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Few surprises at day one combine weigh-in … The 2020 combine is now fully underway after the first group of players, including the QBs, WRs and TEs, went through their measurement session earlier today. When all was said and down with today’s data (courtesy of Steelers Depot), there really weren’t many surprises. Alabama QB Tua Tagovailoa did measure in at just 6-even, about an inch shorter than his program height. And while that would almsot certainly have been a deal breaker as recently as just a few years ago, Tua’s actually taller than the two QBs (Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray) taken first overall in each of the past two drafts. Of course, the bigger test for Tagovailoa will come during the medical tests when his surgically-repaired hip gets checked out. Meanwhile, a few eyebrows were raised when LSU Joe Burrow’s hands measured in at just 9 inches. NFL teams generally prefer their elite QB passer’s hands to be closer to 10 inches so as to be better able to handle the ball in poor weather conditions. However, plenty of top NFL QBs have smaller hands so again that doesn’t appear to be much of a deal breaker. At the same time, Georgia’s Jake Fromm’s hands were even a tad smaller than Burrow’s. On the other hand, Justin Herbert of Oregon and Utah State’s Jordan Love, generally considered to be the 3rd and 4th ranked QBs in the 2020 draft class, both checked off all the boxes on weigh-in day. Herbert measured in at 6-6, 236 with 10″ hands, while Love is 6-3.5, 224 with 10.5 inch hands.
Among the WRs, there wasn’t a whole lot to choose between Alabama’s Jerry Jeudy and CeeDee Lamb of Oklahoma, the two top-rated receivers in this year’s draft class as both measured in in the 6-1, 195 range with 32″ arms and 9″ hands. in fact, none of those numbers would normally get either guy noticed in a crowd, but what sets them apart is their agility, quickness and overall receiving skills. Meanwhile, several WRs did ace the proverbial eyeball test including Clemson’s Tee Higgins who measured in at 6-3.5, 216 with an impressive 34″ wingspan which should translate into a major league catch radius. Arizona State’s Brandon Aiyuk, one of the rising stars of this year’s receiving group, was a little shorter than average at under 6-0 feet, but he also impressed with a 33.5″ reach. Other receivers who impressed at least in shorts, include Denzel Mims of Baylor, Texas A&M’s Kendrick Rogers, Dezmon Patton of Washington State and USC’s Michael Pittman. Texas WR Collin Johnson also looked the part at 6-5.5, 222, but NFL teams had to be a little disappointed that his reach is only 32″. Same for Colorado’s Laviska Shenault, who weighed in at 225, but like Johnson had arms under 32 inches.
It does not appear as if 2020 is necessarily going to be a great year at TE with only Notre Dame’s Cole Kmet considered to be even close to being a first round candidate. And Kmet certainly looked the part as he measured in at 6-5.5, 262 with 33-inch arms and huge 10.5″ hands. Same for Missouri’s Albert Okwuegbunam who tipped the scales in 6-5.5, 248 with 34″ arms and 10″ hands. On the other hand, Washington’s Hunter Bryant looked more like a FB or HB as he measured in at barely 6-2, 248 and less than 32″ arms, while Harrison Bryant of Florida Atlantic also had less than 32″ arms.
Tomorrow it will be the turn of the big uglies from the offensive line to get measured.
DE Young won’t work out at combine … Ohio State DE Chase Young has indicated that he will not be taking part in on-field positional drills at the scouting combine on the weekend. Instead, Young, expected to be one of the first 2-3 players off the board at the 2020 draft, will work out at the Buckeyes’ pro day in March. Young, who is fully healthy, will take part in the interview and medical testing processes in Indianapolis. Of course, Young won’t be the only prospect not to work out this weekend as many of the top guys opt not to take part in on-field drills for a variety of reasons. Meanwhile, two other players – Michigan ER Josh Uche and Tennessee DE Darrell Taylor – have confirmed they won’t be working out this weekend because of injuries. Uche has a hamstring injury suffered at last month’s Senior Bowl, while Taylor recently underwent surgery to repair a stress fracture in his leg. Taylor hopes to be able to work out at a private pro day in April.
