Having just suffered through watching another late game collapse by the Diamond Frogs, once again due to Fullerton pitching lights out and some QUESTIONABLE managerial tactics towards the end of the game, I turned my attention to Sunday's coverage of the NFL Combine. For the four of you who are reading this and have followed the Combine at all, you'll know that today marked the "glamour" workouts of the QBs, RBs and WRs. Despite their being hours upon hours of coverage from Rich Eisen the NFL network crew, with the number of athletes involved you can imagine it's hard to put too much focus on any one player... unless that player in Cam Newton because they serviced his sack harder than they even did Tebow's last year. Still, Dalton got some ample screen time during his workouts and, for the most part, fared about as well as expected.
To start with the actual football related aspect of the Combine drills, they had each QB throw three short out routes and three deep routes, just to see how the QBs could handle the different situations. As expected, Dalton was all over the out route, completing all three, but had trouble throwing the deep ball, hanging it in the air a bit too long on one and over throwing his man on the other. Of course, coming from a spread offense, QBs have rarely taken deep drops so it is always going to be a learning curve and making those types of passes will improve for AD with practice. As a comparison, Ryan Mallett and his family arm looked absolutely monstrous on this drill, making absolutely perfect deep throws that had NFL team scouts rushing to the nearest public restroom to Paul Reubens themselves. On the other end of the spectrum though? Believe it or not, Cam Newton, who looked incredibly uncomfortable trying to make the transition from a college to an NFL passer. Of course, he'll still go top ten because he's an absolute beast of an athlete, which will once again complete the self fulfilling prophecy that is the NFL combine that is getting underprepared athletes overpaid. They also had each QB take a deep drop and throw deep outs, but they did not feature Dalton during this so I cannot say how he performed.
As for measurables, Dalton was bottom of the barrel in his 40 time, coming out of the drill with a 4.87, which wasn't as slow North Carolina's TJ Yates who ran a sloth-like 5.1, but also couldn't touch Virginia Tech's Tyrod Taylor's 4.51. This surprised me simply because he looked quite fast when running the option at TCU, but at the same time it doesn't bother me because an NFL QB doesn't have to be fast to be successful. I'm guessing there are O Linemen who would smoke Peyton Manning in a foot race and he's done alright for himself. He also had one of the weakest verticals of any of the QBs who participated in the drill with a 29.5, although aggy's Jerrod Johnson, the pre-season best QB in Texas, continued to look ordinary with a 29. The other two drills he competed in were the three cone and the broad jump, where he was more towards the middle of the pack, but did not blow anyone away with a 6.93 and 8'10" in the events, respectively. Cam Newton and Tyrod Taylor out jumped him by nearly two full feet, which was to be expected.
To be honest, watching AD against the other top QBs in this class made me a bit weary. On the one hand, he did exactly as we expected he would do - he made the short passes, struggled with the long, and didn't wow anyone with his physical tools. Unfortunately, despite all of the phenomenal things he did while in Fort Worth, to the layman he's a relatively doughy red head who could use an inch or two of height and put on a few more pounds of muscle. But, where Dalton is clearly going to shine throughout the rest of the Combine and leading into the draft is clearly the interview process, where NFL GMs are going to go nuts for the guy. He's not going to be a bullshit cornball like Tebow who had apparently had ex-Broncos Coach Josh McDaniels creaming his jeans and ultimately losing his job because of it, but just a straightforward, level headed kid who is going to work his ass off to be the best that he's capable of being. It's hard to say where he will go specifically, but any team that is settled in at starter and has the time to groom a guy for a few years would be absolutely foolish not to give him a shot. It's incredibly doubtful that he'll go in the first round as a couple of mock drafts have proposed, believe it or not, but if he's sitting there in the middle of the third round, teams would be absolutely insane to pass on him. I'll be very interested to see where his draft stock sits once the Combine is complete.
I also took note of how Marcus Cannon, Jimmy Young and Jeremy Kerley handled themselves and will put that up later today or in the morning. Hopefully you all will be able to dial back your overwhelming sense of anticipation long enough to wait it out.
Also, you can check out up to date stats for all participants HERE.