Posted on: March 6, 2012 11:41 pm
On a day full of interesting results from Pro Days scattered across the country (from UCLA to Illinois to Georgia Tech), it was the workout in Fayetteville, Arkansas that had scouts buzzing Tuesday night.
That's because Arkansas wideout Greg Childs stole the spotlight demonstrating much greater explosiveness in measureable and positional drills from what he showed les than two weeks ago at the Scouting Combine. In doing so Childs helped to prove that perhaps he's regained the explosiveness that made him a star in the SEC before partially injuring the patella tendon in his right knee in 2010 and reinjuring the knee last year.
The 6-3, 212 pound Childs had enjoyed a quietly solid workout at the Combine (where he weighed in seven pounds heavier), including running the 40-yard at 4.55 seconds and posting a 36.5" vertical jump. On Tuesday, Childs was clocked at 4.41 seconds in the 40-yard dash and also improved his vertical jump significantly, posting a 41.5" vertical that would have tied Stanford's Chris Owusu for third among all receivers tested in Indianapolis this year.
"It was just mainly showing everybody that I was healthy again; showing everybody I was 100 percent," Childs told reporters following the workout. "I came out here and I had some scouts tell me, 'You look 100 percent. You look as explosive as ever.'"
The league source I spoke to Tuesday night couldn't have agreed more.
"He looked like he was back," a high-ranking official from an NFC team told me. "Honestly, he looked better than he did before. I wouldn't have estimated him as a 4.40 guy based off of tape so this was great workout for him. There was a bit of a buzz about [Childs' workout] as we left."
Childs had looked like a future high round pick early in his career at Arkansas. He led the Razorbacks in catches, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns as a sophomore and junior and appeared destined for All-SEC honors in 2010 before suffering the injury. Though he reportedly didn't actually tear the patella, Childs did undergo surgery. Many expected that he'd miss the 2011 season but Childs returned in the spring and surprised the Arkansas staff and media when he elected to practice without so much as a knee brace. Unfortunately, while his heart was willing, Childs looked like a shadow of himself as a senior. He caught just 21 passes for 240 yards in 2011 and did not score a touchdown.
Childs also helped himself during positional drills. He caught passes cleanly from his former teammate (and current New England Patriot) Ryan Mallett, as did his receiver mates Joe Adams and Jarius Wright. After running well at the Combine (4.42), Wright elected not to run again Tuesday. Adams did run again, but was unable to improve upon the surprisingly disappointing 4.55 time he registered in Indianapolis, clocking in at exactly the same time Tuesday. The scout noted that Adams weighed in at 188 pounds Tuesday, which is nine pounds heavier than he weighed at the Combine.
All three Arkansas receivers are currently viewed as likely Day Three picks by NFLDraftScout.com.
While Arkansas' trio of receivers garnered most of the attention Tuesday, pass rusher Jake Bequette also made news. Bequette informed scouts that he'd injured his pectoral muscle at the Combine and elected not to participate in measureable drills Tuesday. The 6-5, 274 pound defensive end did participate in linebacker drills, however, at the request of scouts from 3-4 teams. Bequette posted solid numbers in drills at the Combine but wasn't able to perform in the bench press drill there, either. He told scouts that he'll be scheduling a workout in which he'll do the bench press prior to the draft.
Finally, two SEC standouts I was surprised wasn't invited to the Combine showed that perhaps they should have been with strong workouts, Tuesday. Safety Tramain Thomas measured in a shade under 6-0 (5-11 7/8) and 200 pounds. He was clocked at 4.51 seconds in the 40-yard dash and posted a 38.5" vertical jump. Inside linebacker Jerry Franklin (6-1, 242 pounds) Franklin was not invited to the Combine but was clocked at 4.60 seconds in the 40-yard dash, a 6.90 second time in the three-cone drill and a 37.5" vertical jump.
Posted on: February 29, 2012 1:03 pm
Edited on: February 29, 2012 1:06 pm
INDIANAPOLIS - More than 325 of the best draft prospects from across the nation descended upon Indianapolis in waves over the past week in search of that sizzling 40-yard dash, that superhuman bench press or a kangaroo-like vertical jump.
Scouts and armchair personnel evaluators now have thousands of data points to crunch into Excel sheets and obsess over into the wee hours of the night. But what is the tangible impact at the end of the day?
