2009 NFL Scouting Combine Recap

Andre SmithTotal Pro Sports – The 2009 scouting combine in Indianapolis didn’t exactly blow the world apart, in fact the biggest news centered on who didn’t practice instead of any particularly mind blowing performance.

Andre Smith admitted to being out of shape and subsequently didn’t participate at all. Nice honesty, but why are you out of shape in the first place? The combine is the purest test of a collegiate athlete’s physical abilities and that’s when you choose to let yourself go? Smith falls back behind fellow left tackle prospects Jason Smith and Eugene Monroe in my eyes, though he’ll hope for redemption at his pro-day.

The much heralded Michael Crabtree fractured his foot and didn’t workout, making him 50-50 to run a 40 at his Texas Tech pro-day. Maybe a blessing in disguise? On a slow Lucas Oil Stadium that has provided most with slower-than-expected times, a projected 4.5 could slide to a worryingly sluggish 4.6; not running leaves scouts focusing on his stellar tape and elite route running. It is also worth noting that he measured in at 6-1 – Texas listed him as 6-3. He still won’t escape the top 7.

Brian Orakpo and Rey Maualuga both limped out of on-field drills, a blow for both of them. Orakpo, the undersized Aaron Maybin and Florida State’s Everette Brown are looking for any edge in the race to be the number one DE/OLB hybrid that 3-4 scheme teams covert, what Orakpo didn’t want to be doing was sitting on the sidelines. The shallow inside linebacker class will let Maualuga hold onto his mid-first round status.

Defensive Lineman
Connor Barwin: 40.5” vertical, 6-4 256lbs and the second fastest 40 of his class. Mature and articulate in his TV interviews, this guy tore up the combine and will be looked at by the Lions, Rams and Chiefs at the top of the second. Really good player.

Aaron Curry played with a smile on his face and had every right to: fluid in coverage, balanced, fast and took really tight lines in the ‘swim move’ drill. On the other hand, USC’s Brian Cushing didn’t get going. His head was locked on his feet during agility drills and in coverage he failed to follow instructions and turned his hips the wrong way. He just looked like he was trying too hard – the antithesis of the relaxed Curry.

Running Backs
What to say. Unless you were a receiver your 40 time was slow, ask the running backs. No Chris Johnson-esque performance. Chris Wells is 20lbs heavier but runs quicker than Knowshon Moreno. LeSean McCoy gets the flu, weighs in sub-200lb, doesn’t participate and has some of the smallest hands in the group. Ouch all round.

Not a lot to say for the QBs, it’s pretty much as you were. Pat White will be drafted inside 4 rounds but I would doubt if it’s at QB. Josh Freeman coupled his 6-6, 250lb prototype size with a sub-5 second 40, showing nice athleticism.

Wide Receivers and Tight Ends
Jared Cook is the modern collegiate tight end: a phenomenal athlete with great size. Excellent measurables mean all he needs to do now is plead his case as a blocker in interviews. Jeremy Maclin will be disappointed with his 4.45, but it was Hakeem Nicks who really stood out; he was fast and caught everything that was thrown at him in drills. Marques Colston ran a 4.5 40 at 6 foot 4 with a 37” vertical, Clemson’s Aaron Kelly ran a 4.49 at 6-5 and jumped 38 inches. You may not hear much about him, but this guy has serious sleeper potential.

Offensive Line
Jason Smith edged to the front of the left tackle debate, and the centre class remains arguably the strongest in the draft.

Defensive Backs
Top ranked corner Malcolm Jenkins had a nightmare; a slow 40 and poor showing in the drills may make him safety material. It was safeties Sean Smith and Chris Clemson who really raised their stock; Smith looked super smooth during coverage drills, has a phenomenal physique and exhibited strong hands as well, whilst Clemson ran faster than any DB… as a safety not a corner – impressive.

Be Sure to keep an eye out coming this week for our updated version of the 2009 NFL Mock Draft: 4.0 by Chad Ellis.

Tags: 2009 NFL Scouting Combine, Aaron Curry, Andre Smith, Brian Orakpo, Combine, Eugene Monroe, Jason Smith, Michael Crabtree, NFL, Rey Maualuga,