Sunday, February 24, 2008

2008 Combine Report-TE/OL

by Jason Jones

Starting with the offensive lineman, the combine changes perception right, wrong, or indifferent. It is my belief that no one should put too much stock in the combine. Some guys test off the charts and can’t play football. Some guys test very poorly and turn into all pros. Like most draft analysts, I had preconceived notions on who should be ranked where. I am still inclined to keep everyone where they were. Not so much the case with the TE’s, but we’ll get to that later.

My Pre-Combine OL Rankings (regardless of position)

  1. Jake Long – OT
  2. Ryan Clady – OT
  3. Gosder Cherilus – OT
  4. Chris Williams – OT
  5. Jeff Otah – OT
  6. Chilo Rachal – OG
  7. Sam Baker – OT
  8. Brandon Albert – OG
  9. Roy Scheuning – OG
  10. Heath Benedict – OT
  11. Eric Young – OG
  12. Drew Radovich – OG
  13. Tony Hills – OT
  14. Mike McGlynn – OG
  15. Shannon Tevaga – OG
  16. Jon Greco – OT
  17. Adam Kraus – OG
  18. Robert Felton – OG
  19. Mike Pollak – OC
  20. Kory Lichtensteiger – OC
Those 20 are the way I see them, especially as of before the combine. Some of the following information (more specifically for those who don’t get the NFL Network) may allow you to change your mind on the order of the previous list. Bold indicates players from my top 20 list.

40 Times:

  1. Jeremy Zuttah-4.99
  2. Donald Thomas-5.00
  3. Mike Pollak-5.02
  4. Duane Brown-5.08
  5. Heath Benedict-5.09
  6. Oniel Cousins-5.11
  7. Branden Albert-5.17
  8. Chris Williams-5.17
  9. Breno Giacomini-5.20
  10. Gosder Cherilus-5.21

Bench Press (reps at 225 pounds):

  1. Jake Long-37
  2. Jeremy Zuttah-35
  3. Kirk Barton-34
  4. Mike Gibson-31
  5. Carl Nicks-31
  6. Brandon Keith-31
  7. John Greco-30
  8. Mike McGlynn-30
  9. Chris McDuffie-29
  10. Mike Pollak-29

Vertical Jump (in inches):

  1. Cody Wallace-30.5
  2. John Sullivan-30.0
  3. Heath Benedict-28.5
  4. Chad Rhinehart-28.5
  5. Duane Brown-27.5
  6. Jake Lone-27.5
  7. Mike Gibson-27.0
  8. Demetrius Bell-26.5
  9. Jamey Richard-26.5
  10. Jeremy Zuttah-26.5

Broad Jump (feet, then inches)

  1. Cody Wallace-9’5
  2. Tyler Polumbus-9’4
  3. Branden Albert-9’3
  4. Mike Gibson-9’2
  5. Mike Pollak-9’2
  6. Heath Benedict-9’2
  7. Demetrius Bell-9’1
  8. Carl Nicks-9’1
  9. Breno Giacomini-9’0
  10. Chilo Rachal-9’0

3-Cone Drill (measured in seconds)

  1. Mike Gibson-7.21
  2. Steve Justice-7.40
  3. Jake Long-7.44
  4. Donald Thomas-7.45
  5. Cody Wallace-7.45
  6. Corey Clark-7.47
  7. Drew Radovich-7.47
  8. Mike Pollak-7.49
  9. Breno Giacomini-7.56
  10. Duane Brown-7.58

20-Yard Shuffle (measured in seconds)

  1. Mike Pollak-4.47
  2. Duane Brown-4.52
  3. Drew Radovich-4.53
  4. Jeremy Zuttah-4.54
  5. John Sullivan-4.55
  6. Cody Wallace-4.55
  7. Kory Lichtensteiger-4.56
  8. Chad Rhinehart-4.56
  9. Steve Justice-4.58
  10. Breno Giacomini-4.63

As I mentioned earlier, the combine changes perception. There are more than a handful of names on the respective leader boards who weren’t on my list. I say with warning, to not let the combine completely change your mind on these players. I will admit, however, some of these guys now have sparked my interest from their combine performances enough to make me want to go back and watch them on film again.

Tight Ends.

With this particular group, I will not be so casual. I have a pre-combine list for them as well. However, the difference is, these guys changed my mind in a very solid manner. There is one guy in particular who is on my list but not near #1. He is completely ingrained as my consensus #1 TE. The guy I had at #1 going in I still like, but he was more than disappointing…and not running the 40 is not helping his cause. This list was more entertaining to watch and evaluate, especially with how the TE position has changed over the years.

