Combine flash not all that teams take into account

Andrew Luck , a quarterback for Stanford, was invited to the NFL scouting combine.
Andrew Luck , a quarterback for Stanford, was invited to the NFL scouting combine. (LYNNE SLADKY / Associated Press)
Posted: February 20, 2012

The 40-yard dash times, recorded to the hundredth of a second, get the most attention, followed probably by the bench-press repetition count.

Even the less-heralded three-cone drill and shuttle run will get some NFL Network airtime.

But some of the most influential events this week at the NFL scouting combine will come behind the scenes in Indianapolis, where fans and cameras aren't watching.

"The interview process out there is just as important as the running and jumping and the agility," said Harold C. Lewis, an agent who will have several players at the combine. "This is a job interview. . . . Teams want certain kinds of people around their employees, their athletes and coaches, and their fans."

The Eagles use interviews to probe any questions about a player's character, intelligence, and ability to learn, general manager Howie Roseman said.

The combine also gives the team a chance to have its doctors examine prospects before it invests millions of dollars and a sizable stake in the Eagles' future.

"The most important part of the combine is the medical part of it," Roseman said. "If you have guys that you rate very highly and your doctors tell you they have longevity issues, that's going to affect where you take them."

The biggest combine workout stars can improve their standing by rounds, earning millions in the process as they move up draft charts. But many teams have learned to be cautious about combine results, preferring to focus on players' on-field production rather than their performance in track-and-field style tests.

"We'll try to stick to where our board is now," Roseman said last week in advance of the combine.

"What we really try to do is, as much as we can, keep it based on the play from August to December," and the previous season, Roseman said. "This is the time of year where it could play mind games on you, because you get into the all-star games, and you get into the combine and you meet with these guys, and you have to be in a position where you have to stick to your beliefs on how they play, the background they come from, as opposed to guys who flash."

The Eagles infamously made Mike Mamula the seventh overall pick in 1995 based on his stellar workouts, and he never lived up to that lofty choice.

Teams should use the combine to make sure players' athletic ability matches what they have seen in games, said NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock.

"Teams that do the best drafting on a consistent basis are the teams that understand the blend," Mayock said. "What the combine should be is a cross check against what you've already seen on tape. When a fast guy runs slow or a slow guy runs fast, now you've got to figure out why."

Did the player "manufacture" speed for the combine, or is he truly faster than you first thought?

"The bottom line to me is that each component in this process has to be taken on its own merits, and it can't be the leader of the process," Mayock said. "The leader always has to be the college production and the tape."

Roseman expressed a similar belief, noting that the interviews and medical exams supplement reviews of game play.

"The more you can meet them, the more you can be around them," he said, "the more you can complete that picture."


At the NFL Combine

Here are the players invited to the 2012 NFL scouting combine:

Player, school, position

Mike Daniels, Iowa DT (Highland High)

Jack Crawford, Penn State DE (St. Augustine)

Johnnie Troutman, Penn State G (Pemberton)

Bernard Pierce, Temple RB (Glen Mills)

Devon Still, Penn State DT (Howard High of Technology, Wilmington, Del.)

Kashif Moore, Connecticut WR (Burlington Township)

