Archive for category Ramses Barden

San Jose State Pro Day Wrapup

So getting up at five AM isn’t something I do very often anymore, which has hurt my surfing patterns, but improved the level of grumpy, for which my family is grateful.

However, the opportunity to hit a Pro Day as a fully media credentialed writer for the Draftbible and Draftguys is always welcome and as I am two hours away from San Jose and the workouts started at 8am – well sacrifices were made.

Somehow I am still awake. Or this could be a dream.

It was an incredibly smooth running day as well as an early one. Just a handful of years ago, San Jose State was fighting to keep the football program alive and now it’s cranking out Pro level players. If Coye Francies and Chris Owens pan out, some people were joking it’s going to get titled ‘Cornerback U’.

I’m awaiting confirmation on the exact number of personnel and teams, but there were easily between 20-25 teams represented, 30+ people and two head Coaches – Carolina’s John Fox and new Jets Head Coach Rex Ryan. More on both is a bit.

The three biggest focal points were the aforementioned Francies and Owens, as well as Defensive End Jarron Gilbert.

Francies was hot after the Senior Bowl, but since then, Owens has started to overtake him and today may have locked that down. That isn’t to say Francies won’t make a fine corner in the NFL – he probably will. But Owens is hot.

Owens was faster overall, running a pair of 4.40’s in the 40, while Francies was clocked between a 4.59 and a 4.65.

Side note- when it comes to timing, here’s how it goes at a Pro Day. We (that is to say, media and Scouts) all have our own stop watches and do our own timing. Often right after a run, we’ll all double check the time with people around us. After all the speed drills are done, the scouts convene in a seperate location and get a consensus time or range of times.

Francies’ was a wide range. I don’t know how or why, but the range on his runs was wider than I’ve seen in the year and a half I’ve been there. For what that’s worth.

Regardless of how wacky those numbers were, Owens was faster by a margin.

Of course, straightline speed isn’t everything to a cornerback. Both corners worked out well in the position drills and looked good. Both tracked the balls well and looked good overall. Francies looked good flipping his hips and turning to move upfield. Owens looked great tracking the ball and very fluid.

It’s close. I will say that Jets Coach Ryan (told you we’d touch on him again) made a point to chat with Owens and it was clear they had talked before. He might have doen the same with Coye, but I didn’t see it. But Ryan definitely looked interested in Owens and given that he likes current Jet and former Spartan Dwight Lowery, it wouldn’t be surprising to see the Jets go to that well again. (I realize he didn’t make that pick, but GM Mike Tannenbaum did and I’m sure he chatted it up to Ryan.)

I wonder how the Jets might get Owens as it’s hard to know where he might go and it’s possible he won’t be there with the Jets’ second round pick. Will the Jets move up like they did for Dustin Keller last year?

They certainly might.

But the guy who seemed to be Ryan’s biggest focus was Gilbert. When it was time for the D-line drills, Ryan stepped in and led them. While he spent plenty of time with the other two Spartan DEs there (Marcus Keli and Jeff Schweiger, who I will talk about in a minute), he worked with Gilbert the most and definitely was focused on testing and probing him.

I walked away thinking that the Jets have to be thinking Gilbert is a high priority. Like Owens, you have to wonder how they would pick him up. He’s slotted on many sites to be a guy who could go somewhere in the second or third (I lean towards second) so again, the Jets might have to make a move to get him.

By the way, many sites have him listed as a Defensive Tackle but he can play Tackle or End, specifically end as a five technique in a 3-4 which could fit what the Jets are looking at.

I call him an End because that’s what he was in school.

Whatever you call him, he too looked solid in drills and is definitely more than a YouTube video and some stats. Gilbert ran a 4.76/4.83 40 with a good 10 yard time of 1.66. Not the fastest bloke, but quick enough.

When guys like Gilbert, Francies and Owens attract a spotlight, sometimes it splashes on some other players as well. One player I am looking more into is defensive End Jeff Schweiger.

Schweiger was a transfer from USC and had an OK, though not spectacular season in 2008. He had a very good workout today, including a 4.71/4.74 40 time, with a quick 4.56 short shuttle which looked pretty solid. Add to it a 35 1/2 vert and a 10 foot broad jump and he’s an intriguing guy who isn’t on many radars.

I’m not saying he’s a first round pick. I’m saying he may have gotten himself enough notice to have a good shot at being a rookie street free agent if not a late second day pick.

It only takes one team to fall in love to make that happen. He’s already worked out for the Atlanta Falcons.

I’ll be looking at his film this week and am curious to see how he looks.

Finally, I wanted to touch on the bonus portion of the day’s program – the workout by players from Cal-Poly, Sacramento State and other small schools.

This took place after the San Jose State day and a bunch of scouts stuck around. It was a long day by the time it was done – from 8am to after 1pm.

