Monday, February 28, 2011

Locker, Mallett might enter first-round conversation

The second day of workouts at the NFL Scouting Combine provided plenty of opportunities for quarterbacks, wide receivers and running backs to boost their value in the eyes of evaluators.

The emphasis on the 40-yard dash appears to make the rest of the drills irrelevant, but the compilation of data gained from the battery of athletic tests and position-specific drills helps evaluators stack their respective draft boards.

Although this workout is only a small fraction of the overall evaluation process, the measurables are often the deciding factor between similarly graded players.

Given the impact of the numbers and passing the eyeball test, let's take a look at some players who will move on draft boards based on their combine performance:

Ryan Mallett, QB, Arkansas: Mallett was the star of the day with his sensational performance in drills. He looked like the most natural thrower in the group, and his pinpoint accuracy and touch was impressive. He showed outstanding footwork and fundamentals throwing off three-, five- and seven-step drops. He delivered the ball on time after hitting the top of his drop, and had little trouble completing passes of the intermediate and deep range. His arm strength and touch stood out on vertical tosses, and it is easy to envision him thriving in an offense that pushes the ball down the field. Mallett still must address some character and leadership concerns in team interviews in the coming weeks, but his exceptional workout has thrust him back into the conversation as a potential first-round pick.


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