Today was the last official media day at the 2010 NFL Combine, but it's hardly the last day of results and, consequently, you and I both will continue to hear about players, results and analysis through Tuesday. The reason for this is every player goes through a regimen of several days of events. Each day, a new group of position players are invited in to begin the three day marathon, so Sunday is the last day that the trip begins for some players.
Today was defensive backs, so largely the players that interacting with the media today consisted of cornerbacks and safeties and the leftovers from yesterday's crop of linebackers and defensive linemen. That's a good thing considering guys like Gerald McCoy, Carlos Dunlap and Derrick Morgan were all still waiting in that group that got bumped. Today also brought Eric Berry, Taylor Mays, Chad Jones, Morgan Burnett and several others. It was the quietest day in the Media Room, since many writers had already headed home after a long weekend, but that doesn't mean the proceedings were uninteresting.
Once a group enters, they usually go straight through their medical process. This means that every team doctor gets to poke, prod, question and diagnose every player desire. It can be a short process for an obviously healthy player or an all-day exercise for a guy like Sam Bradford -- which is the reason why Bradford showed up in the Media Room a "day late" than several other quarterbacks. The day also includes interviews at night, and most athletes discuss how tired they are, usually from waking at 5:00am or so and going through the entire day. The next two days include the bench press, shuttle run, 40-yard dash and much more.
More to come after the jump:*Many still question why the Combine should really matter that much -- with some great insight on the topic coming from Charley Casserly, the former Texans GM and now NFL Network analyst, but it's still the one uniting event of the off-season that brings everyone in the league together under one roof. The ability to expedite the medical process alone is worth hosting the event and, besides quarterbacks with millions to lose and fragile wide receivers (read: Dez Bryant's magical hamstring that allowed him to leave without being labeled with the "refuses to work out" moniker), it's also the best place to see everyone show their stuff. The receiver drills were fascinating today, and it's easy to see why teams can become enamored with a guy who looks good, even in shorts in such a non-real world scenario.
*It's intriguing, to use a safe word, that the league parades out as many coaches and general managers as they do during the Combine. Probably 20+ individuals representing various organizations took questions from the media and the responses from every single franchise was basically the same: zero substance. Rex Ryan is funny. Brad Childress sang. Todd Haley apparently just woke up from a nap. But once they got going, they said, well, nothing at all. "We won't comment on that" was, at least, a healthy, honest response. Most of the time, they would redirect, making you wonder why you even bother.
The funniest of this was Tom Cable's Sunday press conference. Numerous questions concerning the Raiders endless string of draft busts are reasonable questions given the circumstances surrounding the millions being paid to guys like JaMarcus Russell and Darius Heyward-Bey. "Are you in contact with JaMarcus to make sure he stays in shape?" A very reasonable question from the media and it's something that merits an answer. Instead, you get some gibberish about being pleased with JaMarcus and confident in his ability. Really? I get pissed when I waste $8 on a dry burger at Applebees. I can't imagine wasting $30 million on a quarterback who can't do anything whatsoever that a quarterback should be able to do.
*In Chiefs-related perspective, it was hilarious how many people told me the stark difference between Todd Haley and Scott Pioli struck them. I totally agreed, but I figured it was just because I'm interested in all things Chiefs. But several media members said, 'How can those two be so different?' Indeed, while both answered 15 minutes worth of conversation in the predictable give-nothing-away fashion, Pioli was CEO like in his presentation and gentlemanly in his demeanor. He's charming, even as he gives nothing away.
Haley on the other hand seemed like he just pressed pause on Crash Bandicoot, rolled out of bed, and, hair disheveled, came down from his loft to answer a few questions. It was hilarious. "Is he normally like that?" "That Haley's not very presentable." "He seems like he hates humanity." All three were statements I caught and just had to laugh. It's a funny marriage. Perhaps the most telling statement: "That's the guy Pioli was waiting for?" I related it was just a press conference and that his coaching ability deserves time to prove itself. And that they were also probably right -- he probably never wanted to take that podium in the first place.
*Some of these names you're hearing as top 10 draft picks, expect them to drop out. Linemen, both offensive and defensive, will be in high demand and some of the offensive skill players -- and maybe even Jim Claussen at quarterback. But a lot of teams need desperately to fill holes on the lines and this is a good year for both. With great combine workouts and Pro Day showings, expect even names like Bruce Campbell, Trent Williams, Charles Brown, Jared Odrick and Dan Williams to move up high on draft boards -- in turn, moving names like C.J. Spiller, Arrelious Benn and others down the list a bit.
*Some quick hits on some players for you:
-Eric Berry is one of those "real deal" guys. He had several talking about his personality, had the audience laughing and carries himself as a leader.
-Even a full day later, several media members were still discussing Dez Bryant looking completely confused, lost and frail in his press conference.
-Taylor Mays's slide over the last few weeks in the perception of his play and standing in mock drafts could rebound with a linebacker/safety hybrid with a good workout this week. You just can't develop that size and speed and strength.
Well, that's all from me at the Combine. I'll have some more interviews for you tomorrow, but largely, I'm finished with my work. I'll have my surprise choice for you tomorrow afternoon about who I think the Chiefs might/should take. Until then, hope everyone had a good weekend.