The vast majority of the workout numbers aren't really meaningful. NFL front offices aren't concerned about all the numbers in the middle of the pack. They're interested primarily in the extremes - the unofficial 4.33-second 40-yard thrown down by Central Florida cornerback Josh Robinson, the 44 bench reps hoisted by Memphis defensive tackle Dontari Poe and the all-around poor workout numbers put up by Arizona State linebacker Vontaze Burfict.
Those are the performances that stick out and affect draft stocks.
Even more important were the on-field position drills and the private interviews with teams. That's where prospects can really make an impression with their aptitude and personality. It all gets thrown into a big melting pot along with their game film and other pre-draft events to create an overall body of work.
Heading into the elongated final pre-draft stretch that is the Pro Day season, here are the prospects who helped themselves the most at the Scouting Combine - and those who have some serious ground to make up between now and April 26.
Stephen Hill, WR, Georgia Tech: With several other notable wide receivers measuring in shorter or slower than expected, the 6-4, 215-pound Hill tied for the fastest time in the 40-yard dash (4.36) among all skill-position players, drawing comparisons to former Yellow Jacket teammate Demaryius Thomas, a first-round pick of the Denver Broncos in 2010.
Luke Kuechly, ILB, Boston College: Scouts chalked up Kuechly's staggering NCAA-record tackle numbers to instincts and reliable open-field tackling ability. But in posting a blistering 4.58-second time in the 40-yard dash and a 38-inch vertical, the 2011 Butkus Award winner proved he's a first-round caliber athlete who has the potential to be a three-down player capable of holding his own against athletic tight ends in coverage.
Chris Owusu, WR, Stanford: The most important tests at the Combine for Owusu were of the medical variety after his collegiate career was cut short by a series of frightening concussions. NFL teams won't get these results for a few weeks, but you can be sure they'll be checking them closely after the Stanford product proved among the fastest (4.36 seconds) and most explosive (40.5-inch vertical jump) of all the receivers tested.
Dontari Poe, DT, Memphis: No defensive lineman at the Combine showed a more exciting combination of size (6-4, 346), speed (4.98) and strength (44 reps on the 225-pound bench press, a 2012 Combine best) than Poe. Teams fully acknowledge he's raw, but one of them will gladly invest a first-round pick in his upside.
Josh Robinson, CB, Central Florida: The underclassman entered the Combine a projected fourth-round pick by NFLDraftScout.com. Combine the 4.33 40 with a DB-best 133-inch broad jump and a 38-inch vertical and he's poised to surge leading up to the draft.
David Wilson, RB, Virginia Tech: He posted the elite agility test numbers that everyone expected. But it was showing up to team interviews in a suit and tie that really caught the attention of teams. He reportedly wore a suit to class at Virginia Tech. In an NFL draft world where the competition is so tight, a seemingly small detail like that could be enough in a tight battle with Miami's Lamar Miller to be the No. 2 running back drafted.
Michael Brockers, DT, LSU: The underclassmen entered the Combine with as much buzz as any defensive player. Viewed as a playmaking interior lineman and ascending talent, he increased expectations by showing up with an extra few pounds he claimed was muscle mass that didn't affect his speed. But his pro day will be critical after poor workout numbers that included an alarmingly-slow 5.36 40 - third-worst among all defensive linemen - a 26.5-inch vertical, a 105-inch broad jump and a 4.81-second short shuttle.
Vontaze Burfict, ILB, Arizona State: After characterizing himself as misunderstood, Burfict raised more than few eyebrows during interviews with the media by blaming the ASU coaching staff for his erratic play in 2011. He then proved much less athletic in drills than scouts had hoped, registering a 5.09 40 that finished dead last among linebackers tested in Indianapolis this year.
Nick Foles, QB, Arizona: With the top-rated quarterbacks either unwilling or unable to throw at the Combine, scouts had hoped that the 6-5, 243-pound Foles would take advantage of the extra attention to put on a dazzling throwing performance. Instead, Foles' methodical delivery, slow feet and inaccuracy on deep passes could push him into Day Three (rounds 4-7) territory.
Peter Konz, C, Wisconsin: Regarded as the top center prospect in the draft entering the Combine, Konz surprised scouts with less than ideal strength (18 repetitions of 225 pounds). If he were to be drafted in the first round, it would be the first interior lineman with less than 20 repetitions to earn this distinction in the past five years.