Lions confirm shopping 3rd pick … Detroit G.M. Bob Quinn was quoted in a video interview released by the organization over the weekend that the Lions are “open to any trades” regarding the 3rd overall pick at this year’s draft. Quinn indicated that he hasn’t had any talks to date re the pick, but expects to have at least some preliminary discussions at this week’s scouting combine in Indianapolis. Quinn also reiterated that veteran QB Matt Stafford isn’t going anywhere. There has been some speculation that the Lions could use the 3rd pick to select Alabama QB Tua Tagovailoa to replace the 32-year-old Stafford who is coming off a second straight injury shortened season, but that doesn’t appear to be part of the team’s current master plan. That would make Tagovailoa potentially available to any QB needy team willing to pay the price to move up, although it is also assumed that the Lions likely won’t want to drop down more than 3-4 spots in the selection order in fear of missing out on one of this year’s top defensive prospects such as Ohio State CB Jeff Okudah, Auburn DT Derrick Brown and Clemson LB Isaiah Simmons. Of course, all that assumes that Tagovailoa, who underwent season-ending hip surgery in October, passes his physicals at the combine this week. Stay tuned!
Path to the draft runs thru Indy … The NFL’s annual scouting combine gets underway in Indianapolis tomorrow with over almost 340 of the top prospects for the 2020 draft set to be poked, prodded and physically tested to the max. And while the importance of the combine sometimes gets overstated, no question it is one of the key elements of the entire pre-draft process. For starters, just who gets invited to the combine is a pretty good precursor of who is actually going to be drafted in April. Read more
Two months and counting … For those keeping track of these things, the 2020 draft starts two months from today! Hang in there guys!!
Navy OG Forney passes away … Some very sad news from the world of college football after Navy OG David Forney, a three-year letterman who was named to the first team All-AAC team this past fall, was found unresponsive in his dorm room by a fellow Midshipman last evening. The 6-3, 305-pound Forney had started 39 straight games for the Middies and could have received some free agent tryout offers this spring. Our condolences to the Forney family and the whole Navy football organization.
Pigskin mocks the 2020 draft … With just a few days to go until everyone starts to gather in Indianapolis for the annual scouting combine which gets underway early next week, GBN Associate Editor Pigskin Paul Guillemette has pulled out his crystal ball and taken a shot at projecting the opening round of the 2020 draft (which for those keeping track of these things starts 9 weeks to the day today!). And as usual when Pigskin gets to mocking there are some surprise picks along the way. Enjoy!
Joe B still not sold on Bengals … LSU QB Joe Burrow, the presumptive #1 pick at the 2020 draft, had another chance today to put to bed those reports that he genuinely doesn’t want to be selected by Cincinnati in this year’s draft. Burrow was in the Dallas area to accept the Davey O’Brien Award given annually to the nation’s top QB and when asked whether he’d be happy being drafted by the Bengals danced around the subject for awhile before saying that “if they select me, they select me!” Then given a second chance to clarify, Burrow just danced around the question. On the other hand, mom Robin is being quoted as saying that there is nothing to the reports that Burrow doesn’t want to play in Cincinnati. Said Mrs. Burrow in a local interview “We have no idea where that comes from. It’s a story out there that someone has created that doesn’t have any substance – from our perspective at least.” Mom’s positive spin aside, there’s enough evidence out there that Burrow indeed is not enamored with the idea of going to Cincinnati despite the fact that he grew up in Ohio and actually started his college career at Ohio State before transferring to LSU. Stay tuned!
Lions confirm shopping star CB Slay … Detroit has confirmed that they have had conversations with multiple teams about a possible trade for star CB Darius Slay. Slay becomes a free agent at the conclusion of the upcoming season and has been lobbying for a megadeal extended contract for the past year plus. While he’s already 29, Slay is still a very good player, although he’s not expected to net the Lions not much more than a second-day pick. If the Lions do move on from Slay this winter, it likely will have them looking hard at Ohio State CB Jeff Okudah with their foirst round pick this coming April. Heck, the Lions would likely have been looking at Okudah even if Slay was still around. In fact, it could be an interesting decision for the Lions who have the 3rd pick overall at the upcoming draft where Okudah would be great value. However, the Lions are also expected to get calls regarding a possible trade for Alabama QB Tua Tagovailoa and wouldn’t have to move very far down to lose out on Okudah, although the Lions have also been associated with Auburn DT Derrick Brown. Meanwhile, Arizona made a major move resigning veteran LT D.J. Humphries to what is being reported as a 3-year $45M contract with almsot $30M guaranteed. Just about every mock draft out there currently has the Cardinals selecting an OT with the 8th pick overall. However, unless the Cardinals plan to use a top 10 pick on a RT, the resigning of Humphries could free them up to look at other positions such as WR. It could also allow the Cardinals to think about a bit of a trade down if the opportunity presented itself. Stay tuned!
