Dan Leberfeld's Combine Whispers

Dan Leberfeld's Combine Whispers - direct from Indy:

INDIANAPOLIS -- Something that really helps a quarterback is having large hands, and that is one of the attributes LSU signal-caller JaMarcus Russell brings to the table.

"His hand wraps around the ball like a nerf ball," said Vikings GM Rick Spielman . . .

The two best offensive tackles in the draft at this point are Wisconsin's Joe Thomas and Penn State's Levi Brown. They definitely have different styles.

"Levi is more finesse and Joe is more physical," said Spielman.

Another tackle prospect of note, Notre Dame's Ryan Harris, measured in at 6-4, 305 pounds. Some NFL personnel people are concerned about his back.

Another concern was put to rest. Harris is a Muslim, but said he will not fast on Ramadan during the season. To fast for a month, during the season, could hurt a player's performance. He is the only Muslim in the family. Harris converted from Christianity in the 8th grade . . .

This is a very strong defensive-end draft.

"There are a lot of good defensive ends coming out," said Spielman. "There are 10-12 guys who should go on the first day." . . .

If the Jets are looking for a tackle prospect for the second or third round, Northern Illinois' Doug Free could be a possibility. The 6-7, 305-pound Free is such a good athlete for his size coaches at UNI nicknamed him "The Freak." . . .

The best guard prospect in the draft, Auburn's Ben Grubbs, also gets high marks for character. He graduated a year ago with a business degree, and played his senior year as a grad student. If he slips to the top of the second round he could make a nice heir apparent to Pete Kendall.

Grubbs is very good at pulling, and reportedly runs the 40 in the 5.0-range.

Two of the most mysterious teams in the league when it comes to reporting injuries are the Jets and Patriots. In the Patriots' playoff loss to Indianapolis, New England wideout Chad Jackson blew out his knee. But this news didn't come out publicly until today when Mike Reiss of the Boston Globe uncovered the information.

Jackson was the Patriots' second-round pick last year, and this injury will likely make New England select a wide receiver high in the upcoming draft . . .

The Jets could use a starting-quality 3-4 end in the draft, and a guy who could be on their radar is Tennessee's Justin Harrell.

"He was the best defensive tackle in college football last year," said Volunteers guard Aaron Sears.

Sears raved about how stout his teammate is, and how good he is at holding the point of attack.

While he did play 4-3 defensive tackle this past year, the 6-4, 305-pound Harrell looks like a perfect 3-4 end, and could be a consideration for the Jets with their first-round pick.

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