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Count the New England Patriots among the teams interested in Baylor wide receiver Kendall Wright. Members of the Patriots staff traveled all the way to Waco, Texas, to hold a private workout with Wright. Wright's draft stock has fluctuated in recent weeks, and he might be available for New England to draft at either No. 27 or No. 31 overall.
It's unclear how serious New England's interest in Wright is, but they do have a need for a playmaking wide receiver to go along with tight ends Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez. All-pro slot receiver Wes Welker has yet to sign his franchise tender, and neither Deion Branch nor Chad Ochocinco showed playmaking ability for the Patriots last year.
Wright's subpar 40 times have led to his stock dropping. An AFC scout, though, believes that Wright's 40 times are misleading.
"You see him running by a corner every game," an AFC scout said after the combine about Wright. "If you would have asked me to guess (his time coming in), I would have conservatively guessed 4.45. I would have thought he easily would have run a 4.3. But for him to run to run what he did, I was completely shocked. It kind of reminded me of when Chad (Ochocinco) came out of Oregon State, he ran like a 4.6 after running by people at the Senior Bowl. He played a lot faster than what he timed."
While playing alongside Tom Brady might seem like a dream come true for Wright, the Patriots haven't had the best track record recently in developing wide receivers. New England cut 2010 third-round draft pick Taylor Price in 2011, and New England's 2006 second round pick Chad Jackson was a bust as well, lasting just two years in Foxboro.
The Dallas Cowboys are just a few hours away from adding what's assumed to be a defensive piece to their 2012 run for another Super Bowl appearance. The Cowboys have been projected to take either a defensive lineman or defensive back throughout most of the offseason mock drafts, with names like Mark Barron of Alabama and Michael Brockers of LSU being popular picks.
The gang at Blogging The Boys breaks down all the rumored prospects - those who have met in-person with the Cowboys - by their projected draft order, and Barron, Brockers and Memphis defensive tackle Dontari Poe seem like the likeliest picks.
Date / Time: Thursday, April 26, 7 p.m. ET
Location: Radio City Music Hall, New York, New York
TV: ESPN, NFL Network
Radio: Sirius / XM NFL Network
While Baylor WR Kendall Wright has been seen as a first-round pick throughout most of the pre-draft season, the final mock drafts from some of the leading NFL writers have to be a concern to Wright's camp.
Over at SI.com, Don Banks has Wright going No. 22 to the Cleveland Browns, which is where he's been projected to go for quite some time:
This strikes me as too early a slot to go after Oklahoma State quarterback Brandon Weeden, especially if Cleveland can grab Wright and give its anemic offense a double dose of playmaking potential with Richardson at No. 4 and the ex-Baylor receiver at No. 22.
However, the news is not quite as good at NFL.com, where Mike Mayock has Wright slipping to the San Francisco 49ers at No. 30.
Meanwhile, ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr. has Wright falling out of the first round entirely, with Justin Blackmon, Michael Floyd and Georgia Tech's Stephen Hill the only WR's going in the first 32 picks.
What all of this means on Thursday night remains to be seen, but Wright could end up in the dreaded Aaron Rodgers position as the last player taken out of the green room.
We all know about Baylor's two stud pro prospects in the 2012 NFL Draft, as Robert Griffin III is slated to go No. 2 overall, and Kendall Wright figures to be a late-first round pick. In NFL.com's latest full, seven-round mock draft, the Baylor Bears will be sending two more players to the NFL over this weekend.
Baylor offensive lineman Philip Blake is projected to go No. 82 overall to the Tennessee Titans. Blake is listed at 6'3", 311 lbs, and started all 13 games at center this past year for Baylor. Blake was named to the First-Team All-Big 12 in 2011 as well. Blake has been versatile in college, as he shifted from tackle to center following the 2009 season.
Cowboys fans might be disappointed to see that Terrance Ganaway, a running back from Baylor, is projected to be selected by the Philadelphia Eagles with the No. 153 pick in the draft. Like Blake, Ganaway was named to the First-Team All-Big 12 in 2011. Ganaway set or tied 13 school records in 2011, on his way to rushing for a staggering 1,556 yards and scoring 21 touchdowns.
It's been one of, if not the, best year athletically for Baylor, and that looks to continue as four players from Baylor appear set to be drafted this weekend.
For more on the Baylor Bears, be sure to check out Our Daily Bears.
It's no secret that Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III are going to be drafted No. 1 and No. 2 overall by the Indianapolis Colts and Washington Redskins in the 2012 NFL Draft. What we still don't know, however, is where the third quarterback selected in this year's draft will go. Texas A&M's Ryan Tannehill has seen his stock rise over the past month, so much so that he could very well be a top five pick.
In fact, in SB Nation's latest mock draft, Tannehill is going fourth overall to the Cleveland Browns -- ending the Colt McCoy era in the process. Opinions do seem to vary on Tannehill, though. CBS Sports rates Tannehill as the eighth best prospect in this year's draft, while the National Football Post sees Tannehill as the seventeenth best player in the draft.
Regardless of how highly rated Tannehill is, he figures to go fairly early on Thursday night to any QB-starved franchise -- and there are a lot of them.
Tannehill isn't the only Aggie that will be drafted over this weekend. Running back Cyrus Gray looks like he'll be a mid-round draft pick, while wide receiver Jeff Fuller, cornerbacks Coryell Judie, and Terrance Frederick and Lionel Smith all have chances to be late-round draft choices.
For more on the 2012 NFL Draft, be sure to check out SB Nation's NFL Draft page.
Oklahoma State capped off a successful year, despite a title game snub, with a thrilling Fiesta Bowl win over Stanford this past year. That success will also translate to the 2012 NFL Draft, where the Cowboys are expected to have at least one, and potentially two, first-round picks with wide receiver Justin Blackmon and quarterback Brandon Weeden.
Coming into the NFL's offseason, Blackmon was considered an elite prospect at the wide receiver position. His stock has slipped, though. So much so that SB Nation now projects Notre Dame's Michael Floyd to be the first wide receiver taken on Thursday night, at No. 8 overall to the Miami Dolphins. Blackmon is still projected to be a top ten pick, going No. 10 overall to the Buffalo Bills, who are looking to challenge the New England Patriots and New York Jets for AFC East supremacy.
SB Nation doesn't have Weeden projected to be a first round pick, but he is likely going to be an early second rounder. Weeden has been linked to the Cleveland Browns, who might be eyeing him with their early second round selection. If he does end up in Cleveland, Weeden will have a chance to immediately step into the starting role.
Markelle Martin will likely be selected in the early rounds of the draft as well. CBS Sports ranks Martin as the No. 2 free safety available in this year's draft, and the No. 105 prospect overall. With the emergence of tight ends as a major offensive weapon, safeties will almost certainly be at a premium in the NFL going forward as cogs to slow down tight ends.
For more on the Oklahoma State Cowboys, head over to Cowboys Ride For Free.
Though they didn't win the Rose Bowl this past season, the TCU Horned Frogs went 11-2 and were close to becoming BCS-eligible despite dropping two games during the regular season. Despite this, TCU doesn't have any major draft prospects for the 2012 NFL Draft. Linebacker Tank Carder highlights TCU's draft prospects this year.
The National Football Post ranks Carder as the No. 229 draft prospect in the entire draft class, which isn't much of ringing endorsement. Carder, though, does grade out as the eleventh best ILB prospect per the NFP. CBS Sports, meanwhile, ranks Carder as the sixth best ILB prospect, and the No. 164 prospect in the draft -- rankings that would certainly have him drafted in the middle-rounds.
Carder registered 70 tackles for TCU in 2011, but failed to record a sack. He did, however, intercept two passes -- and returned both for touchdowns. The 2011 defensive Rose Bowl MVP ran a 4.69 40 at the combine. At 6'2", 236, Carder might be a bit undersized, weight wise, to be a starting ILB in the NFL, but he can certainly pack on more weight over the coming years.
