Saturday, February 28, 2009

Combine Review

Possible 3-4 OLB's: Brian Orakpo and Everette Brown cemented themselves in the top half of the first round, Connor Barwin may have pushed himself into the first, Clay Matthews ran very well, and although Aaron Maybin ran an average 40 time, he put up some solid numbers in other drills.

Lydon Murtha, OT/Nebraska: He was on top of the Offensive Linemen group in virtually every category in Indy, running the best official 40 time by .14 seconds and moving like a TE in drills. After his performance in the East/West Shrine Game, this could boost his stock into that first 3 round conversation.

Sherrod Martin, CB/Troy: In a very disappointing day for CB's overall, Sherrod Martin definitely impressed me the most in ball drills, was very fluid flipping his hips and ran some of the best times in quickness drills. If he checked out physically (he's had a ton of injury problems), he could be a steal for someone. 

Jared Cook, TE/South Carolina: He had freakish numbers, from his 40 time (4.5) to his vertical (41") and arm length (35 3/4"). Cook could be the 2nd tight end taken after his performance here.

Non-FBS Prospects: D-III Jason Boltus set a QB record with 26 reps of 225 lbs, Lardarius Webb and Johnny Knox ran some great 40 times, and Javarris Williams showed up in great shape and posted some of the best RB numbers across the board. Some other small school guys that boosted their stock were OT Joel Bell, DT Chris Baker, and DE/LB Lawrence Sidbury.

I don't like to focus on the negatives, so I'll just name two groups of players that disappointed overall:

Linebacker/Safety "tweeners": Kevin Ellison, Kevin Akins, and Nic Harris all ran around 4.8. I do believe Harris will be a solid LB in the NFL and Ellison could maybe make it on special teams, but they didn't do anything to help themselves this week.

Cornerbacks: The 40 times were terrible overall, with only 2 players (Lardarius Webb and Vontae Davis) breaking 4.50 and none getting into the 4.3's. The excuse of slow turf won't work either, as safeties ran relatively well and WR's ran excellent times (4 in the 4.3's and many more in the 4.4's). The whole group performed pretty poorly in ball drills and Malcolm Jenkins, thought to be the consensus #1 CB, may have ran himself into being a FS with a time in the mid-4.5's.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Player Interview: Ben Owens

Ben Owens is a productive, athletic, and versatile linebacker from Arkansas State. He was a highly sought after recruit coming out of high school as a threat on both sides of the ball (he also played RB). He could be a high riser as draft day gets closer, and expects to really impress on his pro day on March 31st.

Ben Owens' Career Highlights:
6th-best recruit in Arkansas by SuperPrep ('05)
Special Teams Standout ('05)
34 tackles; 2 sacks; 1 interception as reserve MLB ('06)
1st Career interception vs. Auburn ('06)
96 tackles; 3 TFL ('07)
Honorable Mention All-Sun Belt Conference ('07)
Named to Nagurski & Butkus Award Watch Lists ('08)
Bronko Nagurski National Defensive Player of the Week ('08)
-vs. Texas A&M, 7 tackles; 1 sack; 1 int; 1 fr
87 tackles; 5 TFL; 2 sacks; 2 interceptions ('08)
2nd Team All-Sun Belt Conference ('08)

"I have tremendous upside and a great attitude"
-Ben Owens

JP: What is your current height/weight, and 40 time?

Owens: 6'2" 240, 4.5.

JP: How are you getting physically prepared for the draft?

Owens: I'm training at the All Star Sports facility in Deland, Florida. There were many players here from different parts of the south and the east coast. Some of the schools were: Miami, Florida State, Florida, UCF, UAB, Georgia, Colorado, Lehigh, Boston College, UMass, Hampton, LSU, Iowa State, Concordia, Iona, Delaware State. I'm working on my strength, my acceleration and speed, and my hip flexion. Those are some of the areas I have focused on.

JP: Who is the best RB you've ever played against?

Owens: When we played Texas in 2007, Jamaal Charles.

JP: Are there any players in the NFL you model your game after, or would compare yourself to?

Owens: Patrick Willis, his game is built around his speed and athleticism. He uses those attributes to get him to the ball quicker.

JP: What do you feel are your strengths as a player?

Owens: My intelligence, my speed and athletic ability, my versatility, my willingness to learn, and my attitude.

JP: What are some areas you think you could improve in your game?

Owens: Being more physical ALL the time, playing more consistent.

JP: What kind of experience do you have on special teams, and how do you think you could help a team in that role?

Owens: I have 4 years of experience on special teams. I started on them ever since I was a true freshman. The last two seasons I started on Punt and Kickoff. I love to play them.

JP: What is the greatest moment of your athletic career?

Owens: Winning the conference title. Coming back in the second half from 22 point deficit to beat Memphis, our rival.

JP: Why should a team take you on April 25th/26th?

Owens: Because I'm a hard worker. I take care of my business on and off the field. I feel I have tremendous upside and a great attitude. Also, I learn quickly and I love getting better.

JP: Thanks for your time

Player Interview: Antonio Appleby

Antonio Appleby is a big inside linebacker that has a nose for the ball. Part of the reason he's so appealing to NFL teams right now is the growing popularity of the 3-4 defense. He was a starting ILB for 3 years at Virginia. With him, you get a big, run stuffing ILB who also has enough speed to possibly play on the outside. I listed him as a 4-star performer in this year's Texas vs. the Nation Game and he had a key fumble recovery playing MLB in a 4-3. I expect him to be taken on the 2nd day of the draft. Talking to him you really get the feeling he's an intelligent guy who will do everything he can to reach his great potential.

"I’m a player but I know I stand for more than that"
-Antonio Appleby

Some of his career highlights:
6th-Best recruit in VA by SuperPrep & Scout ('05)
2 starts, led true freshmen in tackles ('05)
10 tackles in Music City Bowl ('05)
Started all 12 games at ILB ('06)
Second on team with 68 tackles ('06)
Started all 13 games at ILB ('07)
60 tackles, 6 TFL, 2 sacks ('07)
Started 11/12 games at ILB ('08)
Career high 72 tackles, 7.5 TFL ('08)

JP: What is your current height/weight?

