The 2005 Combine comes to an end

After a long and exhaustive week, the combine has finally come to an end. But not without noteworthy news.<br><br>Recent drafts have offered thin talent at the outside linebacker position, as a total of four have been selected during the initial frame since 2000.

That will all change this April.

Consider that four prospects alone are almost certain first-round selections while an additional four could be off the board by the end of the draft's first day.

So it was not unusual to see scouts lined up seven deep at the finish line of the 40-yard dash, stopwatches in hand, to time the players during Tuesday morning's linebacker session.

They had to like what they saw as eight of the 15 outside linebackers who completed both runs of the 40 hand-timed at 4.69 or better.

This included the top prospect at the position, Derrick Johnson of Texas, who was timed at 4.58 and 4.60.

A fast trend developing in the MEAC?

More prospects from the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference kept racing across the turf at the RCA Dome today.

Well-documented was the sizzling time of Hampton receiver Jerome Mathis, who on Sunday scorched the track to an official 4.31 forty.

Today it was a cornerback from rival Howard University who grabbed the headlines.

Setting the tone early, Ronald Bartell Jr. popped off a 4.37 hand-time as the first defensive back of the day. He then followed it up with an equally fast 4.40.

So long to the 2005 Combine and it's director

For more then a decade, Duke Babb has been in charge to see things are in order at the combine. The Director of National Scouting, Babb has decided this is his final year as he plans on retiring.

In a nice gesture, Babb was surprised today as scouts publicly recognized him as the first group of defensive backs were finishing up their sprints. Babb was presented with a plaque and a whistle in recognition of his service.

Unfortunately, this came immediately before Jerome Carter was getting ready for his second attempt at the sprint. A pensive Carter had to wait as scouts in attendance stood and applauded Babb. Finally, after several minutes Carter was off, with Babb on hand to blow the whistle on any false start. Carter obliged on his initial run, earning praise from Pittsburgh scout Mark Gorsack who said "you did a good deed today." Carter followed the false start by running a respectable 4.58

The rich planning to get richer

The hot rumor coming out of Indianapolis on Tuesday centered around the Super Bowl runner-up Philadelphia Eagles.

If the team can't re-sign middle linebacker Jeremiah Trotter they will quickly turn their attention to Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ed Hartwell, set to become an unrestricted free agent at the stroke of midnight.

Trotter had a resurgence with the Eagles last season after taking over the starting job inside. He signed for the veteran minimum but is now said to be looking for a contract commensurate with the type of season he had. While both sides have been going back and forth, nothing is imminent.

Hartwell should receive a significant interest in free agency as more teams are going to a 3-4 defensive scheme like he played in Baltimore.
  • Catch all the post-combine news from Lists of NFL Draft Prospects who met with your favorite team, and breakdowns of how it may affect your teams offseason ... coming in the following weeks.

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