4:54 p.m. - Texas Tech WR Michael Crabtree, who’s the consensus No. 1 wide receiver, is still not 100-percent from the ankle injury he reaggravated in the Cotton Bowl, and will not workout this weekend. Crabtree said that he’s about 90-percent, but hopes to be at full health by March 26th, which is when his Pro Day is scheduled to take place.
4:35 p.m. - When asked to compare his game to a current NFL player, North Carolina WR Hakeem Nicks said, “My favorite player is Steve Smith (Carolina Panthers), but I think I compare more to Anquan Boldin.”
At 6-foot, 212 pounds, Nicks is a physical receiver, who runs solid routes and possesses elite hands; a scouting report that many would give when discussing Boldin. But just like Boldin, the biggest knock against Nicks is his vertical speed; or, is it?
“When I was training, I was clocked at a low-to-mid 4.4,” he said. “Hopefully, I can clock lower than that; that’s my goal.”
Nicks is expected to participate in a full workout on Sunday.
4:08 p.m. - Georgia RB Knowshon Moreno is one of the top running backs available in the draft, because of receiving ability and his explosiveness as a runner. But the one thing that keeps coming up is his elusiveness in the open field.
“I’ve been training with the best, Michael Johnson,” Moreno said. “I think I’ve been doing a great job in preparing for the 40. I brought my time down three-tenths of a second, so we’ll see how I run.”
Moreno’s versatility and vision are comparable to some of the best backs in the NFL, and when he was asked who he patterns his game after, he said, “There’s a lot of great running backs in the NFL,” he said. “I really love the way Adrian Peterson runs, also LaDainian Tomlinson, but my favorite running back is Walter Payton. They’re all great running backs; I just love their style of play.”At 5-foot-10, 217 pounds, Moreno added more bulk to his frame and managed to cut time off of his 40. If he’s able to run the “4.4” he mentioned in the 40 on Sunday, Moreno will be the first running back off the board on draft day.
3:47 p.m. - One of the fastest rising running backs in the draft is NC State’s Andre Brown. At 6-foot, 224 pounds, Brown is a physical runner who runs tough between the tackles and is deceptively quick on the edge. But the element that has stood out this offseason is his toughness as a blocker.
“I’m not afraid to go out there and block for the quarterback,” Brown said. “I go out there and try to hit them as hard as I can, and make sure that the quarterback can get the ball off.”
After being hampered by injuries during the course of his collegiate career, Brown - despite being very talented - became an after thought. He never amassed over 1,000 yards in a season and he totaled just 523 carries during his four-year career. With that said, he still received an invitation to participate in the Senior Bowl and took advantage of his time in Mobile.
“The Senior Bowl taught me that I can come here and compete with the best of them,” Brown said. “It was a wake up call. I know that I have the talent to play at this level and I’m going to go out there and play as hard as I can.”NFL teams will catch a glimpse of Brown on Sunday.
2:47 p.m. - Another speedy receiver stood at the podium this afternoon, Maryland’s Darrius Heyward-Bey. The 6-foot-1, 210-pound playmaker has the ability to become a deep threat at the next level, but his inconsistent hands and route running have been questioned and may force him out of the first round.
But, if he performs well in the 40-yard dash this weekend, Heyward-Bey could elevate his status into the late first round.“I want to run a comfortable 40,” Heyward-Bey said. “I don’t want to strain myself, but I think I’ll run between a 4.3 and 4.4.
2:20 p.m. - Missouri WR Jeremy Maclin declared that he will participate in all the workouts this weekend and is looking forward to the 40-yard dash.
“I’m excited,” Maclin said. “It’s something that you’ve done, so there’s no reason to get nervous about it. Hopefully I’ll run a personal best and if I run a personal best it will be really, really low. So, we’ll see how things go.”
Maclin’s personal best in the 40 was a 4.31, but his goal this weekend is a 4.29.The 6-foot-, 198-pound speedster is one of the most dynamic players in the draft and offers great versatility to a team at the next level.
1:36 p.m. –USC QB Mark Sanchez had a little fun in the media room this afternoon. When Georgia QB Matthew Stafford was speaking with the media, Sanchez walked up towards the podium and asked Stafford, “What do you think of Sanchez as a quarterback?” Stafford, with a smile, replied, “Get out of here, Mark.”
