Prospects Open Eyes At Combine

NFL past, present, and future met today at Indianapolis. There is plenty of news on current NFL players, teams eyeing various prospects, and how those prospects performed. Finally, the NFL off-season is kicking into high gear. <br><br> Plenty of NFL roster news today, with a variety of teams moving on certain players in attempt to prepare for the looming free agency and pending salary cap constraints.

Arizona Cardinals: The Cardinals have decided not to tag WR David Boston. Boston has already drawn interest from 3 other teams, though there are concerns about his character. Boston is coming off of an injury plagued season, but in 2001 established himself as one of the elite at the position.

Jacksonville Jaguars: General manager James Harris and vice president Paul Vance met today with the agent of S Donovan Darius, Tom Condon. Condon and Darius are upset about the tag designation, but the Jaguar front office move to assure Condon that a new contract for Darius is in the works. Darius is no longer able to test his value on the open market and the Jaguars know they have an unhappy player on their hands.

"The Jaguars know what type of player Donovan [Darius] is and has been for them," said Condon. "We hope that they [Jacksonville] give him what he deserves."

In other Jaguar news, DE Tony Brackens will likely be released if he refuses to restructure his contract. Brackens is infamous for his sporadic effort.

Titans: Contract talks with star DE Jevon Kearse continue along slowly. Kearse's agent Drew Rosenhaus has assured the Titans front office that Kearse will return to 100% after foot surgery. Right now, the Titans do not appear so certain.

On the front of draft prospects, a few players are already catching the eyes of NFL scouts.

Cincinnati Bengals: The Bengals are not tipping their hand in terms of what they will do the overall number one pick in the 2003 draft. They have shown interest in QB Carson Palmer, WR Charlie Rogers, and DE Jimmy Kennedy. At this time, none of these picks should be ruled out as far as the Bengals are concerned.

Green Bay Packers: The Packers have been enamored with two quarterbacks and one offensive lineman at the Combines. The Pack seems set on finding the future in the passing game, anticipating the departure of QB Brett Favre. Prospects of interest include QB Kyle Boller (California) and Rex Grossman (Florida), and OG/OT Eric Steinbeck (Iowa).

Detroit Lions: New head coach Steve Mariucci has made his presence known in Indianapolis. This is now Mariucci's team and he endeavored to let everyone know that. Mariucci has been eyeing WRs Charlie Rogers (Michigan State) and Andre Johnson (Miami), along with CB Terrance Newman (Kansas State).

San Diego Chargers: The Chargers have join the slew of other scouts closely evaluating WR Andre Johnson. Also under San Diego's microscope is S Mike Doss. This should come as little surprise to most Charger fans. Jacksonville Jaguars: The Jags are intent on shoring up their secondary via the draft. Defensive backs Marcus Trufant (Washington State) and Michael Haynes (Penn State) are currently in the Jaguars' cross hares. Not to be left out of the crowd, Jacksonville has also shown keen interest in WR Andre Johnson. The Jaguars are still looking to replace departed Keenan McCardell.

Dallas Cowboys: Bill Parcells and owner Jerry Jones were impressed with OT Kwame Harris, who posted a 35.5" vertical leap. However, Oakland Raiders owner Al Davis also noticed Harris, who is currently the Insiders 15th best draft prospect for 2003.

Of course, the Combine is mostly about measuring up the players. Prospects on both the offensive and defensive side of the ball either disappointed or opened a few eyes.

Disappointments: FS Todd Johnson came in very heavy at 230 lbs. Johnson normally weighs around 200… TE George Wrighster managed only 16 reps at 225 lbs. Scouts were hoping for a better show of strength.

Opening Eyes: DE Omari Hand was tops amongst defensive linemen with 34 repetitions… WR Teyo Johnson weighed in at 240 lbs, still straddling the line between wide receiver and tight end… DT Nick Eason hampered by injuries completed 29 lifts and now has his stock on the rise… OT Jordan Gross had the attention of most scouts already going into the combine as the top prospect at the position. Gross didn't hurt his value by running a 5.00 in the 40-yard dash… Sleeper TE Visanthe Shiancoe helped his cause by lifting the 225 lbs 28 times and demonstrating impressive strength for a tight end… OT Makoa Freitas matched Gross in the 40 with 5.00 seconds, which should shoot him up everyone's draft value boards.

Friday is just the start in what should be a very busy and informative Combine weekend.

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