More notes from our time in Indy (updated 2/26)
Well, the NFL Scouting Combine is over and I’m back at Rotobahn Headquarters. Forgive me for taking yesterday off, but I was spent from travel and needed a recharge. Rotobahn’s first trip to Indianapolis was definitely a success in terms of getting actionable information and we are looking forward to going back in 2015. I have a few more tidbits today and I’ll be discussing the information in all three of our Combine reports with Jim Hackett on our next podcast over at weei.com.
If you missed my earlier reports, you can access them here.
Jaguars HC Gus Bradley, has made the decision to play one of our guys, Denard Robinson, at running back. "A guy like Denard Robinson. We didn't even know what position he was going to play for us - he was the offensive weapon. Now we know, 'OK, we're going to really lock in on running back,' and see what he can do. I think we've got some core guys we feel strong about." Can Robinson be a factor? "I'm not going to say one way or another, but I'm really excited to find out. The guy is infectious, he has natural traits, the team gravitates toward him, he has explosiveness and he has really good vision so let's give him a chance and see what he has. I wouldn't put it by him that he would be a story." Robinson is a nice player to add in long terms formats right now.
Raiders HC Dennis Allen had this to say on RB Latavius Murray at his press conference. “I think Latavius is one of those guys that we’re anxious to see be healthy and get out there and play. He’s a big back that’s got excellent speed and excellent size. He runs tough. Unfortunately, he had the injury this past year and wasn’t able to go out and compete. We’ll find out a lot more about Latavius Murray as we go through the offseason program and into training camp.” Also of note, when asked about SEC players, coach Allen had this to say. “I think that the SEC is probably the deepest conference in college football, and I think you do see a little bit of a difference in those players just in the level of competition and what they’d had to go up against. I wouldn’t say it’s all encompassing, but I think overall they’re a little bit more NFL-ready.”
Speaking of SEC players.... The more I watch A.J. McCarron, the more I like him. I will be posting a fairly positive scouting report on the Alabama QB in the coming weeks. We also liked what we saw of him at the Combine in terms of his arm. He’s a confident kid but not arrogant. The big thing is that he’s proven to be able to handle the big stage and he’s fundamentally sound. We also like his relaxed throwing motion and his footwork in the pocket. McCarron may not be NFL-ready, but he’s close.
Anybody who follows Rotobahn knows how high we are on Johnny Manziel, and we saw nothing this weekend to change our minds. He was poised in front of the press and everything we’re hearing from teams is very positive. We’d be shocked if he’s not taken near the top of the draft. Here’s what 49ers HC Jim Harbaugh had to say on Manziel. Have you watched Johnny Manziel? “Yeah, I have.” What did you think? “Impressed.” Will he succeed in the NFL? “Yes, I think he will. He's very competitive, he's a winner. I think those qualities translate very well to the NFL.” Manziel’s favorite target, Mike Evans, was asked about what kind of teammate Johnny was. “Great teammate, always willing to work. I would go to war with him on any day.”
USC WR Marqise Lee, who ran a bit slower than expected, is shaping up as a potential bargain on draft day. Then again, DeAndre Hopkins ran poorly last year and showed poorly at the Combine and ended up going high. You never know. I thought Lee was pretty solid at the podium. He seemed confident in his abilities. He said that talking with current Bill and former Trojan teammate WR Robert Woods had given him confidence and sort of demystified the jump between college and pro. “I got that as soon as the season was over. I went to Rob and talked to him about many a thing -- about the process, how tough it's going to be, what I should look forward to. Rob just broke it down as it's basically just football all over again. You shouldn't be nervous about anything.” We see Lee doing very well as a pro as long as he can stay healthy. His Rotobahn scouting report is coming in the next few weeks.
I’m looking forward to writing Jordan Matthews scouting report. We were impressed with him in person as we were impressed with him on film. I expect his stock to continue to rise in the coming weeks and months. Only the depth of the year’s class will keep him out of round one. The Vanderbilt product backed up his talk and ran an official 4.46 in the 40. At 6’3’ and with a smooth gate, he is a very interesting prospect. Matthews said that his competitiveness is one of his strongest suits and we agree. “I think my competitiveness. Being at Vanderbilt we had a lot of adversity, we had a lot of change. We had three head coaches, six different quarterbacks, three offensive coordinators, three wide receivers coaches. I think a lot of guys around the country played with a little more stability but I was able to adapt to change and I feel like I was able to come out and be one of the top in my field. So I feel like that is something different about me.” Being that he’ll have to change offenses yet again in 2014, he makes a strong point.
Bishop Sankey has been a productive back the last two years at Washington and he showed off NFL caliber wheels with a 4.47 40 time. When asked about his pass blocking ability, and whether he can pass block well enough at the next level, Sankey gave a response with some meat on it. "Yes. My freshman and sophomore years, we ran more of a Pro-style offense - a lot of Pro sets, a lot of pass protection. Same thing my junior year. The only difference was that we set up the offense and we went at a quicker tempo. So I feel pretty comfortable pass protecting and I have had some experience doing that." Sankey is a back to know about for sure. His Rotobahn scouting report will be up in the near future. I still have a few games of his to work through.
Baylor RB Lache Seastrunk clocked a somewhat disappointing 40 time at 4.51, but he was a pretty serious guy when we sat down with him. I don’t think the time should scare anybody off and it’s not indicative of how fast he is in pads. He was impressive in agility drills.
The Eddie Lacy Era is underway in Green Bay and it sounded as if HC Mike McCarthy is ready to give him a big load. “Eddie Lacy obviously had a heck of a year. He was a primary player for us, a play-maker. Eddie’s focus is on being a three-down player. He has to play all three downs throughout the whole game.” McCarthy went on to say that he wanted to get James Starks back (he’s a free agent) and that he wanted to use all of his backs, but it’s clear that Lacy could be a rare old school bell cow back in 2014. McCarthy was also bullish on the future of Brandon Boykin, which is a big deal when you consider that James Jones is probably leaving via free agency.
For those who read Rotobahn in 2013, you know how much respect we have for Christine Michael’s ability as a runner. It seems that Pete Carroll agrees and has higher expectations for Michael in 2014. "He's really talented and a really exciting guy in our program. Probably has the most breakout potential of anybody because we haven't seen much of him yet. We've seen him, we know that he can do really special stuff. He played in a very competitive position. It was hard to get in there with Marshawn and Robert Turbin. But he'll give those guys a real run when we come back to work. He'll grow a lot from year one to year two. We all know in our program that he's going to be very explosive and a really exciting guy. He showed that in his chances that he got."
I'll be back tomorrow with a new scouting report and I'll also be posting some Combine numbers for you all to chew on.
2014 Scouting Reports:
- Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville
- Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A & M
- Dustin Vaughan, QB, West Texas A & M
- Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson
- Odell Beckham, Jr., WR, LSU
- Kelvin Benjamin, WR, Florida State
- Allen Robinson, WR, Penn State
- L'Damian Washington, WR, Missouri
- Brandin Cooks, WR, Oregon State
- Robert Herron, WR, Wyoming
- Carlos Hyde, RB, Ohio State
- Lache Seastrunk, RB, Baylor
- Dri Archer, RB, Kent State
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