For more on the TCU Horned Frogs, head over to Frogs O' War.
The past two years have been rough for Texas Longhorns football, though Mack Brown's squad did salvage their 2011 season with a Holiday Bowl win over California. Texas isn't going to have a strong showing at the 2012 NFL Draft, either. Per the National Football Post's big board, Texas' highest rated prospect is OLB Keenan Robinson, who is rated as the No. 101 prospect in the entire draft.
Fellow Longhorns linebacker Emmanuel Acho is rated similarly to Robinson, as the National Football Post has him as the 109th best prospect in this year's draft.
It's certainly conceivable that either or both of Robinson and Acho can slip into the third round somewhere, as defensive players are seemingly a premium in this year's draft.
The National Football Post also believes that Texas' two top prospects could end up being starters in the NFL.
Impression: An explosive kid with some natural burst to his game. Isn't overly instinctive and doesn't take on blocks overly well, but is a good fit in more of a run and hit scheme because he possesses very good natural range. A potential starter in the NFL .
Impression: Isn't a dynamic straight-line athlete, but plays faster because of instincts. Is a good tackler, can shed blocks and plays stronger than his frame would indicate. Has the versatility to play a number of spots in a 4-3 scheme or get some looks inside in a 34. Looks like a potential starter in the NFL either way.
While it's not a banner year for Texas prospects, Robinson and Acho could help salvage the '12 Longhorns draft class if they develop into starting linebackers.
After having pole position behind Oklahoma State's Justin Blackmon for the No. 2 WR slot on most draft boards, it appears that Baylor's Kendall Wright has been passed by Notre Dame's Michael Floyd.
The latest mock draft from the National Football Post has Blackmon going No. 6 to the St. Louis Rams, Floyd going No. 7 to the Jacksonville Jaguars and Wright going No. 26 to the Houston Texans:
7. Jacksonville Jaguars: Notre Dame WR Michael Floyd
Is there a team in the NFL in more need of an upgrade at the wide receiver position than the Jaguars? This might be a bit high for Floyd. However, he’s got the talent to make plays on all levels of the field and fills a major need for the Jags at a position of major need.
26. Houston Texans: Baylor WR Kendall Wright
Wright might be the draft's top vertical threat and has the ability to open up a lot of options for the Texans offense down the field.
Floyd, at 6'3 220 with a 4.47 40, has the type of measurables NFL teams want in their No. 1 receiver, as opposed to the 5'10 195 Wright.
He produced on the field as well, catching 100 balls for 1,147 yards and 9 TD's for the Fighting Irish in 2011.
The big concerns for Floyd come mostly off the field, as the four-year starter received three separate alcohol violations while in college.
More importantly, going to the Jaguars at No. 7 is hardly an ideal scenario for a young WR, as Jacksonville has an anemic offense led by a young QB (Blaine Gabbert) who seemed over his head as a rookie. In contrast, Houston, with a balanced offense and a defense coming off a dominant season, seems like a Super Bowl contender.
A highlight reel of Floyd's school record 28 TD's in his first three seasons:
With the Washington Redskins set to select Baylor star Robert Griffin III with the No. 2 pick, the Dallas Cowboys could face three QB's taken in the Top 2 in their own division: Griffin, Eli Manning and Michael Vick.
As a result, the team has been focused on improving their pass defense in 2012, as Stephen Jones told the Dallas Morning News:
"Any time you have a team getting a good quarterback, whether it be the Redskins or the Giants and the Eagles who have good quarterbacks, then you obviously want to counter that with good defensive players. We think we did that with (Brando) Carr. He's a press corner. I think he fits with what we want to do on defense, which is get in their face and press them up.
"I think the other thing is we have to get pressure. We obviously have one of the elite pressure players in the league in DeMarcus Ware. I think we have to get (Anthony) Spencer more involved in terms of productivity. Then you look at our defensive linemen. (Jay) Ratliff and (Jason) Hatcher and those guys, I think we have to get better there but I think we can do that.
"I think the Giants showed with their late season surge when they got healthy in the defensive line they were able to get that pressure on good quarterbacks. It certainly disrupts."
As Jones mentions, the influx of top QB's in the NFC East will force the Cowboys to upgrade their pass rush.
Dallas will likely take a defensive player with the No. 14 pick, either a player who could line up opposite of Ware like South Carolina's Melvin Ingram or a defensive back like Alabama SS Mark Barron who could give the Cowboys front seven more time to get to the QB.
For all the latest news and notes on the RG3 and the NFL Draft, stay tuned to SB Nation Dallas' exclusive storystream.
According to Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio, the NFL has extended invitations to future professional football players and 26 have accepted and will be attending the draft, which is one more than last year. Two of those players are former Baylor Bears standouts, Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III and wide receiver Kendall Wright.
They are, in alphabetical order: Alabama safety Mark Barron; Oklahoma State receiver Justin Blackmon; LSU defensive tackle Michael Brockers; LSU cornerback Morris Claiborne; North Carolina defensive end Quinton Coples; Mississippi State defensive tackle Fletcher Cox; Stanford tight end Coby Fleener; Notre Dame receiver Michael Floyd; South Carolina cornerback Stephon Gilmore; Georgia tackle Cordy Glenn; Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III; Alabama linebacker Dont'a Hightower; Georgia Tech receiver Stephen Hill; South Carolina defensive end Melvin Ingram; USC tackle Matt Kalil; Alabama cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick; Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck; Boise State linebacker Shea McClellin; USC defensive end Nick Perry; Memphis defensive tackle Dontari Poe; LSU receiver Rueben Randle; Alabama running back Trent Richardson; Penn State defensive tackle Devon Still; Texas A&M quarterback Ryan Tannehill; Alabama linebacker Courtney Upshaw; Baylor receiver Kendall Wright.
RG3 will likely be the second overall pick off the board as the Washington Redskins have traded away the farm to move up and grab a new franchise quarterback. Wright is considered a top-three wide receiver along with Justin Blackmon and Michael Floyd. In many mock drafts, he has been predicted to be selected by the Houston Texans, who are looking to find a new wide receiver opposite of Andre Johnson.
With whispers about the Indianapolis Colts interest in Baylor's Robert Griffin III growing, Pro Football Weekly became the first prominent NFL Draft publication to move Griffin ahead of Andrew Luck in a mock draft:
1. Indianapolis Colts
Robert Griffin III | QB | Baylor [ Jr. ]
Not only did Robert Griffin do more with less at Baylor, as the incoming quarterback of the Colts will have to do with one of the weakest supporting casts in football, but Griffin is a more intimidating playmaker than Andrew Luck with the big-play ability sought in Bruce Arians' big-strike, vertical offense. Griffin entered the season low on the radar in the Heisman Trophy race and upset the anointed golden boy in college football. Luck remains the heavyweight favorite to be selected first overall, but Griffin is the better schematic fit.
The Colts, who have been one of the most stable franchises in NFL history, would seem to be a better fit for a young QB, but whoever comes in will have the tough task of trying to fill Peyton Manning's shoes.
Either way, it still doesn't seem all that likely that they would pass up on Luck after being linked to him for most of the year.
For all the latest news and notes on the RG3 and the NFL Draft, stay tuned to SB Nation Dallas' exclusive storystream.
Every year, the numbers get crunched over at Football Outsider in an attempt to forecast the NFL careers of the top NCAA quarterbacks entering the NFL Draft. This year, the top quarterbacks are Andrew Luck and the reigning Heismant Trophy winner, former Baylor Bears QB Robert Griffin III.
While Luck has been assumed to be the top quarterback in the draft for well over a year and considered the most "NFL-ready" of any other college player, in recent months there has been a groundswell of acknowledgment that Griffin may be just as good, if not better, than Luck.
