Some of you may have noticed the orb-like objects that are attached to the combine shirts that light up. Some have likened them to the Iron Man “Arc Reactor”, but it’s pictured above. So, what the heck is it?
After doing a little research, I’ve discovered that it is new shirt known as the Under Armour E-39. The shirt includes an electric monitor that includes an accelerometer (you have seen this in smart phones), measures breathing rate, body temperature, heart rate, and may other measurables.
It is marketed as being able to provide athletes, coaches, trainers, and scouts with real time performance measurement as well as valuable medical information to help prevent and/or detect serious health conditions (such as heart ailments).
Here is a short video with some more detail on the new technology:
Julio Jones, the big, physical WR from the University of Alabama entered the NFL combine as one of the top WR prospects but was significantly behind Georgia’s A.J. Green. While it’s unlikely that anything has changed, Jones certain stole the show over the weekend with incredible workouts for NFL scouts.
Not only is Jones physically imposing at 6’3″ and 220 pounds, but set himself apart from any of the other WR prospects in terms of pure athletic ability. Jones ran an impressive 4.39 40 yard dash, an impressive 38.5″ vertical and a combine best 11′ 3″ broad jump. The 40 yard dash was third best for the combine thus far and added another threat for a large bodied WR.
What’s even more impressive than the gaudy numbers is that reports came out yesterday that Jones torched the combine tests with a Fractured Foot!
At this point it is unknown whether Jones will be able to workout again before the draft but most believe that the injury will not affect his draft status.
The Detroit Lions have finally begun to turn the franchise around and recover from the Matt Millen era, but reports that came from the Detroit Free Press today will make that recovery just a little bit harder. The NFL has determined that the Lions violated the league’s anti-tampering rules with the Kansas City Chiefs.
Specifically, this ruling will cost the Lions a 7th round draft pick and they will be forced to trade spots with the Chiefs in the 5th round which will cost them 14 spots in that round. The news is surprising to me as I had seen no previous reports that they were under investigation or that a ruling was imminent.
According to the report, the findings stem from comments made by Lions defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham last February to the Detroit Free Press about pursuing unnamed Chiefs players in free agency. Cunningham also coached for the Chiefs. The Lions are also allegedly guilty of having impermissible contact with safety Jarrad Page and/or his agent.
Cunningham’s comments that landed the team in this situation are as follows:
The Chiefs “keep wanting to dump players. I would like to be there to catch a lot of them, because I know a couple of those guys.”
Head coach Jim Schwartz was understandably upset with the NFL’s ruling and said “I believe firmly in our case, and I think we’ve reached the wrong conclusion in that. We still have some more options that we can pursue in that case.”
When asked if he would appeal the decision he added “That’s one of the options that we’ll consider. Like I said, we probably spoke a little bit too much about that case for something that should be confidential. And I think I’ll just leave it there with that.”
Now I don’t know about you, but Cunningham’s comments seemed awfully benign and certainly don’t warrant tampering charges in my opinion. I can’t speak to the contact the Lions had with Page or other players, but when you compare it to what Pat Riley, Dwyane Wade and the Miami Heat did in their pursuit of LeBron James and Chris Bosh, this is NOTHING!
Could you even imagine what would happen to the Heat if they were subject to the NFL tampering rules? They might even be forced to sell the team if the Lions had to forfeit a draft pick for this innocent of events!
For the Lions, who need all the draft picks they can get to continue to rebuild, this is the last thing they need. Schwartz agreed saying “It means that we have to do well on the five picks that we have. No different than if we had one or we have a dozen. It really doesn’t change.”
Yes, you can’t afford to miss on your picks and you have to have a great overall draft each and every year, but it certainly changes things for the Lions. 7th round pick or not, they need all the help they can get!
As the NFL Combine approaches, there are always a few high profile players who opt not to attend or to only partially participate. For some of the elite players, they feel they can only hurt their draft stock by a bad workout so they decide to let their play and pre-draft hype speak for itself self.
Cam Newton, who held a “media only” workout recently, announced this week that he plans to fully participate in the upcoming combine which is a surprise to many. Many experts believed that the “media only” workout may have been Newton’s opportunity to showcase his talents and that he wouldn’t want to participate in the combine to avoid being potentially exposed in some of his weak areas and to avoid the pervasive interviews about the scandal surrounding Newton at Auburn.
