2012 Scouting Combine awards
The awards season might be over for the movies now that the Oscars have wrapped, but the dog and pony show known as the NFL's scouting season is just getting started with the week-long NFL Scouting Combine over in Indianapolis.
Trade the red carpet for an expanse of green FieldTurf, the elaborate dresses for those skin-tight workout togs, and we could pass out our own collection of shiny trophies for the over-hyped proceedings we just witnessed. In fact, I think we will. Call them the "Combies,'' the "Mamulas'' or the "Indys,'' all that really matters is that we call them winners. The envelopes, please:
So what if Weeden would be older as an NFL rookie than Green Bay quarterback and current league MVP Aaron Rodgers, who's entering his eighth season? It's a proven fact we all mature at different stages in life.
"It used to kind of get under my skin, but there can be a lot worse things I can be answering questions about,'' Weeden said of the age issue. "I think I've got a lot left in my tank. Those guys played into their late 30s. A 10-year career in the NFL is a great career, and I think I've got every bit of that.''
Griffin didn't pick up a football all weekend, of course, but he did snap off a 4.41 in his 40-yard dash -- the fastest by any quarterback at the combine -- and he measured in at an impressive 223 pounds at 6-foot-2 and three-eighths, a bit taller than he was thought to be. I certainly hope he can play, because he's going to leave a trail of broken hearts if he turns out to be more Andre Ware or David Carr than Cam Newton or Aaron Rodgers.
Burfict thinks he's a misunderstood first-round talent. The league is more likely to give him an underachiever's third-round grade. And factoring in his winning personality and personal baggage, don't be surprised if you don't hear his name called on draft weekend until the third and final day.
What passes for killing it these days? Glad you asked. Hill ran a 4.36 in his 40, tying for the combine's fastest showing, and for good measure, he broad-jumped a combine-best 11-1. He turned in what my colleague Peter King described as the catch of the combine in Sunday's workout, laying out to nab a long bomb by Arizona quarterback Nick Foles. And to make sure everyone got the memo, Hill's 39.5-inch vertical leap was fifth overall among combine jumpers.
The 6-4, 215-pound receiver sometimes looked like a spare part in Georgia Tech's triple-option offense last season, but he might have just vaulted himself into strong consideration for the bottom of the first round or top of the second.
After Oklahoma State's Justin Blackmon, many scouts before the combine had Wright as the draft's second-best receiver. But he didn't exactly nail that spot down, leaving the door wide open for Notre Dame's Michael Floyd to climb into the No. 2 slot. Floyd ran a sub 4.5 40, dispelling any concerns about his speed, and his size (6-3) and jumping ability (36.5 vertical) really stood out.
Well, lo and behold, Osweiler checked in at the combine at just 6-6 and seven-eights, having had two vertebrae removed from his back in a desperate attempt to be shorter (just a joke, we can't verify anything). Alas, the measuring was the only good news of the weekend for Osweiler, who didn't throw or run at the combine due to a foot sprain he suffered during training this winter. So scouts still don't know much about the one-year ASU starter except he has been able to ride every ride at Disney World since he was 8 or 9.
"My major is radio-television-film,'' he said. "I love it. I love attention! I don't know. As a kid, my mom would put on Brett Favre interviews and loved how he didn't talk about, 'We played a great game. We gave 100 percent. We respect the other team.' I wanted to break that cycle. I wanted to be that guy to say, 'You know what? I've got a personal story. I've got more tied into this game than somebody else might have.''
Which is fine and dandy, and I hope he gets to see his name in lights some day. But Konz might have endangered his status as the only center with a first-round grade by managing a meager 18 reps on the bench press, calling into question his strength and weight-room dedication. Last I checked, Hollywood still hasn't been granted an NFL franchise.
Luck didn't throw in Indy, so he probably got bored and decided to work on his athleticism while he was killing time in his hotel room. Those crazy Stanford kids. Always tinkering with the wheel and trying to make it better. Fortunately, Luck can get back to chucking the football at his pro day next month and stop messing around with his moves. Somebody needs to tell him it's statistically proven that you can't improve your draft stock when you're a 100 percent lock to go first overall anyway.
If you're a receiver and you short-arm it -- think Dwayne Bowe of the Chiefs, late in that loss to the Steelers last season -- it's not good. It speaks to your lack of willingness to go all-out for the ball. But there have been plenty of quality offensive tackles with less than ideal arm length, and some of them even make the Pro Bowl: Joe Thomas and Michael Oher, to name two. So let's go a bit easy on Riley, the stubby-armed ex-Hawkeye. If he can buckle his chin strap, tie his own shoes, and give a proper high five, he has every right to play in this league.
Before the combine I was rooting like heck for Poe to slip some in the first round and last all the way until No. 29 Baltimore -- Poe, a Raven, alas, nevermore -- but it is not to be. He came out of Indy as a top 15 pick, and it's not out of the question that someone in the top 10 could fall in love with him. In the NFL, big, fast and good is a very intriguing combination.
Jenkins, the ex-Gators star, talked about his three arrests, two of them for marijuana possession. He talked about his bar fight arrest. His failed drug test at Florida. Being kicked off the team by new Gators head coach Will Muschamp last spring and winding up at Division II North Alabama. And his four children, all age 3 and under. It was a remarkably revealing Q&A, and he struck just the right tone of remorse and responsibility throughout. No Vontaze Burfict, he.
On Tuesday, Jenkins went out and dazzled the scouts on the field, running a blazing 4.46 in the 40, broad-jumping 10-1 and looking smooth and athletic in all the defensive back drills. He's a first-round talent, and he may have earned himself a fresh look from a handful of wary teams with his stellar combine performance.
"Dad was called 'Butthead,' '' the younger Butler said, with obvious pride. "Everybody just calls me 'Butt.' I don't know what the deal is with that. But it's just Butt for me.''
Ah, fathers, sons and a game that creates those special bonds between them, tying together the generations in a family. A family of Buttheads.