Evan Rodriguez, Temple TE

Tahir Whitehead, Temple LB

D'Anton Lynn, Penn State CB

Derek Moye, Penn State WR

Chaz Powell, Penn State CB

Nathan Stupar, Penn State LB

Emmanuel Acho, Texas, LB

Joe Adams, Arkansas WR

Mike Adams, Ohio State OT

Chas Alecxih, Pittsburgh DT

Frank Alexander, Oklahoma DE

Antonio Allen, South Carolina SS

Dwayne Allen, Clemson TE

Jeff Allen, Illinois OT

Justin Anderson, Georgia OT

Bryan Anger, California P

Mark Asper, Oregon G

Edwin Baker, Michigan State RB

Ryan Baker, LSU LB

Mike Ball, Nevada RB

Vick Ballard, Mississippi State RB

Mark Barron, Alabama SS

Kelvin Beachum, SMU OT

Tim Benford, Tennessee Tech WR

Travis Benjamin, Miami (Fla.) WR

Dwight Bentley, Louisiana-Lafayette CB

Jake Bequette, Arkansas DE

Tony Bergstrom, Utah OT

Justin Bethel, Presbyterian SS

Justin Blackmon, Oklahoma State WR

Philip Blake, Baylor C

R.J. Blanton, Notre Dame CB

Jamie Blatnick, Oklahoma State DE

Brandon Bolden, Mississippi RB

Omar Bolden, Arizona State CB

Brandon Boykin, Georgia CB

Jarrett Boykin, Virginia Tech WR

Nigel Bradham, Florida State LB

Andre Branch, Clemson DE

Lavon Brazill, Ohio WR

Michael Brewster, Ohio State C

Michael Brockers, LSU DT

Ron Brooks, LSU CB

Charles Brown, North Carolina CB

James Brown, Troy OT

Zach Brown, North Carolina LB

Ryan Broyles, Oklahoma WR

Randy Bullock, Texas A&M K

Vontaze Burfict, Arizona State LB

Miles Burris, San Diego State LB

Drew Butler, Georgia K

Tank Carder, TCU LB

Sean Cattouse, California SS

Josh Chapman, Alabama NT

Orson Charles, Georgia TE

Greg Childs, Arkansas WR

Morris Claiborne, LSU CB

Danny Coale, Virginia Tech WR

Audie Cole, North Carolina State LB

B.J. Coleman, Tennessee-Chattanooga QB

Tom Compkon, South Dakota OT

Josh Cooper, Oklahoma State WR

Quinton Coples, North Carolina DE

Paul Cornick, North Dakota State OT

Aaron Corp, Richmond QB

Kirk Cousins, Michigan State QB

Fletcher Cox, Mississippi State DT

Tyrone Crawford, Boise State DE

Lennon Creer, Louisiana Tech RB

Jared Crick, Nebraska DT

Juron Criner, Arizona WR

John Cullen, Utah OT

B.J. Cunningham, Michigan State WR

Vinny Curry, Marshall DE

Andrew Datko, Florida State OT

Lavonte David, Nebraska LB

Austin Davis, Southern Mississippi QB

DeMario Davis, Arkansas State LB

David DeCastro, Stanford G

Jeff Demps, Florida RB

Alfonzo Dennard, Nebraska CB

Taylor Dever, Notre Dame OT

Derek Dimke, Illinois K

Drake Dunsmore, Northwestern TE

Pat Edwards, Houston WR

Michael Egnew, Missouri TE

Rhett Ellison, Southern California FB

Bradie Ewing, Wisconsin FB

Loni Fangupo, Brigham Young DT

Antonio Fenelus, Wisconsin CB

Coby Fleener, Stanford TE

Darius Fleming, Notre Dame LB

Jamell Fleming, Oklahoma CB

Michael Floyd, Notre Dame WR

Nick Foles, Arizona QB

Marcus Forston, Miami (Fla.) DT

Justin Francis, Rutgers DE

Terrence Frederick, Texas A&M CB

Jeff Fuller, Texas A&M WR

Chris Galippo, Southern California LB

Terrance Ganaway, Baylor RB

Garth Gerhart, Arizona State C

Adam Gettis, Iowa G

Stephon Gilmore, South Carolina CB

Chris Givens, Wake Forest WR

Cordy Glenn, Georgia OT

Najee Goode, West Virginia LB

T.J. Graham, North Carolina State WR

Cyrus Gray, Texas A&M RB

Jonas Gray, Notre Dame RB

