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Gil Brandt combine observations


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Quick hits from Indy: Day 4

By Gil Brandt

NFL.com Senior Analyst

NFL.com draft expert Gil Brandt is in Indianapolis at the 2005 National Scouting Combine. While there, he will file daily reports for draft-hungry fans to read about. NFL Network will also provide live coverage of the combine and have daily wrap-ups on NFL Total Access.

INDIANAPOLIS (Feb. 27, 2005) -- I don't work for an NFL team anymore (my readers are who I report to now) but on Day 4 of the 2005 combine I huddled with four of the most influential people in the National Football League. Who better to sit and watch players work out with than Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and his son, Steve and head coach Bill Parcells, along with Raiders owner Al Davis?

I'm telling you, they should sell tickets or broadcast them on Sirius NFL Radio just so people can sit and listen to the stories they tell. It's also like a trivia session -- everyone tries to compare the prospects with someone who was already in the NFL, and it's a lot of fun. For example, Al Davis compared Mark Clayton of Oklahoma to Isaac Bruce.

Group 6 consisted of quarterbacks, which included Cal's Aaron Rodgers and Purdue's Kyle Orton. There were 13 of them, and 12 of them ran. The only one that didn't run was Arizona State's Andrew Walter, who was hurt. Also in that group was Matt Jones, a quarterback from Arkansas who is also trying out as a wide receiver. The consensus from our fivesome was that he ran probably the fastest time of any quarterback we've ever seen at the combine.

So what did he do? Jones ran a 4.41, a 4.44, a 4.47 and a 4.50. In case you were wondering, if 4.50 is your slowest time in the 40, you know you're doing something right.

One other notable: Rodgers ran just a little bit under 4.70, and a lot of eyeballs were watching that run. Former Florida State quarterback Adrian McPherson also worked out.

In Group 5, we had 11 quarterbacks. Ten of them ran -- the only one who didn't was Auburn's Jason Campbell on the advice of his agent, Joel Siegel. Alex Smith was one of those running, and he ran a time comparable to Rodgers.

Catch this

Of the 20 wide receivers in Group 6, all but four ran. Three of them were medically excused.

In that group, USC's Mike Williams ran well, running under 4.60. Terrence Murphy ran under 4.4, Troy Williamson of South Carolina ran a 4.4.

Speaking of Williams, I spent some time with him last night in the Reebok room and there was a lot of question whether he was going to run or not. He said he needed to find the right shoes in order to run. So when he got ready to run, he looked at our group and winked at us. We knew he was going to give it a shot, and he did well.

Utah's Alex Smith did well by working out at the combine.

Our fivesome believes that Hampton's Jerome Mathis, who ran somewhere between 4.25 and 4.29 in the 40, ran the fastest 40 in the history of the combine. We think Deion Sanders ran something like 4.28 when he was at the combine over 10 years ago, so Mathis is extremely close to being one of the fastest people at the combine. He made himself some money because he also did a good job in receiving drills.

There were also 20 wide receivers in Group 5, and 19 of them ran. The only one that didn't run was Michigan's Braylon Edwards. That's really good, and I'll tell you right now that all of the coaches and GMs on hand were appreciative of that.

The guy that really helped himself in this group was Mark Clayton. He ran well, caught the ball well and really gave his stock a boost.

Gamebreakers, anyone?

Group 4 had 17 running backs, of which a dozen of them ran. Of the five that didn't run, two had medical excuses and three chose not to run.

The fastest guy was probably Kansas State's Darren Sproles, who ran a 4.38 and a 4.40. Carnell Williams was right on his tail with a 4.40 and a 4.43. Williams is a super looking player -- he caught the ball well, ran smoothly and looked good.

But the guy who got us talking was someone who was 252 pounds and ran a 4.59! That would be Brandon Jacobs, who is from Southern Illinois but started at Auburn (so make it three impressive running backs from Auburn).

