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 Sunday. Check it out...
SUNDAY FROM THE COMBINE
The first workout today was quarterbacks and receivers, so basically, the first of the fast guys.
Among the receivers, there were a couple of guys who ran really well including some west coast guys in DeSean Jackson out of Cal and the UCLA kid Brandon Breazell. Some of the faster guys also included Andre Bubba Caldwell from Florida and William Franklin out of Missouri. They both ran sub 4.4's which was nice to see.
Caldwell also caught the ball well in his workout, and ran great routes out there. He showed great hands and then Eddie Royal ran a great time like we expected him to do. He told us in an interview the other night what he was going to run and he lived up to his words. He also ran great routes and caught the ball and in my opinion, he just made himself some money.
One kid, De'Cody Fagg, got injured during the workout and that's tough to see. Pat Roberts, a scout from the Browns, said he was down there and actually heard the kid's knee pop. When he tried to put weight on it, Pat said his knee buckled. I hope it's not too bad of an injury but it didn't sound too good.
Another kid from my area who did well was Armond Shields out of Richmond. Not a lot of people necessarily knew about him because he only played in one game this year due to an injury but he ran really well and did okay in the workout. There are little things he needs to work on in coming from a small school, but I think he helped himself out a lot. I won't guarantee he'll come in next year and be another Marques Colston, but he's along that caliber and has a chance to do some things in the NFL. Keep an eye out for him because if he gets with the right team, you never know what can happen.
Overall still, I think in comparison there were a lot more faster guys though in the receiving group a year ago.
Quarterback Matt Ryan ran but didn't do anything else which was somewhat disappointing because all of the other top quarterbacks, including Brian Brohm ran, threw and did everything very well.
Andre Woodson was another guy who didn't work out, or run because he said he was nursing an injury.
It was nice to see those other quarterbacks out there throwing and I was happy for Joe Flacco. He ran around a 4.8, which is good for a quarterback of his size and I think he did well for himself out there today and showed that he deserves to be out there with the top guys. The first thing I said to him when I saw him here was how I couldn't turn on the television without seeing him and he said "I know, I'm sick of me too, and if it wasn't me, I'd be really sick of me."
He's getting a lot of grief for all of the attention lately. I guess he did a thing for ESPN where he looked at the ground and looked up at the camera and said "I'm Joe Flacco," and his little brother texted him and said "I'm X Flacco," with whatever it was that his brother's name is, but then he comes home from the Senior Bowl with two bags of Under Armour gear and they aren't complaining. On top of that, he goes and wins two televisions at the Skills Challenge and he said they'll be up in his brothers' rooms before he even gets home. I'm happy for him because he's come a long way, from a small high school in Jersey to Pitt to Delaware, and has now proven he belongs.
The running backs went last and it was great to see the big guy – Darren McFadden run and run well. I've heard varying times for him but he was the second fastest guy and everyone was very happy that he ran, worked out and did everything. He caught the ball well and really proved that he's a top five pick.
Ray Rice from my area helped himself a lot, running in the 4.4's. He dropped some weight from the season and got himself faster. He did well in the drills and caught the ball well and I think he'll go in and be a good back for someone.
Steve Slaton worked out as a running back and a wideout. He's got good hands and straight line speed. He's not a pounder between the tackles like Rice, but if he gets out in the open, he's gone.
Chris Johnson, the kid from East Carolina flew. I timed the 20s and he had the fastest 20 – he ran like a 2.43/2.45 in the 20 which is flying, and means the kid has great get off and great initial burst. I was impressed with his speed. Matt Malaspina had talked about him a lot but you don't really know how fast these guys are until you see them.
Overall, it's a very good crop of running backs. If you want a running back this year, you can get them all throughout the draft. Especially with all of these juniors who came out, there will be guys available from the first to the seventh round and hopefully you hit the right round. If we are in the market for a running back and if we want to get someone to help spell Frank Gore, we can find one in any round.
It was a long day today because there were a ton of guys in the first group. I think there were about 50 wide receivers and quarterbacks and so it took a long time to get through all of them. We began at nine and didn't finish up with the running backs until 4:30.
Although it was a little tiring, it's always fun to see the fast guys run and it was another solid day. Today completed the offense and so we'll start on the defense tomorrow with the big guys, the defensive linemen, first thing tomorrow morning. I'll check in again tomorrow and discuss what happens.