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Combine: Picked up pieces from Indy
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1 – Voices in Bill’s head – With Mike Lombardi officially on board the Patriots organization and joining the team at the Combine, and former Bucs coach Greg Schiano was in the New England box for workouts at Lucas Oil Stadium, it appears that Bill Belichick has a couple trusted advisors added in some form or fashion to the pre-draft process this year. It could bring a bit more experience to Belichick’s side than we’ve seen in the days since Scott Pioli left town.
2 – Deep thoughts – No matter who you ask, it sounds like 2014 is the deepest draft we’ve seen in years. Talented Steelers GM Kevin Colbert said that depth is apparent at every position.
3 – Times, they are a changing – It’s time for NFL Network to do something about the unofficial 40 times it broadcasts and the official times that trickle in later. The latter number is often slower by as much as a tenth of a second or more. So kids finish, get a boost out of a nice time and then watch that time disappear. Either get the official time out quicker or wait. Not fair to the kids or the audience.
4 – Safety size – The Patriots need a big, athletic safety. There are some big, athletic safeties in this draft. From hard-hitters to rangy playmakers I think there are some options to solidify the spot next to Devin McCourty. While I still have more film work to do, I’m intrigued by a couple guys named Deone/Dion, Washington State’s Deone Bucannon and USC’s Dion Bailey.
6 – Polished passers – We didn’t get to see many of the quarterbacks throw in Indy but they all talked – and they were all quite impressive in doing so. Johnny Manziel has a reputation as being brash and undisciplined but you’d never know from listening to him. Teddy Bridgewater and Blake Bortles also came across well as guys you wouldn’t mind being the face of your franchise – assuming they can play, of course.
7 – Lots of Logan love – In years past a lot of the smaller receivers liked to compare themselves to Wes Welker. This year saw several offensive linemen talk about modeling themselves after Logan Mankins. UCLA’s Xavier Su’a-Filo, Nevada’s Joel Bitonio and Penn State’s John Urschel all mentioned Mankins as being the guy they wanted to play like.
8 – Confident corners – Cornerbacks are often a confident lot but it was striking to hear virtually all of them declare themselves “the best man-press corner in the draft” or some such equivalent. Ask any cover man which player they likened their game to and to man it was Richard Sherman, Darrelle Revis or Patrick Peterson.
10 – He’s the Sam – Michael Sam handled his enormous press conference about as well as could be expected. Several times he mentioned his desire to talk about football but he never got flustered as the questions about his sexuality and reaction to it came his way. His workout was less-than-impressive, though, so it will be interesting to see where he winds up. Read