It's getting hot in here

The guys that worked out, the Charlie Fryes and Mike Claytons, the Dante Ridgeways and Carnell Williamses of the draft class, did themselves some good compared to those who didn't work out. For example, there was a general consensus that the three big running backs -- Williams, Cedric Benson and Ronnie Brown -- were bunched at the top of the class. But after the combine, I can promise you that Benson will have ground to make up because he opted not to work out. That's a big mistake -- there are 28 to 30 NFL head coaches here, and I doubt there will be that many in Texas at his Pro Day coming up soon.

The agents that advised their clients not to work out at Indy are costing their players big bucks, and those who told their clients to show their stuff are going to make more money. It's as simple as that -- there are plenty of people that NFL personnel are talking about because of their workouts.

Furthermore, GMs and coaches across the league better watch out because this crop of wide receivers is starting to look real good. It was a great way to spend a Sunday watching these players. There are some really good looking players in these groups.

Some interesting things here

Look at the numbers from Mathis on his time he was smoking

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Our fivesome believes that Hampton's Jerome Mathis, who ran somewhere between 4.25 and 4.29 in the 40, ran the fastest 40 in the history of the combine. We think Deion Sanders ran something like 4.28 when he was at the combine over 10 years ago, so Mathis is extremely close to being one of the fastest people at the combine. He made himself some money because he also did a good job in receiving drills.

WOW. This guy sounds like the perfect replacement for Santana Moss. Has anyone ever seen him play in college? Admittedly, I don't know much about the kid, but what I'm hearing has me salivating.

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You know what is pure dick? When these GM's and coaches bitch about players not working out at the combine. You know why it's dick? Because, say you were a record-setting receiver at New Mexico State, for instance, but God forbid you run a 4.6 as opposed to a 4.4/40 that day--for whatever reason--then about 3/4 of the teams AUTOMATICALLY wipe you off the first-day list. If the same player just offers to have a personal workout in two weeks, say, and he gets his 4.4, then he's probably a first round pick. If you're a GM and you have to wait until the combine to know if a kid can play or not, then you're an idiot to begin with and shouldn't be in charge of drafting anybody. Guys like Brandt just get pissed when a guy doesn't work out because it makes his job a little harder. Braylon Edwards didn't run, does anyone think he'll drop out of the top-ten? Hell no. But if he comes out and runs a 4.5 today, he's drop to the bottom of the first most likely. It's a joke.

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You know what is pure d!ck? When these GM's and coaches b!tch about players not working out at the combine. You know why it's d!ck? Because, say you were a record-setting receiver at New Mexico State, for instance, but God forbid you run a 4.6 as opposed to a 4.4/40 that day--for whatever reason--then about 3/4 of the teams AUTOMATICALLY wipe you off the first-day list. If the same player just offers to have a personal workout in two weeks, say, and he gets his 4.4, then he's probably a first round pick. If you're a GM and you have to wait until the combine to know if a kid can play or not, then you're an idiot to begin with and shouldn't be in charge of drafting anybody. Guys like Brandt just get pissed when a guy doesn't work out because it makes his job a little harder. Braylon Edwards didn't run, does anyone think he'll drop out of the top-ten? Hell no. But if he comes out and runs a 4.5 today, he's drop to the bottom of the first most likely. It's a joke.

Gotta agree with ya there, Tom. If they don't have a good idea on how a player is by watching gamefilm, they are idiots. Too much is put into 40 times and "workouts" and not enough into "playing speed" IMO.

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Our fivesome believes that Hampton's Jerome Mathis, who ran somewhere between 4.25 and 4.29 in the 40, ran the fastest 40 in the history of the combine. We think Deion Sanders ran something like 4.28 when he was at the combine over 10 years ago, so Mathis is extremely close to being one of the fastest people at the combine. He made himself some money because he also did a good job in receiving drills.

Let me tell you something, that's the kind of performance that can catipult a small school stud into the 1st Round, but no later than the 2nd

This kid just made a himself a fortune

And no, I am not suggesting he flies up the board so high based soley on these amazing 40 times ... he flies up the board because he was already considered one of the best small school studs in the draft prior to this performance, based on production and skills ... all this does is make the scouts say, WHOLLY $HIT, THIS KID IS THE $HIT!!

