Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Non-Roosters at the NFL Combine.

Apologies for the delay in getting this out there, but the defensive ends did not have workouts until yesterday and I wanted to be able to be as comprehensive as possible. Anyway, as you should know, besides Dalton, Frog Seniors Jeremy Kerley, Jimmy Young, Marcus Cannon and Wayne Daniels participated in the NFL Combine this past weekend in Indianapolis. Like Rooster, none of them necessarily stood out among their peers, but unlike Rooster a few may have hurt their draft stock over the weekend. Here's a quick look at how those guys performed.

Marcus Cannon - 6'5", 358.

A cursory look at the stats for the offensive tackles at this year's Combine pretty much confirms what we all know - Marcus Cannon is freaking huge. As in, easily the heaviest tackle in Indy by over 20 pounds over the next guy, Rey Dominguez of Arkansas. However, with his squat frame also comes medium sized arms and hands, at least when compared to the rest of the participants - his measurements were 34 and 9 1/8, respectively. NFL Scouts normally look for their tackles to be slightly more lithe with long arms so they can control edge rushers. 358 pound guys that don't stand out in either category get relegated to guard more often than not. However, Cannon absolutely tore it up on the bench press, hitting 33 reps, good for second among tackles and also faring well in the vertical jump and and broad jump. For a guy that outweighs the competition by 20 pounds to rank in the top ten in both of those events says a lot about his athleticism. He also ran a 5.26 in the 40, which is slow compared to the glamor positions of course, but ranked 13th among all offensive linemen. The only two areas where Cannon didn't impress were the 3-cone drill and the 20 yard shuttle, but I'd say he showed enough to keep himself in the mid rounds come April.

Jimmy Young - 6'0", 204.

Given, there really isn't a lot to see at the Combine, football-wise, outside of the QBs. Yes, the WRs are necessary participants in the QB drills, but for the most part scouts are just trying to see if the QB can throw to a spot with little regard to whether the receiver hauls in the ball or not. That being said, and take it for what you will, but based on what I saw Saturday, and the numbers back me up, Jimmy Young looked slightly more prepared than Kerley, at least according to the tape. Don't get me wrong - I'm not downgrading Kerley by any means because we know what he's capable of, but trying to watch the Combine as an outsider allowed me to have those types of opinions. While not one of the faster guys in the Combine - 4.52 in the 40 - Tax ended up being one of the stronger guys, putting up 19 reps, good for sixth among receivers. Everywhere else he was pretty ordinary - 9'7" broad jump, 37 inch vertical - but they showed him a handful of times on the receiving end of passes and he caught every one. I'm not sure where Jimmy falls in this draft - I'd think sixth or seventh round, and possible the free agent route - but I wouldn't say he hurt himself Saturday.

Jeremy Kerley - 5'10", 189.

On the other hand, Kerley likely didn't help his case at all, only participating in three events, and not standing out from the crowd in any. His 16 reps on the bench were tied for the least among participants, and his 4.62 in the 40 was much, much higher than I imagined it would be after watching him blow through secondaries for 4 straight years. His 10 flat in the broad jump didn't knock anyone over either. And, due to his smaller size, he didn't have overly long arms or huge hands. Regardless, I think NFL scouts understand what they're getting with Kerley - a slot receiver who isn't going to play every down and a very special return man. However, he probably dropped a round or two after the weekend.

Wayne Daniels - 6'0 1/4", 260.

Much like Kerley, Wayne didn't really stand out from the pack. For a guy who is probably going to project as an OLB in the NFL - I say this because of his size - he wasn't burning up the 40, finishing towards the bottom of the pack with a 5.12. He also had the weakest vertical of the bunch at 25 and was slow in the cone drill. Again, these things probably shouldn't matter as much as the film, but if this is how an NFL GM is going to build their draft board, Wayne would probably not be near the top.

I think the main thing I took away from the weekend was just how arbitrary the Combine really is depending on your status going into the draft. For instance, Cam Newton showed that he's an athlete, but didn't blow anyone out of the water in any of the events by any means. And when it came to making throws, he was awful. However, the latest chatter I've seen is suggesting that he very may well go #1 overall. And the best part of that whole thing is that teammate Nick Fairley, who has for a while been viewed as the top pick, has been downgraded because GMs wonder if he's mature enough to handle becoming an instant millionaire. Because a guy who, in a COMBINE INTERVIEW, announced that he wanted to be an "entertainer and an icon," who only played one year of division one football and whose dad openly shopped him around the SEC is such a grown up. All I'm trying to say is that way too much emphasis is placed on the Combine and, regardless of how ours guys looked, if they have the talent and are given a shot, one weekend in February won't matter.

Cashner gunning for spot in Cubs' rotation

While the Rangers grapple with the decision whether to keep Neftali Feliz in the bullpen or stretch his arm out and make a starting pitcher out of him, the Cubs are going through the same process with former Horned Frog Andrew Cashner.

After being used as a closer during his time at TCU, Cashner made his big-league debut last year and pitched 54 innings out of the bullpen for the Cubbies and is seen as one of the organization's top pitching prospects. But as a Texas native with a 100-mph fastball, comparisons to Kerry Wood and Nolan Ryan are only natural, as Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune points out.

Cashner himself is ready to contribute in whatever capacity the team needs, writes ESPN's Bruce Levine, but one Cubs' blogger already thinks Cashner is a lock to switch over to the starting rotation this year.

Looking Ahead: Cornerbacks

For the first time in a while, TCU actually has returning depth at cornerback. They do lose starter Jason Teague, but plenty of other talent is still on campus and as of this past weekend, Teague's younger brother has committed to be a future Frog- although he might play safety.

The other starting corner from 2010, Greg McCoy, will be a senior this fall- as hard as that is to believe. McCoy overcame a shaky start to the season to end up having a pretty decent junior campaign totalling 30 tackles, 2 INT's and 14 other passes defended.

Competing for the other starting slot will probably come down to two sophomores, a redshirt freshman and a JUCO transfer. Elisah Olabode and Travaras Battle both played some defense and a lot of special teams as true freshmen last fall, while Kevin White used a redshirt. Jason Verrett, who has already transferred in from Santa Rosa JC in California, will also factor into that competition.

There are also a few returning walk-on's who've had limited playing time- Devin Johnson and Brian Alexis- and an impressive incoming freshman in Kolby Griffin (who'll be on campus this summer) who will be pushing for playing time as well. Also, consider the uncertainty at safety (which we'll get to tomorrow) and realize that there's always the possibility that some of the guys currently listed at corner could end up playing safety and vice versa.

It will be interesting to see how the competition at corner shakes out during spring practice- it would give me, as a fan, peace of mind to see one guy step up above the other for that second starting spot. Who do you think that might be? Is McCoy a lock to start again, or could one of the younger guys take his spot? Who all do you think will see PT at corner in 2011? Let's hear your opinions in the comments section.

Morning Dump

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Frogs wrap up four-game homestand; host Dallas Baptist

Mitchell named MWC pitcher of the week

TCU's Andy Dalton is a proven winner

Eleven biggest spring practice questions

Rifle set to defend national championship in Georgia