Posts Tagged 'sean weatherspoon'

NFL Combine Big Winners and Losers

Each year, millions of dollars are at stake in Indianapolis, as top college players take part in testing and interviews at the NFL Combine.  Depending on their performances over the four-day period, these young men can literally make or lose millions of dollars based on what they show NFL scouts in this short amount of time.

This year was no different from years past as a few individuals improved their stock, while others likely took major hits to their wallets.  College FootBlog breaks down six of the biggest winners and three of the biggest losers based on their combine performances.

Winners

Jacoby Ford posted the Combine's top forty time at 4.28 seconds (google images)

1.  Jacoby Ford (WR/Clemson):  Ford stole the show on the wideout day, posting a ridiculous forty time of 4.28.  At 5’9″ and 186 lbs, many experts had him pegged in the later rounds of the draft.  Ford helped his stock even more by running very crisp routes, negating the criticism that he was just a return man.  With his performance in the receiver drills and his forty time, Ford is now drawing comparisons to Carolina Panther All-Pro Steve Smith.

2.  Taylor Mays (Safety/USC):  Mays was already tabbed as a first rounder, but his 4.43 time in the forty may have moved him into the top 10.  Mays has made a steady climb since the Senior Bowl, where he intercepted a pass in the game, showing critics that he is only a big hitter that he can also perform in coverage.

3.  Jahvid Best ( RB/Cal):  Best was right in the thick of the Heisman race before he was forced to miss several games due to a concussion.  His speed has been well-documented–Best was the California state champion in the 100-meter dash as a senior with a blistering time of 10.31 seconds.  That speed was on display for the pro scouts at the combine as Best posted the top time for all running backs, edging CJ Spiller by 0.02 seconds with a time of 4.35.

4.  Eric Berry (Safety/Tennessee):  Berry also showed out in the forty-yard dash, posting an official time of 4.47.  Like Mays, Berry was already considered a first rounder, but the versatile defensive back showed a lot of confidence and great hips and change of direction in the combine drills.  That, in addition to playing for defensive guru Monte Kiffin should result in a nice payday for him next month.

5.  Sean Weatherspoon (ILB/Missouri):  Weatherspoon continues to see his stock soar as he ran a 4.68 forty, which is very respectable for a middle linebacker.  He also did an unbelievable 34 reps of 225 lbs in the bench press.   This strong performance combined with his dominance in the Senior Bowl, where Weatherspoon showed cover skills to compliment his ability to close holes and make tackles will only help his stock.

6.  Dekoda Watson (Linebacker/Florida St.):  Watson ran a 4.52 forty and is now up to 240 lbs.  FSU’s defensive captain from 2009 battled minor injuries throughout his career, but his speed off the edge and his improved muscle mass should help the OLB move higher in the third round or potentially crack the late second round.

Losers

Joe Haden's slow forty time likely dropped him out of the Top 10 in next months draft (google images)

1.  Joe Haden (CB/Florida):  Haden was widely considered the to DB in the draft this year, but his stock took a major hit at the combine, as he posted a very unimpressive 4.57 and followed that time up with a 4.60.  Despite all the great film of Haden from his dominant days at Florida, this slow time will have a major impact on his stock. 

2.  LeGarrette Blount  (RB/Oregon):  Blount was already fighting an uphill battle due to his actions in the 2009 opener against Boise State when he KO’d Byron Hout and then had to be held back by coaches and teammates from going into the crowd to fight fans.  After a solid performance at the Senior Bowl, Blount showed up at the combine looking like he was carrying some extra, unnecessary weight. 

That proved to be the case when he clocked in at 4.62 and 4.69 in the forty.  His 241-pound frame should help his cause, but even for a big back, 4.62 is not a solid time.  Blount could have offset the less than stellar forty time with the bench press, but he managed 19 reps of 225 lbs, which is okay, but not spectacular.

