The NFL Combine is over. Basketball season is getting good and maybe, just maybe the Buckeyes are catching their second wind. It’s Wednesday, let’s rumble!
NFL player factory
Seven Buckeyes were selected to participate in this year’s NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, Indiana. John Simon, Jonathan Hankins, Jake Stoneburner, Zack Boren, Reid Fragel, Nathan Williams and Etienne Sabino were poked, prodded and dissected by doctors and NFL executives. They then went onto the field at Lucas Oil Stadium for tests of agility, speed and overall skill.
The NFL awards a score to each player after they have completed all their drills. The drills are taken into consideration along with preliminary scouting reports appointed by league scouts. The following (direct from NFL.com) is how the league feels you should interpret their number grades.
|96-100||Future Hall of Famer||Top Pick||A once-in-a-generation type prospect who could change how his position is played|
|85-95||Immediate Starter||1st||An impact player with the ability/intangibles to become a Pro Bowl player. Expect to start immediately except in a unique situation (i.e. behind a veteran starter).|
|70-84||Eventual Starter||2nd-3rd||A quality player who will contribute to the team early on and is expected to develop into a starter. A reliable player who brings value to the position.|
|50-69||Draftable Player||4th-7th||A prospect with the ability to make team as a backup/role player. Needs to be a special teamscontributor at applicable positions. Players in the high range of this category might have long-term potential.|
|20-49||Free Agent||UDFA||A player with solid measurables, intangibles, college achievements, or a developing skill that warrants an opportunity in an NFL camp. In the right situation, he could earn a place on a 53-man roster, but most likely will be a practice squad player or a camp body.|
Here’s a look at the numbers posted by the Buckeye players in attendance. *Note* These numbers are representative of the events that each player participated in. For example: Jonathan Hankins did not participate in the bench press, so he does not have a rep count or stat for it. My point is, I wasn’t being lazy and picking and choosing what stats to show for each guy. If it isn’t listed, they didn’t do it.
Zack Boren: 5.0 second 40 yard sprint, 25 reps in the bench press, 32” vertical jump, 109” broad jump, 4.44 second 20 yard shuttle, 12.22 60 yard shuttle, final grade of 64.0
Reid Fragel: 5.14 second 40 yard sprint, 33 reps in the bench press, 30” vertical jump, 113” broad jump, 4.68 second 20 yard shuttle, final grade of 77.05
Jonathan Hankins: 5.31 second 40 yard sprint, 26” vertical jump, 104” broad jump, 4.61 second 20 yard shuttle, final grade of 88.6
Etienne Sabino: 4.75 second 40 yard sprint, 24 reps on the bench press, 114” broad jump, final grade of 61.3
John Simon: Did not participate (shoulder), was still awarded a grade of 70.5 and made all the TTUN players urinate on themselves.
Jake Stoneburner: 4.65 second 40 yard sprint, 18 reps on bench press, 34.5” vertical jump, 116” broad jump, 4.27 second 20 yard shuttle, 11.5 second 60 yard shuttle, final grade of 54.1
Nathan Williams: 4.88 second 40 yard sprint, 24 reps on bench press, 35” vertical jump, 113” broad jump, 4.44 second 20 yard shuttle, final grade of 68.7
So what does it all mean?
Well, frankly, we can read a lot into the numbers above and what we witnessed this weekend in Indianapolis. For example: I have nothing to reference to base this on, but I always assumed Zach Boren was faster than a 5.0 in the 40. Interesting.
Despite a pretty solid 40 time for a tight end and overall all around pretty good numbers, the NFL scouts still do not think very highly of Jake Stoneburner’s ability to transition to an NFL tight end. For the majority of the season I was in the camp that believed it was Urban Meyer’s offensive scheme in his first season that made things difficult for him. Jake wa essentially a “tweener” and seemed to be having trouble finding his way. Reading that NFL scouts rate Stoneburner a 54.1 on their grade scale makes me wonder what they see when they watch coaches tape i.e. the video of angles and specific positions that we don’t get to see on television? Is his down-field blocking not what all thought it was or is his route running a little shotty?
You all know I like Jake. He’s easily one of my favorite players in the last decade or so just because of his tweets, let alone being a nightmare for linebackers to cover in the passing game. I think he will transition into a great NFL tight end: He has the size, speed and soft hands needed to stretch the seems and be a big time threat in a down-field passing offense. I have to believe the NFL scouts watching Stoneburner must have felt he should have had more big plays or been a bigger factor overall in the offense.
Being stuck in that “tweener” role and adjusting to a new scheme may have hurt his draft stock, but once he is on the field I believe whatever NFL team selects him is going to be very happy with their “later round gem”.
