It's Combine Time: Redskins Off to Indy

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It's Combine Time: Redskins Off to Indy

Postby Jake » Wed Feb 18, 2004 7:27 pm

It's Combine Time: Redskins Off To Indy

By Gary Fitzgerald

The college player evaluation process begins in earnest this week, with more than 300 prospects to be evaluated and graded by all 32 teams at the annual NFL Scouting Combine, which officially starts on Wednesday at the RCA Dome in Indianapolis.

Like most teams, the Redskins will send a legion of coaches and scouts to the combine, which runs from Feb. 18-24.

Some have already departed for Indianapolis; others will depart on Thursday and later in the week.

Said Redskins pro scout Mike Kelly: “As a coaching staff and scouting department, we’ve earmarked after three intensive weeks of evaluating our team and evaluating potential free agents where we think we can get the most value out of the college draft. We’ve earmarked some specific positions we want to take a real hard look at.”

The coaches and scouts will evaluate players on certain aspects of their game and then pull their collective thoughts together to choose a player, Kelly said.

Every prospect will be weighed and measured. Each will undergo a physical examination by all 32 team physicians, who will evaluate how players have healed from injuries during college.

Here’s a rundown of some of the drills that players will have to complete during the scouting combine:

Vertical Jump
The player stands float-footed and must jump straight up and hit as many plastic flags above him as he can. This drill tests leg quickness.

Short Shuttle
The player is in a three-point stance and shifts five yards to his left and then five yards to his right. This drill tests lateral quickness.

Long Shuttle
The player runs five yards back and forth, then 10 yards, then 15 yards, touching each yard marker. This drill tests speed and endurance.

40-Yard Dash
The player runs 40 yards as fast as he can. This drill tests pure speed.

The 40-yard dash is perhaps the most hyped of the event of the combine process. A slow or fast time can make or break a player.

And sometimes the times recorded by scouts can be misleading in the complete evaluation of a player. Last year, Anquan Boldin reportedly ran a slower time than most other wide receivers, but he ended up catching 101 passes for 1,377 yards in his rookie season with the Arizona Cardinals.

In the evening, teams can conduct 15-minute interviews—consider it similar to a job interview, NFL-style—to evaluate the mental aspects of players. With head coach Joe Gibbs keying in on high character players, expect the Redskins to place a high priority on these interviews.

“When you’re dealing with this kind of investment, you have to know everything you can about the kid,” Kelly said. “So there will be a lot of intensive one-on-one interviews to find out what kind of person they are to go along with all the physical tests to find out what kind of athlete they are.”

Kelly added: “A little too much emphasis is sometimes placed on these tests—I’d rather know if the kid can play football. But this certainly goes into the overall evaluation.”

Meantime, many of the players expected to be in attendance have been working for the last several weeks with personal trainers and independent position coaches to fine-tune their skills.

Two years ago, Redskins quarterback Patrick Ramsey spent considerable time working with longtime coach and former Rams, Bears and Packers quarterback Zeke Bratkowski prior to the combine. Ramsey’s courage and toughness were unquestioned, but scouts wanted to key in on his throwing motion and footwork in the pocket.

His performance was impressive enough to earn him a first-round selection (32nd overall) by the Redskins.

Last year, Taylor Jacobs was among 38 wide receivers invited to the combine. Jacobs stood out and was ranked among the best in the draft, including Charles Rogers, Andre Johnson, Bryant Johnson and Kelly Washington. When he dropped to the second round, the Redskins gladly selected him.

And then there are the likes of Gibran Hamdan, who was not invited to the combine last year but showed up in Indianapolis anyway to introduce himself to NFL coaches and scouts from around the league.

Hamdan played his collegiate ball at Indiana and later attended a tryout at Redskins Park, where he impressed coaches. He would become the Redskins’ seventh-round draft pick last April.

The NFL Network will provide unprecedented coverage of this year’s scouting combine. For schedules and more on the combine, check out
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Postby redskins56 » Thu Feb 19, 2004 7:51 am

Good post... I hope we have a great draft this year. Our last good draft was when we got Rod Gardner and Fred Smoot in the top two rounds!


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Postby Hail2DaRedskinz » Thu Feb 19, 2004 12:35 pm

redskins56 wrote:Good post... I hope we have a great draft this year. Our last good draft was when we got Rod Gardner and Fred Smoot in the top two rounds!


Ramsey was a good pick.

Betts and Bauman may turn into starters yet. And the Rock has proven a decent runner. If Betts and Bauman turn into good players for us, this will be a good draft as well.
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