AA: I’m 6’3” and 245. I should bench in the 20’s.

JP: How are you getting physically prepared for the draft?

AA: Right now I’m training in Orlando with Tom Shaw at the Wide World of Sports, just doing speed and conditioning drills.

JP: Are there any players in the NFL you would compare yourself to, or model your game after?

AA: I don’t really model my game after anyone. The person I would relate most to would be James Farrior of the Steelers. We play the same position and in the same defense. I see a lot of my game correlating to how he plays.

JP: What do you feel are your strengths as a player?

AA: Running the defense, communicating, and getting everybody on the same page. Stopping the run, doing what needs to be done as a Middle Linebacker.

JP: What area of your game do you think could use the most improvement?

AA: I’m working on just making more plays in the passing game, working on my drops, man to man coverage, anything correlating to the passing game.

JP: Would you feel comfortable as an MLB in a 4-3 defense, or would you rather stay as an ILB in a 3-4?

AA: With me I really feel comfortable in either defense. I got a little bit of experience with that at the Texas vs. Nation game in El Paso in January. I’m basically versed in the 3-4 but I feel like I could probably play MLB or WLB in a 4-3, football is football.

JP: Who is the best RB you’ve ever gone against?

AA: I get asked that question a lot, and it’s kind of hard for me to say because I’ve faced so many great running backs. If I had to pick an overall best player I’ve played against it would be Calvin Johnson. He was super gifted, made incredible plays and he was a gamer.

JP: Who are some of your teammates that you think have a shot of playing at the next level?

AA: This year we have a long list of guys. Eugene Monroe, Clint Sintim, Kevin Ogletree, John Phillips, Cedric Peerman. Athletically Chris Cook, hopefully Jameel Sewell will get a chance, Will Barker. There’s a long list and we have a pretty good amount of players.

JP: What is the greatest moment of your athletic career?

AA: My freshman year we played Florida St. We beat them and they were ranked 3 or 4 in the nation. It was a great experience I’ll never forget. The power went out for a little while; it was just a freak game.

JP: What’s your favorite NFL team?

AA: I don’t really have a favorite NFL team; I just like watching great defenses. The Ravens, the Steelers, Titans, just watching great defenses take over a quarter of a game and just dominate. I’m really more of a fan of great defenses that just dominate.

JP: What do you like to do in your free time?

AA: We as football players work so hard in my free time, I just kick back and relax, watch TV, do a little reading, video games, anything to get my mind off the grind.

JP: Why should a team take you on April 25th/26th?

AA: I feel as though I bring a certain level of professionalism to any organization that picks me up. I’m a player but I know I stand for more than that. I represent my family, the organization, the city, and myself. They know they have a man that takes his job seriously, and a person who is not looked upon as just a football player, I’m looked at as a role model and a leader in the community. It’s more than just football.

JP: Thanks for your time.

AA: Thank you

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Pre-Combine Rankings: DB's

1. Malcolm Jenkins (S), Ohio St
2. D.J. Moore*, Vanderbilt
3. Vontae Davis*, Illinois
4. Alphonso Smith, Wake Forest
5. Sean Smith* (S), Utah
6. Macho Harris (S), Virginia Tech
7. Jairus Byrd*, Oregon
8. Keenan Lewis, Oregon St
9. Darius Butler, Connecticut
10. Cary Harris, USC

Best of the Rest (Loosely Ranked)
Mike Mickens, Cincinnati
Asher Allen*, Georgia
Coye Francies, San Jose St
Bradley Fletcher, Iowa
Sherrod Martin (S), Troy
Captain Munnerlyn*, South Carolina
Kevin Barnes, Maryland
Domonique Johnson, Jackson St (FCS)
Ryan Mouton, Hawaii
Jerraud Powers*, Auburn
Chris Owens, San Jose St
Lardarius Webb, Nicholls St (FCS)
Mark Parson, Ohio
Lydell Sargeant, Penn St
Jahi Word-Daniels, Georgia Tech
Morgan Trent, Michigan
D.J. Clark, Idaho St (FCS)
Jamar Love, Arkansas
Joe Burnett, UCF
Ellis Lankster, West Virginia
Don Carey, Norfolk St (FCS)
Londen Fryar, Western Michigan
William Middleton, Furman (FCS)
Donald Washington*, Ohio St
DeAngelo Smith (S), Cincinnati
Wopamo Osaisai, Stanford
DeAngelo Willingham, Tennessee
Tony Carter, Florida St
Brandon Hughes, Oregon St
Jason McCourty, Rutgers
Bruce Johnson, Miami
Gregory Toler, St. Paul's (DII)
Dwain Crawford, Baylor
Jacob Lacey, Oklahoma St
Glover Quin, New Mexico
Armando Murillo, Nebraska
Danny Gorrer, Texas A&M
Jackie Bates, Hampton (FCS)
Allen Langford, Wisconsin
DeAndre Wright, New Mexico
Jeremy Gray, N.C. St 
Marquis Hundley, Arizona
Jameel Dowling, Hawaii
K.J. Gerard (S), Northern Arizona
Michael Ray Garvin (RS), Florida St

Strong Safeties
1. Patrick Chung, Oregon
2. Michael Hamlin, Clemson
3. Otis Wiley, Michigan St
4. Chip Vaughn, Wake Forest
5. Keith Fitzhugh, Mississippi St
6. Kevin Ellison (LB), USC
7. Emanuel Cook*, South Carolina
8. Trimane Goddard, North Carolina
9. Dahna Deleston (LB), Connecticut
10. Stephen Hodge (LB), TCU

