Roundup: Checking in on NFL combine Cougs

WASHINGTON STATE's Connor Halliday says he isn't as well-versed on the NFL offenses as some of the other quarterbacks at the NFL combine might be. But he has sought out an expert and former Seattle Seahawk QB to help him out in that area. He also says rehab is going well on his surgically repaired leg and though he isn't yet able to compete on the field, he is competing in other ways this week.

Lots of items were floating around cyberspace Thursday on the three Cougars at the combine: Halliday, Vince Mayle and Xavier Cooper.

QB Connor Halliday (pictured above)

  • Halliday told USA Today that he is a little behind on understanding NFL offenses. He has been studying with Jim Zorn in Seattle to grasp the concepts better.

  • Halliday tweeted his leg is recovering well. USA Today quoted Halliday ins saying he is jogging on solid ground and that he is able to take three-step drops.

  • CBS Sports said in an evaluation on Halliday that he throws slant routes well, and has shown accuracy on medium to deep throws. Other observations: He throws before his receivers turn, and he has good touch on vertical routes. He has a good frame for a drop-back passer, and has good speed for his size.

  • The quarterback told USA Today Mike Leach "doesn't talk much about fronts and linebacker movements." However, he said it was a positive that he was allowed to call his own plays at the line. You can read the complete story HERE.

  • CBS Sports mentioned some of Halliday's weaknesses, saying he is a very confident quarterback, but can sometimes be too loose with the football, citing his 22 interceptions in 2013 as a junior. He also took most of his snaps from the shotgun formation, and he will need to convince NFL teams that he can drop back from under center. Finally, he needs to increase his size to handle tackles from NFL defenders.

  • CF.C's Adam Lewis tweeted that Pac-12 analyst Rick Neuheisel thinks highly of Halliday and his chances of making it in the NFL. He said he wouldn't be shocked if he's on an opening day roster.

  • Hallidays' measurements at the combine: 6-3 and 196 pounds. He came into 2014's fall camp in Lewiston at over 200 pounds. He also has the smallest hands among the quarterbacks at the combine at 8 3/8 inches according to Sporting News. UCLA's Brett Hundley had the biggest (10 1/2).

  • USA Today reported Halliday has talked with the Miami Dolphins, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, San Diego Chargers, Philadelphia Eagles and Dallas Cowboys. The Denver Broncos, ESPN's Cecil Lammey tweeted, also have interest in the quarterback. Halliday said on his twitter account that he doesn't have any preference where he goes: he simply wants to get drafted.

  • Here is the link to Halliday talking about his injury with the media at the combine: CLICK HERE

    WR Vince Mayle

  • Mayle has increased his weight by five pounds since the Senior Bowl, and is now 224 pounds, Mike Royko of NEPatriots Draft reports.

  • Footballguys staff writer Chad Parsons says Mayle has the "ideal build, but shorter arms, smaller hands and lagging production in the model."

  • NFL.com says the fact that Mayle is a former basketball player is a positive.

  • NFL.com also says Mayle can track the ball well and can beat defenders in space. He also has shown the ability to change his speed on his routes to gain space on slant routes. He can dominate against smaller cornerbacks, and accelerates quickly.

  • Mayle needs to learn to use his hands more in press coverage, and improve his fundamentals in catching the ball with his hands, according to NFL.com. The website said he had 13 drops this past season. Finally, the website said he is a little too predictable out of his routes, which tips off defenders and allows them to manipulate his routes.

  • CBS Sports adds that Mayle can adjust well outside of the normal catching zone because of good body control. He also uses his legs efficiently to jump over defenders and make catches.

  • CBS Sports said Mayle builds up to his maximum speed rather than instantly reaching it.

  • The bottom line comparison: NFL.com says Mayle is most like Aaron Dobson, a receiver for the New England Patriots.

  • Erick Trickel, an analyst for MileHighHuddle.com, said on Twitter that Mayle has been "maddeningly inconsistent."

  • There has not been any indication as to which teams have talked to Mayle.

    DL Xavier Cooper

  • Cooper has met with the Denver Broncos and the Detroit Lions, according to a family member's tweets (Markiss Cooper).

  • Cooper's strengths include natural large size, quickness off the line, and exceptional acceleration and balance. He plays with passion and pursues the ball often, according to CBS Sports.

  • A lack of timing on defending passes, and an inability to wrap up consistently are among the weaknesses noted by CBS Sports.

  • Cooper is projected as a late second-round pick by nfldraftscout/CBS Sports though Rob Rang told Cougfan.com this week he feels more comfortable predicting him as a third-round pick.

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