In this year's Lewin Career Forecast (LCF) at Football Outsider, Aaron Schatz crunched the numbers. The result? Griffin not only had the strongest career projection of any QB in this year's draft, but the highest numbers of any player measured by LCF, dating back to 1998.
Griffin and Luck are basically LCF's dream candidates. They're both longtime starters with tons of college experience. Both have strong completion rates. Both get good yardage when scrambling. The biggest difference between the two according to LCF is what happened in their senior year. Luck, who was stellar as a junior, saw his passer rating stay constant. Griffin, on the other hand, improved significantly. The 45.3-point rise in his passer rating as a senior is largest senior improvement in our database (surpassing Jason Campbell, who rose 40.3 points) and the second-largest senior change in our database (behind only Rex Grossman, whose passer rating as a senior dropped 49.3 points). Statistically, Griffin's senior year was better than Luck's, his junior year not as good. This could indicate that Griffin is still improving, still learning, and still getting better, with more room to grow in the pros.
Certainly these are encouraging signs for Griffin supporters. You can click through to the full article for a complete breakdown of what the numbers mean and how the rest of the quarterbacks in this year's draft stack up.
Andrew Luck has for a long time been a forgone conclusion to be the No. 1 overall draft pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, however Robert Griffin III has shot up draft boards and is considered to be the No. 2 pick. Now, there is at least some discussion that the Indianapolis Colts could be leaning toward taking Griffin over Luck.
ESPN's Michael Wilbon was on Tony Kornheiser's radio show on ESPN 980 Monday morning, and Wilbon said that he talked to some people within the Colts organization that are considering Griffin because he has better pocket presence:
With the stretch run towards the NFL Draft starting to begin, it appears Baylor WR Kendall Wright may have fallen behind some of his competitors for the position of No. 2 WR behind Oklahoma State's Justin Blackmon.
In the latest mock draft from SB Nation, written after the completion of most of the major Pro Days, Wright fell to the Houston Texans at No. 26, behind three other WR's:
26. Houston Texans, Kendall Wright, WR, Baylor
Andre Johnson cannot be expected to do it all alone. Wright gives this offense a second receiving option to pair with Johnson. He also make a nice complement, someone to work out of the slot with Johnson split out wide and the backfield threatening on every play.
Blackmon is projected to go No. 7 to the Jacksonville Jaguars, with Notre Dame WR Michael Floyd going at No. 19 to the Chicago Bears and LSU WR Rueben Randle going at No. 22 to the Cleveland Browns.
Wright had a disappointing 40 time at the NFL Combine, but he made up for it with a 4.4 at Baylor's Pro Day. However, at only 5'10 190, he has far less margin for error than super-sized WR's like Floyd (6'3 220) and Randle (6'3 210).
However, the bright side of Wright's fall may be that he winds up in a far easier position to succeed, as playing opposite of Andre Johnson on a loaded Texans team that desperately needs a second option on the edge would give the Baylor star every opportunity to succeed.
More than any other position on the field, wide receivers depend on their teammates and coaching staff, and any of the WR's in the 2012 class, including Blackmon, will have a tough time playing with untested QB's and new coaching staffs in Jacksonville and Cleveland.
For the latest news and notes on the local Big 12 prospects in the 2012 NFL Draft, check out SB Nation Dallas' exclusive storystream, while Our Daily Bears has you covered for all the latest breaking news from Baylor.
#espn's todd mcshay: "i don't think the difference between rg3 and tannehill is all that big, really don't...he has chance to be great.''— Mary Kay Cabot (@MaryKayCabot) March 30, 2012
Tannehill's stock has skyrocketed in the last few weeks, as NFL teams react to the paucity of available QB's in the 2012 draft behind Andrew Luck and Griffin.
The Texas A&M product has all the measurables, with a cannon arm at 6'4 222 and a 40 time of 4.62.
However, he was a WR in his first two years for the Aggies, making the transition to becoming a QB late in the 2010 season.
As a result, he doesn't have nearly as many reps at the position as three-year starters like Griffin and Luck, which Football Outsiders found was one of the biggest red flags for QB's who end up becoming busts.
Nevertheless, there's a good chance an NFL team falls in love with Tannehill's potential, regardless of his performance in college, and he becomes a high first-round draft pick like Blaine Gabbert (Jacksonville) and Christian Ponder (Minnesota).
For all the latest draft news and notes about the many Big 12 players in the 2012 draft, stay tuned to SB Nation Dallas' exclusive story stream.
According to Yahoo! Sports' Chris Chase, former Eagles, Redskins and Vikings quarterback Donovan McNabb doesn't believe that former Baylor Bears Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Robert Griffin III will be successful in the Redskins' offensive system. The Redskins gave up a large amount of future picks to trade up from No. 6 to No. 2 with the St. Louis Rams in order to select RG3 in the upcoming draft.
McNabb believes he was misused while he was in Washington and he believes that RG3 may suffer the same fate.
"No, I say that because a lot of the time ego gets too involved with when you're playing in Washington. Here's a guy who's coming out who's very talented, mobile, strong arm, we've already heard he's a very intelligent football mind. Are you going to cater the offense around his talent and what he's able to do or are you going to bring the Houston offense with Matt Schaub over to him and have him be embedded in that whole thing."
After McNabb voiced his concerns about how RG3 may be used, he went on the attack, picking out different quarterbacks who didn't succeed under Mike Shanahan's rule. He listed John Beck, Rex Grossman, Jay Cutler and Jake Plummer. Then he got back to RG3.
"What type of offense do you run with [RGIII]? Is it the spread offense that you try to continue to flourish that he's been successful in? Or are you going to have him in a foxhole with a makeshift offensive line and keep bringing in receivers, you have a solid tight end in Fred Davis that you need to feature, what are we going to see?"
"I don't think it's a great fit. [...] If this doesn't work this year, we don't see a splash like a Cam Newton splash, this could be it."
With the amount of money and picks spent to select RG3, the Redskins will likely start him right away at the quarterback situation. It will be interesting to see whether or not McNabb's prediction turns out to be true or if McNabb ends up eating his words.
Former Baylor Bears quarterback Robert Griffin III is drawing intense interest from NFL scouts and football fans alike following his stellar performances at the 2012 NFL Combine and the Baylor Pro Day. There are even renewed rumblings that the Heisman Trophy winner may even be selected No. 1 in the 2012 NFL Draft by the Indianapolis Colts, although most still believe he will be the No. 2 overall selection and head to the Washington Redskins.
For his part, Griffin seems to really enjoy the thought of heading to Washington. He appeared on SiriusXM radio on Tuesday and had nothing but good things to say about the Redskins and their head coach, courtesy of Samuel Chamberlain at SB Nation DC.. Here are his comments,
"So before I even talk about football with [the Redskins], I just try to express to them that I was a Broncos fan growing up, so Coach Shanahan coached those teams that I watched and that influenced me to play football. ... Would it be a dream come true to play for them? Yes it would ... But when it comes to just straight football talk, of course we can't talk about the offense and things like that, but they try to make a point to tell me the kind of things they're gonna try to do with me You know, they didn't trade up to the second pick for no reason."
It seems like Washington and Griffin would be a perfect fit for both parties.
Despite the fact that nearly every draft prognosticator suspects the Colts will select Luck with the first pick in the upcoming draft, Owner Jim Irsay proclaims the evaluation process is yet ongoing.
"I think they're both outstanding young men," Irsay said during a break in the owners meetings here Monday. "I don't think it's either-or, where only one of them is going to succeed. I think they're both going to be great."
Since they have the No. 1 pick, the Colts could, if they so choose, do a contract with Luck (or Griffin, or any player they want, actually) in advance of the draft.
"If we decided to do a deal early with one of them, that's something we could definitely look into," Irsay said. "But we're still in the evaluation process right now."
Griffin has gained steam in recent weeks after shining at both the combine and his pro day. Luck held his own at each event as well, but teams remain enamored with Griffin's sensational combination of athleticism and pure quarterbacking ability.
