Scouting Combine Blog: Sunday

The Chicago Bears will be awfully busy the next few days in Indianapolis, and so will Bear Report. JC is on hand for the NFL Scouting Combine and will have the latest news and notes from the media room at Lucas Oil Stadium. Player comments, 40 yard dash times, free agency news – it's all here.


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Maybe White Can Play Some QB After All

11:07 p.m.
The pro football community tried to tell West Virginia's Pat White at the Senior Bowl last month that he needs to follow Antwaan Randle El's lead and switch positions to wide receiver, but so far he's staying at quarterback.

To the surprise of many, White actually threw the ball quite well during his workout Sunday at the Scouting Combine – better than some of the more conventional QBs that played in more conventional offenses. Known more for his running ability, as he racked up 4,480 yards and 47 TDs on the ground during his four-year stint under center for the Mountaineers, he completed 64.8 percent of his passes in Morgantown and posted a sparkling career TD-to-INT ratio of 56-to-23. In Indy, he showed good arm strength on shorter throws and put a lot of air under his deeper throws.


White threw the ball in Indy much better than some expected. (Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

It's a copycat league more than ever these days, especially this past season when the Dolphins employed the "Wildcat" formation with tailback Ronnie Brown taking snaps out of the shotgun – he accounted for four touchdowns in an upset of the Patriots and started the latest trend in the NFL immediately thereafter. With his ability to make plays both running and passing, perhaps White would be the perfect weapon as a backup signal caller that can also run a few gadget plays here and there to keep defenses honest. At the very least, opponents would be forced to spend precious practice time preparing for his array of talents.

White probably upped his draft stock a round or so with that impressive display during passing drills, plus his time of 4.55 seconds in the 40-yard dash was easily the best at his position.


Murphy Helps Himself with Solid Workout

8:54 p.m.
The following is a copy of the scouting report I wrote for the Professional Football Writers of America on Florida wide receiver Louis Murphy, who I was assigned to cover during Sunday's workout at the Scouting Combine:

Louis Murphy ran well in the 40-yard dash and posted a time of 4.43 seconds, which was ninth best among the wideouts.

During the tap-tap drill along the sideline, Murphy received the ball away from his body and dragged his back foot to keep it in bounds. Both times through the gauntlet, Murphy caught six of the seven passes. He dropped one on his first run partially because Purdue QB Curtis Painter was late and inaccurate with his delivery, but the drop on his second run was a clean throw from Central Washington QB Mike Reilly.


Murphy had a strong showing at the combine Sunday in Indy. (Marc Serota/Getty Images)

He successfully reeled in a 5-yard slant from Texas A&M QB Stephen McGee, a 10-yard out from Painter, a 15-yard comeback from Reilly, a fly from USC QB Mark Sanchez, a 10-yard out from West Virginia QB Pat White, and a 12-yard comeback from Buffalo QB Drew Willy -- the last one was a tough grab on a pass thrown behind him. On the down side, Murphy failed to catch a deep fade from Willy that was overthrown, a 10-yard out from White that was high, and a post-corner from Alabama QB John Parker Wilson that was way off target.

Overall, Murphy ran his routes quickly, was sharp with his cuts, and displayed dependable hands.


Second-Tier QB Prospects a Waste of Time

4:46 p.m.
If Bears fans are holding their breath with hopes that the organization makes a play for one of the premier quarterbacks in the 2009 NFL Draft, Matthew Stafford of Georgia or Mark Sanchez of USC, they should exhale immediately.

Instead, it appears Jerry Angelo and Co. are again bargain-basement hunting for a below-the-radar prospect that might develop into a serviceable signal caller one of these days. Team officials spent a good amount of time at the Senior Bowl last month with John Parker Wilson of Alabama, while Drew Willy of Buffalo confirmed having an interview with the club at the Scouting Combine. However, during their workout Sunday at Lucas Oil Stadium, a convincing argument can be made that Wilson and Willy were the two worst QBs on display.


Wilson has trouble with both his footwork and accuracy. (Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

Wilson and Willy were both considered late-round fliers at best before arriving in Indianapolis, and they did little – at least on the field – to up their stock in front of NFL scouts. Maybe Wilson proved to be quite the charmer during interviews, or perhaps Willy scored very well on the Wonderlic test, but neither looked ready to compete at the highest level of football. So unless the Bears get serious about a more legitimate talent like Josh Freeman of Kansas State or Nate Davis of Ball State, they should once again ignore the game's most important position and add some more blockers and pass catchers.

That being said, according to Mike Mayock of the NFL Network, Pat White of West Virginia and Stephen McGee of Texas A&M threw the ball better than he expected.


QBs and WRs on Display Sunday in Indy

9:59 a.m.
Members of the Professional Football Writers of America will get a chance to watch the quarterbacks and wide receivers work out Sunday at the Scouting Combine, and I've been assigned to Group 2.

My primary duty will be to put together the offical scouting report for one of the draft prospects participating, although I'm not sure who I've been assigned just yet. If you remember this past year, I was given Florida State wideout De'Cody Fagg – he blew out his knee on the very first route he ran, the poor guy. Hopefully, the player I get this year will actually complete his workout.

The added bonus is that I'll get to see at least half of the signal callers go through all their passing drills, and I think Matthew Stafford of Georgia and Mark Sanchez of USC are both in my group.


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John Crist is the Publisher of Bear Report and a member of the Professional Football Writers of America. To read him every day, visit BearReport.com and become a Chicago Bears insider.


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