2013 NFL Scouting Combine news and notes from Thursday
By Tyler Lurkins
As the combine begins, here are some day one thoughts and feelings.
JARVIS JONES, KEENAN ALLEN, and MATT BARKLEY
Jones is considered one of the top talents in the draft and Allen is one of the top receivers. Rumors questioning commitment and heart surround Jones. The decision to skip the combine will only add to the mix. While he may indeed be a top talent, teams will be very weary of selecting him very high. If rumors are true, Jones could be an injury prone, high maintenance player that may not be worth the risk.
Meanwhile Allen is passing on the workouts due to injury. Maybe his pro day goes well, maybe it doesn’t. Fact of the matter is, Allen will only have one day to judge his talents. With the rise of DeAndre Hopkins, Coraddelle Patterson, and the thought of a sleeper usually emerging, Allen could drop to round two. He could be this year’s Alshon Jeffery.
Barkley is only hurting his draft stock daily. I personally considered him a Sam Bradford type. Like Bradford, Barkley has questions about his deep balls and a shoulder injury. Yet Barkley is beginning to have the feel of a Kirk Cousins, a smart, wily QB who can control a game, but not necessarily take it over. Like Cousins, look for Barkley to maybe be a third round development pick.
It may be time to at least purchase a refundable ticket on the Bray express. Bray measured out a 6’6”, 232 lbs. Many scouts suggested his size to be more along the lines of 6’4”, 215. In the NFL, the 2 inches and 10 lbs. make an enormous difference. The cannon will be shown off and it will be impressive. If Bray has decent interviews and shows good footwork, he could go right back to being one of the top three QB’s selected. Teams looking to air the ball out may be willing to risk a higher pick on Bray.
No lineman necessarily drew dirty looks from scouts. Justin Pugh, considered a sleeper at LT, is probably smallish for the position, but may be a serviceable guard. Rather than tossing a 2nd round pick on him, teams will look at him in the middle rounds.
Brian Winters has shown the bulk to be a powerful run blocker at RT or G. The fact he played LT in college helps as teams will covet a player that can play all positions. Same can be said for San Jose State’s David Quesenberry. Johnathan Cooper’s added bulk only makes him more increasingly popular. On the opposite end, D.J. Fluker’s weight loss shows scouts commitment to health and fluidity. Travis Frederick was expected to be close to 330, but his 312 frame makes scouts feel more comfortable with his value at center.
Names you may want to remember include Terron Armstead, Chris Faulk, Manase Fokiti, Luke Marquardt, and Brennan Williams. Armstead and Fokiti are the top small school prospects. Fokiti at one point was the starting LT for Kansas St. He is stout and very powerful and may be a sleeper guard prospect. While Armstead is a shot put star and will have the footwork and power from a track and field program.
Faulk and Williams have both seen first round grade outs for a time and have both had injury concerns. Faulk has faced a severe knee injury, but his smaller than expect height, plus too much bulk could keep him in the middle rounds. Brennan Williams, before a torn labrum, had scouts drooling over his elite athleticism at RT. He could very well sneak in the 2nd round.
Finally, Luke Marquardt is a very intriguing prospect. The measurable are outstanding. Scouts will be excited to see Marquardt’s movements with a 6’8” frame. Marquardt has been working diligently with Hall of Fame tackle Jackie Slater. Don’t be surprised if your team selects him the mid to late rounds.
The tight end market may have taken a major hit. Ertz is not as long and tall as expected. Eifert is tall with long arms, but 10 more lbs. would be greatly desired. For now, I can only assume one of these two, but not both, will be a first rounder. The surprise is again Vance McDonald from Rice. At close to 270 lbs., he’ll run as well as the other prospects, but his huge hands and proven athleticism will send him shooting up boards. Although his blocking needs tuned, he has the weight to toss around. On the opposite of the spectrum is Jordan Reed. He may be way too small to be an NFL tight end. He’s more of a situational pass catcher at this point.
NFL Mock Drafts below