Mark it down, in the next two weeks you will not see another mock draft from a reputable Guru that doesn't at least have Mathis going in the 2nd RD, and you may see a few that tab him late in RD 1

Oh yeah, he's also a six-footer so we are not talkin about some speedy smurf ... we're talkin about a lightning fast six-footer who was an extrememly productive player at Hampton

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Let me tell you something, that's the kind of performances that can catipult a small school stud into the 1st Round, but no later than the 2nd

This kid just made a himself a fortune

And no, I am not suggesting he flies up the board so significantly based soley on these amazing 40 times ... he flies up the board because he was already considered one of the best small school studs in the draft prior to this performance, based on production and skills ... all this does is make the scouts say, WHOLLY $HIT, THIS KID IS THE $HIT!!

Mark it down, in the next two weeks you will not see another mock draft from a reputable Guru that doesn't at least have Mathis going in the 2nd RD, and you may see a few that tab him late in RD 1

Oh yeah, he's also a six-footer so we are not talkin about some speedy smurf ... we're talkin about a lighting fast six-footer who was an extrememly productive player at Hampton

Ham, hands? Anything that would jump out? How does he compare to, say, Reggie Wayne?

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In that group, USC's Mike Williams ran well, running under 4.60. Terrence Murphy ran under 4.4, Troy Williamson of South Carolina ran a 4.4.

See that ladies and gents? That is exactly what we need, a big, speed WR to compliment McCareins and possibly Moss if we don't trade him or reach a contract extension with him sometime in the near future. I don't see why that if the Top 3 or 4 CB's are gone by the time we select that we cannot go with Troy Williamson, the man is insane! Derrick Strait-David Barrett-Donnie Abraham and FABIAN WASHINGTON (Round 2) in 05 at the CB position.

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TS, I know he was a 1,000 Yard Receiver in 2003 {in only 10 Games}, 40 Rec, 24.2 YPC, and scored 9 TD's

Not sure about his hands, but this kid is the definition of a HR Hitter

PS. He's also an explosive return man

In 2004 Mathis averaged nearly 30 YPC :shock: {29.8}

Just saw a column from Febuary 3rd where Kiper was already labling him a 2nd RD talent ... said he looks like the best small school WR to come down the pike since Andre Reed

Mathis also ran track at Hampton and set a new regional record this year for the 200 meter dash

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In 2003 Mathis averaged nearly 30 YPC :shock: {29.6}

Just saw a column from Febuary 3rd where Kiper was already labling him a 2nd RD talent ... said he looks like the best small school WR to come down the pike since Andre Reed

Mathis also ran track at Hampton and set a new regional record this year for the 200 meter dash

GET HIM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 3rd round, he's there, GET HIM!

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Ham:

How high did you finish in the ESPN Mock Draft last year? If I remember correctly you were right there with Kiper and the big boys. That is amazing BTW.

Thanks Max, much appreciated

Last year I finished 7th Overall {112 entries} in the anual AllSports mock contest ... Bitonti submitted my mock on behalf of DraftDaddy.com

He also submitted my mock at the Huddle Report contest ... there I finished 9th Overall with a similar number of entries

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Ham, ESPN's numbers don't gibe with the ones you're saying.

http://sports.espn.go.com/ncf/player/profile?playerId=139215

SEASON RECORD REC YDS AVG TD ATT YDS AVG TD

2004 10-2 29 864 29.8 9 14 173 12.4 2

2003 - 40 977 24.4 9 9 29 3.2 0

2002 - 24 615 25.6 3 20 188 9.4 1

I'm going to keep having a sex affair with Vince Jackson....

25.6, 24.4, 29.8. Those are the only numbers that count for me. One thing that doesn't get factored in when people say "Big deal, he did it at a small school" is that YES it WAS at a small school and that he was probably the ONLY guy on the team that the opponent set out to stop, and the kid still goes for 30 yards per. That's insane.

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Not to get in a d*** length comparison over our respective pet small school WRs (who at least in my case I only cottoned onto 10 minutes ago)....

but Mathis didn't break 1000 yards in any year by those numbers...

Vince Jackson had 2844 yards and 32 TDs over the last two years...

Both guys (I believe) at 1-AA.

What really knocked me out on Jackson, mind you, was watching him in the catching drill. He looked so smooth doing it...

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