Probably the biggest surprise (maybe of the entire combine) from the Buckeye players was the performance of Reid Fragel. The former tight end moved to right tackle for 2012 and anchored a solid Buckeye offensive line. His Combine numbers were with the top performers at his position. Scouts like his size, saying he has “a Matt Kalil-type frame that can put on weight” (nfl.com) mixed with the fact that he has only played one year at the position giving him plenty of room to grow and a lot less wear and tear on his body. I’ve read some draft websites now saying Fragel has improved himself to be a sure-fire second rounder and possibly could sneak into the first. What should be no surprise is news that Fragel spent December and January (and will continue) training with former Buckeye All-American and NFL All-Pro LeCharles Bentley. LCB is quickly becoming known around Ohio and soon the NFL as the place to go if you want to be a great offensive lineman.
John Simon remains the great enigma. Shoulder surgery as a result of the injury discovered at the Senior Bowl back in January kept him from participating in drills, though he was on hand for measurables and to conduct meetings with interested NFL teams. He is hoping to be ready for the Buckeyes official “Pro Day” at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center on March 8th. Is he going to play defensive in a 4-3 or outside linebacker in a 3-4?
Hoops on hoops on hoops
They did it! The Buckeyes rebounded from their disastrous loss to Wisconsin to sweep the week at home beating Minnesota in a route on Wednesday and then taking it to number 4 Michigan State on Sunday.
With the season winding down (3 games left) before hitting the Big Ten tournament, here’s my breakdown on what the Buckeyes need in each of those games.
Thursday night at Northwestern: The Buckeyes need a solid, maybe even a convincing win. Momentum is ramping up, spirits are high, they haven’t played since Sunday, go out and take care of a mediocre team. Needless to say, a “must win” game.
Next Tuesday at Indiana: It’s pretty simple, compete. Expecting a win in Bloomington may be a bit much to ask right now (especially after the Hoosiers were given a wake up call and beaten Tuesday by the same Gophers that the Buckeyes blew out) but a blowout could be fatal to the teams psyche after the way they were handled by the Hoosiers in Columbus on February 10th. Walk out of Assembly Hall with your head high and a feeling that the myth and mystique being created by the national pundits and assisted by the earlier loss to Indiana has holes in it. Holes that they feel confident next time they can exploit.
Then again, maybe Minnesota found something and exposed the Hoosiers. Obviously go in expecting to win, now more than ever.
The regular season finale, Sunday, March 10th at home against Illinois: One word, payback. Really crank things up for the last time this season at The Schottenstein Center and let Illinois have it as retribution for the abomination that was January 5th’s 19 point loss to the Illini in Champaign.
I still cannot believe Travis Howard was not invited to the NFL combine. He isn’t one of the 330 best players entering the draft this year? Come on…
Smart-alack radio hosts need to stop asking if Manti Te’o is gay. It’s ridiculous and your intruding into his personal life at a level you have no business stooping to all so inevitably you can get a laugh out of some dork living in his mom’s basement who calls your show every day with his scripted “take” trying to dis some other cave dwelling momma’s boy who themselves have never been on a date with a real live girl in their entire life. I don’t care about Te’o’s sexual orientation. All I care about is if my team drafts him can he tackle or was the Alabama game what we are going to get? Grow up. It’s 2013.
I want the Browns to take Zach Boren. I would love to see him busting heads leading the way for Trent Richardson.
Speaking of the Browns, I heard an interview on 92.3 FM in Cleveland on Tuesday with free agent Josh Cribbs. There is something about Cribbs that I have always loved: His ability to say what the truth of a situation is without throwing someone under a bus directly. Asked about Brandon Weeden’s play in 2012, he didn’t hesitate to say that the rookies who had good/great seasons all played for coaches who tailored their offenses to fit that particular quarterbacks strengths. Brandon’s coach did not. He also stated that his lack of plays on the offensive side of the ball clearly came from above the head coach, referencing how when a player is drafted highly he “has to play or the guy who drafted him looks bad and loses his job.” He then recalled a story of how he told Pat Shurmur “Coach, get me out there. I had 41 catches last year… and no drops!” a clear dig at Greg Little. Cleveland will miss Josh Cribbs.
Wrap it up
Are you ready for tournament basketball? I hope so, because the Big Ten tournament tips off on March 14th! Until next week, Go Bucks!
Metallica track of the week
Our MTOTW is a three parter, sort of. First up we go back to Orion 2012 to go on Through The Never!
The second video is the end of Through The Never from the same performance from below James Hetfield’s feet in the Snake Pit!
Aaaaand, since we’re talking about Orion Music and More, the lineup for the 2013 festival was announced on Monday! Here is the announcement video!!