Mon, Feb 25, 2013
Initial reaction/thoughts from Reese's Senior Bowl Executive Director Phil Savage, who spent Saturday- Tuesday at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis following all the players competing with a close eye on 'our players' from the 2014 game.
THE WIDE RECEIVERS VS DEFENSIVE BACKS
The pool of wide receiver talent entering the NFL continues to grow while the defensive back pond seems to be drying up in a general sense. If you go back 15-20 years, offenses typically only had two wide receivers on the field, so with limited play-time opportunities, coaches would convince players to go play on defense. Now with 3-4 wide receiver sets prevalent in the college game, play-time is not limited and it's a tougher sell for coaches.
Factor in height and weight for WR and DB positions, here is the raw data: 26 of 48 WRs at the Combine were over 6'0" (46%) while only 18 of 58 DBs were taller than 6'0" (38%). And then there's the speed factor. Half of the college WRs entering the draft this year ran sub 4.50s, while only 33% of the DBs ran that fast.
DBs -- WHO STOOD OUT
In position work, FSU's Terrance Brooks, Washington State's Deone Bucannon and Alabama's Ha Ha Clinton-Dix were the best safeties while Oklahoma State's Justin Gilbert, VaTech's Kyle Fuller, Pierre Desir of Lindenwood and Rice's Phillip Gaines had the best workouts.
STOLE THE SHOW, AGAIN
Pittsburgh DT Aaron Donald, who dominated at the Reese's Senior Bowl, stole the show on Day 3 at the Combine with his 4.85 40 and work in on-field drills. VaTech's Jame's Gayle and Arkansas' Chris Smith, another couple of Senior Bowlers, made statements themselves. Other winners from the DL position: Will Clarke/WVU, Kasim Esebali/BC, Ra'Shede Hageman/Minn., Caraun Reid/Princeton, Mike PennelCS-Pueblo, Marcus Smith/Lousiville, Khyri Thornton/USM and Larry Webster/Bloomburg.
BACK TO THE TAPE
North Carolina's Kareem Martin ran 4.72 in the 40 and jumped 35'5" and 10'4" in drills. Teams will have to go back to the tape to see if it matches up with that type of athleticism.
Virginia Tech's Logan Thomas, Miami's Stephen Morris and South Carolina's Connor Shaw all timed/tested well, each running sub-4.66, however, Blake Bortles of UCF, AJ McCarron of Alabama, Eastern Illinois product Jimmy Garoppolo and Pitt's Tom Savage all threw better, although none ran better than 4.93 in the 40. Bortles has pro size with some stiffness in his upper body, good enough arm, but not a rocket. Garoppolo generates more juice from quick/short release than one would expect and Savage may have the best arm in the draft.