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.
Every year someone goes crazy at the combine and comes away with an incredible performance. While not all of the drills are directly correlated to success on the field, perhaps one of the more appropriate tests for a defensive tackle is the bench press. For a measure of pure strength, it is at least partially representative of a player’s ability.
Certainly there is much more that goes into making a great defensive tackle in the NFL, but every elite NFL tackle possesses great strength. Today, Oregon St. DT Stephen Paea made history on the bench press at the NFL Combine with an astonishing 49 reps. The young man came very close to knocking out an even 50 and he broke the record by an amazing 4 reps.
Who knows what this man will develop into on the NFL gridiron, but for one day he made some serious noise in the NFL!
Here is the video of Stephen Paea’s record breaking Bench Press test.
Ryan Mallett may have the best arm in the entire NFL Draft, but questions about his character and specifically drug use are significantly devaluing his draft stock. Mallett was incredible statistically for the Arkansas Razorbacks after transferring from Michigan, but he came up consistently small in big games. That, coupled with the questions of drug use and abuse are causing NFL coaches, scouts, and executives to have serious concerns about the young man.
Brian Bilick is currently doing analysis for the NFL Network and when asked about Ryan Mallett he had some troubling comments. Billick actually went so far as to compare Mallett to Ryan Leaf and Billick questioned the whispers of drug abuse throughout Mallett’s collegiate career.
The NFL Network also played the media session that Mallett had and USA Today wrote about the media session as well. The very first question posed to Mallett was about his rumored drug use/abuse and Mallett took a Mark McGuire-esque approach providing this as his response:
“First one, huh? I’m not gonna talk about that right now.”
He was repeatedly asked about the alleged drug use and he repeatedly rebuffed reporters by saying that he would be happy to address these questions with NFL teams and that he had already spoken with some teams about the allegations.
“You can talk man to man, and that’s important for all of us.” He also added “I would say I’m a great person, but ask the coaches.”
I certainly do not want to allege anything regarding a young man that I don’t know anything about, especially that he has used, abused, or may have been possibly addicted to drugs, but there are reports of just that. Tony Softli of 101 ESPN in St. Louis reported that “heavy rumors of drug use and possible addiction kept him (Mallett) from coming out for the 2010 draft.”
Some reports allege use of marijuana and other unspecified, “harder” drugs but nothing concrete has been thus far reported. To my knowledge, Mallett has never failed a drug test in college or for the NFL Combine.
Unfortunately, in today’s age of media, it is probably irrelevant that Mallett has never failed a drug test or that there has been no concrete evidence to suggest that he has a drug problem. At this point, there is smoke and the rumors only appear to be gaining strength and comparisons to Ryan Leaf will do nothing to help Mallett’s draft stock.
I have no idea if there is any truth to the whispers and allegations of drug use, but I know that NFL teams will uncover every rock and do everything they can to determine the truth. While the rumors are creating a media firestorm for Mallett, I hope for his sake that the NFL teams do their job and base their decision on the facts they uncover rather than media allegations and innuendo.
Here is the video of Mallet’s media session at the combine:
As we enter Saturday and Sunday of the 2011 NFL combine we finally start to see position drills, athletic tests, and the ever “important” 40 yard dash. Savvy NFL scouts and analysts will be quick to point out that the combine tests are only a very small portion of the equation when evaluating NFL prospects but that doesn’t stop us from freaking out about a ridiculous 40 time or incredible combine showing does it?
So who are the most intriguing prospects to watch in the combine over the weekend? I’m not necessarily going with who I think will have the best performances, but I’m looking at overall aura of a player, what they have to gain and lose, and some lesser known prospects who can catapult into the early rounds with a good showing.
10. Robert Sands, Safety:
Sands is a junior safety for West Virginia who possesses rare size and athleticism for the safety position. He is 6′ 5″, 221 pounds (according to the official combine measurements) and can run. His size reminds many scouts of Taylor Mays and Sean Taylor and if he’s able to test well over the weekend he could climb draft boards very quickly. This draft lacks depth at safety that we saw in last year’s draft with Eric Berry, Earl Thomas, Taylor Mays, T.J. Ward and others and NFL scouts will absolutely drool over this kid if he’s able to run anything in the 4.5 range or better.
