Saturday's News and Notes from the NFL Combine
Obviously, much of the pre-draft focus will be on the Kansas City Chiefs and what they will do with the first pick of the draft. Reportedly, they are looking at Nick Foles from the Eagles as well as San Francisco’s Alex Smith who is also being targeted by the Cardinals. A decision to pursue either of them could lock the Chiefs into selecting offensive tackle Luke Joeckel at the top spot.
Joeckel, meanwhile, ran a 5.3 forty yard dash, which, while unimpressive, will do nothing to diminish his draft stock. Oklahoma’s Lane Johnson, however, may have improved his stock with a low 4.7 showing in the forty which put him second among offensive tackles, besting most tight ends. Terron Armstead of Arkansas-Pine Bluff ran the fastest time among tackles with a 4.71 raising his grade to that of a mid-rounder.
In the battle for the draft’s top tight end, Notre Dame’s Tyler Eifert may have passed Stanford’s Zach Ertz as Eifert ran nearly a tenth of a second faster and jumped nearly 5 inches higher in testing today.
While the tackles and tight ends worked out, most of the drama occurred in the press conferences as Manti Te’o struggled to answer questions regarding the hoax. He continues to show that he is a naïve young man who may not have the mental fortitude needed to be an NFL middle linebacker.
His saving grace, however, may be Alec Ogletree, the draft’s most talented linebacker who struggled to answer questions about his off the field troubles including a recent DUI. Another player, LSU’s Sam Montgomery, admitted to lack of effort during some games which goes to show that all the media prep in the world still may not have these kids ready to face the fire from the press.
BYU’s Ezekiel Ansah, however, won the press over with his humorous answers regarding being new to football. The hybrid defensive end/linebacker has seen his stock rise with a lot of teams.
Other interesting notes from the combine includes Marcus Lattimore’s confidence that he can quickly return to form and prove his worthy of a top selection. Jarvis Jones is another player eager to prove that teams need not worry about his injury as he attempts to prove that his spinal stenosis should not cause teams to pass on him.
Also, rumors that Dallas may release Miles Austin have emerged although that will have little effect on the draft outside of perhaps making the Cowboys take a look at a receiver beginning in the second round.