Of course, the teams who stayed (including John Fox) were there to see Cal-Poly wideout Ramses Barden do his thing. I think Carolina has to be looking at him given that they have nobody behind Smith and Dwayne Jarrett hasn’t worked out. Barden is a big guy, like Jarrett was, and as he learns to use his size and hands to beat corners high, he could be a great complement to anyone, Smith included.

Among the other teams remaining were the Giants, Rams, Panthers, Pats, Dolphins and Packers. The Panthers had two other men there along with Coach Fox, who busted me up more than once with little side comments.

There’s a guy I dearly want to have a beer with. He strikes me as a fellow who could make an evening fairly entertaining.

Back at the workout, Barden smoked his Combine 40 time, which was listed as a 4.58, with his first run timed at a speedy 4.51. His second run was a 4.55, closer to the Combien time but still solid. By the way, I clocked his first run at a 4.48. Barden told me he liked that time best and who am I to argue?

Barden was good in his workout as well and between the Combine and today, helped himself quite a bit. His 39 arm length, 10′2″ broad jump and 7.1 three cone drill helped also.

One other guy I am looking into after watching him in the second half of the day is Montana State Running Back Demetrius Williams. Williams had speedy 40 times of 4.44 and 4.45 (although one scout had him at 4.39) and overall had a good workout.

Liek Schweiger, Williams may benefit from the teams who stuck around to watch Barden and get himself some workouts. I’m curious to look more closely at his game and examine if he might be able to catch onto a practice squad or on a special teams unit.

Sometimes it’s not just the big guys who leave you fascinated.

Tuesday NFL Draft News and Notes

Another day, another grip of news.

Like I said yesterday, you never know where the news will break or in what way. I can attest to that since I suddenly found myself breaking the story that Fresno State QB Tom Brandstater would not be working out at all his Pro Day (Wednesday, March 10th) due to a torn Lat muscle which was hurt prior to the NFL Scouting Combine and aggravated in Indianapolis.

“Two weeks before (the Combine) I tore my lat muscle in my side …underneath my arm,” Brandstater told me during the interview on All Access Football. “So, I re-aggravated it at the Combine. I haven’t been able to do anything for the last … since the Combine. I’m not even going to be able to throw…”

Brandstater did say he would be at the event tomorrow and use his time to meet the teams and the scouts present.

What does this mean for a guy like Brandstater, who came off the Scouting Combine red hot? Many analysts have him ranked as anywhere from the fifth to the tenth quarterback. Does he take a huge hit?

Frankly, no. Listen, this is an average group at best. Get past Stafford and his awesome work in a room full of scouts, or Sanchez and his work ethic and lack of film and Freeman and his huge tractor trailer full of upside and you have a host of guys who might, maybe someday be good quarterbacks.

I love Pat White out of West Virginia, but as impressive as he looked at the Combine, he still has some question marks in terms of holding up for a whole season plus he’s the new ‘face of the wildcat’ as far as the talking heads on TV are concerned.

Nate Davis, Rhett Bomar, Stephen McGee – all guys with great upside but nobody who you’ll plug in with confidence on purpose.

So to my mind, no, Brandstater is not terribly hurt by this. He wasn’t going on day one anyway. Maybe he slips from round 4 or 5 to 5 or six. But he’s not a guy who was ‘ready to start’ anyway.

Moving on to other news (and putting and end to the back patting)…..

Nice, though brief, piece on Path to the Draft about Cal-Poly wide receiver Ramses Barden. Another guy I interviewed prior to the Combine, Barden suffered through an injury at the Senior Bowl and had a good, though not great scouting Combine. I was happy to see him still getting press from guys like Mayock and Davis. Barden needs to use his size more effectively if he’s going to succeed at the NFL level.

Otherwise he stands to look a lot like James Hardy, part deux. Well, Hardy, minus the Owens signing.

I feel like I have seen the term ‘bad surface’ a ton during the first few weeks of Pro Days. The latest is in a column on NFL.com by the ageless Gil Brandt about Montana’s Colt Anderson. The young safety prospect ran indoors on a rubber track, managing a 4.22 in the 20-yard shuttle. He went outside for the three-cone and ran a 6.88, which isn’t too bad either.

I just wrote the other day about a Pro Day where shuttles and 40s were run in a wood-floor gym. A rubber floor is a step up, but how much? What’s going on with these schools? I’m not saying they should throw a hundred thousand at facilities just on the basis that ten guys will work out for scouts.

But I’m seeing a lot of questionable surfaces and wonder if I’m going to be typing ‘John Doe tore his ACL when his toe caught on the edge of a wood slat.’

Wrapping up Anderson though, he was a guy hovering around the seventh round or rookie free agent signing area in projections. It sounds like he might have locked that up, but it’s early and you never know who could really wow scouts over the next 40 plus days.