I don’t think he can move into the 1st round, but there is a real chance that he could be considered the best safety prospect with a great showing.
9. Von Miller, LB:
The stud LB from Texas A&M measured in at 6’3″ 243 pounds in Indianapolis and his play on the field has established him as one of the premier players in the entire draft. Now, nearly regardless of what he does this weekend, he will be a top 5 pick as his production on the field speaks for itself. But from what I’ve seen in limited spots, he has the ability to be the best NFL player in the draft.
I’m curious to see just how good this kid is and I want to see how he tests out this weekend. If he can demonstrate athletic ability and speed anywhere near Patrick Willis (who many say Miller reminds them of), he will assuredly be a top 5 pick or better and he will become one of the most coveted players in the draft. With the right defensive system in the NFL, this guy could be a perennial All-Pro. I can’t wait to see him run this weekend.
8. Jimmy Smith, CB:
Smith measured in at 6’2″, 205 pounds at the combine which is enormous for a CB. He is projected as having the ability to run a sub 4.4 40 which would put him in rare company with players like Antonio Cromartie. For a CB in the NFL to have the incredible size at 6’2″ and to be able to run step for step with the fastest WRs in the NFL, it places them in high demand.
Smith isn’t just a freakish athlete, he was a standout at Colorado and with a great showing this weekend at the combine he could jump into the first round. While there is likely nothing he can do to jump Patrick Peterson or Prince Amukamara, he can position himself to be the 3rd CB selected and you never know, there’s a chance that someone like the Raiders could be so enamored with his rare size and speed that they reach for him early in the 1st round. If he runs a 4.5, he’s a JAG (just another guy), but if he can run a 4.35 as many believe he can, he becomes one of the incredible freaks and most intriguing prospects in the draft.
7. J.J. Watt, DE:
The monster DE from Wisconsin measured in at 6’5″, 290 pounds at the combine. He was an absolute beast on the field for the Badgers and while he isn’t getting the hype that the other DE’s and defenders are, he has tremendous potential in the NFL. He is eerily reminiscent of Jared Allen in terms of size and ability and while it would be foolish to say that he will be the same player that Allen is at this point, he has great potential.
If Watt is able to perform favorably to the other top DE prospects in Quinn and Bowers, he could jump into the top 10. Some already project him in the top 10 but a great weekend will move him up draft boards all across the NFL.
6. Patrick Peterson, CB:
Peterson is considered by all to be among the top 5 to 10 prospects in the draft and is projected to be at worst, a top 10 pick. There have been questions by some NFL scouts, however, that while Peterson is an elite talent, that he is best suited at safety in the NFL. Peterson is listed at 6’1″, 211 pounds according to the combine results which reminds many of Pro Bowl CB, Nnamdi Asomugha.
The issue for Peterson, though, is if NFL teams select him with intent to play safety, there is a significant difference in contracts as opposed to cornerback. Who knows how the new CBA and potential rookie wage scale will affect this, but all things being equal, Peterson wants to demonstrate that he can be an elite CB in the NFL.
To do this, he will need to perform well over the weekend and run well in the 40. Recent history shows us that the 40 doesn’t necessarily make or break the draft for CBs. Look to Joe Haden’s sub-par 40 time in the combine last year which was thought to scare off some teams. He was selected at #7 overall by the Browns and had an outstanding rookie year. Peterson will not want to leave anything to chance, however, and if he’s able to run in the low to sub 4.5 range, he will secure his position as the #1 CB selected and will likely be a top 7 pick at the very least.
5. Cam Newton, QB:
I list Newton only because of the ridiculous level of intrigue and interest and not based on his ability to help or hurt his stock. Sure, an absolutely awful showing at the combine wouldn’t be good for the QB from Auburn, but it wouldn’t be a deathblow. The biggest and most important part of Newton’s combine experience is the interview process and the way he handles the media. He has already mis-stepped significantly with some of his comments leading up to the combine. As you may have already heard, Newton displayed diarrhea of the mouth by saying that he not only wanted to be a good athlete, but he wanted to be an “entertainer and an icon”.
