NFL combine starts workouts Saturday in Indianapolis with offensive lineman, tight ends and kickers on display.
Luke Joeckel (Texas A&M) is the top tackle and may be the first overall pick in the 2013 draft. He weighed in at 306 pounds at 6-foot-6, a bit lighter than scouts expected. He blocked for one of the top offenses in college football last season.
The offensive and defensive line is the strength of this draft. Offensive tackle Eric Fisher (Central Michigan) is a 6-7, 305 pounder who really helped himself with a good week at the Senior Bowl, He is trying to follow a former lineman from Central Michigan, Joe Staley, into the NFL. He is physical and athletic for one so large.
Lane Johnson (6-6 305, Oklahoma) will be watched closely by scouts. He had a solid week at the Senior Bowl and is moving up the draft board into perhaps the top half of round one. He has the long arms and great length to play on the left side of a line.
Chris Faulk (6-5 325, LSU) will need to prove he is all the way back from a torn ACL in his knee that cost him most of his 2012 season.
D. J. Fluker (6-6 335, Alabama) needs to watch his weight and stay in better condition. He lacks quickness at his present weight and really didn’t stand out at the Senior Bowl. The combine will be important to him.
Kyle Long (6-6 317 Oregon) is the son of Fox Sports analyst and Pro Football Hall of Famer Howie Long. He will be interviewed and re-interviewed by scouts. Kyle started his college days in baseball as a Florida State pitcher and then had both academic problems and a DUI arrest. Long also missed most of the Senior Bowl practices with an illness. He ended up at Oregon where he switched from the defensive line to offensive tackle. He has a lot of natural talent with great height and long arms but needs to prove to scouts he is more mature.
Menwlik Watson (6-5 320, Florida St.) is being praised by scouts and draft analyst. He has run a 4.87 hand-held 40, so I want to see if he can do that for the electronic timing. Watson lacks experience but has the foot quickness to project to left tackle.
Tyler Elfert (6-6 250 tight end from Notre Dame) still needs polish and blocking technique work but looks the part and is very athletic with good hands.
Zach Ertz (6-5 253, Stanford) has great length and long arms. He is a real threat near the goal line but needs to improve on his 4.85 speed at the combine.
Travis Kelce (6-5 256, Cincinnati) has been timed at 4.66; if he can run that fast at the combine he may move up the draft boards of some teams. Kelce also had a good week at the Senior Bowl but tends to body catch too many balls.
Vance McDonald (6-5 260, Rice) is an interesting tight end prospect with big strong hands and long arms, but needs to improve on his hand-held time of 4.85. An aggressive blocker, McDonald will finish his blocks. He is an experienced route runner but did have some drops however at the Senior Bowl practices.
LSU has 13 players at the combine, I will report on them and all the top prospects in the days to come:
RB Michael Ford
RB Spencer Ware
OT Chris Faulk
C P. J. Lonergan
DE Lavar Edwards
DE/OLB Barkevious Mingo
DE Sam Montgomery
DT Bennie Logan
ILB Kevin Minter
CB Tyrann Mathieu
CB Tharold Simon
S Eric Reid
P Brad Wing
Louisiana Tech is well-represented at the combine with five prospects:
OT Jordan Mills
OT Oscar Johnson
WR Quinton Patton
P Ryan Allen
QB Colby Cameron
Southeastern Louisiana has an esciting cornerback prospect:
CB Robert Alford
Order Al’s Draft Day Pro Prospects Final Rating Book, set to be ready for first class mailing in mid–March:
*Rates 700 prospects
*Write ups on all the top prospects
*Mock draft (first 4 rounds)
*A late look at underclassmen rated with seniors
*Combine notes, 40 yard speeds and bench press reps
*A strengths and weaknesses feature
*Top 100 regardless of position
*A sneak peek at the 2014 draft
Send check or money order for Draft Day Pro Prospects Final Rating Book ($17.00 cost) to:
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Metairie La. 70006
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