Markus Zusevics, OT, Iowa: By tearing his pectoral muscle while performing in the bench press in front of scouts, Zusevics' stock could fall further than any other prospect tested at the Combine. The injury not only ended his Combine experience early, it puts into question his availability to play as a rookie.
Now it's on to the flurry of the Pro Day season, which kicks off at Missouri on Thursday and includes dozens of workouts across the country, culminating with McNeese State on April 6.
TOP COMBINE RESULTS
225-POUND BENCH PRESS
--Derek Harper & Rob Rang contributed to this report.
Posted on: February 26, 2012 2:34 pm
Edited on: February 26, 2012 2:36 pm
Several of the more highly regarded wide receivers of the 2012 draft may see their stock slip after running signficantly slower than expected Sunday at the Scouting Combine.
Posted on: January 29, 2012 12:22 pm
Edited on: January 29, 2012 1:15 pm
As usual, the quarterbacks generated most of the hype throughout the week of practice at the Senior Bowl. But during the game Saturday it was their receivers who stole the spotlight as the North defeated the South, 23-13.
Arkansas wide receiver Joe Adams shrugged off a fumble in the first quarter to catch six passes for 116 yards for the South, demonstrating the elusiveness and pure speed that helped him return four punts for touchdowns this season, earning the SEC Special Teams Player of the Year award. For his efforts Adams was named the Senior Bowl's "Outstanding Player" for the South squad.
Arizona's Juron Criner, also of the South, was quiet early in the game but connected with college teammate, quarterback Nick Foles, to the tune of four catches for 50 yards and the South's only touchdown, a 20-yarder with 12:55 left in the game. Criner finished with six catches for 77 yards.
Those receivers managed to stand out despite lackluster play by the quarterbacks. Just as he was throughout the week of practice, Michigan State's Kirk Cousins, for the North, was the most impressive quarterback in the game.
He completed only five of 11 passes overall, with a touchdown and an interception. However, that one touchdown pass, a 41-yarder to Arizona State's Gerrell Robinson with 11:44 left in the third quarter, gave the North a 23-13 lead and enough cushion to hold on for a victory.
MVP honors for the game went to North running back Isaiah Pead, who was also Offensive Player of the Year for Cincinnati in the Big East. In the game, Pead collected 31 on the ground and 98 yards on punt two punt returns, including a 60-yarder that was the highlight of the first half.
Oklahoma State's Brandon Weeden, the most consistent of the South team's quarterbacks throughout the practice week was the worst of the six passers Saturday, completing nearly as many passes to the defense (two interceptions) as he did to South receivers (five completions) for just 56 yards.
Other Senior Bowl standouts:
--Quinton Coples, DE, North Carolina: Undeniably the most talented player in Mobile for the Senior Bowl, Coples continued his dominant week of practice with an MVP-caliber performance in the game. Coples, a shade under 6-6 and 281 pounds, was a consistent threat off the edge and used his long arms and obvious upper body strength to rag-doll pass blockers on his way to the quarterback. Perhaps the most impressive play of the game from Coples, however, came as a run defender. He shook off a block from Iowa State right tackle Kelechi Osemele and with one arm stopped the momentum of running back Isaiah Pead and threw him to the ground for a two-yard loss on 3rd and goal. If Coples played with the same intensity throughout his senior season that he did throughout the week in Mobile, he might have been the easy choice as the top defensive prospect in the 2012 draft.
--Isaiah Pead, RB, Cincinnati: The game's MVP was easily the most explosive running back in this. He demonstrated his unique straight-line speed and agility by accelerating through holes and making defenders miss as a running back and punt returner. Despite taking on return duties late in his senior season, Pead showed good vision and courage in attacking seams as he averaged 49 yards on the two opportunities. He demonstrated not only athleticism, but also the willingness to cut back inside against the grain and finish his runs.
--Mike Adams, OT, Ohio State: Despite playing with a little less consistency that scouts would like, the 6-7, 323 pound Adams impressed throughout the week of practice with his ability to maintain squarely in front of speed rushers and play with a reliable base against bull rushes. Adams played with much better consistency Saturday, controlling his opponent throughout the contest and distancing himself as the elite offensive line prospect in the Senior Bowl. Adams surrendered a sack in the 3rd quarter to Alabama's Courtney Upshaw but held up well initially to my top-rated senior prospect and only allowed the coverage sack on Wisconsin quarterback Russell Wilson after protecting for several seconds.
