College area scout Todd Brunner checks in for his latest Brunner's Blog, updating you on how things went in Indianapolis at the Combine on Saturday. Check it out...**
As I mentioned last night, the 40-yard dash and workouts kicked off early this morning and I timed on the field at the 20. I'd like to think I was a 100% with every guy who went through and that my times were on the money, but there's a guy from every team in the NFL also sitting up in the stands and I'm sure we are not all the exact same on the trigger.
Everything went off without a hitch. We went at 9, 11 and 1 with the three groups and it was quick, fast and well organized. The offensive line were featured in the first two groups with the tight ends going in the third. Some of the big guys moved well and some stood out more than others.
In Group 1, I had a junior from my area who worked well in Virginia lineman Branden Albert.
He looked good and did what I thought he would do. I like the kid and I think he's got athletic ability and some strength. He's got some things to work on but I think he helped himself out tremendously with a good workout today.
Virginia Polytech lineman Daniel Brown also looked really good. He ran well and you could see his athletic ability. He's got a future in the League and he'll be a contributor pretty quickly wherever he lands.
Boston College lineman Gosder Cherilus also worked out well. He's a big kid with good size and good length. He showed his strength and some athletic ability.
In Group 2, my boy from UCONN, guard Donald Thomas, ran well, worked out well and looked good. I liked him during the year and hopefully he opened up the eyes of some of the other guys in our group. I think the scouts who went in there had a good feel so I wouldn't say he's a surprise to anyone here, but he definitely came on this last year. He wasn't a fulltime starter until this year and is a converted tight end who has just done well for himself here. I think he'll be on someone's team. I won't guarantee he'll be a starter somewhere next year, but he'll be a solid backup at the minimum.
Jeremy Zuttah out of Rutgers actually ended up having the very best time in the 40 among all of the linemen. He benched 35 yesterday which was second among all linemen, ran well today, and moved around well in his workout. He's put on some weight since the season ended. They keep those guys lighter at Rutgers but he's up over 300 pounds now. He's got the strength but with that added weight he definitely has a chance to be a guard in the NFL and possibly even a tackle. His workout was good and exciting to see. I think you'll see teams taking a chance on this kid.
It's just a good group of linemen this year, especially at offensive tackle. There will be a guy in any round who can come in and help you.
The tight ends group is always my favorite workout position because I get to work out with them as one of the quarterbacks. I think Purdue's Dustin Keller and Kentucky's Jacob Tamme had the two fastest times. Tamme had a bunch of catches. I think I almost took out the chin of UCLA tight end Fred Davis on one of my throws. It was a good throw but he was looking the other way and it almost hit him right in the face. There was a big moan in the crowd!
The tight end crop was okay. I wouldn't call it outstanding but there were some guys who stood out.
All in all it was a productive day. I get to hear from everybody in the League, good and bad afterwards in terms of my throwing arm. Some people said I've lost it. I only hope they were being sarcastic when they told me I looked like crap.
I saw my kid Eddie Royal out of Virginia Polytech on television doing the bench press. They actually made a mistake and called him a tight end but he's a receiver who I mentioned yesterday and he did very well with 24 reps. It's optional for them to lift and the fact that he's a smaller sized receiver shows his dedication and how hard he works. Not only is he strong, he's fast as can be. I think he's a can't miss player personally.
It was really the first full day of the Combine in terms of the running, the workouts, and bench press. The day went by very fast and it was enjoyable because as scouts, that's what we are here for. Obviously the medical guys are here and they are taking care of a very important part of this process, but as scouts and coaches, we're really here to watch the guys work out.
Most of the guys have worked out so far and that's a good sign. It's the same environment and conditions for these guys so it's a pretty even playing ground as opposed to their Pro Days. The climates are different at some of their schools so the numbers aren't a fair head to head comparison like they are here at the RCA Dome in Indianapolis.
We had more interviews tonight and there were a few kids from my area so I was over at the Crowne Plaza hotel for most of the evening and that's pretty much all there is to say about Saturday.