Best of the Rest (Loosely Ranked)
Reshard Langford, Vanderbilt
Jamarca Sanford, Ole Miss
Colt Anderson, Montana (FCS)
Al Afalava, Oregon St
Brandon Gathof, Eastern Kentucky (FCS)
Paul Anderson, Boston College
Anthony Reddick, Miami
Michael Mitchell, Ohio
Anthony Scirrotto, Penn St
De'Von Hall (LB), Utah St
Sha'reff Rashad, UCF
C.J. Byrd, Georgia

Free Safeties
1. Louis Delmas, Western Michigan
2. Derek Pegues (CB), Mississippi St
3. William Moore (LB), Missouri
4. Darcel McBath, Texas Tech
5. Lendy Holmes, Oklahoma
6. Curtis Taylor, LSU
7. Rashad Johnson, Alabama
8. Dre'Mail Hardin, Stillman (DII)
9. David Bruton, Notre Dame
10. Courtney Greene, Rutgers

Best of the Rest (Loosely Ranked)
Brandon Underwood (CB), Cincinnati
Steven Coleman, TCU
C.J. Spillman, Marshall
Kevin Patterson, Wake Forest
Troy Nolan, Arizona St
Marcus Haywood, James Madison (FCS)
Chris Clemons, Clemson
Tyrrell Hebert, Toledo
Marcus McClinton, Kentucky
Devin Gregg, Texas A&M
Adekunle Akingba, Buffalo
Javorris Jackson, Savannah St (DII)
Ryan Walters, Colorado
Daniel Charbonnet, Texas Tech
Tom Nelson, Illinois St (FCS)
Kenneth Fontenette, Houston
Corey Boudreaux (LB), San Diego St

Pre-Combine Rankings: Front 7

Defensive Ends
1. Michael Johnson, Georgia Tech
2. Tyson Jackson (3-4 DE), LSU
3. Paul Kruger*, Utah
4. Robert Ayers, Tennessee
5. Lawrence Sidbury (LB), Richmond (FCS)
6. Tim Jamison, Michigan
7. Kyle Moore, USC
8. Brandon Williams*, Texas Tech
9. Zach Potter (3-4 DE), Nebraska
10. Derek Walker, Illinois

Best of the Rest (Loosely Ranked)
Rulon Davis (3-4 DE), California
Phillip Hunt (LB), Houston
Matt Shaughnessy, Wisconsin
David Veikune (LB), Hawaii
Michael Bennett, Texas A&M
Marcus Benard, Jackson St (FCS)
Henry Melton, Texas
Will Davis, Illinois
Pierre Walters, Eastern Illinois (FCS)
Maurice Evans*, Penn St
Ian Campbell, Kansas St
Nick Reed (LB), Oregon
Ronald Talley, Delaware (FCS)
Willie VanDeSteeg, Minnesota
Pannel Egboh (3-4 DE), Stanford
Cyril Obiozor, Texas A&M
Jamaal Westerman, Rutgers
Moton Hopkins, Tulsa
Alex Field (3-4 DE), Virginia
Jarius Winn, Georgia

Defensive Tackles
1. B.J. Raji, Boston College
2. Peria Jerry, Ole Miss
3. Ron Brace (NT), Boston College
4. Fili Moala (3-4 DE), USC
5. Jarron Gilbert (3-4 DE), San Jose St
6. Ziggy Hood, Missouri
7. Sen'Derrick Marks*, Auburn
8. Mitch King (DE), Iowa
9. Alex Magee, Purdue
10. Clinton McDonald (DE), Memphis

Best of the Rest (Loosely Ranked)
Corvey Irvin, Georgia
Everette Pedescleaux (3-4 DE), Northern Iowa (FCS)
Terrance Knighton (NT), Temple
Ricky Jean-Francois* (3-4 DE), LSU
Chris Baker*, Hampton (FCS)
Adrian Grady, Louisville
Darryl Richard, Georgia Tech
Ra'Shon Harris (NT), Oregon
Sammie Lee Hill (NT), Stillman (DII)
Nader Abdallah, Ohio St
Roy Miller, Texas
Khalif Mitchell, ECU
Vance Walker, Georgia Tech
Louis Ellis, Shaw (DII)
Terrance Taylor (NT), Michigan
Demonte' Bolden (3-4 DE), Tennessee
Myron Pryor, Kentucky
Melvin Matthews, Grambling St (FCS)
Dorell Scott, Clemson
Will Johnson, (3-4 DE), Michigan
Terrill Byrd, Cincinnati
John Faletoese, Cal-Davis (FCS)
Marlon Favorite (NT), LSU

Hybrids (3-4 OLB/4-3 DE)
1. Everette Brown*, Florida St
2. Brian Orakpo, Texas
3. Aaron Maybin*, Penn St
4. Connor Barwin, Cincinnati
5. Larry English, Northern Illinois
6. Clay Matthews, USC
7. Cody Brown, Connecticut
8. Victor Butler, Oregon St
9. Julius Williams, Connecticut
10. Jovan Belcher, Maine (FCS)

Best of the Rest (Loosely Ranked)
Kenny Mainor, Troy
Stryker Sulak, Missouri
Orion Martin, Virginia Tech
Ataefiok Etukeren, Georgetown (FCS)
Slade Norris, Oregon St
Brandon Swain, West Texas A&M (FCS)
Sherman Logan, Richmond (FCS)
Daniel Skuta, Grand Valley St (DII)
Dakota Walker, Georgia Southern (FCS)
Greg Peach, Eastern Washington (FCS)

Inside Linebackers
1. Rey Maualuga, USC
2. James Laurinaitis, Ohio St
3. Darry Beckwith, LSU
4. Gerald McRath*, Southern Miss
5. Jasper Brinkley, South Carolina
6. Scott McKillop, Pittsburgh
7. Frantz Joseph, FAU
8. Antonio Appleby, Virginia
9. Josh Mauga, Nevada
10. Jason Phillips, TCU