--Doug Martin, RB, Boise State: While Martin wasn't able to break free for the splashy plays that his North teammate Pead did, it was the former Bronco running back who was the best running back in Mobile throughout the week of practice and he followed that up with an impressive game. Martin showed good burst to and through the hole, as well as the vision and acceleration to gain yardage in chunks as a running back and kick returner. Having impressed scouts with his obvious dedication to the weight room by sporting a chiseled physique during Monday's weigh-in, Martin showcased that his attention to details isn't just limited to lifting weights. He provided excellent effort blocking downfield on a 41-yard touchdown catch by Robinson.
--Bobby Wagner, ILB, Utah State: Like Martin, Wagner initially caught the attention of NFL scouts by showcasing a powerful build on his 6-0, 241 pound frame during Monday's weigh-in. With defenders asked not to take ball-carriers to the ground throughout the week of practice, Wagner wasn't able to wow scouts with what he does best -- tackle -- until the game. He certainly did on Saturday, anticipating and closing quickly on ball-carriers and then wrapping up cleanly to tie with South Carolina safety Antonio Allen to lead the game with seven tackles. Wagner also proved his playmaking ability, recording a tackle for loss and an interception of Weeden in the first quarter.
For much more Senior Bowl content from NFLDraftScout.com, click here.
Posted on: January 25, 2012 6:29 pm
Edited on: January 25, 2012 6:36 pm
MOBILE, Ala -- Arizona wide receiver Juron Criner saw his stock slip before his senior season even began amid concerns about family and personal health issues.
Posted on: November 25, 2011 11:42 am
Edited on: November 25, 2011 2:57 pm
The battle between No. 1 LSU and No. 3 Arkansas hasn't received nearly the same hype as the clash LSU had with Alabama just a few weeks ago.
It certainly should, however. The game carries just as much BCS implications and features several high ranking pro prospects, as well.
Here are the top prospects for both sides. This game begins today at 2:30 pm Eastern Time on CBS.
CB Morris Claiborne, 6-0, 185, junior
WR Rueben Randle, 6-3, 208, junior
OT Alex Hurst, 6-6, 340, junior
OLB Ryan Baker, 6-0, 236, senior
TE DeAngelo Peterson, 6-3, 236, senior
SS Brandon Taylor, 5-11, 195, senior
WR Joe Adams, 5-11, 190, senior
A speedster who is equally dangerous as a punt returner and out of the slot, Adams is flying up draft boards. He leads the country with three punt returns scored on touchdowns, including this dazzling one against Tennessee a few weeks ago.
DE Jake Bequette, 6-5, 271, senior
Having secured eight of Arkansas' 20 sacks this season, Bequette has essentially been a one-man wrecking crew for the Razorbacks. Blessed with good size and athleticism he was developed into one of the better middle round defensive end prospects in the draft. A strong showing on this national stage could help him secure a spot on one of the top all-star game rosters.
WR Greg Childs, 6-3, 217, senior
Childs entered the year among the most highly touted senior receivers in the country, but he's been slow to recover from the damaged patella tendon that ended last season prematurely. Childs has excellent size, body control and hands, but is running out of time to prove his speed has returned and that he's healthy.
ILB Jerry Franklin, 6-1, 245, senior
A Second Team All-SEC pick last year, Franklin is once again pacing the Razorbacks in tackles this season with 87 stops, including 10 tackles for loss. The Tigers' downhill power running and the lateral agility of LSU's option runners is going to put a lot of pressure on Franklin and Arkansas front seven defenders in this contest. I expect a strong game with a gaudy stat line.
TE Chris Gragg, 6-3, 235, junior
A former wide receiver, Gragg still lacks the bulk most teams are looking for at tight end, but he's flashed this year as a mismatch threat down the seam, actually entering this game as the reigning Mackey Award Tight End of the Week based off his eight catch, 119 yard (and a score) performance last week against Mississippi State.
WR Cobi Hamilton, 6-3, 209, junior
Hamilton gets lost a bit in the shuffle of Arkansas' great receivers, but as the only underclassman of the group he's best in position to become a favorite of Tyler Wilson, who also has a year of eligibility remaining. Hamilton currently ranks fourth on the team with 29 catches, but his 15.2 yard per catch average is impressive considering his size.