Regardless of whether Griffin or Luck is selected first, it's a virtual certainty that the remaining player will be taken by Washington with the second overall pick.
For more updates on the upcoming draft, head to Mocking The Draft.
The Washington Redskins paid a fortune to move up four spots in the 2012 NFL Draft, so there's really no guesswork involved as to who they are targeting: Robert Griffin III.
The Baylor quarterback won the Heisman Trophy last year and has wowed everyone at the NFL Combine and the school's recent Pro Day, so the only curveball left to be thrown is if the Indianapolis Colts love him more than Stanford's Andrew Luck.
That's not likely says Ryan Van Bibber in SB Nation's latest mock draft, but he does believe the Skins paid the right price:
Of course, Griffin is an incredible talent himself. Some argue that he has a higher ceiling than Luck. Forget the notion that Washington paid too much for the opportunity to draft Griffin. The cost of plodding along with spare parts at quarterback has much higher long-term cost to it.
Griffin is likely to be the NFL's next charismatic star given his confidence all through this off-season. With an iconic team in the nation's capital, RG3 can be a national brand and continue to bring credibility to the Bears' football program for years to come.
The latest mock draft from SB Nation's Ryan Van Bibber has the Baylor Bears landing two prospects in the first round of the 2012 NFL Draft.
While Robert Griffin III lands in predictable territory with the Washington Redskins, his wide receiver Kendall Wright falls to No. 25 with the Denver Broncos. Given the new quarterback in place in Mile High Stadium, that would be a dream come true for a playmaker like Wright:
Wright's Combine and pro day had some wondering about his first-round talent, all because of his 40 time. Foolishness. Wright can get down the field and has the explosiveness to get away from defenders. Peyton Manning could make him a household name this season.
For more on the Baylor Bears, head to Our Daily Bears.
Mike Shanahan and the Washington Redskins paid a steep price to trade up for the No. 2 overall pick in the 2012 NFL draft. It's only logical that owner Dan Snyder joined Shanahan and the Redskins staff as they watched Robert Griffin III work out during Baylor's pro day.
Needless to say, RG3 impressed all those who were watching, including the folks over at Mocking the Draft. Apparently, Griffin has dramatically improved his footwork, which could be key to his success as an NFL quarterback.
His most impressive aspect from my point of view was his improved footwork. He has clearly been working on that, with effective results. His drop-backs looks fluid and easy for him and stepped into his throws correctly. One of his knocks was that he can throw off his back-foot sometimes, but today he had no troubles with that.
Griffin's arm strength was also on full display, as reports from spectators say that the ball "jumps off his hand." RG3 reportedly displayed good touch on his passes as well.
Griffin's athleticism was on display immediately. He ran several play-action passes which he developed into bootlegs and roll-out throws. He looked accurate on the move throwing both underneath and deep routes with touch and excellent ball placement.
Though the Redskins paid a steep price, it does appear that they are getting one heck of a talent in RG3 -- and he might just end up justifying the price paid by Shanahan and Snyder. At the least, he gives Redskins fans something to look forward to.
While the top of the NFL Draft is pretty much set in stone with Andrew Luck at No. 1 to the Indianapolis Colts and Robert Griffin III at No. 32 Washington Redskins, the Baylor star put on a show in front of hundreds of scouts and media personnel at Baylor's Pro Day on Wednesday:
RG3 went 78 of 84.— Charean Williams (@NFLCharean) March 21, 2012
Griffin threw for about half-an-hour, showcasing his wide variety of skills rolling out of the pocket and launching balls all over the field. Of his six incomplete passes, four came on dropped balls from the Bears skill players.
More importantly, he took most of his snaps under center, as opposed to the shotgun he used in Baylor coach Art Briles' spread offense.
NFL personnel came away very impressed, ESPN's Ron Jaworski among them:
For the latest news and notes on the prospects from all the area college football teams, check back with SB Nation Dallas' story stream.
One of the big winners from Baylor's Pro Day on Wednesday was WR Kendall Wright, who significantly improved his 40-yard dash time from his disappointing 4.61 40 he posted at the Combine:
Don't get excited about Kendall Wright's 4.46. It's a fast track. Doesn't matter though, he's an excellent player. First round lock.— Dan Kadar (@MockingTheDraft) March 21, 2012
Wright was projected as a first-round pick after a dominant senior season, but his lack of size at 5'11 gave bigger credence to his 40 time, which was only 31rst among WR's in Indianapolis.
Despite occurring on a fast track, the 4.43 is encouraging because it is much closer to the time his game film suggests he can run.
More importantly, the increased time is a proxy for work ethic, as Wright has clearly spent time over the last month training, and if he couldn't be bothered to put in the time when he had millions of dollars on the line, it wouldn't have been a good indication for his willingness to work after he was drafted.
We're all pretty sure how the front of the NFL Draft is going to look - Stanford's Andrew Luck to the Indianapolis Colts and Baylor's Robert Griffin III to the Washington Redskins - but that doesn't stop a little bit of guessing, especially when scouts from the Colts will be at Baylor's pro day on Wednesday to watch Griffin work out.
And despite most of the guessing game ending when the 'Skins mortgaged several drafts to move up to the No. 2 spot (ostensibly to take RG3), TV networks will still cover the Baylor Pro Day like it's a Presidential Inauguration - fans can check out RG3's workout live on ESPNU and NFL Network, as well as online at ESPN3.
Regardless of the fact that RG3's fate is all but determined, it's still a big day for football fans and the next generation of NFL quarterbacks. Now let's go get some wings!
The 2012 NFL Draft is fast approaching, with scouts and evaluators trying to solidify the prospects that each pro team will be targeting to join their ranks for the coming season.
As a final lead-up to the draft, many schools hold a "Pro Day" that allows NFL evaluators to get one final, first-hand look at top prospects. In addition, this affords an opportunity to impress for players who may not have been invited to the 2012 NFL Combine in Indianapolis.
Wescott Eberts over at Burnt Orange Nation has a preview up for the Texas Longhorns Pro Day, which will be held on Tuesday. Texas linebackers Keenan Robinson and Emmanuel Acho, as well as defensive tackle Kheeston Randall are some of the players who are likely to secure a good spot in the draft. The Pro Day offers one last chance to significantly raise their stock.
It's well worth clicking through to the full preview to take a look at which under-the-radar players may have a good chance to break out and shine on Tuesday.
The very top of the 2012 NFL Draft has become crystal clear with the release of Peyton Manning by the Indianapolis Colts and the gargantuan trade made by the Washington Redskins to move up to St. Louis' No. 2 spot - Andrew Luck and Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III are going off the board in tandem, that much is certain.
Just to be thorough, the latest SB Nation mock draft does have RG3 as a 'Skin:
2. Washington Redskins (from St. Louis), Robert Griffin III, WR, Baylor
Help me understand the world of armchair general management. When news of this trade leaked out on Friday night, roughly 30 percent of the tweets I read about it complained that Washington gave up too much. Are you crazy? Teams without quarterbacks are like cars without engines. All the draft picks in the world cannot save a team forced to rely on runaways like Rex Grossman. Washington has a bright future with Griffin coming to town.
Now, the cloudier question for Baylor - where does wideout Kendall Wright end up? The Houston Texans have been considered certain to take a receiver, and the latest mock draft has Wright headed south from Waco, rather than the Texans taking Georgia Tech's Stephen Hill:
26. Houston Texans, Kendall Wright, WR, Baylor
Wright's draft stock slipped after a couple disappointing 40 times. Still, you have to work really hard to make a case against him based on what he showed in college. Wright makes a nice complement to Andre Johnson as a slippery, explosive second option in the offense.
Baylor (and Houston Texans fans) should be on the lookout for what happens higher up the board with the Minnesota Vikings, their No. 3 overall pick, and the exploits of Oklahoma State's Justin Blackmon, as well as Notre Dame's Michael Floyd, both predicted to go before Wright.
