Weekend Combine Analysis

Many of you may not have been able to watch the  scouting combine this weekend. Even though it was televised on NFL.Com, watching men run around in tights may not be your thing. It's not really mine either but I watched about 4-5 hours, total, of it. Here are some things I saw, though much of it doesn't pertain to an early Buccaneers pick. Many of the positions I expect the front office to target will be performing Monday and Tuesday.

A few notables:

Cam Newton - I'd be remiss not to discuss Newton's performance. He will get plenty of heat for how he threw the ball, but from what I understand teams put little stock in this. They are looking for the fundamentals not necessarily for the results of the throw. I thought Newton displayed phenomenal athleticism and I believe set the record for Quarterbacks in the broad jump. He has incredibly quick feet and a long stride. Newton will also get slammed for his interview in which he apparently got incredibly defensive when asked about disobeying the coaches decision (in the Nat'l Championship) to take a knee, instead opting for a QB sneak on a play in which he almost fumbled.   The interviews are known for being incredibly tough, however, that's part of standing up under pressure. According to some sources he came off arrogant, but again that's part of the position.

Julio Jones - He ran faster than most though, and tested well in the measurables. This certainly helps his stock, however, I was turned off by his gauntlet run. He dropped 3/4 passes on the sideline to sideline portion of the gauntlet, apparently losing focus after his first miss. As the analyst on NFL.Com pointed out, he also tended to catch the ball very close to his face, rather than getting the ball at the furthest point from his body. AJ Green seemed to have the same bad habit, but those flaws will be overlooked because of their bodies of work.

Rodney Hudson - Hudson weighed in at 299, which was about 5 lbs heavier than I had expected. I did anticipate him putting on some weight because of the weight management system that he was on at Florida State. Because he is considered undersized, this helps. He was also able to maintain his athleticism with the added weight. This helps his stock tremendously. Unfortunately, I can't navigate the NFL.Com/Combine website well enough to find his bench, only the top performers and Hudson (as expected) didn't make that list.

Leonard Hankerson - I listed Hankerson as a possible 2nd round pick for the Bucs. The Bucs need a receiver who can stretch the field from a wide-out position, rather than Stroughter who is primarily a slot guy. Hankerson was incredibly unimpressive to me. He struggled in the on-the-field drills. I thought his routes were sloppy, he didn't adjust well to the ball and missed several catches, most notably in the gauntlet drill. Again, his body of work speaks for itself. He was one of the toughest receivers in college football to cover and made play after play. I wouldn't put too much stock into the combine effort of Hankerson, catching balls from quarterbacks he doesn't have any relationship or timing with.

Guys who Rocketed their draft status -

Da'Rell Scott - Scott was a top performer in nearly every measurable. He had an unimpressive career at Maryland and brings some character issues. Could be a very good change-of-pace back.

Jordan Cameron -Cameron was easily the highest performing Tight End at the combine. Not in most peoples Top 5 of Tight Ends, he may have just earned himself that top spot. Incredible speed, agility and decent strength he will be use as a Kellen Winslow-esque TE. Strictly pass catching.

Stephen Paea - Tore his meniscus during the Senior Bowl week, so that will probably keep him out of the first round. However, he showed up and benched 225 49 times. That's pretty crazy and a combine record. He has the ability to be a dominating nose-tackle with that kind of strength.

I have a hard time saying anyone has a bad day at the combine, unless you injure yourself. It can help, but I don't think it destroys your stock. I think the most important thing at the combine is the interviews. First impressions and first judgments are ignited during these. Oh, to be a fly on the wall for those. Perhaps one day, they will televise those. Also, if you go read MSM analysis of today's combine action, you may get vastly different reactions. This is just what I took out of watching it

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