Adios Indy … Tuesday Cup O’Combine

From Indianapolis, Indiana

Sometime Tuesday morning, the secondary will be on the field at Lucas Oil Stadium, the last position group to go through testing and drills at the 2010 NFL Combine.

By dinner time, most of the NFL will have sprinted to the airport and scattered back to home bases around the country. That’s where they will evaluate their experiences from the Combine and factor them into the puzzle that is the ‘10 NFL Draft in late April.

There’s a lot of attention placed on what happens at the Combine, tests like the 40-yard dash and bench press. There’s the very important medical information and the psychological testing. Also important are the interviews teams conduct with individual players.

More comes out of the Combine than just those numbers, tests results and interview notes. It’s a convention for NFL scouts and personnel types. After a day at the stadium and then interviews in the hotels of downtown Indianapolis, league types head for the bars, saloons and restaurants sprinkled throughout a vibrant city center. They complain about their boss, they complain about the long hours, they tell stories from the road and they enjoy the camaraderie of high-stress jobs in a very visible business.

If you hang around long enough and get to know these men, they will provide bits of information about what teams are really thinking about the prospects that will be available in the Draft. If you buy them a couple of beers, they’ll tell you more, all off the record and not for attribution.

As the Combine was coming to a conclusion, I spent the weekend sharing suds with a handful of personnel types I’ve gotten to know over the years. They are good men who have made a place for themselves in the business of judging players. In the increasingly paranoid world of the NFL, several of these guys asked to meet for a beer in establishments outside of downtown Indy, where we weren’t likely to run into any other scouts.

It’s here at the Combine where teams start spreading rumors, even outright lying about their interest or lack of interest in certain players. They mislead the agents, because they know it’s only a matter of time before the agents repeat back what they’ve been told to the media or other teams. Over the years it’s become a much more organized and planned activity to set up smoke screens, fakes, jukes, jives and the like. One of my guys said his team’s personnel staff would meet next week to start scripting some of the falsehoods they want to spread down the NFL grapevine. “It’s funny, but we never have a meeting after the draft to talk about whether crap we spread had any results,” said the scout.

Mostly I wanted to listen to the scouts talk about the players. Subterfuge was not something of interest to me. There were no earth-shattering revelations, just tidbits of information that are always good to have in the bank as the draft draws near. I did ask these guys one question: with the Combine ending, who were their top five players on their teams’ draft board?

All were willing to talk because between the five of them, none worked for a team with a selection in the top five; these were all players they knew there wasn’t a chance in the world they would get.

Here’s how each scout ranked the players:

  • A – Oklahoma DT Gerald McCoy, Oklahoma QB Sam Bradford, Nebraska DT Ndamukong Suh, Tennessee safety Eric Berry and Notre Dame QB Jimmy Clausen.
  • B – Bradford, Suh, McCoy, Oklahoma State Russell Okung and Clausen.
  • C – McCoy, Suh, Bradford, Clausen and Berry.
  • D – Suh, Bradford, McCoy, Berry and Florida CB Joe Harden.
  • E – Bradford, Suh, McCoy, Berry and Okung.
  • Combined – Bradford, Suh, McCoy, Clausen and Berry.

There were no surprises among the names mentioned and it’s doubtful much will change between now and the actual first five picks of the draft.

Of course, that doesn’t mean those top five names will be the first five selected come Thursday, April 22 and the first round. Remember last year when DE Tyson Jackson wasn’t on any team’s top five list, save one: Kansas City. When Scott Pioli grabbed Jackson with the third pick, it was a surprise to most everybody in the league; they judged Jackson as a prospect for the second half of the first round.

As one of the scouts said: “You’ve got Tampa and Washington at No. 3 and 4, so anything is possible there,” he said. ”

Here’s a collection of what these personnel types had to say about the top five guys:

BRADFORD“If his shoulder checks out, he should be No. 1 … he’s got all the things you want from a franchise quarterback … only concern is whether he’s fragile … we love his personality … there’s some tinkering that needs to be done with his release, but there’s nothing major.”