Best of the Rest (Loosely Ranked)
Dannell Ellerbe, Georgia
Michael Tauiliili, Duke
Worrell Williams, California
Stanley Arnoux, Wake Forest
Anthony Felder (OLB), California
Dave Philistin, Maryland
Derek Nicholson, Florida St
Morris Wooten, Arizona St
Maurice Crum, Notre Dame
Brit Miller, Illinois
Rashad Bobino, Texas
Ben Owens, Arkansas St
Robert Henson, TCU
Purnell Sturdivant, Virginia Tech
Kevin Grant, Akron
Joe Mortensen, Kansas

Outside Linebackers
1. Aaron Curry, Wake Forest
2. Brian Cushing, USC
3. Tyrone McKenzie, USF
4. Marcus Freeman, Ohio St
5. Nic Harris (SS), Oklahoma
6. Clint Sintim (3-4 OLB), Virginia
7. Lee Robinson, Alcorn St (FCS)
8. Kaluka Maiava, USC
9. Jonathan Casillas (SS), Wisconsin
10. Moise Fokou, Maryland

Best of the Rest (Loosely Ranked)
DeAndre Levy, Wisconsin
Jason Williams, Western Illinois (FCS)
Ashlee Palmer, Ole Miss
Mortty Ivy, West Virginia
Johnny Williams, Kentucky
James Holt (SS), Kansas
Zack Follett, California
Anthony Heygood, Purdue
Robert Francois, Boston College
Willie Williams, Union College (NAIA)
Jerome Boyd (SS), Oregon
Solomon Elimimian, Hawaii
Brian Toal, Boston College
Leon Freeman (3-4 OLB), Baylor
Prince Kwateng, Northwestern
K.C. Asiodu (3-4 OLB), Central Oklahoma (DII)
Toddrick Verdell, Florida St
Brad Jones, Colorado
Kevin Malast, Rutgers
Kevin Akins (SS), Boston College
Cody Glenn, Nebraska

Friday, February 20, 2009

Pre-Combine Rankings: OL

Offensive Tackles
1. Michael Oher, Ole Miss: The most talented of all the tackles, I believe he will be a franchise LT.
2. Eugene Monroe, Virginia: Polished, good frame and athleticism, doesn't always play up to his ability.
3. Jason Smith, Baylor: Great athlete, former TE isn't real big and could improve run blocking.
4. Andre Smith*, Alabama: I really believe he'll shift to OG in the NFL, very talented but just doesn't have the length to play OT.
5. Jamon Meredith, South Carolina: Versatile, extremely athletic with a good frame, I'd say he's closer to the top 4 than he is to the next 3.
6. Eben Britton*, Arizona: Big and athletic, should be a solid starter someday.
7. Phil Loadholt, Oklahoma: He could be the next Marcus McNeill, but he could also be a big time bust, huge and strong but plays way too high and struggles with speed rushers.
8. William Beatty, Connecticut: I don't see the first round talent everyone seems to see in him, he holds when he gets beat and doesn't even have great feet for a smaller OT.
9. Sebastian Vollmer, Houston: Sleeper pick, has a ton of potential and is still learning the game. Big with solid strength and athleticism.
10. Augustus Parrish, Kent St: Very good athlete with an explosive punch, relies too much on physical ability than technique and will take some time to develop.

Best of the Rest (Loosely Ranked)
Lydon Murtha, Nebraska
Troy Kropog, Tulane
Jason Watkins, Florida
Xavier Fulton, Illinois
T.J. Lang, Eastern Michigan
Gerald Cadogan, Penn St
Cornelius Lewis, Tennessee St
Fenoki Tupou, Oregon
Ramon Foster, Tennessee
Garrett Reynolds, North Carolina
Joel Bell, Furman (FCS)
Raphael Nguti, Albany (FCS)
Dan Gay IV, Baylor
Ryan McKee, Southern Miss
Colin Brown, Missouri
Robert Brewster, Ball St
Rylan Reed, Texas Tech
Reggie Youngblood, Miami
Jose Valdez, Arkansas
Kyle Link, McNeese St (FCS)
Phil Trautwein, Florida
Andrew Gardner, Georgia Tech
Andrew Hartline, Central Michigan
Dane Randolph, Maryland
Nick Hennessey, Colgate (FCS)
Stanley Bryant, ECU
Tavita Thompson, Oregon St
Sean Sester, Purdue
Michael Brown, Alabama A&M (FCS)
Jeremy Ashcraft, Arkansas Tech (DII)
Ben Coblyn, Massachusetts (FCS)
Eric Vanden Heuvel, Wisconsin
Alex Boone, Ohio St

Offensive Guards
1. Duke Robinson, Oklahoma: All around guard, solid in pass pro and run blocking, should be able to contribute pretty soon.
2. Tyronne Greene, Auburn: Very good Senior Bowl showing, former DT, plays aggressive and has natural strength.
3. Herman Johnson, LSU: Just a huge guy. Boom or bust type pick, needs to lose some weight and isn't quick but will not lose once he locks on.
4. Kraig Urbik, Wisconsin
5. Louis Vasquez, Texas Tech: Big, strong, and aggressive, doesn't have great feet but is athletic enough to stay in front of most DT's.
6. Jaimie Thomas, Maryland: Good feet for his size, stout and doesn't get pushed back easily.
7. Andy Levitre, Oregon St: He doesn't really impress me but I have to give him some credit for versatility and he had a good regular season.
8. Trevor Canfield, Cincinnati: Doesn't do anything great but does it all pretty well.
9. Roger Allen III, Missouri Western (DII): Very big, needs to improve on the 2nd level but has the tools to be a starter someday.
10. Ray Feinga, BYU: Big and strong with underrated athleticism, needs to play with better technique and leverage.