Ladarius Green, Louisiana-Lafayette TE

A.J. Greene, Auburn OT

Robert Griffin, III Baylor QB

Winston Guy, Kentucky SS

Trevor Guyton, California DE

Dom Hamilton, Missouri DT

Jewel Hampkon, Southern Illinois RB

Darius Hanks, Alabama WR

James Hanna, Oklahoma TE

Cory Harkey, UCLA TE

Chandler Harnish, Northern Illinois QB

Cliff Harris, Oregon CB

DaJohn Harris, Southern California DT

Jacory Harris, Miami (Fla.) QB

Josh Harris, Auburn LS

Mike Harris, Florida State CB

Casey Hayward, Vanderbilt CB

Junior Hemingway, Michigan WR

Dan Herron, Ohio State RB

Akiem Hicks, Regina DE

Dont'a Hightower, Alabama LB

Stephen Hill, Georgia Tech WR

Ronnie Hillman, San Diego State RB

T.Y. Hilton, Florida International WR

Lamar Holmes, Southern Mississippi OT

Jayron Hosley, Virginia Tech CB

Jaye Howard, Florida DT

Delano Howell, Stanford SS

John Hughes, Cincinnati DT

Emil Igwenagu, Massachusetts-Amherst TE

Duke Ihenacho, San Jose State SS

George Iloka, Boise State FS

Melvin Ingram, South Carolina DE

Bruce Irvin, West Virginia DE

Ace Jackson, Cal-Poly CB

Janzen Jackson, McNeese State FS

Jerrell Jackson, Missouri WR

Malik Jackson, Tennessee DT

LaMichael James, Oregon RB

Jamaar Jarrett, Arizona State DE

Jordan Jefferson, LSU QB

Alshon Jeffery, South Carolina WR

A.J. Jenkins, Illinois WR

Janoris Jenkins, North Alabama CB

Cam Johnson, Virginia DE

James-Michael Johnson, Nevada LB

Leonard Johnson, Iowa State CB

Rishaw Johnson, California (Pa.) G

Steven Johnson, Kansas LB

Trumaine Johnson, Montana CB

Ben Jones, Georgia C

Chandler Jones, Syracuse DE

Dwight Jones, North Carolina WR

J.J. Jones, Wayne State Cb

Marcel Jones, Nebraska OT

Marv Jones, California WR

Coryell Judie, Texas A&M CB

Josh Kaddu, Oregon LB

Matt Kalil, Southern California OT

Jermaine Kearse, Washington WR

Case Keenum, Houston QB

Senio Kelemete, Washington OT

Mychal Kendricks, California LB

Dre Kirkpatrick, Alabama CB

Peter Konz, Wisconsin C

Luke Kuechley, Boston College LB

Markus Kuhn, North Carolina State DT

Ronald Leary, Memphis OT

Josh Leribeus, SMU G

Ronnell Lewis, Oklahoma DE

Travis Lewis, Oklahoma LB

Ryan Lindley, San Diego State QB

Brandon Lindsey, Pittsburgh DE

Shawn Loiseau, Merrimack LB

Joe Looney, Wake Forest G

Andrew Luck, Stanford QB

Terrell Manning, North Carolina State LB

Brandon Marshall, Nevada LB

Kyle Martens, Rice K

Doug Martin, Boise State RB

Jonathan Martin, Stanford OT

Keshawn Martin, Michigan State WR

Markelle Martin, Oklahoma State FS

Mike Martin, Michigan NT

Jonathan Massaquoi, Troy DE

Bobby Massie, Mississippi OT

Rishard Matthews, Nevada WR

Marquis Maze, Alabama WR

Matt McCants, Alabama-Birmingham OT

Antoine McClain, Clemson G

Shea McClellin, Boise State DE

Kelcie McCray, Arkansas State SS

Jerron McMillian, Maine SS

Marvin McNutt, Iowa WR

Caleb McSurdy, Montana LB

Vaughn Meatoga, Hawaii DT

Davin Meggett, Maryland RB

De'Quan Menzie, Alabama CB

Whitney Mercilus, Illinois DE

Lamar Miller, Miami (Fla.) RB

Ryan Miller, Colorado G

Chase Minnifield, Virginia CB

Charles Mitchell, Mississippi State SS

David Molk, Michigan C

Kellen Moore, Boise State QB

Rennie Moore, Clemson DT

Alfred Morris, Florida Atlantic RB

Brandon Mosley, Auburn OT

Tyler Nielsen, Iowa LB