Pre-Combine TE Rankings

  1. Fred Davis
  2. Jermichael Finley
  3. Jacob Tamme
  4. Martellus Bennett
  5. Brad Cottam
  6. Dustin Keller
  7. Martin Rucker
  8. John Carlson
  9. Kellen Davis
  10. Joey Haynos

These top 10 TE’s are respective of game film watched and overall perceived talent. Some I’ve seen more than others. Some I now wish I had seen more of. There are no less than 5 of the 10 that will move in some fashion, up or down. The following results will show exactly who. Especially, Mr. Keller.

40 Times:

  1. Dustin Keller-4.55
  2. Jacob Tamme-4.58
  3. Craig Stevens-4.59
  4. Kellen Davis-4.60
  5. Brad Cottam-4.63
  6. Gary Barnidge-4.65
  7. Martellus Bennett-4.68
  8. Jermichael Finley-4.82

Bench Press (reps at 225 pounds):

  1. Craig Stevens-27
  2. Dustin Keller-26
  3. Fred Davis-24
  4. Brad Cottam-24
  5. Derek Fine-24
  6. Kolo Kapanui-23
  7. Gary Barnidge-22
  8. Kellen Davis-22
  9. Adam Bishop-21

Vertical Jump (measured in inches):

  1. Dustin Keller-38.0
  2. Tom Santi-36.0
  3. Martellus Bennett-34.0
  4. Brad Cottam-33.0
  5. Gary Barnidge-31.0
  6. Joey Haynos-30.5
  7. John Carlson-30.5
  8. Jacob Tamme-30.0

Broad Jump (measured in feet, then inches):

  1. Dustin Keller-10’11
  2. Joey Haynos-10’3
  3. Tom Santi-10’1
  4. Gary Barnidge-9’9
  5. Martellus Bennett-9’9
  6. Kellen Davis-9’9
  7. Jermichael Finley-9’8

3-Cone Drill (measured in seconds):

  1. Derek Fine-6.80
  2. Dustin Keller-6.88
  3. Gary Barnidge-6.92
  4. Joey Haynos-6.92
  5. Jacob Tamme-6.99
  6. Craig Stevens-7.07
  7. Tom Santi-7.08

20-Yard Shuttle (measured in seconds):

  1. Dustin Keller-4.14
  2. Derek Fine-4.19
  3. Gary Barnidge-4.23
  4. Tom Santi-4.27
  5. Jacob Tamme-4.27
  6. Adam Bishop-4.28
  7. John Carlson-4.28

60-Yard Shuttle (measured in seconds):

  1. Gary Barnidge-11.29
  2. Jacob Tamme-11.51
  3. John Carlson-11.59
  4. Dustin Keller-11.74
  5. Craig Stevens-11.78

If you haven’t noticed, Dustin Keller from Purdue owned the day. The vertical jump was the most impressive. He looked like he could, flat footed, jump out of the tunnel and into the upper bowl of the stadium. After his first jump I was sure they didn’t have enough of those measuring sticks for his second attempt. Gary Barnidge is another guy who wasn’t that high with me. At least Keller was on my list. Barnidge was on most leader boards. I really like Jacob Tamme from Kentucky. Tamme made Andre Woodson look good all season, and not the other way around. Tamme reminds me a lot of Jason Witten. He looks like a big blocking TE, but just makes plays in the passing game. The big disappointment was with Fred Davis. Fred Davis all season looked a lot like another Kellen Winslow type TE. A mismatch every time. Instead, he came across as a prima donna who’s mind was elsewhere. He dropped too many passes and had a bit of a cocky swagger. Good news is, he ran routes like an all-pro WR.

The big point here is, neither extreme is necessarily correct. If I were a GM, I would put more value in what happened on the field of play with pads and full contact than I would grades and results from the combine. However, the combine cannot be ignored. In some cases it should force guys up as well as down. Chances are that if you follow this whole thing and have never heard of someone, and then they test through the roof, that should be a red flag of some sort. Best example I can think of …a couple of years ago Jeremy Bloom, a Colorado Buffalo WR/KR was kicked out of the football program for skiing in the Olympics. He was then invited to the combine and graded very well (especially in the timed events, 40, shuttles, etc). He didn’t make it to the Eagles bye week and is barely hanging on in the league. He’s very fast and shifty, but could not play football at the NFL level. Case of giving the combine too much credit. There was also a rumor that Vince Young scored the lowest on the Wonderlic test…ever. I’m sure Coach Fisher didn’t give 2 s@#$’s.

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