NFL Combine: Follow action in Indy

Friday | Thursday

Don’t sleep on Brock

It’s a forgone conclusion that the first two quarterbacks taken off the draft board will be Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III in April’s draft. After that it is wide open.

Arizona State quarterback Brock Osweiler could be the No. 3 quarterback to be picked.

“I was ready to take on the challenge of the NFL,” said Osweiler, who declared for the next level a year early. “It was a personal decision.”

Although Osweiler won’t be participating in any drills in Indianapolis because of a mid-foot sprain that he suffered in the Las Vegas Bowl, he can wow teams with his size and sneaky athleticism.

Osweiler was recruited in high school to play basketball at Gonzaga, but had a passion for football that he couldn’t turn his back on.

"I loved the game of football too much to give up," Osweiler said.

The 6-foot-7 quarterback said that he met with the Chiefs, Seahawks, Eagles and Bills on Friday night.

Osweiler was challenged by reporters, who said he didn’t play in a pro-style offense under offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone.

“I have a lot of experience underneath center,” he said. “Bubble screens are some of the toughest throws to make. They have to be on the money.”

— Ross Jones

Pass-rushers at a premium

As the NFL evolves and becomes a more pass-happy league, the value of premium pass rushers increases.

“You want guys who are big and long and fast and powerful,” Giants general manager Jerry Reese said. “We like pass rushers and we look for them.”

Several defensive ends talked about their athleticism which is sure to show up on Monday when they run the 40-yard dash.

“I played wide receiver in high school,” UConn defensive tackle Kendall Reyes said. “It wasn’t a transition that happened overnight.” Reyes, who weighed in a pound shy of 300, was a consistent force in the middle of the Huskies defense. He wasn’t the only one who drew praise from the media on Saturday.

“I was a point guard,” said South Carolina defensive end Melvin Ingram, who was asked about his days in high school. “I was a scorer,” he replied after being asked if he was a pass-first player.

Mississippi State defensive tackle Fletcher Cox is a former sprinter in high school: “I was the second leg in the relay, we went to state.”

— Ross Jones

Whitney will wear you out

Illinois defensive end Whitney Mercilus was given a third-round grade when he was contemplating to leave Champaign a year early.

Mercilus, who decided to forgo his final season of eligibility, led the nation with 16 sacks and decided to take advantage of the momentum.

“It’s a negative label,” said Mercilus, when asked if he liked the "one-year wonder" label that’s generally attached to his name. “Once you are given that name, it becomes who you are.”

Mercilus has drawn comparisons to New York Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul.

“He’s in the NFL, it’s a blessing to be talked about like that.”

Former teammate and Chargers DT Corey Liuget says Mercilus’ “incredible work ethic” is what separates him from the competition.

“I have a never-ending motor,” he said. “I have the ability to wear out players.”

— Ross Jones

Boise State DE discusses his versatility

Tyrone Crawford wasn’t given much of a chance coming out of college.

“I didn’t have many schools coming after me, but (Boise State) stuck with it,” Crawford said.

Playing at Boise State, Crawford played mostly with his hand in the dirt, but in making the jump to the NFL he could be asked to switch positions.

“I’ve been practicing a lot of linebacker drills and dropping into coverage,” he said.

Crawford, who was a consistent edge rusher on the infamous blue turf, measured in at 6-foot-4, 275 pounds and has drawn attention from several teams.

“I talked with the Lions at the end of the East-West Shrine Game. We hit it off pretty well,” Crawford said.

— Ross Jones

Iowa prospect suffers injury

Iowa offensive tackle Markus Zusevics suffered a major setback on Friday while doing the bench press.

Zucevics, who lifted 225 pounds six times, tore his left pectoral, according to multiple reports. Zucevis said he will have surgery in the near future.

Zusevics was wearing a sling late Friday night, and will not be able to participate in any more drills in Indianapolis.