Luke Nix, Pittsburgh G

Josh Norman, Coastal Carolina CB

Brad Nortman, Wisconsin P

Josh Oglesby, Wisconsin OT

Kelechi Osemele, Iowa State OT

Brock Osweiler, Arizona State QB

Chris Owusu, Stanford WR

Eric Page, Toledo WR

Donte Paige-Moss, North Carolina DE

David Paulson, Oregon TE

Isaiah Pead, Cincinnati RB

Micah Pellerin, Hampton CB

Nick Perry, Southern California DE

DeAngelo Peterson, LSU TE

Eddie Pleasant, Oregon SS

Dontari Poe, Memphis DT

Chris Polk, Washington RB

Tauren Poole, Tennessee RB

Devier Posey, Ohio State WR

Nate Potter, Boise State OT

Shawn Powell, Florida State P

Tydreke Powell, North Carolina DT

Shaun Prater, Iowa CB

De'Andre Presley, Appalachian State CB

Nick Provo, Syracuse TE

Cyhl Quarles, Wake Forest SS

Brian Quick, Appalachian State WR

Chris Rainey, Florida RB

Kheeston Randall, Texas NT

Reuben Randle, LSU WR

Antwuan Reed, Pittsburgh CB

Riley Reiff, Iowa OT

Beau Reliford, Florida State TE

Kendall Reyes, Connecticut DT

Matt Reynolds, Brigham Young OT

Sean Richardson, Vanderbilt SS

Trent Richardson, Alabama RB

Travian Robertson, South Carolina DT

Josh Robinson, Central Florida CB

Keenan Robinson, Texas LB

Gerell Robinson, Arizona State WR

Trent Robinson, Michigan State FS

James Rodgers, Oregon State WR

Brett Roy, Nevada DT

Zebrie Sanders, Florida State OT

Mohamed Sanu, Rutgers WR

Quentin Saulsberry, Mississippi State G

Mitchell Schwartz, California OT

Darrell Scott, South Florida RB

Coty Sensabaugh, Clemson CB

Derrick Shelby, Utah DE

Amini Silatolu, Midwestern State OT

Harrison Smith, Notre Dame FS

Jacquies Smith, Missouri DE

Scott Solomon, Rice DE

Sean-Ryan Spence, Miami (Fla.) LB

Brian Stahovich, San Diego State P

Ryan Steed, Furman CB

Donald Stephenson, Oklahoma OT

Tommy Streeter, Miami (Fla.) WR

J.R. Sweezy, North Carolina State DT

Alameda Ta'Amu, Washington DT

Ryan Tannehill, Texas A&M QB

Brandon Taylor, LSU SS

Dave Teggart, Connecticut K

Darron Thomas, Oregon QB

Johnny Thomas, Oklahoma State FS

Phillip Thomas, Syracuse FS

Brandon Thompson, Clemson DT

Christian Thompson, South Carolina State FS

Andrew Tiller, Syracuse G

Nick Toon, Wisconsin WR

Danny Trevathan, Kentucky LB

Christian Tupou, Southern California NT

Robert Turbin, Utah State RB

Marc Tyler, Southern California RB

DeAngelo Tyson, Georgia DE

Courtney Upshaw, Alabama LB

Olivier Vernon, Miami (Fla.) DE

Trevin Wade, Arizona CB

Bobby Wagner, Utah State LB

Dustin Waldron, Portland State OT

Blair Walsh, Georgia K

Brandon Washington, Miami (Fla.) OT

Rokevious Watkins, South Carolina OT

Brandon Weeden, Oklahoma State QB

Corey White, Samford CB

Jordan White, Western Michigan WR

Fozzy Whittaker, Texas RB

Carson Wiggs, Purdue K

Kyle Wilber, Wake Forest LB

David Wilson, Virginia Tech RB

Russell Wilson, Wisconsin QB

Billy Winn, Boise State DT

Patrick Witt, Yale QB

Derek Wolfe, Cincinnati DT

Jerel Worthy, Michigan State DT

Jarius Wright, Arkansas WR

Kendall Wright, Baylor WR

Devon Wylie, Fresno State WR

Desmond Wynn, Rutgers G

Kevin Zeitler, Wisconsin G

Markus Zusevics, Iowa OT


Contact staff writer Jonathan Tamari at 215-854-5214, jtamari@phillynews.com or @JonathanTamari on Twitter.

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