Posts Tagged ‘Star’

Winners

  • Knile Davis of Arkansas opened some eyes with his combine performance

    Knile Davis of Arkansas opened some eyes with his combine performance

    Knile Davis, RB, Arkansas – Davis has had a rough last two years, after missing all of the 2011 season with an ankle injury, he followed it up with a poor showing in 2012. Teams should realize though that Davis was sensational in 2010 before his injury and a lot of his problems in 2012 were not his fault but the fault of the entire Razorbacks team, a team that had hopes of winning the SEC before giving up after about 3 weeks. Davis had a phenomenal combine performance and showed scouts that they should probably dust off that tape from 2010.

  • Tyrann Mathieu, DB, LSU – Mathieu started off his combine well with a great press conference with the media. He followed that up by having a pitiful performance in the bench press with just 4 reps, calling his work ethic into question. But when he got on the field he showed why he was the best defensive player in the nation in 2011.
  • Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia – Austin’s stock was already on the rise prior to the combine but he really showed some elite skill in Indy. He had one of the fastest 40 times of the 4 days at any position, and showed some great pass catching ability. He even showed improvement with his route running, which for me, makes him a first round pick and a potential game-changer.

Losers

  • Manti Te'o of Notre Dame did little to help his draft stock in Indy

    Manti Te’o of Notre Dame did little to help his draft stock in Indy

    Manti Te’o, LB, Notre Dame – Personally, I think Te’o is going to be a fine player in the NFL. People are going to harp on him because of his slow 40 time but I don’t think it is that big of a deal. Players even at his position have run times slower than him and gone on to have good careers (Brandon Spikes comes to mind who ran a 5.0). Te’o also showed in his press conference that maturity really shouldn’t be a concern with him. When it comes down to it though, I just get the feeling NFL teams are not going to like what they saw out of him on the field and he may slip into the second round because of it.

  • Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah – Obviously this doesn’t have to do with any kind of performance issue since he was unable to work out at the combine. However, the issue that arose as of a result of a combine examination could spell bad news for Lotulelei’s draft stock. On the other hand it could be great news for a team who would never have had the chance to draft him, as he could slip to the middle of the first because of this heart problem. Lotulelei is a special player and it is going to be a shame to see him fall out of the top-10 where he rightfully belongs. (I could also put Sharrif Floyd into the “winners” category because of this)

By Jeff Vinton, blogger/editor On the Clock

Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o, above, had a horrible showing at the NFL Combine Monday that include a 4.82 second 40-yard dash, .17 seconds more than his pre-Combine time.

Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o, above, had a horrible showing at the NFL Combine Monday that include a 4.82 second 40-yard dash, .17 seconds more than his pre-Combine time. Source: BleacherReport.com

The third day of the combine kicked off with linebackers and defensive linemen going through drills at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis and all eyes focused mainly on one player. Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o.

By now everyone knows Te’o’s story. Heisman trophy candidate (finished 2nd), winner of the Maxwell, Walter Camp, Bednarik, Lombardi, Nagurski and Butkus awards, had to play the Michigan State game the week when his “girlfriend” (who later turned out to be fake, made up by Ronaiah Tuiasosopo as part of a “catfish” scam) and grandmother died within hours of each other. He was on top of the college football world. Notre Dame was undefeated, #1 in the nation for the first time since 1993, and then, January hit.

Alabama throttled Notre Dame in the National Championship game 42-14. Deadspin.com published the story about the catfish scam. Te’o began to drop down draft boards, and his life began to unravel.

What happened today is not going to help his cause. Today, Te’o posted a 40-yard dash time of 4.82 seconds. That is .17 seconds slower than his CBSSports.com Draft Profile had recorded for him on Sunday. And when one is in the middle of a field trying to catch a running back or keep up with a wide receiver, that .17 seconds can be an eternity.

