|02.25.11 at 11:27 pm ET|
INDIANAPOLIS ‘ While many of the quarterbacks who met the media at the NFL scouting combine on Friday said they wanted to model their game after Aaron Rodgers, Alabama quarterback Greg McElroy left no doubt as to his allegiance: He’s all about Tom Brady.
‘He’s the most fun guy to watch in the league right now,’ McElroy said of Brady. ‘There’s a lot of efficient quarterbacks, but as far as his control, his balance, the way he sets up in the pocket, the way he is so mechanically sound, it really is such a joy to watch. It really is such a joy to watch. He’s so fluid. He never gets flustered. Just his subtle movements, all of his subtleties, every little detail is addressed.
‘Coach [Nick] Saban would never let me watch another quarterback play. He thinks that’s soft or something, but yeah, I obviously have spent time watching Tom Brady. He’s a hero of mine and a guy who I would love nothing more than to try to pattern my game off of.’
The 6-foot-2, 220-pound McElroy won’t get a chance to throw this weekend at the NFL scouting combine ‘ he has a fractured second metacarpal on his throwing hand ‘ but he certainly has a lot in common with Brady. Projected as a mid-round draft choice, he never put up colossal numbers, but has won in high school, and was a national champion in college as a junior at Alabama. In addition, he was accorded as one of the most accurate passers in college football the last two seasons. (As a senior, he threw just five interceptions on 313 pass attempts. And as a junior, he had a string of 141 pass attempts without an interception.)
The last couple of seasons, the Patriots have been one of a few teams that have operated with two quarterbacks on their active roster, using Brady and backup Brian Hoyer. But McElroy would love to be part of the mix in Foxboro. Would be mind backing up Brady?
‘In a heartbeat, absolutely.’
|02.25.11 at 11:18 pm ET|
INDIANAPOLIS — A Maryland receiver with blazing speed? Better stay away, right?
That’s what some may be thinking when Torrey Smith inevitably tears it up in the 40-yard-dash here at Lucas Oil Stadium. Former college teammate Darrius Heyward-Bey turned heads two years ago with a 40 time that some timed as being in the high 4.2 range, and though the workout brought him from being a second-round prospect to the seventh overall pick, Heyward-Bey’s production with the Raiders in the NFL has been minimal.
“I feel like Darrius is going to be fine. I feel like it’s ignorant for people to compare two completely different people, too,” he said Friday. “Just because we went to the same school doesn’t mean anything. If he didn’t go to Maryland or I didn’t go to Maryland, we wouldn’t be having this conversation. At the end of the day, we’re two completely different people. I went on a completely different path than he did.”
Though Smith doesn’t like the idea of people his school and speed causing some people to have one opinion on him, he can still understand that the latter will go a long way into a team’s eventual decision to select him.
“I’m pretty sure the NFL is fast, but I can run well,” he said. “My speed will definitely be one of my strengths as I head to the next level.”
Smith could be the third straight Terrapin to steal the show at the scouting combine. After Heyward-Bey turned heads in 2009, tackle Bruce Campbell ran a 4.78 40, the best ever by an offensive lineman.
“I have my own personal goals for the 40. I want to be mentioned with Darrius and Bruce,” Smith said. “I have my goals.”
Sure, he can catch the ball and return kicks, but Smith can also dunk. Check out the video below.
“I can do a few different dunks,” he said. “I don’t get too crazy. You’ve got to worry about falling now.”
|02.25.11 at 9:26 pm ET|
According to the Palm Beach Post, former Patriots offensive coordinator Charlie Weis — who left the same job with the Chiefs after the 2010 season to become offensive coordinator at the University of Florida — will receive the largest salary for an assistant coach in Gators history. Weis will receive a three-year, $2.625 million deal, according to the report, that includes a $100,000 signing bonus, base salaries of $765,000 in 2011 and $865,000 in both 2012 and 2013 and $10,000 per year in bonuses for wearing Nike apparel.
|02.25.11 at 5:14 pm ET|
INDIANAPOLIS — Illinois running back Mikel Leshoure took the podium Friday, and he didn’t hide the expectations he has for himself.
“I definitely think I can be the No. 1 back taken, and that’s my goal,” Leshoure said. “Everyone has their own opinion. You hear a lot of different stuff and you see a lot of different things on TV, but I feel like my versatility and the things that I can bring to the table will show a lot of scouts, GM’s and owners that I can be their guy.”
