4:50: Matthews enjoys visit with Packers
USC linebacker Clay Matthews Jr. likely is the final player to meet with reporters today. After he stepped down from the podium, Packer Report asked if he had met with the Packers.
"I did. I really enjoyed talking to those guys about my dad and Bruce," said Matthews, whose dad was longtime Browns linebacker Clay Matthews and his uncle was longtime Oilers/Titans offensive lineman Bruce Matthews. Bruce's career with the Oilers/Titans overlapped the career of Packers general manager Ted Thompson and Packers scout Alonzo Highsmith in Houston.
Much of the discussion centered on the family ties, though there was some 3-4 talk. He projects to a strong-side outside linebacker in the 3-4, and that's a role he played some with the Trojans.
"Turn me loose and let me go after the quarterback," he said.
4:03 p.m.: More test results
NFL.com is slowly reporting the top results from today's workouts for offensive linemen, tight ends and specialists.
For offensive linemen, Nebraska tackle Lydon Murtha had the best three-cone time (7.06 seconds) by a wide margin over Illinois tackle Xavier Fulton (7.35), Oregon center Max Unger, Oklahoma center Jon Cooper and Penn State center A.Q. Shipley.
BYU's Travis Bright had the best vertical jump among the linemen, followed by Murtha.
3:30 p.m.: Raji holds court
There was plenty of star power, with USC linebacker Brian Cushing at one podium, USC linebacker Rey Maualuga at one podium and the man Packers fans care about, B.J. Raji, in between.
Raji, the hulking defensive tackle from Boston College, is our Chris Steuber's pick for the Packers at No. 9 overall. Raji, whose stock rose after a dominating week at the Senior Mobile, weighed in at 337 pounds.
Raji has met with only one team, the Saints, and said he hopes he's on the Packers' interview list.
"I've heard they're looking at me at No. 9," he said.
Raji, who listed the Bears' Tommie Harris, the Jets' Kris Jenkins and the Titans' Albert Haynesworth as three of his favorite players, would bring a high motor and considerable weight to the nose tackle position in Green Bay's new 3-4 defense.
"The feedback that I get, that's probably the most rewarding thing," Raji said of what he's heard from scouts and coaches.
2:40 p.m.: Lots of rush OLBs
The Green Bay Packers' first-round draft pick might have just addressed the media.
Penn State's Aaron Maybin and Texas' Brian Orakpo just held their media sessions. Both were 4-3 defensive ends who translate to 3-4 outside linebackers, and both figure to be top-12 picks. Both will meet with the Packers today.
Orakpo (6-3, 263) continually addressed the versatility he gained in Texas' defense, which runs some 3-4 and some 4-3. He won the Nagurski Award as the nation's top defensive player and the Lombardi Award as the nation's top lineman. His 22 career sacks ranks 10th in Texas history, and he had 11.5 as a senior.
"Just getting off the ball and beating the tackle. Effecting that guy (the quarterback)," Orakpo said of rushing the passer. "You're not going to get 10 sacks in a game."
Maybin started last season at 245 pounds but was down to about 230 by the end of the season. He weighed in at 250 here, and he says holding that weight won't be a factor. He says he feels more explosive at his new weight.
Maybin had 12 sacks as a senior, and that sort of production should translate immediately with his quickness. Scouts, however, wonder about the rest of his game during the early stages of his career.
"I feel that my film speaks for itself," he said.
We'll have more on Maybin, Orakpo and Florida State's Everette Brown (if he meets with reporters) later today.
1:30 p.m.: Tight end jumps
Vertical jump: 1, Jared Cook, South Carolina, 41 inches; 2, James Casey, Rice, 36; 3, Marquez Branson, Central Arkansas, 35; 4, John Phillips, Virginia, 33.5; 5, Kory Sperry, Colorado State, 33.5; 6, Cornelius Ingram, Florida, 33; 7, Shawn Nelson, Southern Mississippi, 33; 8, Brandon Pettigrew, Oklahoma State, 33.
Broad jump: 1, Jared Cook, South Carolina, 10 feet, 3 inches; 2, Kory Sperry, Colorado State, 10-2; 3, Dan Gronkowski, Maryland, 10-2; 4, Richard Quinn, North Carolina, 9-11; 5, Brandon Pettigrew, Oklahoma State, 9-10; Jared Bronson, Central Michigan, 9-8; 7, Shawn Nelson, Southern Mississippi, 9-7.
1:15: Listening to Lovie
A few highlights from Bears coach Lovie Smith:
- "I'm a big fan of Kyle Orton," though the Bears are leaving their options "open" at quarterback.
- He literally laughed at reports that top corner Charles Tillman would be moving to safety replace Mike Brown. "Who started it? I don't know where that came from."
- On reports that Texas Tech receiver Michael Crabtree is out 10 weeks with a broken foot: "He has a history, and his history is pretty good."
- He said Devin Hester made a lot of progress at receiver, and said the Bears need to add a solid No. 2 to the mix.
1:05 p.m.: 40-yard dash results
For what it's worth, considering an offensive lineman rarely has to run 40 yards, Nebraska's Lydon Murtha had the best 40 time at 4.89 seconds. Jon Cooper, a center from Oklahoma, and Jason Smith, an offensive tackle from Baylor, finished in the top 10 in the 40 and bench press. Connecticut tackle William Beatty, who could be a second-round prospect for Green Bay, finished third.
12:30 p.m.: Bench press results
Here are the leaders in the bench press among the offensive line and tight ends who are working out today.