Thanks to what Te’o is referring to as “the incident,” he was already a fringe first round pick, down from a top 10 selection in December. Now that he has posted that 40 time, it is unlikely that he will even be selected in the first round. John Harbaugh, coach of the Super Bowl Champion Baltimore Ravens, the team best suited to draft Te’o (and the team I chose as my pick to draft him in my preview Saturday) at the beginning of the day due to the retirement of future Hall of Famer Ray Lewis, looked disappointed and disinterested in Te’o during coverage of the combine on NFL.com.

After today’s performance, it is likely that some of the lesser known linebackers will have a golden opportunity to jump up and take Te’o’s position in the first round. Te’o may drop to the second half of the second round, and maybe even the third round if he cannot improve on today’s performance at Notre Dame’s pro day on March 26.

Outside of Te’o’s debacle, there were great performances put on today. Missouri linebacker Zaviar Gooden put in the top 40 time for the day with a time of 4.47 seconds. The top defensive lineman in the 40 was Trevardo Williams of Connecticut with a time of 4.57. Top draft pick Barkevious Mingo of LSU put up a time of 4.58 and Ezekiel “Ziggy” Ansah ran a time of 4.63.

Three defensive linemen led the pack in the bench press with Brandon Williams of Missouri Southern State and Margus Hunt of SMU benching 225 pounds 38 times and Akeem Spence of Illinois benching it 37 times. Bjoern Werner (whose preview can be found in the Florida State, Linebacker, or Player Preview categories) benched 25 times and Ansah benched 21 times.

Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh (right) was not impressed with the showing of Notre Dame's Manti Te'o, running the 40-yard dash (left) at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis on Monday. Source: thebiglead.com

Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh (right) was not impressed with the showing of Notre Dame’s Manti Te’o, running the 40-yard dash (left) at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis on Monday.
Source: thebiglead.com

Conversely, three linebackers had the highest verticals today. Jamie Collins of Southern Miss jumped 41.5 inches, while Cornelius Washington of Georgia jumped 39 inches and Sio Moore of UConn jumped 38 inches. Mingo jumped 37 inches in the air and Te’o jumped 33.

A mix of linemen and linebackers led the group in the broad jump. Collins leaped 139 inches (11’ 7”), which was a Combine record, Gooden leaped 131 inches (10’ 11”), South Carolina defensive lineman Devin Taylor, Washington and Mingo all flew 128 inches (10’ 8”). Ansah and Florida linebacker Jon Bostic leaped 118 inches (9’ 10”).

Another story coming in to the day was that Utah defensive lineman and potential top five draft pick Star Loutlelei was pulled out of participating in drills due to a heart condition. That condition has yet to be specified and coverage on that and all other things NFL Draft will continue through April 27 on On the Clock: Your NFL Draft Destination.

Tomorrow, the defensive backs will take the field in Indianapolis for drills to close out the combine. On the Clock’s Bill Slane will have the coverage.

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“One secret of success in life is for a man to be ready for his opportunity when it comes.” –Benjamin Disraeli

Sharrif Floyd is being given a golden opportunity, and the defensive tackle out of Florida needs to really step up in his drills and in his pro day to prove he can play. The big news late today was Utah defensive lineman Star Lotulelei will not be participating in drills at the combine due to a heart condition that was discovered in Indianapolis. Star was on top of most people draft boards in terms of defensive tackles, with Floyd trailing close behind him. With this news that Lotulelei could drop due to medical concerns, Floyd could shoot up to the top spot if he proves himself.

On film Floyd looks pretty impressive. The first thing I always look for in defensive lineman is their ability to push the line of scrimmage, and Floyd does that very well. He seems to have a good combination of strength and speed that makes it hard for some offensive lineman to block. While I saw him struggle with some double teams, he does occasionally split double teams with some great technique and he gets off blocks well.

Like with many young players, a problem Floyd needs to work on is his consistency. On the film that I watched, it seemed like he would disappear for some plays. Of course in those same games he would burst through the line and make a tackle in the backfield, but I would still feel better about him if he showed a consistent effort.

