The offensive linemen took a
while to get off the snide on Friday as many were unable to finish their
workouts due to flight schedules. Through
the early morning hours of Saturday many of the top prospects were being
shuttled between the RCA Dome and MRI facilities to have their joints checked
for past injuries. One lineman had
an MRI scheduled for early this morning and said he hoped to make it back in
time to participate in the bench press and 40-yard dash.
The reasoning is simple;
organizations would rather invest several thousand now to make sure someone is
healthy then go into a situation blind and end up losing millions on players
with hidden injuries. Aaron Gibson
(Lions-shoulder) Mitch Marrow (Panthers-back), and Michael Boireau (Vikings-eye)
are all examples of prospects that were injured before they even arrived to the
NFL and are what the teams here in Indianapolis are hoping to guard against.
Many of the top prospects did
not heed the call of the NFLPA choosing instead to workout at their school's
Pro-Day rather then here in Indianapolis. In
what has become an annoying trend, none of the top prospects from the University
of Miami have worked out and the only Hurricane that did participate, guard
Martin Bibla, performed admirably on the bench press pushing up 35 repetitions
but decided that was enough and did not to participate in any of the other
Already, highly ranked defensive linemen such as Albert Haynesworth, Wendell Bryant and Kalimba Edwards have said they will not participate in Sunday's workout while wide receiver Ashley Lelie of Hawaii is complaining of a bad hamstring and is leaning towards sitting on the sidelines and waiting for his pro-day.
The smartest looking
offensive lineman thus far has been Mike Pearson of Florida.
After raising eyebrows when he entered the draft after a poor junior
campaign Pearson turned in a solid workout completing 25 repetitions of 225
pounds on the bench press then posted two forty times in the low 5.0 range (5.05
and 5.08 to be exact). Pearson
topped it off by looking tremendous during drills and may have pushed himself
into the late part of round one.
Several other linemen
improved their stock with solid showings on Friday and Saturday including center
Scott Peters of Arizona State, who, after throwing the bar on the bench press
around like it was a hollow piece of wood (he completed 36 reps) went out and
excelled in all the blocking drills. Another
center, Melvin Fowler of Maryland, was solid as well and both these prospects
could be heading for the draft's first day.
What many expected to be a
grand battle at the running back position fizzled after several poor
performances. Boston College's William Green lifted well on the bench
press yesterday (27 reps) but turned in a pair of disappointing 40-times right
around the 4.55 range. He then
compounded the problem by not completing the workout or staying for the pass
catching drills, which were critical for him.
TJ Duckett was said to be bothered by a groin strain and will wait until
March 12 before he displays his wares for the scouts at Michigan State.
Deshaun Foster of UCLA ran
admirably (4.57 range) but did not display the same hands out of the backfield
as he did during the Senior Bowl. Small
school product Lamar Gordon did not run as fast as hope (both clockings in the
4.50 range) and like Foster, was a little inconsistent catching the ball.
The running backs did offer a
few surprises. Iowa fullback Jeremy
Allen ran well then displayed the ability to make the long reception down the
field with regularity. Demontray
Carter of Troy State and Texas Tech's Ricky Williams both blistered in the low
4.4-range and looked solid in the post-test drills.
Nebraska's Eric Crouch had
a rather inconsistent day. After
starting off well with a pair of forty-times equal to both Carter and Williams,
he was not effective running or catching the ball afterwards and seemed to take
a while to get his feet underneath him. To
his credit, Couch finished strong and will have more opportunities, as he will
be working with the quarterbacks tomorrow and defensive backs on Monday.
Josh Scobey of Kansas State
was also fleet across the RCA Dome carpet on Saturday and ran a pair of
blistering forty times.
Overall, no prospect made a big move into the early part of the draft based on the past two days. The hope on Sunday is at least one quarterback will stand out and hopefully the receivers will offer something to brag about. It must be a strange year at the combine, we've yet to see any players from Florida State!