Lions deny QB trade talks … Detroit G.M. Bob Quinn is vigorously denying overnight reports that the Lions have been involved in trade talks over the past couple of weeks involving QB Matt Stafford. Quinn reportedly sent the local papers a text message this morning saying “100% False!!” although its not hard to look around the league and see teams like New England, the LA Chargers and several others that will almost certainly be in the market for a new QB withing the next few weeks. There actually have been rumblings out of Detroit literally since the end of the season that the Lions could at least think of moving on from the 32-year-old Stafford who missed extensive playing time in each of the past couple of seasons with injuries. However, if the Lions did trade Stafford they would have to absorb a $30M-plus cap hit this coming season. In addition, Stafford was having one of the best years of his career prior to being injured this fall and with the Lions in what appears to be a win now mode he’d certainly be their best option this coming season. If they did want to move on, though, the Lions would be in prime position to replace Stafford with a younger QB as they have the 3rd pick overall in this year’s draft and likely would be in position to select Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa if he continues to show that he is fully recovered from last season’s campaign-ending hip injury that required surgery. Of course, if Detroit decides to stick with Stafford, they would then be in prime position to pick up a nice package of picks in exchange for the 3rd overall selection from one of those other QB-needy teams. Stay tuned!
Pats extend top personnel exec Caserio … New England will reportedly retain Nick Caserio as the team’s director of player personnel. There had been an expectation that Caserio might become Houston’s G.M. once his contract with the Patriots expired after the Texans tried to hire him away from the Patriots last year. That resulted in the Patriots accusing the Texans of tampering, and in the end Houston backed off. And any talk of Caserio leaving for Houston when his contract expired this year became moot when the Texans named head coach Bill O’Brien the new G.M. along with his coaching duties.
Is Tua back in play for top pick??? … That’s the question around the NFL today after news leaked out earlier this week that Alabama QB Tua Tagovailoa’s recovery from season-ending hip surgery is on pace. NFL Network analyst Bucky Brooks, for example, has Tagovailoa ranked as the #1 QB on his initial positional rankings released earlier today ahead of LSU’s Joe Burrow who had been considered to be the #1 prospect for the upcoming draft in the wake of Tua’s injury. Tagovailoa, of course, still has a ways to go before he gets a final clearance from NFL medical people. He won’t participate in this month’s scouting combine where he will undergo further medical tests and go through the interview process, but he reportedly will be able to work out for pro teams at a private pro day either in late March or early April. While it still may be something of a longshot, Tagovailoa has one thing that NFL teams covet in a potential franchsie QB that Burrow lacks and that’s elite arm strength. And while we don’t want to get a head of ourselves, all this could leave Cincinnati, which has the first pick overall this coming April with an interesting choice; a choice that could be even more interesting because both guys are sending out signals that they really don’t want to go to the Bengals. Stay tuned!
Late star game notes; part deux … While the scouting combine is now less that two weeks away, GBN Associate Editor Pigskin Paul Guillemette still can’t get last month’s all-star games including the Senior Bowl out of his thoughts. Here is a second round of late notes from those games courtesy of Pigskin.
USU LB banned from combine field tests … According to the NFL Network, Utah State OLB Tipa Galeai will not be permitted to take part in on-field drills or media interviews at the scouting combine later this month in Indianapolis because of a past misdemeanor assault charge. Galeai is a bit of a late-round sleeper for this year’s draft; he’s long at 6-5 with the frame to put on considerable weight to bulk up from just 235 pounds. After transferring from TCU, Galeai had a terrific first year at Utah State when he posted 10 sacks and two interceptions, but his production fell off to just 5 sacks this past season.