The Washington Redskins went to the St. Louis Rams on Friday evening with their best hand possible in the Robert Griffin III sweepstakes, and many in the national media feel it is a risk that came with a great price tag.
In swapping first round picks, a second round pick, and two future first-round draft picks, the Washington Redskins are hoping to find their first true stable quarterback since the days of Mark Rypien.
As Sports Illustrated points out, this is a move that could set the Redskins back even further in the future should Griffin's career not pan out as many are hoping.
With other teams interested in moving up to the second pick, the Redskins paid a hefty sum to have the opportunity to select the talents of the reigning Heisman Trophy winner.
Meanwhile, many out there are giving nothing but praise to the the Rams, an organization that has been down on their luck for the better part of the last decade.
Obviously no one knows how Griffin's career will end up in the NFL, but the microscope gets even larger as he will be compared to the players the Rams are able to draft with their additional selections.
When the Washington Redskins dealt two future first-round picks to swap picks with the St. Louis Rams and move up to the No. 2 overall spot in the 2012 NFL Draft, it was widely assumed they were withdrawing from the Peyton Manning sweepstakes by putting themselves in position to select Baylor's Robert Griffin III.
However, the latest reports out of Washington indicate the the Redskins are still interested in obtaining both QB's, with Manning presumably serving as Griffin's tutor:
Major scoopage: Redskins have agreed to a trade w Rams for #2 pick of draft. Rams and Skins swap (cont) tl.gd/gbhvr8— Jay Glazer (@JayGlazer) March 10, 2012
The Redskins, desperate for an upgrade at the QB position, paid a hefty price for the opportunity to select Baylor's Robert Griffin III.
In return for moving up four spots in the draft, they are sending two future No. 1 draft picks as well as additional undisclosed picks to St. Louis.
Washington will present both an opportunity and a challenge for Griffin. Mike Shanahan, his coach, had an excellent record of producing QB's for the Denver Broncos, but he's seemed out of his depth since returning to the NFL to become the Redskins coach.
Whatever happens, the eyes of the NFL and the national media in the Northeast corridor will be on the Baylor star going forward.
For more on the Bears, head on over to Our Daily Bears and for reaction for Griffin's likely landing spot Washington go check out Hogs Haven. for more on the upcoming NFL draft, go visit Mocking The Draft.
Sources have reported informed LaVar Arrington that the Browns are going to go after Matt Flynn, if that's the case, the Redskins are likely the front runners to select RG3 in the upcoming draft.
The Dallas Cowboys have some significant needs in the secondary in terms of talent and youth, and you can expect Jerry Jones to address those issues front and center this NFL offseason. That's one reason the Cowboys are linked to both cornerbacks Brandon Carr of the Chiefs and Cortland Finnegan of the Titans in free agency. It's also why Mel Kiper has the Cowboys taking Mark Barron as the top overall safety in the upcoming 2012 NFL Draft class:
We all know the story. Dallas was a mess defending the pass in 2011, and it might look for help both in free agency and here. Barron's a perfect fit for the Cowboys. He's the best safety in the draft, and the Cowboys can't go wrong with either the top safety or the top cornerback here. He didn't work out in Indianapolis, coming off double hernia surgery, but it's not a lingering concern.
Wes Bunting of the National Football Post believes that Barron can be an asset in a number of ways for a team like Dallas. He writes, "Has the makings of a heck of a special teams player who can also attack downhill vs. the run game, play inside the box and drive on the football in front of him in the pass game. Isn't going to be a major threat turning and tracking the football, but his improved instincts makes me think he can start in the league early on."
Barron would give the Cowboys a dynamic young presence and if they can team him with Carr, the 'Boys suddenly have a strong unit on the field.
SB Nation's Ryan Van Bigger has your latest Mock Draft before the NFL's free agency period likely alters the landscape of team needs across the league.
While the destination of Peyton Manning certainly looms large for teams in the market for a quarterback, Baylor's Robert Griffin III is still predicted to be wearing a Redskins uniform, provided they can strike a deal with St. Louis at the No. 2 spot:
2. Washington Redskins, Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor (Projected trade: from St. Louis)
So Cleveland wants to be stubborn. Valuing their 22nd pick and whatever acceptable player they can get with it over a franchise quarterback. Washington will recognize the value if Cleveland cannot, throwing its picks at the Rams and coming out better in the long run.
And just like in any other year, the Bears of Waco are set to have multiple first round draft picks, as Van Bibber projects that RG3's favorite target, Kendall Wright, will go in the first 32 as well:
25. Denver Broncos, Kendall Wright, WR, Baylor
I think Wright is a good fit to pair with Tim Tebow because it sort of replicates what Tim Tebow had at Florida with Percy Harvin. Wright is a multifaceted threat, capable of working on the outside, in the slot and out of the backfield. He can make their option offense better and still be a threat in more traditional NFL packages.
While it's long been suspected that the St. Louis Rams, who still have a massive financial commitment at the QB position to former No. 1 overall pick Sam Bradford of Oklahoma, would eventually trade the No. 2 overall pick, and the chance to select Baylor's Robert Griffin III, a new report from NFL.com's Jason La Canfora indicates that the timetable for their decision may have been accelerated:
League sources said the Rams are willing to trade their first-round pick far earlier than the norm due to their ongoing conversations with multiple teams regarding their interest in a trade and the likelihood of significant interest in the pick with teams targeting Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III.
As La Canfora notes, several of the teams reportedly eyeing Griffin to upgrade their QB position are also looking at prospective free agents Peyton Manning and Matt Flynn, who should be the two biggest names available in free agency.
From the Rams perspective, dealing Griffin before free agency begins creates the greatest number of possible suitors and increases the amount of leverage they have in dealing the pick.
If they wait until the days before the NFL Draft in April to move it, there may be substantially fewer teams trying to upgrade at the QB position.
It has been widely speculated that Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck and Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III will be the No. 1 and No. 2 pick in the draft this Spring, and that the order has already been solidified. Teams such as the Cleveland Browns, Seattle Seahawks, Miami Dolphins and the Washington Redskins are noted to be some of the key suitors for the No. 2 pick in able to draft Robert Griffin III.
The Rams are currently set at quarterback as their number one overall selection in 2009, Sam Bradford, will enter into his third season installed as the Rams' starting signal caller. With the return on their No. 2 pick, the Rams are poised to target offensive line help and wide receiver targets as well.
Former Baylor Heisman Trophy winning quarterback Robert Griffin III excited coaches and scouts and pretty much every football fan of a team that needs a quarterback by running a 4.4 40-yard dash, and his personality and charisma impressed those who aren't impressed with speed.
His workout at the Combine is over and between now and the draft, he only has his pro day to show everybody what they already know -- he's really good.
In an interview with on WFAN in New York with Joe And Evan, RG3 talked about the Combine and what he has to offer teams other than his arm, legs and overall athletic ability.
First, he was asked if his decision to not throw at the combine was because Andrew Luck, the consensus No. 1 pick, decided not to throw. He said no and even if Luck had thrown he wouldn't have. He also said it in the third person, just in case you were wondering.
"Some have asked whether Andrew's decision not to throw affected mine and it didn't. If he would've decided to throw the football then guess what? Robert Griffin III is still not going to go out there and throw the football. I think it suits our team in the best way as far as the guys that are coming out of Baylor and to have those pro scouts there and to give them a chance to further their careers in the NFL as well."
When he was asked if he would be ready to play right away in the NFL, he didn't give a definite yes or no answer, but he did say that coaches do a good job of preparing young quarterbacks and he's looking forward to the chance to start.
"I'm excited about that. Coming into a team and trying to get to know the guys on the team, the veterans, really just gel with everybody, and add that next piece that they need to push them over the top. I'm excited about that, I will be ready for it, coaches are doing a much better job nowadays of adjusting to their quarterbacks strengths and trying to work him into the system rather than just throwing him into the system and saying make it work."
