Is Zygi Wilf in the top half of richest NFL owners? … Some scouts continue to be turned off by players who don't fully participate in the NFL Scouting Combine. … Plus, a look at some of the top 40 times and heaviest players at the Combine and more notes.
The current issue of Forbes Magazine delineates its annual list of the 400 wealthiest Americans, and the roll call includes half of the NFL's owners. Here's the list of 16, with their rankings among the 400: 17. Paul Allen, Seattle, $12.7 billion; 101. Steve Ross, Miami, $3.1 billion; 130 (tie). Stan Kroenke, St. Louis, $2.7 billion; 136 (tie). Malcolm Glazer and family, Tampa Bay, $2.6 billion; 182 (tie). Jerry Jones, Dallas, $2.0 billion; 269 (tie). Robert Kraft, New England, $1.5 billion; 290 (tie). Bob McNair, Houston, $1.4 billion; 290 (tie). Jim Irsay, Indianapolis, $1.4 billion; 308 (tie). Steve Bisciotti, Baltimore, $1.3 billion; 332 (tie). Arthur Blank, Atlanta, $1.2 billion; 356 (tie). Bud Adams, Tennessee, $1.15 billion; 365 (tie). Dan Snyder, Washington, $1.1 billion; 365 (tie). Alex Spanos and family, San Diego, $1.1 billion; 382 (tie). Tom Benson, New Orleans, $1.05 billion; 385 (tie). Jeff Lurie, Philadelphia, $1.0 billion; 385 (tie). William Ford, Detroit, $1.0 billion.
Despite the full participation of some of the draft hopefuls currently rated as the No. 1 or 2 players at their respective positions – like quarterback Cam Newton
, tailback Mark Ingram
, wide receivers Julio Jones
and A.J. Green
and cornerback Patrick Peterson
– 30 percent of the non-specialist players at the combine (96 of 320) failed to complete all of the prescribed drills. That's a dramatic improvement over the last 10 years, but still a percentage too high for some talent scouts.
"It's like getting only halfway through an interview and expecting to still land the job," said one frustrated college director. "But what are you gonna do? You can't make 'em do it all."
It should be noted that of the 96 players who bypassed at least one of the drills, several were still recovering from injuries incurred during the season or from resultant surgeries.
It's been a long time since a first round didn't include at least one safety, a position historically devalued in the draft, but one that is gaining some popularity in recent years. Counting Malcolm Jenkins
in 2009 as a safety – he was technically drafted as a cornerback, but most agreed that free safety, the position he played in 2010, was his best spot – there's been a safety taken in Round One every draft since 1988. But many scouts suggest that, to this point, there is no safety who has separated from the rather average pack to be worthy of first-round status.
Before linebacker Kamerion Wimbley signed his one-year tender as a franchise free agent, the Raiders offered him a four-year, $25 million contract, The Sports Xchange has learned. So he can hardly be blamed for grabbing the franchise deal, which guarantees him $11 million-plus. If there is a CBA, Oakland might revisit discussions on a long-term deal.
Bigger is better: Of the 55 offensive linemen who were at the combine, only four weighed in at less than 300 pounds. And of those four, three were at 299 pounds. Eight of the blockers were 325 pounds or more. The lightest lineman by far was University of Cincinnati center Jason Kelce, who was 280 pounds.
Although there has been optimistic talk this week about a possible return of Baltimore linebacker Sergio Kindle to the field in 2011, there really is very little new to report, and nothing will be finalized until after a new CBA is negotiated. The former Texas star, a second-round pick in the '10 draft, suffered a fractured skull when he fell down a flight of stairs last spring, and missed his entire rookie year.
Here are the 11 prospects who timed at 4.40 or better in the 40 at the combine: Miami CB Demarcus Van Dyke, 4.28; LSU CB Patrick Peterson, 4.34; Maryland RB Da'Rel Scott, 4.34; Abilene Christian WR Edmond Gates, 4.37; Fort Valley State WR Ricardo Lockette, 4.37; Auburn RB Mario Fannin, 4.38; Alabama WR Julio Jones, 4.39; Ohio State CB Chimdi Chekwa, 4.40; South Carolina CB Chris Collier, 4.40; Locke, 4.40; and Todman, 4.40.
There are some personnel people who now feel that Scott has worked his way into the top 3-4 prospects in a relatively thin tailback pool. A few feel that the former Maryland standout could even sneak into the bottom of the first round.
By the way, the slowest 40 time was by Houston guard Isaiah Thompson, who ran a 6.06.
Unless there is a dramatic change of heart in Baltimore, veteran wide receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh won't be back with the Ravens in 2011. Houshmandzadeh, 33, was a disappointment after the Ravens signed him following his release by Seattle. He caught only 30 passes, was not a plus in the locker room, and the Ravens' coaches quickly discovered what a lot of people in the league suspected, that Houshmandzadeh simply can't separate from defenders anymore.
The last word: "He's one of those guys who doesn't know when he's going to run out of gas. It happens to all of us. It happens to the best of us. But if he's got a little bit left, I encourage him to doing it. Highly. You know me, we always discuss those guys who can help us. Obviously, we haven't been going in that direction and coming off the layoff and all that stuff and where it's going to go, where our young football team, I don't know if we have the ability to do that. I'm sure he can help someone, if not us, if it ever came to that." – Tampa Bay coach Raheem Morris, on the decision of Barber to return to the NFL, after a four-season retirement