Erik Scalavino shares the media Combine experience from Thursday. Click on the link for more details.
The league’s annual job interview process for draft-eligible college players got underway in earnest on Thursday, starting first thing in the morning.
The day began with numerous back-to-back interviews with coaches and front office officials, including Buffalo Bills head coach Chan Gailey, Miami Dolphins GM Jeff Ireland, and former Patriots executive and now Kansas City GM Scott Pioli. Around midday, offensive linemen and specialists began filtering in. Later in the day, tight ends started to emerge. That routine is similar to previous Combine years – offensive players are presented on the first two days; defenders arrive over the weekend.
While the assembled media are restricted in their viewing of the actual Combine workouts (we’re limited to what’s shown on NFL Network), the interview process gives us a first-impression opportunity with the future NFL stars, as well as a chance to get into more in-depth, sometimes one-on-one discussions with the top brass from around the league.
The early front-runner for quote of the Combine came from new Browns president Mike Holmgren.
Though scheduled to talk officially with the media on Friday, Holmgren was spotted in the hallway at Lucas Oil Stadium and agreed to stop for a brief chat. A Boston-area reporter began to ask Holmgren about his head coach, Eric Mangini, who, it was pointed out, cut his teeth as a coach under Bill Belichick in New England.
"I don't blame him for that," Holmgren interjected with a coy smile, which brought laughs from the assembled media.
The Combine continues [Friday], with quarterbacks, running backs, and wide receiver prospects scheduled to meet and greet the media. More head coaches and front office officials will also take questions from reporters at Lucas Oil Stadium.
Mike Mayock analyzes New England's Draft needs. Edge rusher is top on the list.
What the Patriots do really well is, they understand the players who fit the Patriot system, and to me they've got to get younger and more athletic on the back end. It started last year with the drafting of safety Patrick Chung and cornerback Darius Butler. They need somebody who can rush the quarterback, and I think that's got to be a priority. You've got to find an edge rusher who can get to the quarterback.
I also wouldn't discount the fact that they need a wide receiver. Between Wes Welker's ACL and Randy Moss' age and contract situation, I think wide receiver comes into play a little bit with the second-round picks, and there's an awful lot of good receivers in the second round.
Tate or LaFell could be there. Mardy Gilyard. I like Eric Decker from Minnesota. Might get him cheap coming off the injury. Damian Williams, Jeremy Williams. That's a bunch of guys, second and third round, who could fit.
- Andy Hart reports the 47 offensive linemen invited to the 2010 NFL Scouting Combine lead what is a very impressive draft class of guards, centers and tackles.
- Erik Scalavino reports there's talent and depth, but plenty of question marks at the tight end position in this year's draft.
- Mike Reiss offers some NFL Combine quick hits Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3.
- Albert Breer profiles Notre Dame Tackle Sam Young.
- Mike Reiss notes that Steeler's NT Casey Hampton's new contract strengthens the Patriots' position in dealing with Vince Wilfork. He figures to be in the $7-9 million range.
- Ian Rapoport wonders if the deal just signed by Steelers nose tackle Casey Hampton might make it a bit more difficult for Vince Wilfork.
- Tom E. Curran has an excellent article on the Pats spending philosophy: Spread the wealth.
- Christopher Price offers another look at the David Patten signing.
- Ian Rapoport looks at tight ends that might fit the Patriots system at the Combine: Colin Peek (Alabama), Jermaine Gresham (Oklahoma), Anthony McCoy (USC) or Rob Gronkowski (Arizona).
- Mike Reiss notes Patriots special teams coach Scott O'Brien interviewed Michigan punter Zoltan Mesco at the Combine, a projected late-round draft choice. Great punter name.
- DJ Bean says if the Pats part ways with Chris Hanson, the draft features an interesting option in Michigan’s Zoltan Mesko, whom the Patriots met with Thursday.
- Mike Reiss projects some free agent possibilities for the Patriots: Offensive Line.
- Mike Reiss offers the transcript of his weekly online chat, this one from Indianapolis. Lots of terrific insight here as usual.
- Jeff Howe notes Matt Cassel and Logan Mankins highlight the Patriots' brilliant 2005 Draft class.
- Karen Guregian catches up with Chiefs GM Scott Pioli at the Combine.
- Christopher Price offers some Q & A highlights of Scott Pioli's Thursday Press Conference.
- Tom E. Curran notes the franchise window has closed, with six franchise tags applied and zero transition tags.
- Mike Reiss analyzes Don Banks' Mock Draft pick for the Patriots and thinks Brandon Graham would fit more in with the Steelers' scheme than with New England's.
- Tedy Bruschi warns Patriots fans not to overreact to Randy Moss' Patriots don't pay comments, saying he thinks he's just reading the writing on the wall.
- Tim Graham (ESPN) AFC East's nose tackles Jason Ferguson, Vince Wilfork and Kris Jenkins are vital to their team's 3-4 defenses.
- Matt Bowen (Nat'l Football Post) Is it time for the Patriots to draft a top wide receiver?
- Lester Munson (ESPN) Reading the lockout tea leaves: Six factors to keep an eye on as the NFL looks for labor peace.
- Gregg Rosenthal (ProFootballTalk) Joey Porter's play, not his mouth is his biggest problem.
ESPN's 2010 Combine Blog. Check here for Combine updates from around the league throughout the day.
- Wes Bunting (Nat'l Football Post) Combine notes: Day 1.
- John Czarnecki (Fox Sports) Watch out for workout wonders at NFL combine.
- Thomas George (NFL Fanhouse) NFL Combine through the grapevine.
- Scout.com (Fox Sports) Live Combine blog: Thursday.
- Don Banks (SI) 2010 Mock Draft 2.0. Pats pick DE/OLB Brandon Graham (Michigan) at number 22.
- Don Banks (SI) Snap Judgments: Don't sleep on 49ers, plus early Combine thoughts.
- Kerry J. Byrne (Cold Hard Football Facts) Stop running back abuse!