It was defense day at Lucas Oil Field, and the group that is considered by most to be the best position--the linemen--did not disappoint. I had to leave before the final group finished up, so the focus is on earlier in the day.
--Brandon Graham of Michigan showed he has the requisite speed to handle playing OLB if asked. He clocked a 4.69 40 early on, before tweaking a hamstring and sitting out the rest of the day. Graham often gets knocked for his lack of height, but I saw him standing next to TCU?s Jerry Hughes, a very similar player, and Graham?s shoulders were visibly higher and wider than Hughes?. Graham also had better 10 second splits than Hughes, who is universally lauded for his explosiveness. If Graham had a neck he?d be at least an inch and a half taller, and then nobody would question his top 10 draft status. I know the Seahawks, who pick at #6, were paying real close attention.
--Even though his workouts were fairly impressive as expected, today was a great demonstration of why most scouts I know are down on Ole Miss DE Greg Hardy. He stood away from all the other players most of the day, mulling around in his own little world and appearing to try and avoid any sort of interaction with anyone. He couldn?t have looked less interested. Hardy has carried the ?unmotivated? and ?aloof? tags for awhile now, and today proved they are well-earned.
--Lamarr Houston ran extremely well for a big man. Weighing in at 305 pounds, the Texas DT clocked a sub 4.9 40 time and looked very fluid in movement drills for a squat interior lineman. It shows he was a running back in high school. I?ve had mixed opinions on Houston, who at times looks like a strong 1-technique tackle but disappears off game tape for long stretches as well. His showing here lends credence to those who believe he can play 3-4 LDE, a position in high demand this offseason. That would vault him from the 60-75 range to the 30-45 range in draft slotting.
--Another big man who had a very good Monday was Georgia?s Geno Atkins. Often viewed by scouts as a DE in a DT body during the season, he showed up in Indy looking more chiseled and fit. After 34 reps on the bench on Sunday, he blazed at 4.75 in the 40 and moved very fluidly. He is rising up draft boards, particularly those of 3-4 fronts, who see him as a RDE in the Aaron Smith mold.
--One lesser prospect that caught my eye was Arizona State DE Dexter Davis. He?s a tight-skinned, fluid athlete that doesn?t waste motion, which is good because at 6?1? and 244 he will have to play LB in the NFL. Davis clocked the top official 40 time at 4.64. Because of his size Davis will fall to at least the 4th round, but teams could do a lot worse in terms of finding a guy with heart, hustle, and football IQ.
--I was disappointed that Alabama LB Rolando McClain was unable to work out, though to be fair to him he?s probably better off letting his on-field performances do his talking for him. The general consensus here is that McClain is a sure-fire top 15 pick with the chance to go as high as #5 to Kansas City.
--Washington LB Donald Butler notched an impressive 35 reps on the bench on Sunday, but he ran middling times in drills and is undersized for the middle at 6?1? and 244. It?s difficult to project where he falls, because on the field he has made a nice impact and showed well at the Senior Bowl, yet he lacks both size and range. I like his chances and his attitude but he?s a difficult sell in the first two rounds with those measurables. I would point to D?Qwell Jackson of the Browns, who is just 5?11? and has been better than the far more heralded Demeco Ryans, but Butler wasn?t that quick or nasty at UW.
--Missouri LB Sean Weatherspoon backed up his nonstop talk with some impressive workout numbers, rating near the top in just about every drill. As I?ve said before, Spoon isn?t for everyone because of his inability to get off blocks, his incredulity at criticism and his brash persona, but on tape he comes across as a more physical Jonathan Vilma. It?s very hard to see him falling out of the first round.
--Look back to all the preseason mock drafts and you will see the name George Selvie, DE, South Florida in the middle-to-late 1st round in just about every one of them. That seems completely laughable today. He followed up an underwhelming season with an absolutely terrible Combine: 252 pounds of legs and arms, running in the 4.9s and showing little explosive athleticism. He?s clearly not a DE, and he clearly cannot handle the athletic demands of playing OLB. He has the potential to go from preseason 1st rounder to UDFA.
?How many balls did Mardy Gilyard drop yesterday? I love the kid but he just cannot catch the ball. We?re not spending a 3rd round pick on a return specialist, and he can?t help us on offense if he can?t catch.?
?Suh seems comfortable at being so good, but I don?t get that from McCoy. He?s got some nervousness to him, like he?s worried about the process.?
?I need to go back and watch more of Marcus Easley. I like what I saw here...he aced our interview.?
?Look at how skinny Carlos Dunlap?s legs are. They?re long too. We?re gonna cut block him to death and he won?t be able to do sh** about it.?
?I like where Jared Odrick weighed in (304 pounds). He beefed up a bit and it looks like he didn?t lose any quickness at all.?
?Best interview we had all week was Jammie Kirlew.?
?Jarrett Brown sure looks the part, but he?s got a long way to go in terms of football IQ. He can make all the throws but I don?t trust he?ll find the right throw often enough.?
Player Movement talks:
--Lots of chatter about San Diego and Detroit talking about Chargers CB Antonio Cromartie, first reported Sunday by Chargers beat writer Kevin Acee. My Detroit people confirm they have talked but that nothing is imminent. Now does that mean nothing is imminent because no trades can consummate before Friday, or that they have not agreed to compensation? I wish I could answer that one, but the Lions appear unusually tight-lipped on that. The likely asking price is a 5th rounder, of which the Lions happen to have two, but one Lions coach told me he?d rather have ?hungry meat? than Cromartie?s apathetic tackling.
--In yesterday?s report I first-guessed about-to-be-former Jets RB Thomas Jones to Detroit, and apparently I just might be onto something there. The Packers, Texans, and Seahawks are expected to join the bidding fray, though that?s all second-hand reporting on my part. I asked a Bears insider if there was any chance for a return to Chicago for Jones and he nearly spit-taked his coffee. To quote, ?Jerry Angelo wouldn?t bring back Walter Payton in his prime if he?d let him go already. Former Bears stay former Bears, period.?
--Lots of people are speculating Terrell Owens to Baltimore, but from what I heard today that seems highly unrealistic. The market for an aging, declining receiver with his reputation is not nearly what he thinks it is; expect TO to remain unsigned until preseason starts at the earliest.
--Chicago fans and media are frothing at the mouth at getting Antrell Rolle, but two widely respected sources told me today that they both expect Rolle to remain in Arizona. His release was based on an exorbitant salary, not a case of not wanting him anymore--and one of these sources was adamant that Rolle would prefer to remain a Cardinal if the money is equal. Read that as Rolle saying, ?Show me the money if you want me, Jerry Angelo.?
--There is a palpable sense that the Eagles are going to move Donovan McNabb, perhaps for San Francisco?s later 1st round pick. I?ve heard that rumor from too many different people for there to be no fire to that smoke. Don?t read that as me saying a deal is done or imminent (especially the cutter-and-paster at ProFootballTalk!), but that it sure seems like the Eagles are more open to dealing Mc5 than a lot of us anticipated, myself included.
Via Jeff Risdon/RealGM
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