For Newton, the workout he had for the media accomplished what it was meant to accomplish. It generated a great deal of hype and those at some prominent media outlets immediately began to gush over his workout and move him up the mock draft boards. So, with the incredible hype already surrounding him, is it a good idea for Newton to fully participate at the combine?
When asked about his decision to participate, Newton said that he wants “to be transparent” through the whole draft process. He also added:
“I don’t have nothing to hide, and I’m a competitor. I’m going to go out here and do what I’ve been working on this whole time and preparing for this moment right now.”
Cam Newton has been working with a QB coach in San Diego and has received mentoring from Hall of Famer Warren Moon. Newton is already projected to be a top 10 pick, but there are many landmines between now and the draft that could significantly hurt his draft position.
Personally, I think it’s a great idea for Newton to participate in the combine despite some of the dangers. Physically, he’s an imposing individual and I believe that once NFL scouts and executives actually see him in action up close and personal they will struggle to hold back their excitement. Newton is already a more polished passer than Vince Young or Tim Tebow and Sam Bradford helped to dispel the myth that QB’s coming from spread offenses cannot adjust to an NFL scheme.
It is troubling, however, the number of fans and analysts that immediately say that Newton will struggle to pick up an offense and may lack the football IQ due to the system in which he played. No such questions surrounded Tebow or Bradford and so they should not be tagged on Newton. Will it be a long process for Newton to learn to play under center and learn an NFL offense? Of course. But not necessarily any more so than with any other QB prospect in the last 10 years, including Bradford.
Physically, I find it nearly impossible for Newton to have a bad outing. He is just that athletic that I am willing to assume that he will perform well as far as the physical tests. My biggest concern is the interview process. If NFL executives get the feeling that Newton isn’t fully invested in the game of football or that he’s not being completely honest and forthright with them regarding the scandal, it could scare a lot of teams away.
To this point, Newton offered the following:
“That’s nothing I’m worried about. I understand that everybody’s entitled to their own opinion, and I just feel like if I have an opportunity to speak with a person or let a person evaluate me as a person, not something that has been stereotyped, I think their perception about me will change, and I’m willing to take that risk.”
Even despite the massive drama surrounding Newton and Auburn this past season he performed brilliantly each and every week. He said all the right things in all the interviews and even though he refused to answer certain questions in a Mark McGuire type way, he handled the scandal relatively well. He continues to say all the right things, but only he knows the truth about the situation with his father.
I believe he will continue to say the same things and I think participating in the combine will significantly improve his already high draft stock. I think it is a great decision on his part to participate especially given that rival draft prospect Blaine Gabbert has already decided not to throw at the combine later this week.
Let’s just see how high this kid goes…
Now that Super Bowl XLV is behind us, there are only a few NFL related topics to be discussed. Obviously the Super Bowl lawsuit and the increasingly troubling labor dispute are currently on the forefront. But the NFL Draft is what most fans are most interested in at the moment. Heisman Trophy winner and National Champion, Cam Newton held a “media only” workout yesterday in California where he worked out in shorts for various members of the media.
There are couple things that should be taken in consideration when evaluating the workout. The first being, it was for the media only meaning that actual NFL talent evaluators were prohibited from attending. Translation, it was a media event conducted for the purpose of creating hype as we enter the NFL draft season. Secondarily, it was in shorts. Savvy NFL scouts will tell you that one of the biggest mistakes they can make is to get too enamored with a kid based on what he does in shorts. Whether that be at a pro day, at the combine, or at some event like Cam Newton participated in yesterday.
With that being said, the event appears to have been a complete homerun. At least when comparing it to it’s initial purpose. The purpose was to create hype and it succeeded on all accounts. Trent Dilfer who is known as being highly critical of various NFL QB’s was absolutely GUSHING over Cam’s workout and other media outlets have highly praised the workout. What we don’t know however, is how NFL scouts are reacting.
So with his tremendous talents, physical stature, and the ESPN hype machine apparently behind him, just how high can we expect to see Cam Newton selected in the NFL Draft?
Lets look at the things that working for and against Newton to try to determine his likely draft position.