3.  Tony Pike (QB/Cincinnati):  Pike was on a lot of scouts’ radar going into this season, but after a rather unimpressive performance at the Senior Bowl, he had a lot to gain going into the combine.  After the combine, he likely dropped even lower.  Pike took part in throwing drills and many scouts were unimpressed with his arm strength.  Pike, who is not a physical specimen, will have to hope for a third round selection.

Advertisements

Senior Bowl Recap: Which Players Improved Their Draft Stock?

The Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama featured several NFL prospects with big names, but there were five athletes who did wonders for their draft stock with their performances yesterday afternoon.  College FootBlog breaks down these five individuals and analyzes how they could fare in NFL training camps in the upcoming months.

5.  Stafon Johnson (RB/USC)

How can you not root for this kid?  After nearly dying from a freak accident in the weight room, which crushed his larynx, many thought Johnson would be done with football.  Although his numbers were not great (4 carries for 3 yards), Johnson showed his speed and agility on his first carry, making a defender miss en route to a short gain.  If Johnson can show the same perseverance and guts that got him back on the field yesterday, his stock will only continue to rise. 

Oregon's Legarrette Blount had an impressive showing at the Senior Bowl (google images)

4.  LeGarrette Blount (RB/Oregon)

Blount’s measurables have never been an issue–at 6’2″ and 240 lbs, he is a load out of the backfield.  Blount also possesses a textbook right cross (just ask Boise State’s Byron Hout), which has scouts questioning his character.  Since that altercation in Boise, Blount has been on the straight and narrow.  Blount’s suspension was lifted, and he has continued to show maturity.  In the Senior Bowl, Blount was by far the most NFL-ready running back on the field.  Of his 240 lbs, it is all solid and he has good speed and power.  He finished the day with 36 yards and a touchdown on just seven carries. 

3.  Dan LeFevour (QB/Central Michigan)

While Tim Tebow got all the press for his strep throat and upcoming Superbowl commercial, it was LeFevour who impressed at quarterback.  He showed great escapability and showcased his ability to run and pass.  His running style should translate to the NFL because he is quick and despite his size (6’3″, 229 lbs), he does not depend on power, but instead, he has deceptive speed and keeps his eyes down field.  LeFevour also showed good pocket presence and delivered the best pass of the day, when he dropped a perfect pass in a very tight window for a 32-yard touchdown to Mardy Gilyard.

2.  Brandon Graham (DE/Michigan)

Graham was disruptive all game, collecting two sacks and a forced fumble.  He showed great explosiveness off the edge, but he also showed a solid base against the run and pass.  On a misdirection running play, Graham showed the ability to change direction, shed a block and accelerate to the ball carrier.  Graham was always know at Michigan as an end who could get to the quarterback, but he showed tremendous versatility yesterday and likely made himself a lot of money with his dominant performance.

1.  Mardy Gilyard (WR/Cincinnati)

Gilyard was one of the most explosive players in college football in the last two seasons, but experts wondered how he would do against the big boys, outside of the Big East Conference.  Simply put–Gilyard showed out yesterday.  His size may be an issue with some scouts, but the upside he possesses and the number of ways he can collect yardage (as a return man and a receiver) can not be ignored.  Gilyard was on a different level all afternoon, and he highlighted his five-catch, 103-yard performance by leaving All-American cornerback Javier Arenas on a go-route for a touchdown.

Honorable Mention:  Jeremy Williams, WR/Tulane; Sean Weatherspoon, LB/Missouri; Colin Peek, TE/Alabama

2009 BCS Conference Power Rankings Part 2

In Part 2 of our three-part coverage, College FootBlog continues our breakdown of the top six BCS conferences from the 2009 season.  In case you missed it, we ranked the fifth and sixth conferences earlier this week (see link).  We continue our analysis by providing a recap of last season and an outlook for next year for conferences #3 and #4 in our Power Rankings.

