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Headlines From Sunday’s Combine Action

Posted by Mike Wobschall on February 24, 2013 – 8:55 pm

Offensive linemen, special teams players and tight ends conducted their on-field workouts on Saturday. Defensive linemen and linebackers will do so on Monday. Defensive backs will work on Tuesday. But on Sunday it was the marquee group of players who hit the field, and a lot of buzz was generated inside Lucas Oil Stadium as a result.

Here are several headline developments from Sunday’s action…

Speed and more speed
There were a number of impressive times registered by running backs and receivers on Sunday. We can’t post official information here, so you’ll have to check out this page to see the specific numbers. But here’s the spoiler: Texas WR Marquise Goodwin registered the fastest time of the day, and of the Combine so far. West Virginia WR Tavon Austin, Auburn RB Onterio McCalebb and Texas A&M WR Ryan Swope were a few ticks behind.

For the QBs, Geno Smith was the fastest and no one else came within a half-second.

Others who helped themselves with impressive times included: Arkansas RB Knile Davis, Tennessee WR Justin Hunter, Michigan WR Denard Robinson, Oklahoma WR Kenny Stills and Oregon State WR Markus Wheaton.

A “Star” concern
ESPN’s Chris Mortensen reported on Sunday afternoon that Utah’s Star Lotulelei, who is ranked as the #2 DT by NFL Network’s Mike Mayock, will not take part in Combine drills after an echocardiogram detected a heart condition. NFL.com’s Chris Wesseling wrote that the news could instigate a draft-stock slide because of longevity and durability questions.

Follow the Manuel
Smith seems to be the favorite to be the first QB taken during the 2013 NFL Draft, and nothing that happened on Sunday changed that sentiment. But that’s not to say other QBs aren’t impressing as well. NFL.com’s Daniel Jeremiah suggests that Florida State QB EJ Manuel may have done enough over the past few months to go from a 3rd-round prospect to a 2nd-round prospect.

“Honey Badger” speaks
LSU CB Tyrann Mathieu knows he can’t hide his past from the NFL. But he’s also anxious to show teams that he belongs in the NFL. Said Mathieu: “My best friend right now is honesty.”

Deep in the trenches
Mayock made an appearance in the media center late Sunday afternoon, and one observation he made while doing so was that 4 offensive linemen and 2 defensive linemen may wind up in his Top 10 prospects.

Looking up for Te’o?
We mentioned on Saturday that Notre Dame LB Manti Te’o handled his media obligations outstandingly well. Now his task is to be even better when he meets with NFL teams at the Combine. According to Tania Ganguli and John McClain of the Houston Chronicle, Te’o is well on his way. Houston Texans Head Coach Gary Kubiak said that Te’o handled himself well enough in their interview to leave the coach impressed.


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Mayock: Tavon Austin A “Game-Changer”

Posted by Mike Wobschall on February 24, 2013 – 11:59 am

In the early stages of the 2013 Scouting Combine we analyzed whether or not Tennessee WR Coreddelle Patterson would be a good fit with the Vikings because NFL.com’s Bucky Brooks identified the Vikings as one of five potential landing spots for the electric playmaker. Many Vikings fans would welcome Patterson to the Purple with open arms in hopes that he would jump start a passing offense looking to improve in 2013.

But many other Vikings fans feel the same way about another receiver who is generating a buzz on Sunday in Indianapolis – West Virginia’s Tavon Austin. The WRs are going through their on-field workouts on Sunday, and Austin’s performance in the 40-yard dash was impressive. We can’t post official numbers in this space, but you can check them out for yourself here.

Impressive performances are the norm for Austin, though. As a senior in 2012, Austin had double-digit receptions in 8 of 13 games and he had 100+ receiving yards in a game 6 times. Also, there were only 2 games in which Austin didn’t find the end zone. For the season, Austin had 114 receptions for 1,289 yards and 12 TDs to go along with an 8.9-yards per carry average and 3 TDs on 72 carries. In 4 seasons, Austin scored 35 offensive TDs and was also a talented returner.

NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock had high praise for Austin during Sunday’s coverage of the Combine.

“You want to talk about one of the most electric players I’ve ever seen in college football,” Mayock said, “he put a performance on against the University of Oklahoma that was one of the most amazing I’ve ever seen. Over 500 yards of offense — he played mostly tailback.”

In that game, Austin 21 times for 344 yards and 2 TDs. The performances underscored the notion that Austin’s skill set is unique and is the type of characteristic that could help him make a difference for an NFL team.

“In the NFL, it’s all about matchups, and this young man is a matchup nightmare,” Mayock said. “What I love about (Austin), he’s got good hands. We already know he can run, we know how quick he is. I know he’s tough. And he’s a game-changer.”


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Sunday’s Combine Schedule: QBs, RBs And WRs On The Field

Posted by Mike Wobschall on February 24, 2013 – 7:50 am

Sunday is not a day of rest at the 2013 Scouting Combine. Quite the opposite, in fact. The on-field drill portion of the Combine kicks into full gear and the final groups (Groups 10 and 11 – DBs) get started on their first full day of the Combine schedule.

Here is a quick breakdown of Sunday’s schedule…

QBs, RBs and WRs: On-Field Workouts (timing, stations, skill drills), Departure from Indianapolis

DL and LBs: Meetings, Psychological Testing, Bench Press, Team Interviews

DBs: Measurements, Medical Examinations, Media Obligations, Team Interviews


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