And finally, when asked what he brings to a team other than his physical skill, RG3 said he has the ability to inspire his team and their fans.
"There's a lot of things. Everybody is going to say hard work and leadership but I think ability to inspire teams and motivate a fan base is what helped me at Baylor University. My teammates believed every time we stepped on the field we would win the game. On offense or on defense, no matter what on defense they're not going to score and if they do our offense is going to make up for it. On offense we knew we could score every time we got on the field. I'm just excited about bringing that aspect to a team along with my hard work and leadership."
Baylor Bears wide receiver Kendall Wright is considered as one of the best wide receiver prospects alongside Oklahoma State's Justin Blackmon. At the NFL combine, Blackmon decided against running until the 40 until his pro day, but Wright elected to run at the combine.
Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III set the 2012 NFL combine on fire Sunday morning when he ran the 40-yard dash with times of 4.41 and a blistering 4.38. He has often been compared to Carolina quarterback Cam Newton who in contrast had a 40 time of 4.60.
It is the fastest time by a quarterback in 12 years. Michael Vick comes to mind as someone who was slightly faster.
Unlike Newton, Griffin wasn't regarded as a "running or scrambling" type of quarterback. His combine performance suggests that he is as dynamic a prospect as the NFL has seen in some time at the quarterback position.
Griffin is regarded as the second best quarterback prospect in the draft behind the likely first-overall selection Andrew Luck. Performances like this however could close that gap considerably.
Sunday is day the fifth day for the NFL combine and it is the day that the quarterbacks, running backs and wide receivers will be running, throwing (or not throwing) and getting tested with various physical drills.
Robert Griffin III has already has already said he is not going to throw at the combine and is opting to wait until his pro day to throw where he can do so he can throw with his own receivers.
What's your favorite local player doing in Indianapolis this weekend? Check out the handy guide below for Saturday's schedule at the 2012 NFL Combine. Here's the gist of today's events - it's all meetings and exams for offensive skill position players, and defensive backs and linebackers have just arrived in Indy.
BUT: the kickers and the big boys (offensive lineman and tight ends) are set to throw down on the physical challenges. Interested to see that next brand-name right tackle run for speed? Today's your Christmas over at the NFL Network:
OLs - Josh Leribeus (SMU), Kelvin Beachum (SMU), Phillip Blake (Baylor) - Workout (timing, stations, skill drills) ~ Departure from Indianapolis
DLs - Kheeston Randall (Texas) - Measurements ~ Medical Examinations ~ Media ~ Psychological Testing ~ Interviews
RBs - Fozzy Whittaker (Texas), Terrance Ganaway (Baylor) - NFLPA Meeting ~ Psychological Testing ~ Interviews
WRs - Kendall Wright (Baylor) - NFLPA Meeting ~ Psychological Testing ~ Interviews
QBs - Robert Griffin III (Baylor) - NFLPA Meeting ~ Psychological Testing ~ Interviews
As of right now, only the offensive linemen and tight ends are the only two positions groups to do any drills at the 2012 NFL Combine. Both the linemen and tight ends have finished doing as many reps as possible on the bench press and while Stanford's David DeCastro stood out as the top lineman with 34, according to CBSSports.com's Rob Rang, Baylor's Philip Blake fell into the middle of the pack with 22 reps.
Blake's 22 reps put him in 11th place among aspiring NFL linemen, tied with Southern Miss' Lamar Holmes. Blake is considered by many scouts to be a top-five center in this year's draft class, but after a mediocre showing on the bench press and being of just average size, Blake's draft stock could fall after the combine. He still has some time to prove to people that he's worth a higher draft pick, though.
For more on the Bears, head to Our Daily Bears.
Quarterback is by far the most important position on any football team and there are a number of qualities every coach wants their quarterback to have.
Of course arm strength, accuracy, intelligence and decision-making skills are important, but so are the intangibles like leadership and charisma. A quarterback's personality is a big deal and the NFL Combine is the perfect place to showcase personality due to all the interviews players have to take part in.
Having covered the Scouting Combine for several years, I've watched personality help boost the stock of quarterbacks Jake Locker, Christian Ponder, Tim Tebow and Mark Sanchez, among others. Sanchez may have been the most charismatic... until Griffin.
Griffin's comfort in the spotlight and magnetic personality likely made believers out of some of those in the room who may have doubted him. If as successful in team interviews as he was in front of the media, he'll may be able to do the same with them, as well.
RG3's magnetic personality won't get him drafted at the No. 1 overall spot but coaches and scouts need to know that the quarterback they draft is somebody that their team wants to follow. If he can show that he has the physical skills as well as the charisma, his draft stock could rise higher than it already has, which is actually kind of impossible at this point.
Rest assured, RG3 fans and supporters of NFL teams in the market to draft a franchise quarterback: Robert Griffin has ample height to play the position:
Gil Brandt says #RGIII was measured at 6-2 3/8 ... That's very good for his draft stock.— Alex Marvez (@alexmarvez) February 24, 2012
Each installment of the NFL Draft features a batch of weird subplots, and one of the early rumors for 2012 was that Griffin was shorter than the 6-foot-2 listing in Baylor's media guide. As it turned out, the Heisman winner's got a whopping 3/8 of an inch the sporting world never even knew about.
Also of note? Griffin won a lot of football games by throwing (and running for) a lot of touchdowns, which might be more of an indicator of potential pro success than height. Drew Brees and Mike Vick are a solid 6-foot-nothing, we might add.
Baylor Bears star wide receiver Kendall Wright is looking to improve his draft stock at the NFL Combine, Wright had to pull out of the Senior Bowl due to an ankle injury. Wright has recovered from the injury and will run the 40-yard dash.
Wright is battling with Oklahoma St. Cowboys wide receiver Justin Blackmon for the top wide receiver prospect and depending where one reads on the Internet it would vary who is one or two, but these two are considered the No. 1 and No. 2 receivers.
Wright is known for his speed and the 40-yard time could determine which of the two gets picked ahead of the other in the draft. If Wright can run in the 4.3 range the speculation is that would be fast enough to get him picked in the top-15, and ahead of Blackmon.
His time will depend on how well his ankle feels and a tenth of a second slower or fast could determine his draft fate.
Manning was drafted in 1998 to replace Jim Harbaugh at quarterback for the Indianapolis Colts. Later, Harbaugh became the head coach of Stanford where he heavily recruited RG3 and was the head coach of Luck. It's kind of funny how the guy who was replaced by Manning coached the guy who will replace Manning (this year or eventually).
Even though Harbaugh didn't coach RG3, he still knows him pretty well from the days in which he was trying to convince him to come play football for Stanford. According to Sports Illustrated's Don Banks, he had some good things to say about the former Baylor quarterback.
"I know a lot about Robert,'' Harbaugh said. "Robert was a 4.0 student, great parents, came from a great home, and he's had great success at Baylor. Past performance usually indicates future success and he's had nothing but a history of success. So you would predict great achievements in the future.
"I was really fond of Robert through the recruiting process and he made that decision. He makes good decisions, he makes cool decisions. He's very conscientious in everything he does, and I respected his decision and wished him well.''
Harbaugh is sticking with Alex Smith at quarterback so that won't be a draft need, but it's obvious that two of the quarterbacks that he's known quite well in his career as a coach will be very high picks in the 2012 NFL draft, maybe even the first two.
The 2012 NFL Scouting Combine officially kicked off today as offensive linemen and tight ends from around the country weighed in and were measured. It may seem weird that this is such a big deal and that players are led around like prize bulls in a farmer's auction, but this is literally the beginning of the biggest job interview in these players' lives.
Blake stood at 6-foot-2 and weighed in at 311 pounds and had an arm length of 33 inches. Tomorrow, he'll get timed at the 40-yard dash and he'll show off his upper body strength on the bench press.
