Combine: Team Reports

At the combine each team will sit down with nearly every prospect over the course of the five days and interview them at length, every prospect, that's the way it is. Our goal presenting this to you was to try and follow some tendencies teams seemed to have not only in Indianapolis but during Senior Bowl week in Mobile this past January; these trends could prove useful.

So here goes, what teams were doing during the Combine. 

The Ravens were hot on the trail of several offensive linemen.  We saw them commandeer Fred Weary on more than one occasion, speak at length with Victor Rogers, Marc Columbo, and even had a long conversation with fullback Jarrod Baxter.  At one point coach Brian Billick himself went over to personally inspect both groups of tight ends during the vertical jump, so that may tell you something. 

Buffalo also trotted out many of the offensive linemen for interviews.  Center Scott Peters was a priority for them as Matt Hill seemingly was.   

Oakland took a liking to the tenacity of Eric Heitman, in fact you may remember an earlier story of the Cardinal guard fuming over the results of X-rays on his knee and back and it was the Raiders Heitman was complaining to.  One Raider scout was verbally upset Donte' Stallworth and Josh Reed did not take part in the pass catching drills. 

The Chiefs may have already answered this question via a trade, but just as in Mobile they were seeking out the offensive linemen.  Marc Colombo, Victor Rogers and Martin Bibla seemed to be the apple of their eye. 

New York Jets coaches, scouts and personnel people were very active the entire weekend.  Charles Halley closely followed the wide receivers around, not just during the pass catching session but also through the cone and shuttle runs watching the group very carefully.  Halley also took a liking to Josh McCowan, the quarterback from Sam Houston State.  So much so he almost missed his flight home on Monday.  It was Halley that stayed late the last day to watch McCowan throw as the practice quarterback for the tight ends, linebackers and cornerbacks.  Herm Edwards took in a lot of offensive line work, while a contingent from the Jets watched both the punters and place kickers work the first day of the combine. 

Mike Holmgren of Seattle was another that took in the punters and kicker.  Here's a little something to keep an eye on; the Seahawks love Bryan Thomas.  We noticed them taking a liking to the UAB end in Mobile but they seemed totally enamored with him in Indianapolis, shaking their heads as Thomas pulled a groin during his second forty but still ran a 4.55, then forced trainers to tape his leg so he could get back into the workouts. 

The tight ends as a group had a close following; Norv Turner, Bruce Cosslett and Charlie Casserly were some who followed their every move, down to watching the broad and vertical jumps of the prospects.   

Speaking of Casserly and the Texans; the Houston general manager sat mid-field Sunday afternoon to concentrate on the signal callers.  The Texans also closely watched the running backs and receivers, pulling over Lamar Gordon, Enis Haywood and Javon Walker.   

The Vikings need defense, defense and even more defense, with a few wide outs mixed in.  So it was rather surprising to us when they were constantly approaching the likes of Najeh Davenport and Jarrod Baxter.  At Shula's Steak House we sat with a few of their scouts we are friendly with and it was apparent they feel the need to come away with defensive playmakers from this draft. 

What will the Rams do on draft day?  If they gave any indication it is offensive line help.  They were escorting Mike Pearson around almost by hand on a few occasions.  Another they like is center Curt McGill, who could offer a cheap reserve on the pivot.  

We sat next to an area scout for the Tennessee Titans every day at the combine; great guy and a former Oiler actually.  Tennessee will look for a back-up to Eddie George early in the draft and a pair of runners they seem to like are Lamar Gordon and Ladell Betts.  Keep an eye on Betts who moved himself into the first day with solid performances here.   

Steve Spurrier, Dan Snyder and the Skins were very active all five day's.  One lineman they like is Kyle Koiser, who would fill a need at guard.  The Skins want a defensive end but also need a guard; don't be surprised if they reach for Koiser a little early in the proceedings.   

How bad were the running backs in Indianapolis?  Matt Millen and group of Detroit scouts sat at mid-field to take in the drills but left halfway through the session throwing his hands up almost in disgust walking up the aisle. 

 The Eagles were not very active publicly during the weekend.  They were another group that watched the tight ends and also carefully followed two defensive players, Keyou Craver and Eddie Freeman

Another hot on the trail of Craver seemingly was the Forty-Niners, who need a bigger corner.  San Francisco was another organization that followed around not only the tight ends but all skills players, receivers and running backs included.  We were surprised that they did not seem to have an interest in many of the offensive linemen. 

Now the Cowboys; love him or hate him after being at the Combine workouts every day we have a lot of respect for Jerry Jones.  The guy may not know football but to his credit he works his tail off.  Jones and a contingent of Cowboy scouts sat there and watched every player run and workout but unlike many of the Dallas scouts who did a lot of socializing, Jones really worked hard. 

They obviously have an interest in a running back and the defensive backs.  They were the only group that stayed to the bitter end on Monday to watch the final group of defensive backs go through the drilling session, as there was a major exodus after Roy Williams ran his forty.  Dallas did not seem to be targeting anyone specifically over the five days, or no prospect that we could pinpoint, but rather got a lot of information on every player in Indianapolis. 

Apologies: For the lateness of this report and thanks to one of our loyal subscribers for pushing us to get it out!

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