— Ross Jones

West Virginia DE looks to make move to LB

Bruce Irvin has no problem discussing his troubled past. “I was homeless. I was in jail for three weeks,” said Irvin, telling a media gathering that he’s a changed person. “I went by B.J. then, now I’m Bruce.”

Irvin had a turnaround after getting in with the “wrong crowd.” The West Virginia standout had a long road to Indy, and it started at the junior college level.

He started as a safety at Butler Community College, but quickly transitioned into a defensive end. “I just kept blowing by people and kept my hand in the dirt,” he said.

Irvin decided to transfer to West Virginia, where he could be a “big fish in a small pond.” Irvin, who had eight sacks last season, was a constant force in the 3-3-5 defense.

“We were the only team in the country to run that style of defense,” he said. Now, Irvin looks to make the leap to the next level and feels that becoming an outside linebacker in a 3-4 defense would suit him well. “I’ve been working on (my two-point stance) in Orlando,” Irvin said.

— Ross Jones

Georgia guard flashes in 40?

Georgia guard Cordy Glenn weighed in at 345 pounds at the NFL Combine, but no one was expecting he’d blow scouts away with his straight-line speed.

“I’m naturally a big, girthy wide guy,” said Glenn when being asked if he had issues trying to lose weight. “I’m pretty athletic. Hopefully I can be pretty good at it on the next level.”

Size wasn’t an issue for the former Bulldog on Saturday, as Glenn blew scouts away running a 4.96 in the 40-yard dash.

It’s been speculated that Glenn would be the second guard off the board come April. Stanford’s David DeCastro has big-time potential and could be plugged in immediately.

— Ross Jones

Offensive lineman get their lift on

The NFL Scouting Combine is where the best collegiate players come to converge and put up jaw-dropping numbers. This year at the bench press, the offensive line did just that.

Although nobody came near former Oregon State defensive tackle Stephen Paea’s record of 49 repetitions of 225 pounds, Michigan center David Molk threw up an impressive 41 reps.

There were 12 lineman who repped the weight 30 times or more, including USC offensive tackle Matt Kalil.

“I have no doubt I’ll do well on bench. I have nothing to hide. I know I’ll put up good number,” said Kalil on Thursday prior to lifting. Kalil, who looks to be the first offensive lineman to be taken in the draft, measured in at 6-foot-7, 305 pounds and had 30 reps in the bench press.

— Ross Jones


Baylor RB won’t lift at Combine

Baylor running back Terrance Ganaway has chosen not to lift at the NFL Scouting Combine because of a sprained AC joint in his right shoulder.

“There is still some weakness and tenderness,” Ganaway said. “I hope to (lift) at my pro day.”

Ganaway, who measured in at 5-foot-11 and 241 pounds, is one of the bigger running backs in the combine, but says he is much more than a third-down back.

“My best attribute is my vision and my feet, I still need to work on my pass protection,” he said.

Ganaway has the bruising size and natural power to work in between the tackles and could have some nice value in the later rounds.

–Ross Jones

Tannehill says he’d love to play in Miami

Texas A&M quarterback Ryan Tannehill is eager to reunite with college coach Mike Sherman if the Miami Dolphins spend a draft pick on him.

“Miami would be exciting because of the familiarity with coach Sherman and some of the staff hired down there,” Tannehill said, according to Miami Herald. “It would be nice. Coach Sherman runs a West Coast offense as well as moving the pocket, and that’s a couple things I do well: throw on the run, bootlegs, whatever it may be to get outside the pocket and make throws.”

Tannehill, who will be limited at the NFL Scouting Combine because of a foot injury, played his first two seasons in College Station as a wide receiver, but started his last 19 games as a quarterback.

Although Tannehill doesn’t have a ton of experience at the position, he fits the prototypical mold, measuring in at 6-foot-4, 220 pounds.

The Dolphins, who hired former Packers offensive coordinator Joe Philbin as their head coach, are in the quarterback market. Miami won the coin toss Friday and owns the No. 8 overall pick.

–Ross Jones

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