Offensive line: 1, Louis Vasquez, G, Texas Tech, 39; 2, Travis Bright, G, BYU, 34; 3, Juan Garcia, C, Washington, 34; 4, Robby Felix, C, UTEP, 33; 5, Alex Boone, C, Ohio State, 33; 6, A.Q. Shipley, C, Penn State, 33; 7, Jason Smith, T, Baylor, 33; 8, James Meredith, G, South Carolina, 31; 9, Jon Cooper, C, Oklahoma, 31; 10, Leimoni Feinga, G, BYU, 30; Eric Wood, C, Louisville, 30; Alex Fletcher, C, Stanford, 30; Rob Bruggeman, Iowa, 30.
Tight end: 1, Travis Beckum, Wisconsin, 28; 2, James Casey, Rice, 28; 3, Daniel Gronkowski, Maryland, 26; 4, Cameron Morrah, California, 24; 5, Richard Quinn, North Carolina, 24; 6, Eddie Williams, Idaho, 23; 7, Jared Cook, South Carolina, 23; 8, Brandon Pettigrew, Oklahoma State, 22; 9, Jared Bronson, Central Michigan, 22.
Noon: Newsome speaks
Ravens GM Ozzie Newsome just got off the podium. He's got a lot of work to do to keep his team intact, with linebackers Ray Lewis and Bart Scott, along with center Jason Brown and safety Jim Leonhard set to hit free agency. In a league void of free agent talent, Baltimore is the place to go.
Newsome said he made outside linebacker Terrell Suggs his franchise player because his age (25), pass-rush skills and health making him "attractive to other teams." Newsome wants to retain Lewis because of his productivity and locker room leadership.
Brown is clearly the top offensive lineman on the market, able to play center and guard. He will be retained as part of Newsome's "right player, right price" credo, but he's certain to be blown away with a budget-busting offer.
Newsome basically said goodbye to safety Jim Leonhard, who blossomed into a playmaker but will have to compete for a starting job next year with Dawan Landry healthy. Leonhard, Newsome said, likely will chaes a starting job.
11:25 a.m.: Georgia's Corey Irvin
Georgia defensive lineman Corey Irvin would be one of the college defensive tackles who could fit in as a 3-4 defensive end project.
Irvin, a late-round prospect who is 6-foot-3, 301, got his chance to start when standout Jeff Owens suffered a season-ending knee injury in the opener. He had three sacks and was a defensive captain.
"I can rush the passer real well," he said, citing his quickness and hands. "If you can blow past them, it's going to be a long day for them."
10:57 a.m.: Two-way Barwin?
Cincinnati defensive end Connor Barwin is one of a score of 4-3 college defensive ends who could be a 3-4 outside linebacker in Green Bay. He came to Cincinnati as a tight end, and he said several teams said he could play that position in the NFL, either full-time or as a goal-line threat in addition to his defensive duties.
Barwin, 6-foot-3 and 256 pounds, had 10 sacks as a senior. He will work out with the defensive linemen on Monday, but he's excited about the prospect of playing outside linebacker in a 3-4.
"I'm very confident I can play that. A lot of (teams) see me at that position," Barwin said.
10:23 a.m.: Tauscher update
A few days after Mark Tauscher's agent told Packer Report that he was hopeful a deal could be worked out between the free agent right tackle and the Packers, Neil Cornrich told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that the Packers had better not wait for Tauscher to recover from a torn ACL.
Here's why. Miami's Vernon Carey is a quality right tackle but hardly an elite player. On Friday, the Dolphins re-signed him to a four-year contract that includes $15 million in first-year money and $18.9 million over the first two years, according to our Adam Caplan.
If Carey can get that kind of money - he's now the highest-paid right tackle - how much will some team give Tauscher in a free-agent market that's woefully lacking of talent?
10:15 a.m.: Giants GM Jerry Reese
New York Giants general manager Jerry Reese led off the coaches and GMs meeting the press.
The economic downturn has been a hot topic here. Reese said the Giants will be "very cautious" with how they spend their money and the scouting department has "trimmed a little fat." For example, he said they sent fewer people to the Combine.
I asked Reese about the state of free agency. A record 14 players were franchised and several others were re-signed. Reese said teams will have to resort to "bottom-feeding" to fill holes.
10:10 a.m.: Sutton would be quite a catch
Northwestern running back Tyrell Sutton led off the podium parade on Saturday (the other running backs spoke on Friday).
Sutton would be worth a look for the Packers, who got little third-down production from their running backs. Sutton rushed for 890 yards and caught 35 passes as a senior. The four-year starter rushed for almost 3,900 yards and had 149 receptions.
Sutton, the leading receiver in Ohio prep history, went to Northwestern because he "wanted the degree to mean something." He also showed his sense of humor, recalling basketball games against Ohio State star back Chris Wells while they were 9 years old. The 5-foot-8 Sutton joked that Wells was about 6-foot-4 back then.
"It's like LeBron James vs. Spud Webb."
Welcome to Day 3 of our coverage from the NFL Scouting Combine from Lucas Oil Stadium in downtown Indianapolis.
Workouts finally begin today, with offensive linemen, tight ends and specialists. On tap for interviews today are the defensive linemen and linebackers. Those are obviously two noteworthy positions for the Packers, who need nose tackles, defensive ends and outside linebackers.
Some of the major outside linebackers prospects - Florida State's Everette Brown, Texas' Brian Orakpo, Penn State's Aaron Maybin and Northern Illinois' Larry English, for instance - are college defensive ends who project to outside linebacker in the 3-4. They will work out with the defensive ends but about 10 of those types of guys also will do some outside linebacker drills. The linebackers and defensive ends will work out on Monday.
Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.