Preparing for the Combine- Part 1

The most important job interview in the lives of 330 NFL prospects begins this Thursday at the RCA Dome. Most of these players have been training for their combine workouts over the past eight weeks. Many are well-prepared while others are struggling. Here's a look at the latest word swirling in scouting circles.

If you were to ask members of the scouting community who the most overrated player in this draft is, many will utter one word; "Michigan".

Scouts feel as a whole just about all of the Wolverines in this year's draft are presently graded too high.  The Michigan prospects all have a lot hanging in the balance at the Combine and recent word is some of them have not been doing well.

Cornerback Leon Hall was badly exposed in the final two games of his college career when he faced Ted Ginn Jr. and  Dwayne Jarrett respectively.  Hall is barely holding on to a mid-first round grade and it could get worse.  

Sources have told us if Hall does not run under 4.5-seconds at the Combine he could slip into the late part of round one, if not out of the initial frame altogether.  In recent training Hall has struggled to break the 4.5-second barrier, his best time being a 4.45-seconds on a fast surface.

The story is worse for Lamarr Woodley.  The productive college defensive end struggled during his first practice at the Senior Bowl, then pulled out of the event for what he claimed was a hamstring injury.  That sent red-flags up amongst scouts who felt Woodley was just plain intimidated by the competition in Mobile.

Now comes word that Woodley's recent workouts have been terrible.  So much so the thinking is he will skip the Combine altogether and rely solely on his pro-day workout for testing.

The news is not good for Texas cornerback Tarrell Brown, though it is not of his own doing.  

Brown, who was finally healthy after suffering a foot injury last season, was training well in California until his father tragically passed away last week.  Understandably Brown left for home and will miss the vital final week of training leading up to the Combine.

Running back Dwayne Wright has also been set back.  The big interior ball carrier, who weighed in at over 220-pounds, was training hard to get his forty time below 4.7-seconds.  This is vital as scouts are beginning to pigeonhole the record setting running back from Fresno State as a fullback.  The thinking is that he is not fast enough to carry the ball at the next level.  

Wright was not particularly focused during his training and was easily distracted as his family and friends were close at hand.  His representatives moved him cross-country to seclude him in the hopes of getting his forty time down. Wright is now preparing for the Combine in Florida.

Some prospects are not fully recovered from injuries and are unlikely to run at the Combine.

Washington quarterback Isaiah Stanback is still not back to full health after suffering a foot injury in the middle of the season.  Not ready to run, Stanback will take part in the bench press, a rarity for signal callers, and is expected to complete 25-repititions at 225-pounds.

The story is similar for another Pac-10 passer.  Trent Edwards also missed a significant part of last season with a foot injury, and he will not be running this week.  Like Stanback, the Stanford quarterback will voluntarily bench press for scouts and is hoping to complete somewhere around 23 reps. 

Edwards is presently working with quarterback "guru" and former NFL coordinator Ted Tollner, who has been impressed with what he's seen out of the big passer.  Edwards is presently scheduled to throw at the Combine.

Tomorrow we will concentrate on the players who are expected to turn in monster workouts at the Combine.

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