SUH“Personality and ability, can’t ask for more than that … our only concern is his lack of pass rushing background; he’ll need some work there on setting up blockers … he’s pretty much a bull rusher without a second move … hard to find any real negatives with that guy.”

MCCOY“This guy plays on the other side of the line of scrimmage … great motor and he shows leadership … he needs to work more on his conditioning and improve his upper body; otherwise he’s ready to play now … for an inside guy in college, he’s advanced as a pass rusher.”

CLAUSEN“We had him on the drawing plays on the board and he was sensational; he’s got a great sense of offense and defense …. Comes across as cocky, which wasn’t so much a negative until Jay Cutler came along … His training with Charlie Weis has him prepared for the league.”

BERRY“We don’t take safeties in the first round, but we might break that rule for Berry … has smarts and ability, plus he’s always involved in the play … great instincts to go with athletic ability; we think he could be another Ed Reed.

“Listen, we’ll go back home and visit all these Pro Days and within a month we’ll have all kinds of bad things to say about the top guys on our board,” one scout said. “I wish we could draft now.”

And what would everyone do for the next seven weeks?


One of the stars on Monday inside Lucas Oil Stadium was Missouri LB Sean Weatherspoon. He put up 34 reps on the bench press lifting 225 pounds. His vertical leap was 40 inches and his official time in the 40-yard dash was 4.68 seconds, although some clocks had him under 4.6 seconds.

Almost as impressive and quite a few pounds heavier was Suh, who ran the 40 in 4.98 and 5.07 seconds. He also had a vertical leap of 35.5 inches.

Among the linebackers, TCU’s Jerry Hughes turned in a time of 4.59 seconds. DE/OLB Brandon Graham of Michigan ran the 40 in 4.72 seconds but then was done for the day with a hamstring pull. Alabama’s ILB Rolando McClain did not work out because of injuries.

Among the defensive linemen, Dexter Davis of Arizona State was the fastest at 4.64 seconds. Indiana’s Greg Middleton had the best vertical leap at 38 inches. At linebacker, the fastest man was Mississippi State’s Jamar Chaney at 4.54 seconds. Donald Butler of Washington had 35 reps on the bench press and Oklahoma’s Keenan Clayton had a 41.5-inch vertical leap.

In the secondary, Oklahoma State safety Lucien Antoine had 28 reps on the bench press, with Boise State CB Kyle Wilson pushing up 25 reps.

The defensive backs finish things up on Tuesday with the 40-yard dash and other drills.


  • ABC – announced Monday night that Chad Ochocino will be a contestant on the upcoming edition of Dancing With The Stars.
  • BEARS – released OT Orlando Pace.
  • BUCCANEERS – will make tender offer to soon-to-be RFA WR Maurice Stovall for third-round compensation.
  • CHARGERS – will make tender offers to soon-to-be RFAs WR Vincent Jackson, WR Malcom Floyd, OLB Shawne Merriman and LT Marcus McNeil.
  • 49ers will make tender offers to soon-to-be RFAs G David Bass and LB Ahmad Brooks.
  • JAGUARS – re-signed DT Montavious Stanley.
  • JETS – will release RB Thomas Jones this week.
  • RAIDERS – will make a tender offer to soon-to-be RFA QB Bruce Gradkowski.
  • REDSKINS – will see OT Chris Samuels retire this week because of neck problems.
  • STEELERS – will not make a tender offer to RFA G Darnell Stapleton thus making him a UFA.
  • VIKINGS – re-signed WR Greg Lewis.

30 Responses to “Adios Indy … Tuesday Cup O’Combine”

  • March 2, 2010  - Mad Chief says:

    Outstanding job covering the Combine, Bob. Simply outstanding! We appreciate all the effort and work you put in. Sounds like you managed to have some fun, too.

    Bring on Free Agency! Let’s see if we can fill some “holes” before the draft. Clark, get that checkbook ready…and make sure there’s ink in your pen.

  • March 2, 2010  - el cid says:

    It will be an interesting draft day. Pioli is supposedly a good evaluator of talent and we got Jackson, Magee, et al in 09. Will Pioli go his own way in 2010 or will he go for an “impact guy” that the fans have been betting for, for two years.

