2013 NFL Draft Primer
By Ken Zalis
Wave bye-bye to the combine and say hello to pro days. There are only 41 days (as of March 15) until the NFL Draft, and, depending on your view, the NFL Combine was either a coming-out party for the future of the NFL or a giant waste of time.
As a draftnik/scout type, I like the combine, because it clears up some things about certain players I saw on tape. It also gives NFL teams the correct numbers on height and weight. Just because a player is listed at 6-foot-2 in his college yearbook doesn't necessarily make it true. It also shows teams which players are ready, and which ones may not be taking the tryout as seriously as they should.
On the flip side, if a player disappointed during the combine, attending Pro Day (a private workout each college holds for its NFL-eligible players) will give him an opportunity to show who he really is.
For example, coming into the combine, running back Montee Ball of Wisconsin was expected to run the 40-yard dash in 4.5 seconds or less, but he ended up running a disappointing 4.65. At Ball's Pro Day, he ran the 40 again, in 4.48. So, what is Ball's true time? Does he have the speed to play running back in the NFL? The answer is on game tape.
Now, scouts have to go back and review Ball's tape from the 2012 season, and maybe even 2011, to confirm or deny what they thought coming into the draft process. This is just one example, but it goes on every day throughout the Pro Day circuit.
OK, enough chitchat about the process. I have prepared another mock draft, with a new selection for the Baltimore Ravens: Arthur Brown, a linebacker from Kansas State.
Brown is a 6-foot, 241-pound sure-handed tackler who may be what the Ravens need at inside linebacker in the 3-4 scheme. Brown is the brother of Eagles running back Bryce Brown, and many scouts compare his game with the 49ers' NaVorro Bowman's. He can play inside linebacker or weak-side linebacker, although some will question his size. Who else was like that coming out of college? Hmmm.
Brown started his college career at the University of Miami before transferring to Kansas State. He would be a great fit for the Ravens, and many scouts have him listed as the top linebacker in the draft.
Issue 183: March 2013