Best of the Rest (Loosely Ranked)
C.J. Davis, Pittsburgh
Greg Isdaner*, West Virginia
Cedric Dockery, Texas
Matt Slauson, Nebraska
Andy Kemp, Wisconsin
Ryan Durand, Syracuse
Rich Ohrnberger, Penn St
Lance Louis, San Diego St
Paul Fanaika, Arizona St
Cliff Ramsey, Boston College
Steve Rehring, Ohio St
Anthony Parker, Tennessee
Noris Malele, California
Curtis Crouch, N.C. St
George Bussey, Louisville
Tim Henderson, Northwestern St (FCS)
Brandon Walker, Oklahoma
Nick Marshman, Virginia Tech
Keegan Kennedy, Northwestern
Mike Butler, Iona (FCS)
Maurice Miller, Ole Miss
Jordan White-Frisbee, Washington
Tom Pestock, NW Missouri St (DII)
Louis West, Henderson St (DII)
Travis Bright, BYU

1. Antoine Caldwell, Alabama: The best true center in the draft that can play in any scheme. Good in every area, will start someday but doesn't have big time potential.
2. Alex Mack, California: Will be a perfect fit in some schemes, very athletic and smart but also undersized.
3. Max Unger, Oregon: Mr. Versatility, can play all 5 positions on the OL but isn't great at any of them.
4. Eric Wood, Louisville: He isn't real athletic or strong but gets the job done most of the time.
5. Jonathan Luigs, Arkansas: Very good reaching the 2nd level, gives too much ground at the point of attack.
6. Edwin Williams, Maryland: Not the quickest center around, but is pretty strong and technically sound.
7. Cecil Newton, Tennessee St (FCS): Could be a steal for a ZBS team, smallish but very athletic and hasn't reached his full potential yet.
8. A.Q. Shipley, Penn St: He was a great college player but he might lack the physical tools to be effective in the NFL.
9. Blake Schlueter, TCU: Very athletic and smart, hustle player that is not very strong or big.
10. Robby Felix, UTEP: Good all around center, could fit a number of schemes.

Best of the Rest (Loosely Ranked)
Jon Cooper, Oklahoma
Brett Helms, LSU
Colin Dow, Montana (FCS)
Ryan Shuman, Virginia Tech
Rob Bruggeman, Iowa
Alex Fletcher, Stanford
Dallas Reynolds, BYU
Philip Beliles, Memphis
J.D. Quinn, Montana (FCS)
Juan Garcia, Washington

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Pre-Combine Rankings: Skill Positions

1 Mark Sanchez*, USC: Looked like an All-Pro in the Rose Bowl, I think he has the most potential of any QB in this class.
2 Matthew Stafford*, Georgia: I'm not near as big a fan as most of him; great physical tools but makes too many poor decisions.

3 Josh Freeman*, Kansas St: Huge with a great arm, think Daunte Culpepper coming out of UCF.

4 Rhett Bomar, Sam Houston St: Athletic, has all the tools to be a starter, needs to put them together consistently.

5 Nate Davis*, Ball St: Very productive against lesser competition, had a rough end to the season.

6 Hunter Cantwell, Louisville: Great size and arm strength; not real mobile or productive.

7 Todd Boeckman, Ohio St: 1st Team All Big Ten as a Junior; got beat out by the #1 recruit in the nation as a senior.

8 Tom Brandstater, Fresno St: Has prototypical size/arm, doesn't always show it.

9 Cullen Harper, Clemson: Played like a 1st rounder as a Junior, like a UFA as a Senior.

10 Willie Tuitama, Arizona: Had a great career at Arizona, pretty big arm but is inconsistent with it.

Best of the Rest (Loosely Ranked)
Chase Daniel, Missouri
Jason Boltus, Hartwick (DIII)
Chris Pizzotti, Harvard (FCS)
Mike Reilly, Central Washington
Stephen McGee, Texas A&M
David Johnson, Tulsa
Graham Harrell, Texas Tech
Brian Hoyer, Michigan St
Mike Teel, Rutgers
John Parker Wilson, Alabama
Rudy Carpenter, Arizona St
Drew Willy, Buffalo
Bobby Reid, Texas Southern (FCS)
Brian Johnson, Utah
Joe Ganz, Nebraska
Nathan Brown, Central Arkansas
Chase Clement, Rice
Chase Holbrook, New Mexico St

Running Backs
1 Knowshon Moreno*, Georgia: Complete back, average size but great vision and quickness.

2 Shonn Greene*, Iowa: Great vision and feet for a big back, very productive. One year wonder?

3 Chris Wells*, Ohio St: Has had injury problems, but when healthy is the most talented back in this class. Does he have the drive to be great?

4 LeSean McCoy*, Pittsburgh: Dynamic playmaker but may not be a full time starter in the NFL.

5 Donald Brown*, Connecticut: Productive, gets the most out of his ability but doesn't have the same kind of potential that others above him do.

6 Andre Brown, N.C. State: Excellent Senior Bowl showing boosted him to the top of a weak senior RB class; good size/athleticism, not real productive in college.

7 Rashad Jennings, Liberty: Big back that runs like a smaller one, good speed and can break some tackles.
8 Tyrell Sutton, Northwestern: Should be an excellent 3rd down RB in the NFL, runs with deceptive power and is an excellent receiver out of the backfield but lacks size.
9 James Davis, Clemson: Shared time with C.J. Spiller his entire career; has talent but hasn't put it all together yet.
10 Bernard Scott, Abilene Christian: Great burst and acceleration in the open field, can run through arm tackles but needs to get stronger and put on some weight.