    Mad Chief, I will back you but not sure the Chiefs will go your way in free agency. Remember they supposedly talked to a lot of free agents and only got Goff and a bunch of end of career’s who produced bumpkus on the whole. I am guessing one or two 3rd level guys over 32 years old and tell the media the “others interviewed” did not fit or chose other teams and who can doubt them, they are like fisherman or poker players and never lie.

  • March 2, 2010  - Mad Chief says:

    Well, regarding FA last year. A new GM and a new head coach…coming off a 2-14 season. Good players probably didn’t want to come into that situation. Not that we were a helluva lot better last year…but I think we’re more stable now. Plus, with the additions of Weis and Crennel…I think there are some good players that are going to be willing to come play for us now.

  • March 2, 2010  - el cid says:

    It it was not an uncapped year, I believe you are correct. It has to be played out to see just what the Chiefs end up with and how they chose to deal with their needs and money management ( I believe they were near the bottom spending cap money for several years). By then, of course, the Chiefs will face 2010 with what they have.

  • March 2, 2010  - jimbo says:

    Bob, your combine reporting has been 1st class & enjoyable reads, all of them. Thanks.

    With FA looming, I’m gonna try and restrain myself from commenting on our “gotta have” Draft Picks, for now… I keep tooting my horn for Sproles & Wilfork, but I know the FA list will get longer soon. It would be silly to not wait & see what becomes available in the coming weeks. There are already more big name FA available than had been predicted by the “know it all” press & sports gurus.
    We need quality players, we need to spend lots of money, we need to do it this year, we need to get avid Chief fans excited. We’re talking dancing in the street excited.
    We all know that Scott Pioli will make the final decision on all players we acquire. He has been touted as one of the best talent evaluators. If in fact Clark Hunt brings his Visa Card. I think Pioli will choose wisely & we will be Dancing in the streets like it’s Mardi Gras.
    Go Chiefs.

  • March 2, 2010  - ChiefAddiction63 says:

    The Chiefs don’t have the intangibles to attract big time FAs; weather, winning team, high profile city, etc. so that means they will have to out spend the other teams to make up for it. Do you really think Clark will loosen the purse strings that much? Keep dreamin, ain’t gonna happen.

  • March 2, 2010  - SG says:

    “Plus, with the additions of Weis and Crennel…I think there are some good players that are going to be willing to come play for us now.”

    Does Coach’s “America’s Biggest Loser” fitness program cause those positives to disappear?

  • March 2, 2010  - Mad Chief says:

    I disagree, ChiefAddiction63.

    We have class ownership, a well respected GM, an up-and-coming Head Coach (who is also well respected), very highly regarded Offensive and Defensive Coordinators, and some of the best fans in the NFL. There may be some players that might not give the Chiefs a thought…but there will be a lot of them that will. Things are changing at Arrowhead, and I think there will be some good players that will want to be a part of it.

  • March 2, 2010  - SG says:

    “Keep dreamin, ain’t gonna happen.”

    I’m not convinced that other teams aren’t going to be very mindful of what’s going to happen with the CBA negotiations when they make their decisions on these FA’s. I’m not sure the pricing on some of these players is going to be ridiculous. That being said, is Julius Peppers coming to KC? “Anybody’s guess…” But what about Mr. Rolle or Mr. Dansby from AZ? Those seem to be much more in play.

    In fact, it’s likely we’ll see what NFL teams’ management believes the cap number will look like for veterans based on the structure of the contracts agreed to this offseason.

  • March 2, 2010  - Mad Chief says:

    SG says:
    “Does Coach’s “America’s Biggest Loser” fitness program cause those positives to disappear?”

    No, I don’t believe it does at all. I think Todd Haley is a coach who expects 100% effort from his players. And believe it or not, I think there are a lot of guys who WANT to play for a coach like that. For those that don’t? Who cares? I don’t want them on our team anyway.

  • March 2, 2010  - True Red & Gold says:


    Marvelous job covering the combine. I hope that you are getting compensated well for your work because we are for sure getting our money’s worth.

    I know a thanks doesn’t pay the bills but I appreciate your fine work these past days. I hope they were rewarding for you.

