Workouts for the O-Lineman and the TEs start at 10:00am Chicago time. They’ll be starting with the 40-yard dash today. Not sure the significance for the big O-Lineman and the 40-yard dash but we’ll be paying close attention just the same.
The first big news of the combine is Andre Smith Alabama projected at one point as a top-five level prospect at the OT position with a doozy of a quote as to why he’s not working out. I ‘m paraphrasing this quote it’s not an exact quote that went along the lines of
“Well I started working out late, don’t feel I’m ready and in shape so I’m going to wait for my pro day to do my work out.”
Then from there live today Andre Smith was late showing up to the combine a P.A. announcement was made Smith wasn’t even in the building. Smith is showing some of his character issues already which caused him to be suspended from the Sugar Bowl. Plus now that he is at the combine there are confliciting stories from Smith and his agent as to why Smith is late to day’s workouts.
The plot begins to thicken with the 2008 Outland Trophy winner who is not in shape, not ready and has some lingering maturity issues beginning to surface. The final word ends up being Smith has flown back to Atlanta for two scheduled workouts he has at his training facility.
Updating what some of the top O-Lineman have done so far today
Proving the point that bench press numbers can be overrated the only Top-5 prospect of the O-Lineman to perform well in the bench press was Jason Smith from Baylor.
Smith pressed 225-pounds 33 times tied for fourth best with a few other lineman.
Smith follows up his superb bench press numbers with a good 40-yard dash time of 5.14. Mayock mentioned that he reminds him of last year’s OT sensation Ryan Clady who went to the Denver Broncos one pick ahead of the Bears.
Phil Loadholdt the Oklahoma LT is projected as a RT in the NFL. Mike Mayock commented and how stiff and rigid he looks in the hips and when trying to move his feet. This may be good news for the Bears who are looking at prospects for the RT spot opposite Chris Williams. Loadholdt is also one of those prospects who the Bears spoke with earlier this week.
Loadholdt is a big man at 6-7 325-pounds already losing 11-pounds since the Senior Bowl weigh in. You can see that he needs to try and drop weight and add strength based on how he looks in the spandex shorts and Under Armor top. Loadholdt also has an impressive wing span with 36 and 1/2 half inch arms which is more important than bench press numbers because you want your OTs to be able to get their hands on the blocker first when they hit them with that initial punch in blocking. You want your OTs to be able to keep as much space as possible so that the D-Lineman can’t get under your blocker and get better leverage.
Loadholdt then proceeded to run a 5.54 40-yard dash. Though the important time would be the first 10 and 20 yards splits generally where a lineman will show the most important aspect, burst out of his stance and explosion.
NFL network analysts give Loadholdt major props for losing his weight and looking less flabby. A good sign of work habits given the importance of working hard. Hopefully he keeps this up.
Next up among the top prospects is Eugen Monroe from Virgina who is looking to cement his spot as the top OT prospect in this draft in a class that goes fairly deep.
Monroe you can instantly see why he is a top prospect. He passes the eye ball test with a fairly trim and fit body for an OT. He isn’t flabby or jiggly like a bowl full of jelly. He is big and stout thick chested broad shoulders modest waist line I would even argue he’s an athlete for an OT prospect .
Monroe cranked out a modest 23 reps on the bench press. Runs the 40-yard dash in 5.28, exploding out of his stance and bursting down the line for a relatively good time for an OT. Called a gifted pass protector most scouts see him as a sure fire LT prospect.
A more under the radar prospect is Lydon Murtha from Nebraska. A possible late round selection Murtha runs the fastest 40-yard dash time of the day among O-Lineman with a 4.82. Murth goes 6-7 317-pounds and is very athletic and trim for an OT. Not fat by any means and pretty well put together. I’ll keep a close eye on him in the drills to see how well his feet look. Plus Murtha is a Cornhusker and it would be considered common football knowledge common that they are known for their hogs in the trenches. The Bears need lineman period whether they get them early or late.
Lydon also is second overall highest vertical jumper with a jump of 35.0 inches. Lydon showing what Nebraska is also known for a great strength and conditioning program. Thus far Lydon is one of the workout warriors of the combine.
Michael Oher from Ole Miss is up next among the top prospects. Oher looks slow getting out of the blocks. He has an awkward looking stance and it seemed to hinder him. Oher is the other prospect that the Bears coaches spoke to at length. As mentioned in a previous blog entry Oher may be available at 18 and would not be considered a reach at that pick. He would be a good fit at RT and has strong character that would fit in well.
A quick update on Oher he was one of the top performers among the O-Lineman in the vertical jump. He hit a 30.5 inch vertical
Switching to guards with Beekman possibly projecting as a future center one to two years down the road, we come to Duke Robinson of Oklahoma. Robinson is projected as a possible second rounder by NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock. What best suits Robinson is his ability to beat people up at the point of attack. He is ferocious in tight quarters which may fit in well with the Bears given zone blocking scheme they run and needing a mauler to push people around to give Matt Forte some day light. Robinson steps out and runs a 5.27 which is good for a guard. At 6-5 325-pounds he would be a good mauler fit for the Bears midway through the 2nd round.
Another prospect Mayock likes as maybe his second or third prospect at guard is a mid western kid from Wisconsin Kraig Urbik. A typical Wisconsin lineman 6-5 328-pounds another road grater type strong at the point of attack. A nice mean streak lunch pail type of kid. Well coached and they made a good point a lot of these kids from the Badgers end up being pretty good lineman in the NFL. Urbik runs a decent 5.4 40-yard dash.
Based on Mayock’s description I like the kid even if he’s not the elite prospect type. Any kid who goes out there and works hard and plays football for the love of the game would fit in well with the Bears. Coming from Wisconsin he’s already acclimated to Bear weather and would probably be a respected member of the franchise should the Bears choose to go that way.
A cut away into the crowd of coaches shows Lovie Smith is intently focused and watching the lineman as they go through their 40 yard dashes. Possibly all the proof you need that the Bears are thinking O-Line in this draft as a high priority. Good to see the head coach as one of the viewers.
Cal center Alex Mack who is rated by most as the top prospect at his position is not participating due to an injury.
Other center guard projected players are Max Unger from Oregon and Eric Wood from Louisville.
Still sticking with the O-Lineman and breaking things up a bit to ease the strain of the read we break into part two of our coverage:
Another intriguing prospect at the OT position is Eben Britton from Arizona who was a three year starter at the UofA. Britton was highly rated coming out of high school and lived up to this billing playing for the Wildcats. The question is how will he look in run blocking given that they ran a Texas Tech style passing spread. Once he gets into a three point stance and has to maul the guy in front of him will he be that mauler that the Bears so desperately need at RT?
The funniest thing I have yet to read regarding a prospect from a scout on the NFL network just came from a country boy scout (no name specifics) who said that Britton is a solid technician but “needs more sand in the pants.” Precisely what that means is beyond me and I’m an Arizona boy from the back woods of that state.