Best of the Rest (Loosely Ranked)
Javon Ringer, Michigan St
Gartrell Johnson, Colorado St
Glen Coffee*, Alabama
Jeremiah Johnson, Oregon
Marlon Lucky, Nebraska
Cedric Peerman, Virginia
Mike Goodson*, Texas A&M
P.J. Hill*, Wisconsin
Kory Sheets, Purdue
Devin Moore, Wyoming
Branden Ore, West Liberty St (DII)
Antone Smith, Florida St
Chris Ogbonnaya, Texas
Javarris Williams, Tennessee St
Aaron Brown, TCU
Ian Johnson, Boise St
Josh Vaughan, Richmond
Arian Foster, Tennessee
Curtis Brinkley, Syracuse
Tarrion Adams, Tulsa
Anthony Kimble, Stanford
Rodney Ferguson, New Mexico
Yonus Davis, San Jose St
Walter Mendenhall, Illinois St (FCS)
LaRod Stephens-Howling, Pittsburgh
Kahlil Bell, UCLA

1 Tony Fiammetta, Syracuse: Excellent old school, lead blocking FB.

2 Quinn Johnson, LSU: Huge, punishing runner but isn't very quick.

3 Brannan Southerland, Georgia: Hard nosed traditional FB.

4 Conredge Collins, Pittsburgh: Versatile; excellent receiver out of the back field but lacks size.

5 David Johnson, Arkansas St: Played TE in college; could be a high riser after the combine.

6 Eric Kettani, Navy (Service Commitments): It's a shame he can't attend the combine, is a very good player.

7 Frank Summers, UNLV: Can also play RB, very stout and runs with power.
Travis McCall, Alabama: Looks like an H-Back type; good receiver with solid size.
Cedric Hill, USF: Played mostly TE at USF, very good athlete.
Bill Rentmeester, Wisconsin: Great special teams player, big and tough.

Best of the Rest (Loosely Ranked)
Jason Cook, Ole Miss
Fui Vakapuna, BYU
Asaph Schwapp*, Notre Dame
Brock Bolen, Lousisville
Chris Pressley, Wisconsin
Eddie Williams, Idaho
Will Ta'ufo'ou, California
Mark Hafner, Houston
Zeek Zacharie, Louisiana-Monroe
Jorvorskie Lane, Texas A&M
Rich Belton, Wake Forest
Marcus Mailei, Weber St (FCS)

Tight Ends
1 Brandon Pettigrew, Oklahoma St: Great blocking TE with good size and athleticism; complete player.

2 James Casey*, Rice: Extremely productive; good athlete, receiver, and runner, should be a very good H-Back.

3 Shawn Nelson, Southern Miss: Had a great week of practice at the Senior Bowl, athletic but needs to put on some weight.

4 Jared Cook*, South Carolina: He could jump to #2 after the combine, should run a very good 40. Good receiver but lacks blocking skills.

5 Travis Beckum, Wisconsin: Injured his whole senior season, a playmaker in the passing game when healthy.

6 Cornelius Ingram, Florida: Athletic, good receiver, injured for most of his senior year.

7 Chase Coffman, Missouri: Played in a spread offense, lacks separation speed but is athletic with good hands.
8 Kory Sperry, Colorado St: He looks the part, fluid in the open field and can hold his own as a blocker.
9 Bear Pascoe, Fresno St: Not very athletic but has soft hands and can block well.
10 Cameron Morrah*, California: Good athlete, makes plays in the passing game, should move up as draft day nears.

Best of the Rest (Loosely Ranked)
Davon Drew, ECU
Brian Mandeville, Northeastern (FCS)
Anthony Hill, N.C. State
Ryan Purvis, Boston College
John Phillips, Virginia
Marquez Branson, Central Arkansas (FCS)
Jared Bronson, Central Washington (DII)
Darius Hill, Ball State
Dan Gronkowski, Maryland
Zach Miller, Nebraska-Omaha (DII)
Rob Myers, Utah St
Branden Ledbetter, Western Michigan
Richard Quinn*, North Carolina

Wide Receivers
1 Michael Crabtree*, Texas Tech: He's no Larry Fitzgerald but is pretty similar. Won't run a great 40 but is big, physical and has very strong hands.

2 Jeremy Maclin*, Missouri: Awesome speed, makes plays on offense & special teams.

3 Darrius Heyward-Bey*, Maryland: Track speed and good size, could be a great deep threat.

4 Percy Harvin*, Florida: Playmaker, reminds me of Ted Ginn, not real polished as a WR but could contribute right away in the return game.

5 Hakeem Nicks*, North Carolina: Doesn't have great speed but plays physical and has very good size. Amazing hands, makes some acrobatic catches.

6 Juaquin Iglesias, Oklahoma: Very productive #1 WR in college, will probably be a solid #2 WR on the next level.

7 Kenny Britt*, Rutgers: Not real quick but is big with solid speed and overall athleticism.
8 Brian Robiskie, Ohio St: He isn't a top athlete but is polished and NFL ready in terms of routes and hands.
9 Patrick Turner, USC: Never lived up to his potential in college; very quick routes for a big guy with soft hands. Top end speed is average at best.
10 Derrick Williams, Penn St: He'll get drafted higher than this but doesn't look like much more than a solid slot WR and kick returner to me.

Best of the Rest (Loosely Ranked)
Brandon Gibson, Washington St
Jarrett Dillard, Rice
Deon Butler, Penn St
Louis Murphy, Florida
Ramses Barden, Cal-Poly (FCS)
Mohamed Massaquoi, Georgia
Mike Thomas, Arizona
Austin Collie*, BYU
Brandon Tate, North Carolina
Johnny Knox, Abilene Christian (DII)
Darius Passmore, Marshall
Jamarko Simmons, Western Michigan
Dominique Edison, Stephen F. Austin (FCS)
Mike Wallace, Ole Miss
Quan Cosby, Texas
Brooks Foster, North Carolina
Manuel Johnson, Oklahoma
Sammie Stroughter, Oregon St
Kenny McKinley, South Carolina
Jordan Norwood, Penn St
Brennan Marion, Tulsa
Brian Hartline*, Ohio St
Marko Mitchell, Nevada
Aaron Kelly, Clemson
Greg Orton, Purdue
Dobson Collins, Gardner-Webb (FCS)
Taurus Johnson, USF
Jaison Williams, Oregon
Jason Chery, Louisana-Lafayette
D.J. Boldin, Wake Forest
Tiquan Underwood, Rutgers
Jeremy Childs*, Boise St
Dudley Guice, Northwestern St (FCS)
Demetrius Byrd, LSU
Andy Brodell, Iowa
Greg Carr, Florida St
Quinten Lawrence, McNeese St
Dominick Goodman, Cincinnati
Casey Fitzgerald, North Texas
John Matthews, San Diego (FCS)
Kevin Ogletree*, Virginia
Julius Pruitt, Ouachita Baptist (DII)
John Halman*, Concordia-Selma (NAIA)
Dicky Lyons Jr, Kentucky
Andrew Means*, Indiana
Desmond Tardy, Purdue
Michael Jones, Arizona St
Kole Heckendorf, North Dakota St (FCS)
Nate Swift, Nebraska