    I am looking forward to more of the same during free agency and the leading up to draft day.

  • March 2, 2010  - Scott C says:

    Cool story Bob. It’s fun to hear about some of the silly stuff that goes on in the background. After the Chiefs 1st pick last year I have no idea what to expect. It’s gonna be like when my wife and I were expecting but we didn’t know if it was going to be a boy or a girl. (Although either way we were happy.) We’ll have to see with the pick

  • March 2, 2010  - Danny W says:

    Ya Bob Thanks you are the man period.

  • March 2, 2010  - Danny W says:

    With the emergence of RT Ryan O’Callahan and and the good play of Wade Smith at right guard, the Chiefs need be concerned about two other players center with Rudy and right guard with Waters going on the decline in his final years. I don’t care what we do with Brandon Albert I am confident in the young man flourishing were ever you put him on the line. Nose Tackle is another big one. I think offensive line is first because Clark Hunt will want to protect his most expensive asset. So with 2b we need a wide out of some kind if one of those two needs are not filled. After that draft running backs, potential return men Rolle at safety just cover your bases is all I am asking. I know it seems like I’m saying lets go 8-8 but that is a far sight better than 4-12

  • March 2, 2010  - el cid says:

    Good points but O’Call. is no spring chicken and, while history, we had problems replacing Roaf and Shields, it took years, so Pioli needs to plan ahead.

    Until the end of draft day one, I want a starting Center, several available. Also would love a decent WR but only so many picks to fill lots of needs.

    Lastly, Mad Chief, we have a absentee owner who seldom gets involve in day to day situations, a half good thing. Our GM has the best history in all the NFL but he is disappointing to me in free agency and draft in 09. Hopefully he will vastly improve in 2010. Head Coach, I missed big time last year on him. Did not know he was operating in 09 with not the best assist. coaches he wanted. That sould change with new coor. As for the fans, were great in the beginning, flopped with the lack of wins in the ’70s, returned when Marty got here, and flopped since. Partly because of the poor quality of the organization but great fans, not so much.

  • March 2, 2010  - SG says:

    “(Although either way we were happy.)”

    After the Jackson selection last year, if Pioli throws us a total curveball that might be considered a reach, will you be near as happy?

  • March 2, 2010  - SG says:

    “Nose Tackle is another big one.”

    I think I’m the only one proposing this…but what about a Chiefs trade with Tampa Bay…moving up from #5 overall to #3 overall and parting with our 1st rounder (#5 overall), our TG pick (#50 overall) and our 4th rounder (#99 overall approx.) to get either Mr. Suh or Mr. McCoy as that Nose Tackle?

  • March 2, 2010  - Mad Chief says:


    Your scenario is assuming that the Rams take a QB…because Suh and McCoy could very easily go #1 & #2.

    That being said…ARE YOU FREAKIN’ CRAZY??? No way either of those guys is worth anywhere close to that. No way.

  • March 2, 2010  - SG says:


    I might be…

    Would a swap to Detroit involving #56 and the 5th overall pick for their pick be a more attractive option since the people here seem “all about pursuing the potential value of DJ” ?

  • March 2, 2010  - Mad Chief says:

    Well…that would be better than the first thing you mentioned!

    But, I’d really like to see what DJ will do next year…and see if Crennel can bring out the best in this kid. Unless someone makes us an offer too good to refuse, I say keep him.

  • March 2, 2010  - PnS says:

    Coolaid anyone…… Mad Chief you blew right over what the scouts said about Jackson.Yes what a great job Pioli did in 09 it leaves me all warm & fuzzy. That….. they well do a great job in the draft this year???? Yet some want to attack anyone that does’nt share the love for Pioli that they feel. I hope they ( love fans ) are right……but……the proof is in the pudding as they say. Anyone that does’nt feel that this draft is very important in the future of Pioli & our chiefs is crazy. Count this chiefs fan….. as holding his breath in 2010.