Blake started 25 games as Baylor's center and was an honorable mention for the All-Big 12 team in 2011. Blake is considered by ESPN's draft In$ider to be this year's draft class' fourth best center.
As Robert Griffin III arrives at the NFL combine on Thursday, the likely destination of the consensus No. 2 player in the draft is still completely up in the air.
While Andrew Luck has been linked to Indianapolis Colts since the moment people realized how bad Curtis Painter would be, the two teams immediately after Indianapolis -- the St. Louis Rams and the Minnesota Vikings -- have both invested huge sums of money to young QB's (Sam Bradford and Christian Ponder respectively) in the last few years.
There's been a lot of speculation about St. Louis dealing out of the No. 2 slot, but if they opt to take USC LT Matt Kalil in order to keep Bradford upright, that would leave Minnesota with an interesting decision.
According to Vikings GM Rick Spielman, the franchise would be willing to move down for a team interested in Griffin:
"We're definitely open to moving," Spielman said Thursday. "We have a lot of confidence in Christian Ponder and what he's going to bring to our franchise."
"Three will be very interesting. I'm excited - not about being the three, because that means you didn't do very well - but to take advantage of that opportunity at three will be huge to the success of our organization moving forward."
Given the bounty the Atlanta Falcons paid to move up for Julio Jones last year, and the premium NFL teams place at the QB position, Minnesota could be in a position to collect a king's ransom from a team who thinks Griffin is a franchise-level QB.
Who that team ends up being will be one of the most hotly discussed topics in the next few months.
The 2012 NFL Combine, the biggest event of the NFL's pre-draft season, kicks off Wednesday, with kickers, punters, offensive lineman and tight ends set to arrive in Indianapolis.
To better manage the crowds, the more than 300 college stars attending this year have been divided into four groups, with the marquee skill position players like Baylor's Robert Griffin III and Kendall Wright not set to arrive until Thursday.
Each group will undergo orientation on their first day, before submitting to media interviews, official measurements and psychological testing on Day 2, interviewing with various interested NFL teams on Day 3 and finally beginning the all-important workouts like the 40-yard dash on Day 4.
The defensive backs, the position group the Dallas Cowboys have been linked the most to in the first round of mock drafts, aren't set to arrive until Saturday and won't run the 40 until Tuesday, Feb. 28.
Yahoo's Jason Cole profiled the humble Andrew Luck, who is poised to likely be the first overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, and included one note that backs up the argument Luck will be the Indianapolis Colts' choice:
Of 15 NFL scouts and coaches surveyed since the Senior Bowl in late January, 14 said they would take Luck first. Some of that came down to Luck being a little bigger (he is 6-foot-4, 235 pounds compared to Griffin at 6-2, 220), which means he could take more of an NFL pounding. Some of it came down to the systems they played in (Baylor’s spread offense gave Griffin more opportunities to show off his immense talent).
At the end of the day, Luck just feels like a better choice.
Granted, stranger things have happened in the months, weeks, and eventually hours leading up to a NFL Draft, but the preference of those assigned to evaluate football talent for a living is that Robert Griffin III is the second best available talent.
According to National Football Post's Wes Bunting, two Baylor Bears combine invitees are listed as top-15 players, pre-combine, heading into the 2012 NFL draft. Those players are wide receiver Kendall Wright and, of course, quarterback Robert Griffin III.
Bunting lists Wright as the No. 12 player heading into the NFL combine.
In the same mold as a number of Pittsburgh Steelers receivers (Mike Wallace, Emmanuel Sanders) and can be effective both inside and out making plays down the field at the next level.
Then he listed RG3 as the No. 7 player heading into the combine.
A "plus" athlete who can really throw the football, is a student of the game and is only starting to scratch the surface of his potential. Has as much upside as any prospect in the draft and looks like a future franchise signal caller.
The NFL combine will completely change the draft picture as players will increase or hurt their draft stock. However, it's safe to say that both Griffin and Wright are going to be off the board fairly quickly in April.
In a sign that Robert Griffin III is not willing to concede the No. 1 overall selection just yet, the Heisman Trophy winner decided not to throw at the NFL combine this week while moving his pro day one day up to March 21 in order to avoid going on the same day as presumptive front-runner Andrew Luck:
"It's like a performance when it comes to your pro day and when you're throwing. It's exactly like a performance, you've just got to memorize the script and go out and execute to the best of your ability," he said. "Once you get drafted, you can go to your team and learn the grand scheme of things."
"I'm excited to wow (teams) in the interviews with the type of offense that (Baylor) run, just so they can understand it's not as simple as some people make our spread out to be. It's a different kind of spread," Griffin said. "Although I don't agree with it, but people say I just burst on the scene this year, so no one knows much about me, whether NFL GMs or analysts, so I get a chance to put my best foot forward."
"At first glance, they see four or five wide receivers, a lot of motion, a lot of different sets of formations," Griffin said. "If you take it from that aspect, it's exactly the same things that the pros do, go two-tight, four wide and two tight ends, and tight end at running back like the Patriots do."
Even without throwing to receivers, Griffin will be plenty busy this week in Indianapolis,
He is still scheduled to be timed in drills like the 40-yard dash and be interviewed by interested teams, which could number over a half-dozen as the St. Louis Rams, who have former Oklahoma Heisman Trophy winner Sam Bradford under center, are widely rumored to be shopping the No. 2 selection, and the chance to select Griffin, around the NFL.
NFL.com's Mike Mayock recently listed the top five players in every position group heading into the 2012 NFL draft and two of the players he listed are former Baylor Bears. They are quarterback Robert Griffin III and wide receiver Kendall Wright.
RGIII is listed as the second-ranked quarterback on Mayock's list behind Stanford's Andrew Luck and ahead of Texas A&M's Ryan Tannehil, Oklahoma State's Brandon Weeden and Arizona's Nick Foles. Mock drafts have him taken as early as the second overall pick by a team like the Minnesota Vikings or the Cleveland Browns who trade up to take him in the Rams' place.
Wright is listed as the second-ranked wide receiver in the draft behind Oklahoma State's Justin Blackmon and ahead of Notre Dame's Michael Floyd, LSU's Rueben Randle and South Carolina's Alshon Jeffery. SB Nation's latest mock draft has Wright taken at No. 15 by the Eagles.
In their last season at Baylor, QB Robert Griffin III and WR Kendall Wright were one of the most unstoppable pass-and-catch combinations in recent memory, with Wright making 108 catches for 1,668 yards and 16 TD's.
Now, in Mel Kiper's latest mock draft, the ESPN analyst speculates that the Cleveland Browns, who have the No. 4 and No. 24 picks in the first round, may try to re-unite the two in the NFL:
Given the makeup of the roster, and the fact that they have two first-round picks and can really enhance the level of young talent, I think the Browns are far more likely to look at a young QB prospect than get into the bidding war for a veteran like Manning, or even Matt Flynn. One question I have is whether Cleveland stays at this spot and hopes Griffin is still around, or gets aggressive and moves up to No. 2 and guarantees they get their guy. Given his experience, leadership qualities and overall skill set, I don't see it as much of a leap for Griffin to be a Week 1 starter in 2012.
Cleveland needs help at wide receiver but may not be able to get it in free agency, and Wright is a player who can provide an element the Browns don't have right now. The pick makes sense on both need and value. Wright quietly had a season that almost matched Blackmon's in the Big 12. Greg Little was inconsistent but certainly showed a lot of promise as a rookie, and Wright is a good complement. He's smaller at about 5-10, 190 pounds, but adds a speed threat this offense really needs. He'll stretch the field with speed. The Browns need weapons, and Wright fits the profile.
While it seemingly makes sense to give a young QB a familiar target at WR to help with his adjustment to the next level, no NFL team in the last decade has drafted two college teammates at those positions in the first round.
