Saturday's Random Thoughts From The Combine

Some more random notes from Saturday at the Combine:

*While it wouldn't be my first choice to choose a linebacker at the No. 5 position in the NFL Draft, I have to admit that Rolando McClain is perfectly suited to play for the Kansas City Chiefs. I'm sitting there, almost defiantly mind you, in the press conference realizing that I should take notes simply because several pundits and fans believe he could be the Chiefs pick. And as he's speaking, you realize just how perfect of a fit it is. I still don't care for it, but McClain excels in the 3-4, has years of experiencing quarterbacking a defensive unit and has the playmaking ability and winning resume to be a great addition.

*There's a lot of back-and-forth here at the Combine about the needs of players and agents versus the needs of coaches and front offices. For the players, it's about selling yourself for draft position and, ultimately, money. To this end, the players are coached over and over again how to interview well (providing pat answers that remove any authenticity) and refuse to practice until their own home turf (called Pro Day at universities nationwide).

For the coaches, they continue to complain about players who don't practice or who aren't willing to fully compete. Brad Childress even said that the players want to play only where they're comfortable, but the NFL is not a comfortable league. That's an astute observation, but then again, it's not his livelihood at stake. I can see both sides and, depending on where I was at, I'd probably follow suit if I were a quarterback in these guys' positions. Still, it's hard to get a good read when a guy won't compete. I wonder if at some point, the NFL might make a rule requiring guys without a health waiver to fully work out at the Combine.

More thoughts after the jump:


*It's amazing how some guys just look the part. Ndamukong Suh just looks like a top draft pick. Bruce Campbell, Trent Williams and Russell Okung all seem like franchise left tackles. Quarterbacks like Colt McCoy, Sam Bradford, Jevan Snead and Tim Tebow all carry themselves like savvy veterans. This, in turn, makes it painfully obvious to identify the guys that don't look the part. Of course, it shouldn't matter that much, but it's hard to pull for a guy who just can't even have an intelligent conversation.

*I couldn't believe how gentle -- yes, gentle -- Eric Mangini comes across. I hit his press conference for no good reason other than to see why the Browns continue to be the biggest laughingstock franchise in the NFL this side of Oakland. So imagine my surprise when Mangini just seems to have a Dungy-like demeanor on the podium. I'm sure it's not always that way, or maybe that's actually what's needed is a spark. But for a guy known for his "my way or the highway" method this last year, the conference sure didn't feel that way.

*My favorite joke heard at the Combine thus far: "Will the Bears even have a draft party?" (since the Bears don't pick until #11 in the third round)

*Favorite anecdote from the Combine: Getting an autograph is an absolute no-no here. You're told this before you attend. It's common sense for all who are here. And it's the worst move a sports reporter could ever make. So imagine the surprise when a guy seemed to get one from Tim Tebow at the beginning of his press conference.

Well, the story comes from a new acquaintance of mine, John Hoover from the Tulsa World (who's been kind enough to show me the ropes at the Combine -- along with Berry Tramel from The Oklahoman), who handed up his recorder on the podium just before the press conference started. Tebow took it from him and offered to set it down. John then jokingly offered up his reporter's notebook as well and said, 'Hey do you want to write my story for me as well?' Tebow, instead, took the notebook and signed it with his signature and "God Bless" on it.

Obviously, anyone further back thought that John had the nerve to ask for an autograph and the talk all through the back rows while Tebow was speaking was, "Can you believe the nerve of that [insert profane descriptors here]?" Poor John's been criticized for an entire day only to then have numerous apologies when they found out what happened. Needless to say it was quite amusing to be right next to the story the entire time.

*Final notes: My thoughts and prayers goes out to everyone in the way of this possible tsunami and the quake victims in Chile. What a string of terrible tragedies.

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