Leshoure said his personal best 40-yard-dash time was a 4.57, but that he hopes to be quicker than that when he runs here at Lucas Oil Stadium.
|02.25.11 at 5:03 pm ET|
INDIANAPOLIS — Roy Helu Jr. impressed at the senior bowl, and now the Nebraska back is trying to pass the next test in his quest for a job in the NFL.
Helu was measured at 5-foot-11 and 219 pounds. He’s proven capable of being both a lead back (which he did as a junior) and having success in splitting carries (he had 1,245 yards as a senior despite both Rex Burkhead and quarterback Taylor Martinez having over 900 yards on the ground). For that reason, he could get a look from a time that could use a back but isn’t necessarily in the market for a high-profile first-rounder.
That’s what makes Helu a guy who the Patriots could look at. He’s had success, has the right attitude and could be had in the third or fourth round.
While Helu has good size, he isn’t ultimately concerned with the measurables that people focus so strongly on at the combine.
“God gave me this body and I’m going to use it to the best of my ability,” he said, “whether it’s considered big or having the quality of a speedy back.”
Asked what his favorite thing about his time at Nebraska was, Helu said the friendships he made with teammates, including Prince Amukamara. Considering the guy had a 307-yard performance against Missouri in his senior year, we called his bluff.
“I’m always going to remember that,” he said, “but if I’m really getting into deep thinking, the No. 1 thing is the off-the-field things.”
|02.25.11 at 4:47 pm ET|
INDIANAPOLIS ‘ If Iowa quarterback Ricky Stanzi is looking to get picked up by the Patriots, he’s certainly taking a good first step in his professional development ‘ he’s decided to work with Tom Brady‘s personal quarterbacking guru, Tom Martinez.
The 6-foot-4, 223 pound Stanzi is not considered an elite prospect along the lines of Cam Newton, Blaine Gabbert or Ryan Mallett, but is hoping a little extra knowledge from the man who helped develop Brady into an All-World quarterback can help him out.
“We’ve been working on a lot of mechanical stuff, talking about the throwing motion, the science of it,” Stanzi said of Martinez, who has tutored Brady since the Patriots quarterback was a teenager. “The same with the footwork and getting down to the nitty gritty details, finding little tweaks or different moves that might be able to help you get a little more speed on the ball, get the ball a little bit deeper.
“At the same time, keeping what you do and fine-tuning it, finding some things you hadn’t known about, and now you can throw the ball with a little more power or deeper.”
Does Brady come around a lot when you guys are working?
“No, he’s got better things to do,” Stanzi said with a grin.
The Patriots are pretty secure with their backup quarterback situation, having gone with Brian Hoyer at the No. 2 spot the last two seasons. But New England is also one of just a few teams out there who go with two quarterbacks on their active roster, and if they wanted to add Stanzi, could almost certainly get him with a mid-round pick.
In addition to his work with Martinez, Stanzi also has another connection to the Patriots ‘ while at Iowa, he played collegiately for former Bill Belichick assistant Kirk Ferentz, and Belichick certainly has an affinity for student-athletes who come of age while playing collegiately for an ex-assistant (Ferentz, Nick Saban, Pat Hill and Charlie Weis).
In that same vein, Stanzi said the experience he got in the pro-style offense under Ferentz will almost certainly benefit him at the next level.
“Coach Ferentz, the way he runs the program is very similar to the NFL,” Stanzi said. “The way he has his offense set up is very similar to how some other (NFL) teams do it.
“We’re under center a lot. It’s a lot of two-back sets. A tight end. A lot of traditional pro-style stuff that we do at Iowa. All that definitely gets you more familiar than a spread quarterback would be or someone who hasn’t had that. It doesn’t mean you’re better at it. It just means you’ve had more experience at it.”
|02.25.11 at 4:05 pm ET|
INDIANAPOLIS — The NFL scouting combine is about evaluating talent, and that’s why hundreds come to Indianapolis to do so.
Turns out that isn’t just limited to the scouts and executives. Connecticut fullback Anthony Sherman knows a good running back when he sees one. After all, he spent his career blocking for Donald Brown and, more recently Jordan Todman.
“I’ve seen him do some amazing things in my three years with him,” Sherman said of Todman, “and I feel like he’s definitely going to open up some eyes out here.
“If he’s not at the top, he definitely should be one of the top backs taken. He proved it with his stats this year. I think he’s one of those guys that can carry it 20-25 times a game for you and be a workhorse.”
Todman rushed for 1695 yards and 14 touchdowns as a junior.