Day Three Combine Notes
While the first two days at the 2007 NFL Combine were mostly measuring and interviewing, day three saw the start of some real action. Both the offensive linemen and tight ends took to the field to conduct their individual workouts.
The top three offensive line prospects on many draft boards are tackles Joe Thomas, and Levi Brown, and center Ryan Kalil; all three looked great on Saturday. While one struggles to understand what the value of a drill like the forty yard dash would be for an offensive lineman, all three fortified their stock when they ran sub 5.0 times. Thomas officially clocked in at 4.92, Kalil at 4.96, and while Brown was unofficially clocked at 4.96, his official time was unavailable at the time of press. All three were equally impressive in the mirror drill. While drills are drills, and games are games, the mirror drill is really an excellent drill to gauge an offensive lineman's technique. Not only did Thomas, Kalil and Brown perform well, but they were so fluid that they made it look like most others had done the drill incorrectly.
Thomas may have actually improved his already strong draft position. When a guy is 6'7" and runs a 4.92, he's going to open some eyes. When he's already the top player at the position going in, he's going to open someone's check book. It's tough to see Thomas being available any later than the number three slot after Saturday's performance.
Kalil may have actually helped himself the most though, and really fortified his position as a first round selection with a great all around performance. He weighed in at 299 pounds (after playing at 285 pounds), but Kalil proved Saturday that he had no trouble carrying the extra fifteen pounds and moved very well. Kalil himself said, "I wanted to show that I could carry it." He certainly showed just that.
Tony Ugoh is another top grade prospect that had an eye-opening day. Not only did he run two forty times at or around 5.0 (5.06 officially), but after pulling up at the end of the last run with a quadriceps pull, he insisted on continuing through some drills. Somehow he managed to not only compete in the broad jump, but jump 9'9" which is seven inches further than any lineman even jumped at last year's combine. With a pulled quad? While the numbers were good, the sheer determination and perseverance might have been even better. Road graders are always great to come by.
After opening a few eyes with Friday's best 40 repetitions of 225 pounds in the bench press, Justin Blalock followed through with a respectable 5.10 in the forty yard dash, and a solid performance in the position drills.
Two small school linemen made an impression as well; Missourri Southern State's Allan Barbre and Akron's Andy Alleman. Barbre posted the absolute best 40-time of all offensive linemen (4.84), Alleman the second best (4.91). Both proved that they move well and will now likely draw considerably more attention and looks from some NFL teams.
Greg Olsen and Zach Miller are widely considered the two top tight end prospects in the draft, but Olsen was clearly the cream of the crop on Saturday. Not only did he post the best time in the forty yard dash, but he did so decisively. Unofficially Olsen ran times of 4.47 and 4.45, but it was later reported as an official 4.51. While it wasn't quite as impressive as Vernon Davis' 4.38 performance last year, it certainly put Olsen's draft stock on the rise by virtue of the fact that it was two-tenths of a second faster than any other tight end. Olsen weighed in at 6'5 7/8", 254 pounds, jumped a very solid 35 1/2" in the vertical jump, looked great in the gauntlet drill, and ran crisp routes in position drills. He also made several stabbing catches and looked sharp all day long.
Olsen may have put some separation between himself and Miller with the performance, as Miller had a more average day. Miller checked in at 6'4 3/8", and unofficially ran times of 4.84 and 4.83 in the forty yard dash. He was a little erratic in the gauntlet, but looked considerably better in the actual passing drills.
Michael Allan put the Division III Whitworth Pirates on the proverbial NFL map with a great combine. He posted the second best 40-time for a tight end at 4.71, he caught the ball well, and most importantly, he matched up well in every respect with the other tight ends. When a smaller school guy can show that he physically rivals his peers, he grades out as a good project. In a shallow tight end class, Allan's performance helped his own cause as much as anyone else on the field on Saturday.
This article was released on 2007-02-25.
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