While Oklahoma State's Justin Blackmon is the clear-cut #1 WR on NFL draft boards, Baylor WR Kendall Wright is one of several players competing to be the next wide-out taken after the two-time Biletnikoff Award winner.
Wright, who has gone as high as No. 15 and as low as No. 26 on some mock drafts, lacks the ideal size NFL teams want in a first-round receiver, but scouts love his game-breaking speed:
Kendall Wright is almost the perfect compliment. Wright is a small guy, but his blazing speed and good route-running ability will see him create separation and get open at the next level. With the addition of Wright, defenses will have to play two deep safeties constantly to avoid getting burned by him or [Andre] Johnson; which will allow that brilliant run game more room in which to operate.
His biggest competition, literally and metaphorically, appears to be Notre Dame WR Michael Floyd, who has prototypical size at 6'3 220 but had a long history of alcohol-related incidents in college.
Indeed, Wright, at only 5'10 190, is by far the smallest WR receiving first-round consideration, as the other top WR's -- Alshon Jeffery of South Carolina and Mohammed Sanu of Rutgers -- are also in the 6'2 220+ range.
Baylor Bears running back Terrance Ganaway had an impressive 2011 season as he led the Big 12 in rushing and was No. 7 in the nation with 1,547 yards, plus he also hauled in 21 touchdowns. Even with that impressive season, Ganaway has not been projected to go early in NFL mock drafts, and the reason for that is his lack of being able to run routes, catch the ball out of the backfield and pass block.
Kevin Weidl of ESPN and Scouts, Inc. has spent time watching Ganaway on film and is even more impressed with his running ability after getting a second look:
Ganaway capped a breakout senior season with a 200-yard, five-touchdown performance against Washington in the Alamo Bowl, and his blend of patience, burst and size jumps out on film. He can make defenders miss or run them over when he gets into space.
Weidl's co-author in the piece is Steve Muench who see's Ganaway having value on early downs but he does believe that Ganaway has the size to turn into an effective pass blocking back.
While pass blocking is important for a running back, the NFL has moved to a hyper-specialized league and the full-time running back is basically dead. If teams believe Ganaway can run the ball he will get a chance in the NFL and a team will just plug in another running back in on passing downs to block if Ganaway struggles.
Now that the season is over, draft talk is going to dialed up to 11, because 10 isn't high enough.
The NFL Draft has become a such a big deal that it's a prime-time, three-day unofficial kickoff to the 2012 season, with mini-camps and off-season workouts coming right behind it. It also gives college football fans a fairly unbiased look at how their team performed the previous season, as NFL talent evaluators spare no expense scouring the land for any conceivable diamond in the rough.
Under head coach Art Briles, Baylor had one of the finest seasons in program history in 2011, finishing with a Heisman Trophy winner as well as a 10-3 record with a win over the Washington Huskies in the Alamo Bowl, and the NFL has noticed.
According to National Football Post's Wes Bunting, the five deepest positions in the NFL draft are running back, wide receiver, quarterback, guard and cornerback, and two former Baylor players are considered to be top-100 picks in those positions.
While Baylor QB Robert Griffin III is currently ranked behind Stanford's Andrew Luck on most draft lists, many mocks have a team like the Cleveland Browns trading up all the way to No. 2 to select him:
Not only does the quarterback class feature a pair of potential blue-chip guys at the top end of the draft in Stanford's Andrew Luck and Baylor's Robert Griffin III. But there's also a number of late first/second round wild cards who have the skill set to mature into potential starters as well, giving teams a number of opportunities to find their potential future franchise signal caller in the top-100 picks.
While there are a handful of exceptions every year, an NFL combine invitation is nearly a necessity to be selected in the first two days of the NFL draft and receive the sizeable contract guarantee that comes with it.
In 2012, nine players from area schools received one of those golden tickets: four Texas Longhorns (LB's Emmanuel Acho and Keenan Robinson, DT Kheeston Randall and RB Fozzy Whittaker), four Baylor Bears (QB Robert Griffin III, WR Kendall Wright, RB Terrance Ganaway and C Philip Blake) and one TCU Horned Frog (LB Ricky Carder).
In a sign of how far the Baylor program has come under Art Briles, the only two receiving first-round talk are the Bears explosive pass-and-catch duo of Griffin and Wright.
Ganaway, a 6'0 240 RB who exploded onto the scene as a senior, rushing for 1,547 yards and 21 TD's, is being talked about as a late-round pick, with many scouts believing he benefited from the attention Griffin generated:
My Prediction: I think Ganaway will end up being a very late draft pick in the 6th or 7th round, possibly even an undrafted free agent. However, I do think that he'll stick on an NFL roster somewhere. He is a true power-back that still has decent speed and I think he will be a serviceable backup RB and maybe one day he'll get his shot to be a featured back in the NFL.
Blake, a 6'2 320 center originally from Toronto, will have to overcome doubts about his skill level, and his ceiling as an NFL player, due to already being 26 years old:
An overaged, Canadian, one-year starter still developing positional instincts, Blake has terrific size and NFL base strength with the ability to lean on defenders and seal lanes. However, he is slow reacting to in-line movement, doesn't unlock his hips and explode on contact and is too often content to neutralize defenders instead of burying them.
Texas' trio of senior defenders carried the Longhorns to a 8-5 season despite spouts of complete ineptitude on the other side of the ball, and all three are receiving consideration as early to middle round prospects:
Emmanuel Acho, whose brother Sam was a fourth-round pick by the Arizona Cardinals in 2011, became a vocal leader on the Texas defense this year. And while he is undersized against the run at 6'2 240, his speed and intelligence makes him the perfect prototype at the LB position to defend the increasingly popular spread attacks in both college and the pros:
Acho has a nice all around make-up for the MIKE LB spot with solid length, speed, aggression, and intelligence. He's a chase-and-tackle player who will patrol the sidelines making plays. He's not overly stout against the run but he can navigate traffic and uses his long arms well to shed blockers.
Like his teammate on the Texas linebacking corps, Keenan Robinson lacks the ideal stature to stuff the run but is an exceptional athlete who can move well in space:
He's not especially stout but can provide an initial pop while using his length and quickness to separate. He's generally tackles well but too often goes for the big hit instead of wrapping up. He's very capable in coverage and will match-up against a modern era TE about as well an LB can be expected to. He also plays with an attitude and really fights for the ball. He was almost never asked to rush the QB at Texas but has an intriguing skill set for it. There may be some untapped potential there.
But the Texas defender getting the most attention is Randall, as 300 pound defensive tackles who can control the point of attack and shed blockers are fairly rare on the next level:
Randall showed exceptional agility for a 300-plus pounder during individual drills, and he was a handful to block because of his ability to work inside-out against blockers. Randall looked less comfortable pass rushing from the outside, but his size-athleticism combination may make him an ideal fit as a 3-4 defensive end for a Steelers-type scheme.
A fifth-year senior, Whittaker was an inspirational leader for a young Texas offense which imploded after he tore his ACL during the Longhorns loss to Missouri. His invitation is a chance for NFL doctors to examine his knee, which he injured several times in college, to see if he's worth bringing in as an undrafted free agent.
And while TCU has become somewhat of an NFL factory over the last few years, especially on the defensive side of the ball, 2011 Rose Bowl MVP Tank Carder is the only Horned Frog receiving serious draft talk this season, as he's battling Acho and Robinson for middle-round consideration:
TCU's aggressive 4-2-5 scheme asks Carder to attack gaps, taking himself out of plays, but his ability to close on the ballcarrier and make plays in coverage should earn him an early-round selection as a 4-3 strong-side linebacker or inside 'backer for a 3-4 team at the next level. The only bump in the road would be NFL teams' concerns about those injuries suffered years ago, and their potential to derail his career with the car crash-type collisons that happen every play in the NFL.
With the teams at No. 2 and No. 3 already heavily invested in young first-round QB's, nearly half a dozen NFL organizations have been linked to the Baylor star in pre-draft trade rumors.
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