FS Tramain Thomas, 6-0, 204, senior
Instinctive, athletic and possessing good ball skills, Thomas is one of the better options in a relatively weak senior crop of safeties. He leads the team with four interceptions this season, as he did last year in earning Second Team All-SEC honors. Thomas isn't likely to get tested often in this game considering how little LSU typically throws the ball, but he'll certainly have to be steady in run support.
QB Tyler Wilson, 6-3, 220, redshirt junior
Wilson stepped in for Ryan Mallett and the Razorbacks have suffered virtually no drop-off this season. Some of the credit must go to Bobby Petrino's scheme, which has proven to be effective at moving the ball at every level he's coached. A good deal of credit should go to Wilson, as well, however, as he has legitimate arm talent and is a much more mobile passer than Mallett, so the Razorbacks don't have a statue in the pocket to protect. This will be Wilson's stiffest test this year as the LSU secondary is the best in the country. Considering the other juniors likely to leave school early this season, scouts don't anticipate Wilson heading to the NFL early. Should he return, he'll certainly be among the more closely scrutinized passers for the 2013 draft.
WR Jarius Wright, 5-10, 180, senior
Joe Adams has been getting a great deal of attention over the past few weeks due to his dazzling production, but make no mistake Wright is the go-to receiver in this offense. He leads the team with 61 receptions, has almost double the receiving yards (1,002) as Adams, Arkansas' second leading receiver (595) and has over three times as many touchdown receptions (10) as any other Razorback (Adams and Hamilton are tied with three each). Though he boasts very good speed and is a more reliable route-runner and hands-catcher than some of his teammates, Wright will have to prove to scouts that he can play special teams if he is to improve upon the 5th round grade NFLDraftScout.com has currently assigned to him.
This game begins today at 2:30 pm Eastern Time on CBS.
Posted on: November 15, 2011 3:36 pm
Edited on: November 15, 2011 3:38 pm
So much has been made of the bigger, stronger receivers likely to be available in the 2012 draft (like Justin Blackmon, Michael Floyd, Marvin McNutt, etc.) that a few of the undersized speedsters aren't getting the recognition they deserve.
One such example is Arkansas wideout and return specialist Joe Adams.
Adams entered the season on the radar of NFL scouts, but he was viewed as a clear-cut secondary option in the Razorbacks' passing attack behind Greg Childs and Jarius Wright. With Childs struggling through recurring knee problems, however, Adams has stepped to the forefront a bit more, demonstrating the elusiveness and speed to contribute in both roles to an NFL team.
Some scouts, in fact, tell me that Adams has gone from a likely very late round prospect into possible Top 100 consideration based on playmaking skills that some have compared to Percy Harvin and DeSean Jackson's. Adams is currently rated by NFLDraftScout.com as a 3rd-4th round pick and our No. 90 prospect overall.
I had hoped to sneak a peek at the Arkansas/Tennessee game Saturday, but wasn't able to do so prior to my Monday morning deadline for the Weekend Review.
In catching two passes for 52 yards and a touchdown as well as returning his third punt for a score this season (and fourth of his career) in a 49-7 thrashing of the Volunteers, however, Adams deserves mentioning.
His punt return in the waning seconds of the first quarter Saturday seemed to deflate the Tennessee sideline. Adams made at least six defenders miss on the return, scoring from 80 yards out. The three punt returns this season by Adams leads the NCAA and earned him Special Teams Player of the Week honors from the SEC.
Here is a link to the video of Adams' return on Youtube, courtesy of dwdyem2001
Posted on: November 4, 2011 4:13 pm
Each Friday I list my "Five prospects" that I'll be focusing on for the upcoming weekend. In reality, I'm focusing on dozens of prospects each week, but the players listed below are playing in high profile games and against the caliber of competition that I believe provides us with an opportunity to truly assess how a collegiate player might fare when asked to make the huge jump to the NFL.
WR Joe Adams, Arkansas: NFLDraftScout.com currently ranks Adams as a 5th-6th round pick, but this is largely based off of preseason tape in which Greg Childs appeared to be the Razorbacks' elite wideout. With Childs nursing a sore knee throughout much of this season, Adams has emerged as the team's playmaker. At 5-11, 190 pounds, some have compared Adams to former Florida Gator standout Percy Harvin due to each player's extraordinary agility and 4.3 speed. Adams will have a tough test Saturday against a talented South Carolina secondary. Should his strong senior campaign continue, he could be looking at a Top 100 pick -- or perhaps even significantly higher than that... This game begins at 7:15 pm ET and will be televised by ESPN.