4.  Big 12

 

Nebraska's Ndamukong Suh was one of very few bright spots for the Big 12 in '09 (google images)

2009 Recap:

If not for Texas making it to the BCS National Championship Game, the Big 12 would have ranked fifth or sixth in the ’09 Power Rankings.  Nebraska came out of nowhere, but their offense was anemic.  Oklahoma lost Sam Bradford and never really got on track all year.  Add in Mizzou and Texas Tech not living up to high expectations coming off successful 2008 campaigns, and the Big 12 didn’t have much to talk about beyond Colt McCoy, Jordan Shipley and Ndamukong Suh.

2010 outlook:  Next season will likely be more of the same for the Big 12.  Although the loss of Colt McCoy in the first quarter of the BCS National Championship was a huge blow, it provided valuable experience to Freshman Garrett Gilbert.  Oklahoma’s offense should be improved with Landry Jones having a year of experience under his belt, but their dominant defense will likely take a step back.  The Sooners lose six defensive starters, including both corners and projected first-round DT Gerald McCoy.

Texas Tech will likely take a year or two before they truly integrate to Tommy Tuberville’s system, Oklahoma State will have to replace starting quarterback Zac Robinson and will lose WR Dez Bryant to the NFL.  Mizzou loses playmakers on each side of the ball in WR Denario Alexander and projected first round linebacker, Sean Weatherspoon.  Add to that, Nebraska’s departure of Suh (who many project as the number one overall pick in April’s draft), and the Big 12 North will have trouble keeping points off the scoreboard.

3.  Big Ten

2009 Recap:  The major reason the Big Ten did not claim the #2 spot in the ’09 Power Rankings was depth.  Iowa surprised many experts by effectively shutting Georgia Tech’s offense down, thanks in large part to All-Big Ten DE Adrian Clayborn, who is planning on returning for his senior year.  Terrelle Pryor saved his best performance for last, as he dominated in Ohio State’s Rose Bowl win over Oregon.

The Big Ten finished with a bowl record of 4-3, with a surprising win from Wisconsin over Miami and a Penn State victory over an offensively inept LSU team.  A more in depth look at the top two teams from the conference, however, shows a couple of teams that were far from juggernauts.

Iowa had one of the best defenses in the nation, but their offense was nothing to write home about.  The Hawkeyes struggled to beat Arkansas State at home and had to depend on two blocked field goals at the end of the game to defeat another FCS opponent, Northern Iowa 17-16 in Iowa City.

The Buckeyes nearly lost their opener to Navy at home and fell to a struggling USC team, and they later fell to 5-7 Purdue.

 

Look for Terrelle Pryor to have a huge year in 2010 (google images)

2010 Outlook:

Look for the Big Ten to make a serious run at the #2 conference in the country next season.  Jim Tressel continues to put great defenses on the field for the Bucks and the offense should take a huge step forward with the return of running backs Brandon Saine and Boom Herron.  And if Terrelle Pryor’s Rose Bowl performance was a sign of things to come, the Bucks will be the real deal come fall.

Iowa is also very young on offense–the ‘Hawks will return both freshman running backs, quarterback Ricky Stanzi and wideout Marvin McNutt, who exploded onto the scene in 2009.  Couple that with Adrian Clayborn and several returners on an already dominant defense, and the ‘Hawks could make a serious run in 2010.

Three other teams from the Big Ten to keep an eye on next year are Northwestern, Wisconsin and Michigan.  Northwestern head coach Pat Fitzgerald is one of the most underrated coaches in the country.  Wisconsin’s John Clay took full advantage of being the work horse last year, and expect more of the same in 2010, and watch out for the Wolverines.  This will be Rich Rodriguez’ third full season in Ann Arbor, and Tate Forcier will have a spring to put some much needed weight on.  If UM can assemble an average defense, the Big Blue will be bowling again at year’s end.

Look for the breakdown of the top two conferences in College FootBlog’s countdown in the next few days…