represents an elite talent that can achieve despite poor play around him as some others have.
Beyond Richardson is a nice group of backs that are not without talent and there doesn’t seem to be a true consensus for the back to follow him off the board. Whether you are a fan of Lamar Miller, David Wilson or the fast-rising Doug Martin, there’s enough to be excited about. Pre-combine, put me down as a fan of Miami’s Lamar Miller. There are numerous questions that remain but he’s got a great foundation and projects very well at the next level. I’m very interested in the speed of Miller and Boise State’s Doug Martin. Wilson has the speed necessary but I want to see how he looks out of pads as I have questions about his lower body strength and NFL build. There is no questioning his speed dynamic however.
What a great year for the quarterbacks. Not that it’s an extremely deep year, but a VERY talented year at the top. If you need a quarterback, trade into the 1.04 for a shot at RGIII. It’s likely that Andrew Luck, Richardson and Oklahoma State’s Justin Blackmon will be taken in some combination of one through three, leaving RGIII at 1.04. While Luck is as good as they come out of college, RGIII has what it takes to be an incredible fantasy quarterback from day one, perhaps even more so than Stanford’s Luck. Ryan Tannehill is rising on draft lists, but he’s no better than a late first round selection in my book. He represents a solid prospect but not enough to overly excite me.
Here are a few questions that I’m specifically trying to answer this week:
1. What will RGIII’s official height be?
Rumor is that he will measure in at closer to 6′ than his listed 6020. Should that occur, some momentum will be lost but not enough to significantly affect his draft stock. He’ll be selected no later than 1.04 and it’s quite likely that he’ll be taken at 1.02 via trade.
2. How fast is Trent Richardson?
The only question in my mind for Richardson is if he can run a forty in the 4.4s. It doesn’t have to be be a low 4.40, but I’d like to see 4.50 or better at his current weight. Either way, his status as the first back off the board is not in jeopardy. If he can run faster than a 4.45, I’ll upgrade him a bit on my own sheet.
3. What will Justin Blackmon’s timed forty be?
Blackmon is a nice player with rare toughness and a very high field IQ, but his speed is questionable. I have concerns that he could be in the 4.60 range. If that is confirmed, his stock will likely be affected.
4. Will Kendall Wright display the expected speed and show good hands under pressure?
Wright is a great talent but inconsistent hands have dogged him.. I’d like to see him snatch the ball well when the lights and pressure are on and run a fast forty.
5. What does David Wilson’s frame look like out of pads?
I’m a big believer in the eyeball test for running backs, even more so if they perform well after the test. Wilson had major fumbling problems in college and I expect he’ll carry that into the NFL. I’m looking for a thicker base and adequate bulk up top that will tell me if he can take the pounding at the next level.
6. Will Luke Kuechly measure in north of 6’0″ and at/greater than his listed 235 pounds?
This year’s top linebacker looks smallish to me.
7. How fast is Michael Floyd?
Floyd can cement himself on my board as the second best receiver in the 2012 class with a solid forty. I’ll even go as far as to say that if Blackmon can’t run faster than a 4.60, Floyd could overtake him on my board. I’ve been impressed with Floyd’s game on tape.
8. Much like Floyd above, how fast is Alshon Jeffery?
I’m just not a fan and he’s dropping on my list. There have been a lot of excuses for his lack of production but he’s just not physical and doesn’t appear overly dynamic in his routes or pre-catch. He has an amazing catch radius but he’ll need more than that to be a fantasy star.
9. Can LaMichael James’ measurements hold his listed 5’9″ height and 185 pounds?
There’s no doubting James’ skill set collegiately, but there’s plenty of doubting his skill set in the NFL. He’s not built to take the punishment of the NFL game. If he can measure in closer to 195 pounds, he’s got a chance to upgrade his stock significantly. Highly doubtful that he can but James has a great heart and there’s no doubt in my mind that he’s been working hard to address his size concerns.
10. How does San Diego State’s Ryan Lindley perform overall?
I have to admit, I really like what I see out of Lindley. He has an amazing arm, a good head on his shoulders and a lot of upside. He needs to significantly increase his passing “touch” and footwork, but he’s going to be a great late round sleeper at the position
11. What will be the measurements and speed of both Bernard Pierce and Isaiah Pead?
Both are interesting second round fantasy selections that could help themselves by displaying good size and running fast forties.
That should do it for now. I’m traveling this next week but I’ll have an update for your as this year’s combine gets underway. If you have any questions, feel free to comment!