While I am slightly concerned about Floyd’s ability, you cannot doubt his heart. In Florida’s game against Texas A&M, Floyd was hurt early on in the game and returned later to make some big plays en route to a 20-17 Gator victory against the Aggies. NFL scouts have to like seeing a player come back and help their team win a big game like that against an SEC opponent on the road.

I think that part of Floyd’s inconsistency problems have to do with his conditioning. I noticed that the later the game wore on, the less of a presence Floyd was in the game. Of course, getting with a strength and conditioning coach at the NFL will help him learn to both pace himself, and train so that he doesn’t get worn down later in games.

Floyd also impressed by his versatility on the defensive line. Floyd played on the inside as well as the outside of the defensive line. This has to be something that NFL scouts will love as they will be comfortable putting him high on their boards despite of the style of defense their team runs. Floyd could probably play both defensive tackle in a 4-3 defense or a defensive end in a 3-4 defense.

Floyd was going to be a first rounder even before the situation with Star Lotulelei. What is going to be very interesting is to see how Floyd responds tomorrow. Whether or not he sinks or swims is going to be a very good sign of how Floyd will respond to the pressures of the NFL. Athletes who are invited to the NFL combine already have enough pressure on them, the added spotlight on Floyd just adds more pressure to the young man from Florida, I can’t wait to see how he takes it.

If Floyd impresses enough tomorrow, and if the medical problems with Lotulelei is enough of a problem that he drops, he could go in the top 10 to a team looking to add a very solid defensive lineman who can make some big plays for your football team.

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Player Preview – Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah

Posted: February 15, 2013 by billslane93 in Player Preview, Utah
Tags: , , , , , ,

Evaluating interior defensive lineman is an extremely difficult thing to do, especially one that got as much attention as the big man from Utah, Star Lotulelei did. Star doesn’t jump out at you when you watch some of his film, unless you are really watching closely, and on paper he is average at best. In 2012, Star recorded just 4 sacks and 10 tackles for loss; those stats weren’t even the best at his position in the Pac-12. When it comes down to it though, Star is a special player who can make a big impact with the right team.

Star is an extremely gifted and well-rounded player. There are not many people who play his position that jump the snap as well as he does. For a man his size it is really shocking just how quick he is and how big of a gas tank he has. Star simply never gives up, and that is the greatest characteristic an interior defensive lineman can have. He never gets down, he goes 100% on every play for 60 minutes and it’s part of the reason he is such a great player and a soon to be top ten pick.

Lotulelei was the Utah defense, and in a lot of ways he was the whole team. The Utes had a very disappointing 5-7 season in 2012, so Star was really the only bright spot on an otherwise bad football team. Despite being keyed in on in just about every game, Star was still able to find ways to stand out. In his time with the Utes, Star took double teams on just about every play, and sometimes he had to deal with triple teams. It was truly impressive to watch Star push back the line of scrimmage despite having two guys trying to block him, not many players can do that in the NFL. Offensive coordinators in the NFL will quickly realize that doubling up on Star will be a necessity and that will open things up for his teammates.

For that reason I firmly believe that Star needs to go to the right team if he wants to be considered a great player. I don’t think he will have much better numbers in the pros than he did at Utah, but if he goes to a team with some good edge rushers he will be able to make a huge impact.

The problem with that theory is that Star will be and should be a top ten pick, and none of those teams really have that presence on the edge that would make Star, well, a star in the NFL. Buffalo has Mario Williams, but will they pick another interior defensive lineman that high after Marcell Dareus? Kansas City has Tamba Hali, but will they be willing to make Star the number one pick overall? The most logical team in the top ten would probably be number nine to the Jets; Rex Ryan would probably love having Star on his defense, especially if they lose Mike DeVito in free agency. The Jets, however, do not have that edge presence; at least not currently.

You don’t need me to tell you Star is great player and will be a top ten pick, Mike Mayock and Mel Kiper will be doing plenty of that after the combine. Star made the best out of being on a bad football team and has become a player with the potential to be the best player at his position at the next level. If he gets put in the right situation, Star will not just be a pro bowl/all pro type of player, he will be in the conversation for defensive player of the year on a yearly basis for a long time.

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