Bolts officially part ways with long-time QB Rivers … The Los Angeles Chargers confirmed the NFL’s worst kept secret earlier today when the team formally announced that they have mutually parted ways with veteran QB Philip Rivers after 16 seasons. The 38-year-old Rivers now becomes an unrestricted free agent able to sign with any team once the new NFL year starts next month. And while Rivers is coming off one of his worst seasons as a pro, he likely will be able to find a new football home, as there are so many teams looking to upgrade at the position this off-season. It also means that the Chargers could very well be looking at QBs at the 2020 draft, where they hold the 6th pick overall.
Late star game notes … While the scouting combine is now less that two weeks away, GBN Associate Editor Pigskin Paul Guillemette still can’t get last month’s all-star games including the Senior Bowl out of his thoughts. Here are some late thoughts from those games courtesy of Pigskin.
Tua passes latest medical test … According to several published reports, the three-month follow-up Alabama QB Tua Tagovailoa had after he underwent season-ending hip surgery in October was “as positive as possible.” The report also indicated that Tagovailoa could be cleared for football activities in about a month, meaning he’s already been ruled out of on-field testing at this month’s scouting combine in Indianapolis. However, that timetable also means that in all likelihood Tagovailoa will be able to throw for pro scouts in the latter part of March or early April. And for the record, Tagovailoa will be at this month’s combine, where he will undergo extensive medical testing by NFL doctors. Tagovailoa, of course, would likely have been a lock to be a top 5 prospect for this year’s draft prior to the injury, but his status is currently somewhat up in the air because of those health concerns. However, even if Tagovailoa’s medicals fully check out at the combine, there is still the question whether team’s will be willing to invest a top 5-10 pick in a player who has suffered that type of injury. Stay tuned!
Giant draft principles … The 2020 draft, which is shaping up to be one of the most important in NY Giants history, is now less than 75 days away. In fact, the annual scouting combine gets underway in just a couple of weeks. Needless to say with the Giants sitting on the 4th pick overall, we’ve had a bunch of emails from fellow fans since the end of season with draft question and concerns. And rather than try and answer them all individually, we thought it was a good time to review some basic draft principles before we get into the really heavy scouting period. Read more
Combine snubs … Every year it seems that there are some shocking snubs from the list of players invited to the annual scouting combine in Indianapolis. And its the same story this year, to a degree; however, it doesn’t feel there is quite the same number of big name snubs this year. Arguably the top prospects snubbed by this year’s combine were Utah QB Tyler Huntley, Louisiana OG Kevin Dotson, OLB Oluwole Betiku of Illinois and RB Deshawn McClease of Virginia Tech, while other notable combine absentees include QBs Bryce Perkins of Virginia, Tommy Stevens of Mississippi State and Ohio’s Nathan Rourke; RBs Tavian Feaster of South Carolina, Central Michigan’s Jonathan Ward and small-school Monmouth star Pete Guerriero; WRs Isaiah Wright of Temple and Clemson’s Diondre Overton; Memphis TE Joey Magnifico; OTs Brandon Bowen of Ohio State and Appalachian State’s Victor Johnson; OG Tre’Vour Wallace-Simms of Missouri; Cs Zach Shackelford of Texas and Washington State’s Frederick Mauigoa; DEs Jashon Cornell of Ohio State, Northwestern’s Joe Gaziano, and Christian Rector of Southern California; DTs Bravvion Roy of Baylor, LSU’s Breiden Fehoko and Tyler Clark of Georgia; ILBs TJ Brunson of South Carolina, San Diego State’s Ky Tezino, Tae Crowder of Georgia and Dontavious Jackson of Florida State; OLBs Marcel Spears of Iowa State, and Jordan Glasgow of Michigan; CBs Chris Williamson of Minnesota; Jace Whittaker of Arizona, Amari Henderson of Wake Forest, and Army’s Elijah Riley; and safeties Myles Dorn of UNC, Illinois State’s Luther Kirk, Jared Mayden of Alabama and David Dowell of Michigan State. Of course, all these guys will get to do their thing for NFL scouts at their respective pro days, but fact is they are all disappointed that they will not be in Indianapolis later this month.
Combine list revealed … The NFL has released the list of 337 players that will be in Indianapolis later this month for the annual scouting combine. Here is the full list by position. The combine gets underway on February 23rd with the on-field drills set to get underway on the 27th.