Sanchez and Stafford have a good relationship and consider each other friends. Sanchez said that the two hit it off this offseason, because they share a similar personality. But even though they’re friends, the top two QBs in the draft are in Indianapolis for one reason - to show NFL scouts their ability.
Well, at least Sanchez will, as Stafford has opted not to throw.
“I feel I have to do it,” Sanchez said, regarding his participation in throwing drills. “I want to do it. It would kill me not to throw. It will be fun.”
There are a lot of analysts that believe that Stafford is head and shoulders above Sanchez in the quest to be the No. 1 selection in April. Scout.com’s NFL Draft Analyst Chris Steuber proclaims that Sanchez will be the top pick. Sanchez declared that he had lunch with the Lions staff yesterday and would be happy to join the franchise that made history or lack there of with a 0 – 16 finish.
Mentally, that’s one of the toughest obstacles, especially as a quarterback,” Sanchez said, about coming from a successful collegiate program and potentially joining an NFL franchise that didn’t have a win.
“It’s a dog fight every week [in the NFL]. There are no easy games and that’s what you get when you come to the NFL. When you come from a place like SC, a 12 – 1 record has people asking what happened in that one game. But in the NFL, if you’re 12 – 1, that’s pretty darn good. It’s about turning it around. When you’re 0 – 16, it takes more than one person; it takes a lot. I’m just excited for this opportunity and ready for any challenge.
12:28 p.m. - Ball State QB Nate Davis was the first of the underclassmen QBs to answer questions from the media this afternoon. At 6-foot-2, 226 pounds, Davis has the arm strength and accuracy needed to be a starter in the NFL. But it’s his mechanics and footwork that need to improve.
After leading Ball State to a 12 – 0 start, Davis finished the season on a down note. The Cardinals lost the MAC Championship game to Buffalo, and followed that game up with a loss to Tulsa in the GMAC Bowl. Even after the poor finish, Davis revealed that it was just time to move on.
“I accomplished everything I needed to at Ball State,” Davis said. “It was the right move.”Davis, who’s famously known for wearing gloves and not using the laces on the football, stated, “I use the seams as the laces instead of the strings.” When asked if he would continue to wear gloves in the NFL, Davis responded, “I will not wear gloves, I never threw an NFL ball with gloves on.”
12:00 p.m. –After a prolific collegiate career, Rice WR Jarett Dillard has the skill and quickness to be a successful player at the next level. But, despite the numbers he posted during his career, there are a lot of questions surrounding the former Owls star – his speed being one of them.
“I think I will run in the 4.4 range,” Dillard said. “I’ll see what I can do.”
At 5-foot-10, 191 pounds, Dillard is a prototypical slot receiver in the NFL. But he also believes he can play on the outside. Dillard had a promising week of practice at the East West Shrine game and turned some heads with his quickness and soft hands. In the game, he had three catches for 51 yards and a touchdown.
“I think my performance there helped me and my draft stock,” he said. “But, I didn’t do anything differently there that I didn’t do at Rice.”
11:25 a.m. – Oklahoma WR Juaquin Iglesias was the first skill player to speak to the media this morning and admitted that his speed is the one aspect of his game that teams are questioning.
“I’m going to do everything here; the 40, the shuttle, everything,” said Iglesias. “But, the thing that I’m focusing on is my speed; my 40-yard. I expect to run under a 4.5 and hopefully that gets done.”
Iglesias measured in this morning at 6-foot-1, 211 pounds, which raised the question if he translates to playing in the slot or the outside.
“I see myself being able to do both,” he said. “I just want to get on the field and stay on the field. I want to make plays for the team that drafts me.”
Click here to check out the latest from the Scout.com team in Indianapolis.
A member of the Pro Football Writers of America and the Football Writers Association of America, Chris Steuber has provided his analysis of the NFL and NFL Draft prospects on the web and on the radio since 1999. Steuber’s features are published across the Scout.com network and on FoxSports.com. If you wish to contact Chris Steuber, email him at: firstname.lastname@example.org.