Player Interview: Mike Butler

Mike Butler is a versatile, strong interior OL (he can play RG, LG, and C) that is not getting the kind of attention that a guy with his talent should. He's a tough, smart player and an extremely hard worker. He will work out at Hofstra's Pro Day.

Career Highlights:
JuCo standout ('05-'06)
All MAAC (2007)
No sacks allowed (2008)
Held John Faletoese to 0 tackles/0 sacks (2008)
Iona's Kevin Fales Most Valuable Lineman (2008)
East Coast Bowl Nominee (2008)

"I pride myself on trying to win every rep of every play of every game"   
-Mike Butler

JP: What is your current height/weight, 40 time, and 225 bench reps? 

MB: I am 6' 2, 303 lbs. I run a 4.96 forty time. My 225lb bench press rep max is 37 times.

JP: How are you getting physically prepared for your Pro Day?

MB: I have been training at All Star Sports Training down in Paisley Florida. There are about 20 guys here training for the combine and individual pro days. In addition there are also some guys here training that have been playing in the NFL and are currently in the process of hooking on with different teams.

JP: Who is the best DL you've ever faced?

MB: The best Defensive Lineman I have ever faced would have to be John Faletoese from Cal-Davis. He had great speed off the ball and was a very technically sound player.

JP: What NFL player would you compare yourself to?

MB: I would compare myself to Chris Snee from the Giants. I think we are similar in size and the way we play. Hes a great player who always does whatever he has to, to get the job done.

JP: What do you feel are your strengths as a player?

MB: In my opinion my strengths as a player are that I am a strong, aggressive player who is always fighting to win. I pride myself on trying to win every rep of every play of every game. I feel I am a hard nosed player who will do whatever it takes to get the job done and my motor is always running.

JP: What areas in your game do you think you could improve?

MB: Every football player always has room to improve no matter what level they are playing. I feel that an area I could use improvement is, depending more on my technique as a lineman rather then my strength.

JP: Who are some of your teammates that you think have a chance to play at the next level?

MB: A player that i think has a chance of playing professional ball is Wide receiver Tim Mastrino. I think he was one of, if not the best wide receiver in division 1-AA (FCS) football. You can always depend on him to catch the ball and make a play. If I am blocking and I see the pass is thrown to Tim I know I need to get ready to go down field and make a block.

JP: What's your favorite NFL team?

MB: My favorite team in the NFL is the New York Giants. Growing up in my house my father raised us Giant fans.

JP: What do you like to do in your free time?

MB: In my spare time off I really just like spending time with my family and friends.

JP: Do you have any plans after football?

MB: I'm not quite sure what I plan on doing after football yet, I love the game so much and am not trying to look past playing it yet. However I would love to open up some kind of training facility of my own and be some kind of strength coach or trainer, because that is something I have a great interest in.

JP: What are some goals you have set for yourself in the near future?

MB: I am taking this all one step at a time. My first goal I have to conquer is to kill my pro day. After that the pieces will fall in place. I am willing to do whatever it takes to play for an NFL team.

JP: Why should a team take you on April 25th/26th?

MB: Because I am a coachable offensive lineman who will do whatever I have to. I will never half ass anything and will bring my best effort day in and day out.

JP: Thanks for your time, good luck.

MB: Thank you very much for the opportunity!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Player Interview: John Halman

John Halman is a wide receiver from Concordia College, an NAIA school in Selma, Alabama. He lit up the competition last year, and really stepped up his play in big games. In two games against FCS Schools in 2008 (UT-Martin and Texas Southern), John had 6 receptions for 232 yards (38.7 yards per catch) and 3 touchdowns. He is an early entrant into the 2009 NFL Draft, and will be working out at the Troy University Pro Day on March 5th. John Halman is a guy we should definitely keep an eye on in the future. Below are some of his 2008 season highlights:

225+ receiving yards vs. Edward G. Waters College
2 rec; 123 yards; 2 TD vs. Texas Southern
4 rec; 109 yards; 1 TD (83-yards) vs. UT-Martin
47 & 33-yard TD receptions vs. Bethel
900+ receiving yards (10 games)
40+ receptions
Handled kicking duties all season

"I don't compare myself to anybody, I want to be compared as John Halman only"
-John Halman

JP: What is your current height/weight, 40 time, and any other measurables like bench, shuttle, 3 cone, vert, etc?

JH: My current height is 6'2" my weight is 217. 40 time is a 4.44, short shuttle is a 4.1, 3 cone is a 6.9, and 225 reps is 13.

JP: How are you getting physically prepared for the draft?

JH: I am training at All Star Sports Training in Paisley,FL.

JP: What made you decide to enter the draft early?

JH: The main reasons were because of my age and I had a very good season.

JP: Are there any players in the NFL you try to model your game after, and who would you compare yourself to?

JH: I try to model my game after Jerry Rice because I think he was a complete player. I don't compare myself to anybody, I want to be compared as John Halman only.

JP:What do you feel like your strengths are as a player?

JH: My strengths as a player would have to be my size, speed, hands, and just the drive to become a better player.

JP: What areas do you think you need to improve?