I know this has been talked about by me and others but how big a day is tomorrow for Alabama tackle Andre Smith? He already cost himself millions with the antics at the Scouting Combine.

Another misstep and he’ll be the free-fall we all talk about come the Monday after the Draft.

Finally, if you want to know about great small school prospects, you need to find out what Josh Buchanan is writing. Currently stringing for DraftDaddy.com, Josh is the man when it comes to smaller school prospects.

Mr. Buchanan is reporting that Liberty running back Rashad Jennings, probably the hottest small school guy to come out of the Scouting Combine (neck and neck with Johnny Knox from Abilene Christian), has been racking up frequent flier miles. He hit Denver Monday, the Eagles Tuesday, will hit the Pats Wednesday and the Jets on Friday.

He fits a few of those teams. Denver is collecting running backs like I am moving violations, Philadelphia needs to back oft-banged up Westbrook, the Hoodie (that would be Bill Belichick) needs to wash the taste of Laurence Maroney out of his mouth and Fred Taylor can only do so much. The Jets aren’t as likely but how many years does Thomas Jones have? Besides, like everyone else, the Jets know you can’t have too many running backs in your pocket.

Jennings has done a ton to up his profile. I’m watching some tape of him now and he’s an interesting guy.

He may just be the next ’small school surprise’.

Non-Favre news (and some Favre news)

I think I’ve vented my spleen here and on The Audible enough to keep the Favre stuff brief and move on.

So here is the Thundering Blurb Favre Take for the Day (patent pending)

He’s NOT getting an unconditional release. Not a chance. I posted in the Footballguys.com Shark Pool that the only thing worse (PR-wise) that the Packers could do in this situation is to allow him to go within the division. To not only allow him to play elsewhere, but see him TWICE next season. Heck no.

He’ll be activated, he’ll be traded. I am leaning towards Baltimore as it’s out of the division and conference, but Tampa makes sense too. Would love to see him as a Jet, but that’s not likely.

But no way in Football Hell he is being released to go where he pleases. If GB does that, then GM Ted Thompson is insane.

/Favre rant

FORMER BRONCOS RB TRAVIS HENRY REPORTEDLY TESTED POSITIVE FOR DRUG USE
Well, now we know why he was released. According to a report by the Denver Sports Insider (producer/reporter Josina Anderson from Fox31) Henry tested positive again for the dope just prior to his release from the Broncos. Shanny said ‘lack of committment’ in terms of the why when Henry was let go – but I disagree. Sounds like TOO MUCH committment to me. It’s a real shame, frankly, as Henry seems to have tremendous talent but can’t keep his head straight.

Starts to make you worry a little when Shanny is now defending Brandon Marshall, huh? Hopefully BMarshall can get HIS head on straight before he gets further into trouble.

Speaking of Drugs -

MATT JONES BUSTED FOR COCAINE POSSESSION
I won’t be shocked if Jones – who insiders have said already was on the bubble – is released by the end of the weekend. He was already a bust as a wide reciever, wasn’t playing consistently well and was just taking up space in Jacksonville. But according to the Orlando Sentinel now he compounded it by being pulled over while in possession of cocaine which, by the way, he reportedly tried to hide from the cops IN HIS HANDS. Nice.

KEVIN JONES DEPORTED TO TAMPA BAY – SAYS HE’S NOT FROM THERE
Apologies for the old Johnny Dangerously quote. But while Kevin Jones was reported to have a visit scheduled with the Tampa Bay Bucs earlier this week, Jones has now come out and said despite what was posted on the ESPN Blog Hashmarks that no, he is not going to Tampa yet. He says in an article with the Tampa Tribune that they haven’t called him, though he is still interested in playing there.

Remember a week or so ago how I said it was interesting that reports were focused on how much Jones wanted to play in Tampa but how telling it might be that Tampa wasn’t commenting? I’m not saying he won’t go to Tampa (he went to Pittsburgh earlier this week) but the fact that they haven’t responded yet. Tough market for the Free Agent running backs this off-season, no? Jones will find a home – I’m just dubious it will be Tampa.

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Finally, I wanted to send you guys over to an article my fellow Draftnick and friend Josh Buchanan wrote – an interview with Ramses Barden, WR from Cal Poly. It’s posted on NFLDraftbible.com and they do some excellent work there. They are very high on Barden, so take a look. I’ll have my own interview with him in another week or so, but Josh is a great source. He knows his stuff. Check it out.

More later or tomorrow.

Quick warning – I will be traveling to Alaska on Monday – either I will have some guest posting or thes posts will be few and far between next week. But I will be back in full force on the 22nd and it’ll be postapalooza from there on out including some stuff from Cowboys Camp in Oxnard, California, which I will be covering for Denver radio station FM 104.3 The Fan. Or at least that’s my story and I am sticking to it.