NFL Combine Thoughts From Saturday
USC OT Matt Kalil
USC OT Matt Kalil
Posted Feb 26, 2012

The buzz, scuttlebutt, rumors, and straight dope surrounding Saturday at the NFL combine. Here's what everyone is talking about.

CFN Thoughts   

NFL Combine - Saturday

By Pete Fiutak
Follow Us ... #ColFootballNews
The buzz, scuttlebutt, rumors, and straight dope surrounding Saturday at the NFL combine. Here's what everyone is talking about, along with random thoughts from the first big workout.

 - Robert Griffin is 6-2 3/8 and 223 pounds. It sounds dumb, but yes, RGIII passed the test and is the big winner by doing absolutely nothing.

- Don't laugh, but some teams are going to downgrade Texas A&M quarterback Ryan Tannehill because of his 9" hands. Cold weather teams want a quarterback with a meathook to be able to grip the ball.

- Tannehill's fourth quarter issues are a bigger deal than his hand size.

- In case you were wondering, RGIII's hand measured 9 5/8 and Andrew Luck's are 10 5/8.

- If you're going to measure your hand, and you are going to measure your hand, do it in private.

- But don't, under any circumstances, take the ruler into the bathroom with you.

- Take my word for it. Even though you'll have a perfectly legitimate explanation ... just don't.

- Any conversation about size in any way while watching the NFL combine with someone who doesn't know about or understand the exercise leads down a bad path.

- Watching the NFL combine with someone who's attracted to men is like someone looking through a Boston Proper catalog with me.

- I get why there's a bias against quarterbacks who aren't six-feet tall. However, I don't understand why Arizona State quarterback Brock Osweiler being close to 6-8 matters any more than it would if he was 6-5.

- I have no idea why anyone cares that Alabama RB Trent Richardson is only 5-9. With his strength, bulk, and body type, I would think being shorter than expected would be a plus.

- Word is that there's no real issue with the knee that kept Richardson from doing the full workout.

- It now appears that these are going to be the four biggest game-changing wrench-throwers in the top 15 in late April: Iowa OT Riley Reiff, North Alabama CB Janoris Jenkins, Richardson, and Tannehill. Reiff, because he's a tackle, will probably go in the top ten on pure value for the position, but he's probably around the 20th best prospect. Richardson is a top five prospect, but he'll slide because running backs have become as necessary as a Star Jones feud. Tannehill could be this year's Christian Ponder panic pick, and Jenkins is the ultimate boom-or-bust prospect with top ten talent and third round character concerns.

- This might have been the most athletic group of offensive linemen in a long, long time. The body types and roles have been changing over the past few years, and this crop appears to be the next step forward.

- The tight ends overall didn't really blow away the numbers, but they looked the part as pass catchers. This is yet another athletic class.

- Every single tight end in this draft should give some part of their paychecks to Bill Belichick for making it a glamour position.

- Missouri's Michael Egnew made some money, even though he was shockingly mediocre in the receiving drills. This wasn't a blazing group of tight ends, and for his 6-5, 252-pound size and with his game tape, the 4.53 40 and jump-out-of-Indy 36" vertical and 131" broad jump proved he has the raw tools to go along with the film.

- Louisiana-Lafayette's Ladarius Green's 4.47 was really, really strong, but the 16 reps and 238-pound weigh-in confirmed every scouting report. He'll be a pass catcher, and possibly a dynamic one who fits the Jimmy Graham mold, but he can't be used as a blocker in any way.

- The combine numbers aren't everything, but UCLA's Cody Harkey can't run a 5-plus 40 and come up with just 13 reps if he's going to make money as a do-it-all No. 2 tight end. However, he was great when he had to catch the ball.

- Speaking of numbers, Wisconsin center Peter Konz's bench was a big problem and it had nothing to do with having long arms. He has a 33" wingspan, and Michigan's David Molk checked in at 32". Molk ripped off 41 reps, and Konz came up with a weak 18.

- Cordy Glenn, your table is ready. There's no way, no how a 6-5, 345 pound human being should be able to run a 4.96 in the 40. I know, I know, I know, a straight-line 40 for an offensive lineman means nothing in the practical world, but for a guy who's supposed to be a lock to move to guard, he showed the raw speed to get a long look at staying outside.

- However, he wasn't quite as quick or as smooth in the short drills. He didn't move all that well and then showed why his money will be made inside.

