Combine News and Notes

Running back Chris Perry of Michigan went through intense questioning during the interview process at the combine. Perry spent significant time discussing his sudden turn-around while at Michigan and his ability to be versatile. One question team scout's have about Perry is his tendency to fumble and overall speed.

Chris Perry has talked with the New England Patriots, Cincinnati Bengals, Pittsburgh Steelers, Green Bay Packers, Chicago Bears, New York Jets, and Denver Broncos. The talk around the combine is that Perry has the opportunity to be late first-round draft selection with a good workout in Michigan.

Steven Jackson, the standout running back from Oregon discussed his knee injury and following surgery. While in the interview process, Jackson was asked about his rehabilitation and his workout program. Multiple teams are considering Jackson within the top-eleven picks of the upcoming draft. The Pittsburgh Steelers and Detroit Lions showed the most interest in this potential every-down back. Indications coming from team representatives in attendance are Jackson could potentially go anywhere from the seventh pick of the first-round to a mid-first round selection.

Pittsburgh quarterback Rod Rutherford has drawn some interest, but not as a quarterback. During the interview and other brief discussions, Rutherford was asked how he felt about changing position. One of which is a transformation to a wide receiver or safety. Rutherford would like to remain a quarterback, but said he would do anything necessary to play on Sunday's in the National Football League.

Defensive tackle Tim Anderson from the Ohio State University garnered a significant amount of interest from teams seeking an active interior lineman. Anderson met with the Pittsburgh Steelers, Cleveland Browns, Minnesota Vikings, Green bay Packers, Kansas City Chiefs, Buffalo Bills, Jacksonville Jaguars, Washington Redskins, and Chicago Bears. Despite not being able to workout in Indianapolis due to a pulled hamstring, Anderson is expected to be 100% for his personal workout at Ohio State. Team representatives in attendance at the combine believe Anderson is a third-to-mid round selection.

Brief Thoughts and Notes we heard from team representatives at the Combine

Pittsburgh wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald could be the first player selected in the draft, but not by the team holding the overall number-one selection in the draft. The buzz is, two-teams are very high on Fitzgerald, one of those teams being the Arizona Cardinals.

The Washington Redskins are believed to be locking in on a pair of Miami talents. Tight-end Kellen Winslow Jr. and safety Sean Taylor,  now getting into the top 6-10, first round draft pick area remains an obstacle the Redskins will evaluate.

Any hopes the San Diego Chargers and Pittsburgh Steelers had that North Carolina State quarterback would be available following the first-round in the draft may be out the window. Numerous team representatives in attendance now believe Rivers will be a first-round draft selection.

USC wide receiver Mike Williams could be a top-15 pick, if he indeed enters the 2004 NFL Draft.

The Detroit Lions are looking to add a running back and no less than two wide receivers to the roster. Expect the Lions to be active in free agency, starting with the release of running back James Stewart if he does not agree to a significant pay-cut and contract restructure. Additionally, Lions representatives all but acknowledge they are not serious players any longer in the Champ Bailey sweepstakes.

The New England Patriots are evaluating the potential to trade-up in the draft to select a running back, if a player does not become available in free agency to fill their void at the position.

Representatives from the Dallas Cowboys state the team will not enter training camp without having addressed/solidified the running back and offensive line questions. The team is also looking to add depth in the defensive backfield.

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