  • March 2, 2010  - Big Vess says:

    I agree we need to keep DJ now that Pendergrast is gone in which I thought none of the defensive guys did not care for him very much. I have a feeling with Crennel being there he is really going to bring the best out of the whole squad.And as free agency goes I really think Pioli may not go to everyones flavor kind of guys. He knows that he will not break the bank with the guys out there because of name. He will want to bring in guys that can back up the money that they will be paying them. I suspect that he will draw comparision to the guys he would resign with the team and the guys that are out there.Me myself DJ is a priority to resign and Chambers. Maybe just maybe they just might flirt with Rolle,Dansby,and Boldin one of those guys I can see them signing. Sproles forget about it!!! They want a bruiser type back like a Chester Taylor I can see them trying for him. If they give the Cards a third for

  • March 2, 2010  - Big Vess says:

    Boldin. I would not be unhappy.

  • March 2, 2010  - Mad Chief says:


    I don’t feel that I “attacked” anyone. And if I did…it certainly wasn’t you. Nobody else has complained.

    Glad you feel all “warm and fuzzy”. Pioli didn’t have his scouts in place last year. He was using what was still in place from Edwards and Peterson. This year, Pioli has “his” guys in place. Yes, this year is important. We’ll see.

    And for the umpteenth time…you cannot judge a draft after one year. It generally takes about three years. So, we’ll see if Jackson turns out to be the “bust” so many say he is. Because right now, it’s way too early to tell.

  • March 3, 2010  - SG says:

    “They want a bruiser type back like a Chester Taylor I can see them trying for him.”

    Thank you for mentioning that – kudos on the thinking there…and your comments with regard to DJ are also well received.

  • March 3, 2010  - el cid says:

    Always appreciated when folks defend the drafting process, as in cannot tell how good after one year. Then they say we want an impact, starting type player in the 2010 draft. I do not think you can have it both ways. Either the 09 draft was no good and will take time and/or the 2010 draft will take the same time. Just a note the Chiefs current bosses say while their scouts were not in place for the 09 draft, the carl’s crew had been kicked out of the process and had no imput. I say the 2010 draft will tell a lot about Pioli. If he drafts like 09, I say he may be the wrong guy OR he may be building for the distant future, say 2015. If he can grab 3-4 REAL starters, not just give a stiff the job, then 09 was just a case of not being prepared for what was here. Either way Pioli should show his real ability in 2010 and we can judge for ourselves.

    Last note when Elway got to Denver, he look terrible his first year, a bust. BUT now and then he would make a play that made you say WOW, there was something there. Cannot say the same for anybody in the KC 09 draft, more like, wow, where did this guy come from and why did they draft him.LOL

  • March 3, 2010  - Mad Chief says:

    Well, everybody wants an “impact” player. A guy that comes in and kicks ass from Day 1. How many of those players were there last year? Very few.

    I’m pretty curious to see what Jackson and Magee can do with a REAL DC, and a REAL DL Coach. Because what they had for their first year in the NFL wasn’t much.

  • March 3, 2010  - SG says:

    “…where did this guy come from and why did they draft him”

    We cannot say the same…yet. Jamaal Charles – where did he come from and why did they draft him?

  • March 3, 2010  - Mad Chief says:

    Exactly. Charles didn’t “light it up” his first year in the league. The NFL is a different game than college ball. It takes most guys some time to adjust. And some never do.

    That’s why we need some sort of “Rookie” pay scale. Throwing these huge contracts at players that have never taken a snap in the NFL is crazy. Why not make sure they can make the transition to the NFL before making them multi-millionaires?

  • March 3, 2010  - el cid says:

    Sorry SG, Charles showed up his first year. His fumbles was the complaint as I remember.

    I remind you the in 08 the team was 2-14 and Jackson spent the first ten games falliing down and getting credit for tackles when runner fell over him. Magee actually look better with less playing time. Lawrence is/was a waste, RB Williams looked like he does not belong on a Div. II team and Ohio St. CB took a big step back from his college days. WHEN YOU DRAFT FOR A 2-14 TEAM, YOUR DRAFT PICKS PLAY BECAUSE THE GUY FROM THE PREVIOUS YEAR ARE GARBAGE. Did not happen in 09. Pioli can fix a lot this year but not with an identical draft as last.

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