With that said, however, if Newton is able to run a ridiculous 40 in the 4.5 or 4.4 range, the ridiculous hype surrounding him will only grow. He has already jumped up many mock drafts into the top 5 and in some instances in the top 3 and an incredible showing over the weekend will only help to feed the hype machine. His official measurables from the combine were 6’5″, 248 pounds which puts him in rare company as far as pure physical size and athleticism.
4. Mark Ingram, RB:
Ingram had an incredible collegiate career winning a Heisman and a national championship, but he is rarely thought of as a great prospect. The fact that he’s not flashy or considered a ‘game-breaker’ causes the media to neglect him nearly completely. I doubt NFL scouts are forgetting about Mark Ingram though. While not flashy, he is an uber-talented, durable running back. Ingram is a little undersized, however at 5’9″ and 215 pounds, but he compares favorably to current players like Rashard Mendenhall.
Even without a great weekend, I believe Ingram will be just fine in the draft and have a great NFL career. But if he’s able to dispel some of the perception that he can’t run and get into at least the mid 4.5 range, I really think he will skyrocket in the coming weeks heading into the draft. If, on the other hand, he runs a 4.8 like Maurice Clarett, it will scare off at least some NFL scouts and executives.
3. A.J. Green, WR:
I’m not listing A.J. because he needs to perform well in order to solidify his status or draft position, but he is one of the most intriguing prospects in the draft. Some consider him the best overall player in the draft and at 6’4″, 211 pounds with the ability to get separation and attack the ball in the air, I see why. Regardless of his combine tests, Green will be a top 5 pick, but if he’s able to put together incredible times in the 40, the shuttle and in the vertical, he will solidify himself as one of the most coveted prospects in the draft. For Green, if he’s able to run anything in the 4.4 range, he will be one of the most hyped WR prospects in recent years.
He’s roughly the same size as Randy Moss, but he is said to lack the breakaway speed of Moss or Calvin Johnson. Hell, everyone lacks the breakaway speed that Moss possessed coming out of college, but if Green can demonstrate that he can flat out run by NFL defenders, he automatically becomes one of the most dangerous and coveted weapons in the draft.
2. Da’Quan Bowers, DE:
While Bowers is already projected by many to be the #1 overall pick, he has the opportunity this weekend to solidify that position. Bowers measured 6’3″ at the combine, a full inch shorter than he had been listed previously. Perhaps not that big of a deal big picture, but we all know that NFL scouts pick every single thing apart when evaluating talent. At 280 pounds, the Clemson standout has shown rare athleticism and speed for a man of his size.
If he’s able to run in the 4.6 or even 4.5 range and demonstrate great agility over the weekend, scouts will continue to swoon over the monster DE. If he doesn’t run well, however, and with questions about his drive and dedication starting to sprout up, there is a chance that he could fall. Bowers needs a great showing to maintain his position on NFL draft boards.
1. Robert Quinn, DE:
Robert Quinn entered the NCAA season as one of the most talented, ferocious, and coveted NFL prospects in all of college football. Unfortunately, he missed the entire season due to NCAA violations (yet Cam Newton was allowed to play and thrive). Because he was absent for the entire season, players like DaQuan Bowers, Von Miller, and Nick Fairley stole the spotlight and catapulted to the top of the draft.
As we approach the draft, however, Quinn is gaining more attention and scouts are remembering what makes this guy special. Quinn is projected to run in the 4.6 or better range and possess an incredible vertical leap. He should perform very well in the agility drills and if he’s able to test as well as he’s projected, he has the ability to make the biggest move in the draft.
Yes, Quinn is already projected as a top 7 pick by all accounts (and that’s the worst case). But with his size (6’4″, 265) and athleticism, coupled with his incredible production on the filed, he has the ability to jump to top of the draft. With no consensus #1, players from Bowers to Fairley, to Newton. Quinn has a rare combination of size, speed, and power and he could demonstrate incredible versatility with the right system in the NFL. While much of the hype has gone to Cam Newton, Quinn has a real shot at stealing the show over the weekend and for years to come.
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…