History is working strongly in favor of Cam Newton. NFL executives have a long history of falling in love with measurables and Cam is certainly not lacking in that department. Cam is 6’5, 250 pounds and by all accounts runs at least a legit 4.5 40. He has a big arm and has shown the ability to lead a team to a championship.
Think about it, if NFL executives (albeit it was Al Davis) was so enamored with Jamarcus Russell who showed much lesser attributes than Newton to select him #1 overall, that speaks well for Newton. If Tim Tebow, who was projected to go in the 2nd or 3rd round was taken in the mid first round, that speaks well for Newton.
Alex Smith is another QB will far lesser talent and track record for success who climbed to the top of the draft due to a late run of hype and because of his impressive workouts. Cam Newton is likely a much better athlete and QB than any of these players I just mentioned which leads me to believe that someone will roll the dice and reach a bit for him.
Another thing working in his favor is his mechanics. While not polished, he is certainly more advanced in terms of his throwing motion, dropping back under center, and overall footwork than Tim Tebow or Jamarcus Russell were. Make no mistake about it, he is and will be a project for some team, but he has all the physical tools to not only be successful in the NFL, but to thrive. Just based on his physical tools alone, he is a far better prospect than Sam Bradford and maybe even Matthew Stafford depending on your system.
Team needs could potentially work heavily in his favor in the draft. I could make a case that the Panthers, Bills, Bengals, Cardinals, Browns, 49ers, Titans, Redskins, Vikings, Dolphins, and Jaguars all need a QB. Most mock drafts have him going by at least this point in the draft so unless something changes dramatically, it’s unlikely that he could fall any further.
The composition of the draft will also help him tremendously. What I mean, is with the absence of Andrew Luck, there really isn’t a consensus sure fire franchise QB in the draft. Ryan Mallett and Jake Locker have as many question marks, if not more, and probably a lower ceiling than Newton. For this reason, it’s entirely possible to think that Newton will be the first QB selected and with that being said, his draft position immediately skyrockets.
Even though he’s more polished than some of the recent QB’s selected high in the draft, he is still a significant work in progress. In addition to the footwork required to play in the NFL, the reads are far more complex than he is used to making in the spread offense at Auburn. Now one thing that will mitigate this issue a bit for him is Sam Bradford’s immediate success in transitioning from a spread offense to an NFL offense. I’m not saying that Cam Newton will be able to duplicate this transition, but it is something that NFL scouts will consider and potentially use to justify the gamble.
Obviously Cam has had multiple off the field issues dating back to his time in Gainesville. Some will place the majority of the blame on his father, and it’s just my opinion, but I don’t buy it. Cam knew what was going on if you ask me based upon the information available and his answers and demeanor in interviews. I’m not sure that this will give pause to NFL teams or not, but it is certainly something that has caused players to drop in the past.
Being “more polished than Jamarcus and Tebow” isn’t exactly singing his high praises either. He may be better off than those players at this point in their development, but he is still very weak in terms of footwork under center. The good news for him is that he is further along than most and that can only get better as he works with NFL coaches.
Now this is just a crude breakdown of some of the things working for and against Cam Newton as he approaches the NFL draft and obviously the draft is a very fluid beast. Things change on a dime and who knows what information may or may not come out and how he continues to perform in workouts relative to other players projected to go in the 1st round.
There are numerous teams in the top 10 that could potentially be looking for a QB and many things will factor into the final selections. Obviously any team high in the draft needs a lot of help and the selection of one player isn’t going to change the franchise. But as we approach the draft and if the hype continues to build around Cam Newton, I wouldn’t be surprised at all if someone reached extremely high on him to make sure they don’t miss out.
The top 3 teams are largely projected to take defenders, but they all could use a franchise QB. Cincinnati, if they deal Carson Palmer will be looking for a franchise QB and they are the exact type of team that would roll the dice on Newton at the #4 position. At this point, I’ll be a little surprised if he doesn’t go in the top 8 if not the top 3 or 4. At this point I would think he’ll be the first QB selected and I can’t remember an NFL draft that did not include a QB in the top 3 picks with the exception of the 2000 draft.
Don’t be shocked to see Cam Newton selected in the top 3 and there is a very real possibility that he could go #1 overall to either Carolina or to someone moving up to get him.