- The 31 reps on the bench for a long-armed guy weren't bad either.

- If USC's Matt Kalil is the prototype at left tackle, Iowa's Riley Reiff might not be far off. He'll probably end up starting out his career on the right side, but he looked the part of a franchise-making left tackle and is the clear second lineman off the board.

- The Iowa O linemen can move. Adam Gettis might not be massive at 293 pounds, but he's really, really quick.

- Kalil appears to be ready right out of the box. He's an instant need-filler.

- Just under 6-7, a good 306 pounds, a 4.96 40, 30 reps on the bench, and phenomenal quickness around the cone and shuttle drills. If Kalil didn't solidify his place at the two, Minnesota will be happy to take him at the three.

- I'll buy Justin Blackmon not running. He's not a blazer, and he can't afford to run if he has any hamstring issues whatsoever. But there's no reason for Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin to not throw. They're elite quarterbacks and they can't throw a simple out pattern with no rush and no defense? Combine quarterback drills are light and breezy enough that there's no excuse not to throw. None.

- Every year scouts try to make excuses for a player and overlook warning signs that would normally bury most prospects. This year that guy is Blackmon. There's no questioning his drive, tape, or his hands, and he obviously has the résumé, but he's not showing off the raw tools to be a No. 2 overall pick. He's not quite 6-1, came in at relatively light - but cut - 207 pounds, and put up an okay 14 reps on the bench. Considering his biggest positives are supposed to be his strength and physical ability, he hasn't stood out so far – not running the 40 didn't help. That's not to say he can't play, and that's not to say he can't be a great pro, but purely as a prospect he doesn't appear to have the Larry Fitzgerald, Calvin Johnson, Andre Johnson physical ability worthy of going in the top ten. Hate him at the two, love him at around the 15.

- And yes, Charles Rogers is still the surest-thing wide receiver prospect I've ever seen. Raw tools don't mean everything.

- Oklahoma WR Ryan Broyles tore off 21 reps on the bench. He's a smallish 5-10 and 192 pounds, but he might have bought himself a round with his raw strength. Now it's all about the knee.

- Wait for it … wait for it … wait for it …

- Yeah, yeah, yeah, you're not supposed to take a guard in the top ten, but why wouldn't a team take a almost-certain sure-thing ten-year starter for the O line if he really is that good a prospect? David DeCastro was already established as the No. 1 guard based on what he did at Stanford, and then he ripped off 34 reps on the bench – amazing for a long-armed blocker – and moved like a tight end in the agility drills.

- Wait for it … wait for it … wait for it …

- Everyone knows Georgia tight end Orson Charles is a terrific receiver prospect and can move. The 35 reps on the bench might have moved him ahead of Stanford's Coby Fleener and Clemson's Dwayne Allen.

- LSU's Deangelo Peterson might turn out to be the best of the lost. Watch what he and receiver Rueben Randle do once they start playing in a pro offense.

- Wait for it … wait for it … wait for it … aaaaaaaand … Wisconsin tackle Josh Oglesby just finished his 40.

- It's a shame Oglesby - arguably the most talented tackle prospect ever recruited by the Badgers - had so many knee issues. Considering what the program does with offensive lineman, he seemed like a no-brainer first rounder coming out of high school. Even so, he could have a nice career as a right tackle.

- South Carolina WR Alshon Jeffery weighing it at 216 pounds was an eye-opener. He appears to have been working his tail off – almost literally – cutting down his size from a bit-too-puffy 235. He came to Indy thin, and now he needs to rock up a bit to be a cut 225.

- Rock up ... I live for dopey scouting terms. Football people are great because you know exactly what you're going to get.

- The three words no one in football will discuss, but are all thinking about deep down in places they don't talk about at parties: chronic traumatic encephalopathy.

- Two more words: Dave Duerson.

- And that's the sad truth about what's supposed to be a fun process for these elite athletes.  Somewhere, as we speak, Christopher Nowinski is waiting for their brains.

- Someone this weekend is going to have an awful workout and his football career will effectively be over.

- And he will live an extra 25 years because of it.

- The No. 2 thing football people don't like to talk about: anything other than football.

- Check that. The No. 2 thing football people don't like to talk about: comparing the NFL's drug testing policies to whatever loophole Ryan Braun just slipped through.

- Enough of the linemen in spandex. Bring on Sunday. Bring on the speedsters in the 40.