Yesterday, all my troubles seemed so far away. More importantly, Van looked at some QBs, DEs, and a WR to keep an eye on at the combine and followed it up today with a TE board. With the combine underway, I'll start with the first group and throw out some names you'll recongnize (but a bunch you probably won't) to think about. Keep in mind, even though footmen (Ks &Ps), offensive linemen and tight ends check in today, the action doesn't start until the 27th.
And make sure to stop by Mocking the Draft's combine page -- they're putting it all together for you in one spot (including the content we've got here at TST).
Bryan Bulaga - OT, Iowa
You guys know I'm constantly yakking how media hype affects the draft. Well there's always a pre-combine push for someone at every position, and this year at OT that prospect is Bryan Bulaga.Bulaga's a solid prospect who had a good (though IMO not great) junior season that is a legitimate first rounder, but he's riding a wave of hypery going into Indy. Leave it to the hypocritical hype wizards of ESPN to put it all together for you.
Here's what a post on their draft blog by Scouts, Inc.'s Steve Muench said on Feb. 11th:
Bulaga jumps from No. 20 to No. 6 in large part because he appears far more comfortable in pass protection on the left side than Oklahoma's Trent Williams.
But don't get too excited. Here's what Kevin Weidl and Todd McShay (also Scouts Inc'dafied) said on the same blog on the 22nd:
We're hearing mixed opinions on Bulaga because of limitations in his footwork in pass protection...
Got it? He's more comfortable in pass protection because of limitations in his footwork. It's so obvious. But you don't get a great sense of technique from the combine for linemen, so why is he here? Measureables. He lacks the athleticism of many of his peers, so I don't see him coming in as a LT anytime soon. That means he'll have to show some power, and those sexy, chunky arms. Keep an eye on his wingspan measurement and the power drlils (bench press and vertical & broad jumps)
Bruce Campbell - OT, Maryland
Some have called Campbell the Jason Smith of this year's draft, but that's just a lazy comparison IMO. Campbell is a very, very athletic tackle and could well be a franchise LT...if he improves his technique and avoids the wacky injuries (as in the brain surgery he had to "drain fluid" from his head). As with Bulaga, his power drills will be important, but so will the agility drills for O-linemen (the 20-yd shuttle & 3-cone drill).
Selvish Capers - OT, West Virginia
A poor man's Campbell. I'm more interested in his power results though. I'm not sure he can handle more powerful DEs.
Jason Fox - OT, Miami
Blessed with talent, plagued by his lack of refinement. His overall combine could well decide where he goes on day 3.
Vladimir Ducasse - OG, Massachusetts
The 'Haitian Sensation' could be the workout warrior of the first group. He has great size, and is reported to be a freakishly anti-Barron-like hard worker. But having only played football for 6 years, where does a raw (and by raw, I mean Eddie Murphy raw) athlete like Ducasse (pronounced Doo-Koss) go? Check him out in the power drills.
John Jerry - OG, Ole Miss
The Terrence Cody of offensive linemen. Phenomenal bulk; deplorable movement. Is it more important for him to destroy the power drills or not embarass himself in the agility drills? This year offers a great trio of guard prospects in Mike Iupati (OG, Idaho), Jon Asamoah (OG, Illinois) and Ducasse. How far behind them is the next tier (which for me includes Jerry)?
Ed Dickson - TE, Oregon
A pure receiving TE, Dickson will have to impress with his athletic ability to ensure a third round drafting. A good 40-time would do wonders, but his 20-yard, 60-yard and 3-cone drills will say more about his raw agility. Measurements will be a factor as well.
Jimmy Graham - TE, Miami
The next Antonio Gates? It might be a bit premature on that one. Graham has played just one season of football since he was 15. That's a lot of catching up to do. Watching for him this season was hard; he was a non-factor until late November. Someone will take a gamble on his 6'6" frame (if it measures as much), but his athleticism at the combine will determine where. Candidate for day 1 overall workout warrior.
Michael Hoomanawanui - TE, Illinois
This is the kind of name that gives Van nightmares, and the kind of frame that gives CBs nightmares too. All thickness and no quickness, he's in a similar situation as John Jerry. Might be looked at as a FB, but does he have the mobility? Interesting guy to keep an eye on.
Leigh Tiffin - K, Alabama
I had to put someone here, right? He's on top of my kicker board, so I guess he's the name to throw out, though I could give a shit less if kickers and punters were excluded from the combine. Just give them a week at home to practice kicking.
Zoltan Mesko - P, Michigan
Coolest name for a punter ever? Quite possibly. A good 40-time will... do absolutely nothing to affect his name studliness. Of course, if he doesn't get a starting gig, he could always be a fortune teller...
So that's day 1. I'll try to get my day 2 up soon. Holler.