JH: I think everyone has room for improvement. I also think that every reciever can improve on blocking, so I would say blocking.

JP: Which one of your teammates do you think has a shot at playing somewhere on the next level? 

My quarterback!! Ken Johnson, In my eyes the best QB in college football hands down. Great athlete! Whatever team gives him a shot is going to get a complete QB.

JP: What kind of experience do you have on special teams, and do you think you could help a team in that role?

JH: Most of my special teams experience would be kicking. Kickoff and field goals mainly. I also did punt attack and kickoff return. I think I could definitely help out a team in all these fields.

JP: What's your favorite NFL team?

JH: The team that selects me is my favorite team. However, I grew up a fan of the Cleveland Browns. My mom and dad are from Ohio, and I have a lot of family in Ohio.

JP: What do you like to do in your free time?

JH: In my free time I love to chill out and be with family and friends.

JP: Are there any other sports you have played?

JH: In high school I played soccer, baseball, and ran track.

JP: Why should a team take you on April 25th/26th?
JH: A team should select me because they will get a player who could play a significant role in making their franchise better. Also, they will have a player who is completely and totally dedicated, getting better, and helping the Team win!

JP: If the NFL for some reason doesn't work out, would you want to play in the CFL or any other professional football leagues?

JH: I wouldn't mind playing in another league at all I just want to play football. The NFL is what I want most though because it is the pinnacle of football.

JP: Thanks for your time, and good luck with everything.

JH: Thank you for the opportunity! What you're doing is a great thing for all athletes.

2008 Highlights (Turn the sound down before you play it, and go to YouTube to watch in High Definition)

Monday, February 16, 2009

Player Interview: Dre'Mail Hardin

I recently had the chance to interview Dre’Mail Hardin, a talented prospect from Stillman College, a Division II school in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. He transferred there from Mississippi State after his freshman season and has had an extremely productive career, notching 16 interceptions in 32 games. Just talking to him you get the feeling he’s going to be something special at the next level.

"I have the goal of trying to be the best to ever play the game"
-Dre'Mail Hardin

Some awards Hardin has won:
First Team All SIAC (2008)

Honorable Mention All-American (2008)
First-Team Preseason All-SIAC (2008)
First-Team All-SIAC (2007)

SIAC Player of the Year Finalist (2007) All-America (2007)

JP: What is your current height/weight/40 time?

DH: My height, weight is 6’ ¾” 206; I ran a 4.6 at my pro day last year, and I recently benched 225 19 or 20 times. I’m going to work out March 8th at the Alabama pro day with Sammie Lee Hill.

JP: How are you getting physically prepared for the draft?

DH: I’m training at Velocity Sports in Memphis, TN with Rob Weatherly. I’m working out with Phillip from Memphis, Rob, he played in the AFL, Jeremy LeSueur out of Michigan, he was a 3rd rounder a couple years back, and a LB from Miami, he’s been out a year.

JP: Are there any players in the NFL you would compare yourself to?

DH: Brian Dawkins. I love the way Ed Reed plays but I play more like Brian Dawkins.

JP: What are your strengths as a player?

DH: Being physical, hitting, tackling, good angles, I like to think of myself as a ballhawk.

JP: What areas do you think you could improve?

DH: Being on an island. Sometimes I played a little corner at Stillman. Right now I’m working on playing 10 yards back, out of the box. In college I did a lot of tackling.

JP: Who is the best WR you’ve ever faced?

DH: It has to be Jacoby Jones, or Chad Jackson, who played at Hoover when I was in high school.

JP: Who are some of your teammates that you think have a shot at playing in the NFL?

DH: Quinn Porter he’s been a TB, he’ll probably be more like a WR or H-Back in the league. Darren Mack, he’s a linebacker. Oliver Wells, a DB, he’s pretty good. He’s coming along. He played as a true freshman last year.

JP: What kind of experience do you have on special teams, and do you think you could help a team in that role?

DH: Definitely, I blocked 6 or 7 kicks last year; I think I played a big role on special teams. I definitely could help a team there and I love playing special teams. A lot of people have a tendency to take those off but I loved those. I played on every special team in college.

JP: What is the greatest moment of your athletic career?

DH: It would probably have to be HS when we beat County High 17-0, it was our archrival and they had Le’Ron McClain. I had some good times at Stillman. I returned a 102-yard interception against Miles College my Junior Year. We played Lane in St. Louis and I had 2 interceptions and double-digit tackles, I returned a blocked FG for 100 yards and at the end of the game I had a game saving interception. High school was probably the best one though because I played both ways, I played WR and TB. I returned a kick for 40 or 50 yards against County High. In college I didn’t play any offense.

JP: What’s your favorite NFL team?

DH: Oakland Raiders, they always had some of my favorite players. I kind of picked that up from my dad when I was little. They had Rod & Charles Woodson. I loved the players. They were the original bad boys, I loved the way they played the game, and they were nasty with it.

JP: What do you like to do in your free time?

DH: I have a little girl now so I love playing with her; I play a lot of poker and house games, play on the Internet sometimes. And I do a lot of bowling; I bowl 3 times a week, and Xbox 360. My tag is Mel18free, because that’s my nickname and my position.

JP: Do you have any plans after football?

DH: Well I’m in the middle of trying to own my own recreation center. I want to own one and maybe run that after football. I want to own a couple apartment complexes but mainly it would be my recreation center for kids.

JP: Why should a team take you on April 25th/26th?

DH: I think my biggest thing is physical ability. I don’t have the goal of making it to the NFL, I have the goal of making it to the Pro Bowl. I have the goal of trying to be the best to ever play the game. My play is going to determine how much I love the game. I’ll be loyal to the team, I love X’s and O’s and studying. It’s also how much of a person I am off the field. I could help in multiple ways. I’m loyal, determined, and a hard worker.

Dre'Mail Hardin's Official Website

2007 Highlights

2008 Highlights