Five Down - Combine Edition  

Posted by Walter

Five Down - Five players who cost themselves a lot of money at the combine (again, in no particular order)

5) Zach Miller, TE Arizona State

Walter: Not only did his main competition, Miami's Greg Olsen, perform brilliantly, but Miller's performance alone would have been enough to drop him out of round one. Once thought of as a Todd Heap clone, Miller was downright awful catching the football, and his 40 time is somewhat disgraceful for a TE. Miller ran a 4.89 in the 40, putting him on par with guys like Quinn PitcocK (DT who ran a 4.9), Adam Carriker (DE who ran a 4.9) and Charles Johnson (DE who ran a 4.87). I am pretty certain that none of those guys are going to be trying to separate from safeties and linebackers while running pass routes.

Frazier: It was seen as a two-horse race heading into the combine for the top TE off the board. Well, the race is over. As good as Olsen looked, Miller looked equally terrible. It's not like the kid had astounding numbers in college, and at Arizona St. he wasn't exactly asked to block a lot, so it's time to question whether he's even the second best guy out there. He didn't show great hands, he didn't show great athleticism, he has never shown an ability to block. If I'm thinking about drafting a tight end, and I'm too late for Olsen, it's probably time to start looking at some project guys. Chandler from Iowa is bigger, faster, and actually had to block in college. Now, that's something to consider. Hell, I might even start considering basketball players or other athletes, because Miller did less than impress.

4) Gary Russell, RB Minnesota

Walter: Russell entered Indy as this year's answer to Maurice Clarett, a talented yet troubled former big 10 running back. Unfortunately for Russell, he left the combine the same way Clarett did......disgraced. Russell flunked out of Minnesota last year, so he has had plenty of time to work on his 40 time. Yet this weekend in Indianapolis he clocked in at the 4.8 range, which, perhaps ironically, is exactly where Maurice Clarett was a few years ago. Though Russell was never considered a very high pick to begin with, had he run in the 4.5 range he would have been drafted. As things stand now, I doubt any NFL coach has any use for him.

Frazier: It's just kind of sad, really. This kid had one chance to get things back on track. He HAD to run a good time, and blow people away at the combine. Look, he's already seen as having a potentially poisonous personality, so the only way you can make up for that is to have incredible skill. And show that you are willing to work for it. Well, if he couldn't discipline himself to run a good time for the chance for millions of dollars, what are the odds he'll be able to push himself once he signs a big contract? I just hope that the kid starts making some better decisions, or his life could turn tragic.

3) Quentin Moses, DE Georgia

Walter: Is it OK for me say that I am enjoying Moses' free fall? It's not? Well whatever, I am. I have always hated Moses' game, and I hate one dimensional players like him who parlay a single skill into first round consideration. Moses entered the combine known as a speed rusher who wasn't all that interested in being physical and helping to stop the run. Well, as it turns out he isn't really all that physical, as his mere 17 bench reps will attest to (I mean come on, Josh Wilson, a 5'9'' DB from Maryland put up 20), and he really isn't all that fast. Moses really needed to burn a time in the 4.6 range, like fellow end Gaines Adams did, but instead Moses plodded along with a 4.82. To put this in perspective, it took Adam Carriker less than one tenth of second longer to run his 40 and he nearly doubled Moses' bench press output.

Frazier: Moses is in free-fall mode on virtually everyone's draft board, and there is a damn good reason for it. He's a speed rusher except he's not fast. And he's not exactly strong enough (17?!) to break away from monstrous NFL tackles. Everyone has been torching his performance in Indianapolis, and we're more than happy to pile on. Especially since Quentin isn't the type to want to pile on to, let's say, a running back as he breaks through the line. Gaines Adams and Adam Carriker have all helped themselves tremendously with good workouts and Jamal Anderson is much more well-balanced. So there is no knowing where Moses will land.

2) Reggie Nelson, S Florida

Walter: This may be a bit unfair to Nelson, because, unlike with the other guys on this list, Nelson didn't do anything himself to cause his stock to fall. Nelson ran a 4.48 in the 40, which is pretty good, but it certainly didn't blow anyone away. However, the guy who did blow people away was LSU's Laron Landry with his 4.35. Most pundits had Landry and Nelson as the consensus top two safeties in the draft in some order. Today, however, there is no doubt that Landry will be the first guy off the board. Nelson's game is predicated on speed and his ability to cover. He is not a dynamic run support player like Landry, and with his limited experience at Florida he really needed to run well at the combine. He didn't and now may fall to the back end of round 1 while he watches Landry get snapped up in the top 10.

Frazier: It's a situation sort of like Miller's. It was a two-man race, and now it ain't. Unlike Miller, Nelson at least didn't kill himself with his workouts. Still, he won't be the first safety off the board. That discussion is over. And he didn't blow anyone away. No one who is pretty set at the safety position is going to look at him and say "we NEED this guy". So whoever happens to need a safety will eventually pick him up. Not exactly a glowing report.

1) Jon Beason, OLB Miami

Walter: I was somewhat skeptical of Beason from the beginning and I couldn't believe some pundits had him ahead of Poszlusny as the # OLB available (yes I am talking to you Mike Mayock of the NFL Network). Well, Puz didn't blow anyone away at the combine (he ran a somewhat pedestrian 4.65) but Beason's performance was even worse. Beason checked in at only 6'0'', and reportedly looked a bit heavy at 237 lbs. Well, evidently the extra pounds didn't come from working out as Beason ran a very slow 4.72 in the 40 and only benched 225 lbs. 19 times. Beason simply isn't big enough to play any spot in an NFL linebacking corpse than the weak side OLB, and after his combine performance I bet a lot of teams are wondering if he is fast enough to play there.

Frazier: Not fast enough. Not strong enough. And a little under-sized. Ouch. People thought he was going to push Puz, but that ain't going to happen now. Puz was stronger, faster, and a hell of a lot more productive in college. So that's pretty much all you need to know about that. This year's LB crop isn't overloaded with talent, so he was primed to make a move. Except he didn't. Beason dropped because this was a huge opportunity for him. He went to the U, he's supposed to be a physical freak. But he was pedestrian, and that's not a compliment.

Just for kicks, three guys I thought would hurt their draft stock at the combine but didn't:

Robert Meachem, WR Tennessee

Walter: Meachem put all his eggs in one basket by coming out early in this loaded wideout draft. He was betting that he'd burn a sub 4.4 in the 40 and he did.

Antonio Pittman, RB Ohio State

Walter: Like Meachem, I thought it was a disastrous decision for Pittman to come out early. After Peterson, Pittman was probably the mos impressive RB at the combine as he showed up at over 200 lbs. and was still able to run the 40 in 4.4. He should be the third RB taken and could push Marshawn Lynch to be the 2nd.

Leon Hall, CB Michigan

Walter: I have thought Hall was overrated all year, and I still do. The Big 10 was watered down this year and Hall struggled against top competition. Still, he worked out much better than I ever thought he would and solidified himself as the top CB in the draft. His sub 4.4 in the 40 (4.39) was much faster than I thought he was capable of.


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