Another Reason The Combine Is A Fan-Favorite Event

Posted by Mike Wobschall on February 28, 2012 – 4:26 pm

We all know the TV viewing audience for the NFL Scouting Combine has grown steadily over the years. But now the NFL has found another way to increase exposure of its annual pre-draft event. Fans were allowed into Lucas Oil Stadium this year to watch a part of the Combine live and in person.

And as an article on pointed out, the League believes the experiment was successful.

Over 200 fans watched the Combine on Sunday from the upper levels of Lucas Oil Stadium, and they earned the opportunity to do so by submitting essays making their case to be among the 250 people allowed entry into the exclusive NFL prospect showcase.

“Long conducted under what seemed like a veil of secrecy, the combine has opened up — slowly — in recent years,” the piece explaines. “First came the NFL Network cameras, then access to some of the data, then all of it. And now, as the NFL has successfully done with its other events, it’s beginning to open the doors for fans.”

Ray Anderson, the NFL’s vice president of football operations, considered Sunday’s fan experiment a big success.

“The folks followed the instructions, they were respectful,” Anderson said. “They understood this was a work environment and that these young men were going through the interviews of their lives, so we asked them to adhere to a library etiquette and to help us out so we can take this back and really vet it and see if it’s something we should do on a larger and more permanent basis. And you know what, they’ve given us a good case to make.”

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Highlights From DL, LB Combine Workouts

Posted by Mike Wobschall on February 28, 2012 – 8:05 am

I spend most of Monday traveling from Indianapolis back to Minneapolis, but the show went on without at the Combine. Defensive linemen and linebackers took to the field on Monday for their on-field workouts, and here are a few of the highlights from the action…

– Mychal Kendricks registered the fastest 40-yard dash time of all LBs, as the University of California LB sprinted the distance in 4.47 seconds. Kendricks had a great day of workouts because he was also #1 in the broad jump (10 feet, 7 inches) and vertical leap (39.5 inches). University of North Carolina LB Zack Brown had the second-fastest 40 time at 4.50 seconds and Boston College’s Luke Kuechly was third-fastest at 4.58 seconds. Arkansas State LB DeMario Davis was second-best in both the broad jump (10-4) and vertical leap (38.5), and Kuechly was third in the vertical leap (38 inches).

– While the LBs dominated the 40-yard dash drill, it was the defensive linemen who had the greatest impact in the bench press. Memphis DT Dontari Poe stole the show, pushing up the 225-pound bench press an amazing 44 times, which was 8 more than the second-best effort. BYU DL Loni Fangupo, Michigan DL Mike Martin and UCONN DL Kendall Reyes all gutted out 36 reps in a tie for second place along with the top LB – Oklahoma’s Ronnell Lewis.

– While Kendricks had the best day of any LB, it was USC’s Nick Perry who I think had the best day of any DL. Perry looked competent and smooth in the position-specific drills on the field, and then was outstanding in the tests. He had 35 reps on the bench press (6th best among DL), ran the 40 in 4.64 seconds (3rd),  registered a vertical leap of 38.5 inches (1st) and was also 1st in the broad jump.

– Let’s go back to Poe. He measured in at 6-4, 336 pounds and, as explained above, he has incredible strength to go with that size. He also performed well in the position-specific drills and had better-than-you-expected performances in the broad jump, vertical leap and 40-yard dash. In fact, NFL Network’s Michael Lombardi probably put it best when he described Poe’s size as “enormous,” his speed as “outstanding” and his power as “rare.” All of this tells me Poe has great explosion, which combined with his size and strength makes him a great DT prospect. The Vikings are obviously looking for a difference-making DT, but don’t get too excited about Poe because he’s going to be gone in the 1st round and won’t be available for the Vikings when they pick early in the 2nd round (#35 overall).

– As I explained in the recap of Sunday’s action, I enjoy following NFL Network’s Charley Casserly both on TV and on twitter. Here are a few of his tweets as he reacted to Monday’s workouts: “DT very strong position, Some good OLB’s for 34 Def, DE not very strong”; “DT has gd depth-I liked:Brockers-LSU,Cox-Miss St,Crick-Neb,Forston-Mia,Kuhn-NCST,Martin-Mich,Reyes-Conn,Still-PAST”; “I liked in [workouts] Worthy-MSU, Wolfe-Cinn, Winn-Boise and player who helped himself the most was Poe-Memphis”; “DE’s disappointing as group-[workouts] I liked: Mercilus-ILL, Jones-Syr, Crawford-Boise, – Coples-NC was disappointing to me.”; “Liked these MLB WO’s-Kuechly-BC, Spence-MIA, Kendricks-CAL, Galippo-USC & these 43 OLB’s-Brown-UNC,Lavonte-NEB,Whitehead-Temple.”; “Two disappointing players-Burfict-ASU ran 4.93 & 5.10; Upshaw-ALA was very avg in drills-no burst or explosion.”

– The DBs take the field for workouts and drills on Tuesday, so I’ll be watching those and will report back to you all day and tomorrow. Also tomorrow, I’ll try to finish a Combine recap blog entry, so stay tuned for that. Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter for updates (@wobby) and also don’t forget to check out this week’s Wobcast, which features NFL Network draft expert and Vikings preseason TV analyst Mike Mayock.

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