|02.24.11 at 1:45 pm ET|
INDIANAPOLIS — Boston College offensive tackle Anthony Castonzo has a very good shot of being the first player at his position taken in the coming draft. The energetic Illinois native is hoping to prove his athleticism to scouts, but not before we bugged him with a question about his crazy feet.
“My left foot is a good inch and a half bigger than my right foot,” Castonzo said, explaining an odd side effect of his growth spurt. “In high school I started buying two different sized shoes. Now I just wear 18′s [on both], so it works for me.”
“The right shoe is about an inch and a half [too] big,” he added, also noting that he does not stuff the shoe.
“It’s not too bad.”
Also worth noting on Castonzo: He received a whopping total of zero scholarship offers coming out of high school, which is why he spent a semester at Fork Union Military Academy in Virginia. After gaining 25 pounds in a semester and going on to have a successful career at BC, he’s now a top prospect in the NFL draft.
We’ll have more on Castonzo later.
|02.24.11 at 12:46 pm ET|
INDIANAPOLIS — If you’re looking for guys who both fit a need for the Patriots and played for a coach connected to Bill Belichick, one just finished up speaking in Alabama offensive lineman James Carpenter.
Carpenter, who is not a man of many words, was a transfer from junior college who went to play for Nick Saban because he “wanted to win.” He played tackle in college, but has been projected to the NFL as a guard. He said he would be comfortable at either position, and when asked which position he would rather play, he said he would prefer guard. Why?
“Because there’s less space and you can just use your power more,” he said.
Carpenter played the position in the Senior Bowl, and he impressed over the week. Coming off a season in which he dealt with an ankle sprain, that provided a boost to his draft stock.
“I think the Senior Bowl helped me out a lot and showed that I can move the way I did,” Carpenter said.
Carpenter came in at 6-foot-4 4/8 and 321 pounds. He declined to reveal which teams he has spoken to.
|02.24.11 at 12:35 pm ET|
INDIANAPOLIS — While we wait for linemen to take the podium, here are a few hits from Steelers director of football operations Kevin Colbert. He discussed the team’s plan going forward, noting that he’ll have to go about this draft the same as he would any other year despite the uncertainty surrounding CBA issues.
- Colbert described the Monday following the Steelers’ loss to the Packers in the Super Bowl as “abysmal.” It was the first time the Steelers lost in the Super Bowl since he took the job in 2000, and he called the feeling “unique.” He noted that because they played in the Super Bowl, they were behind other teams in preparing for the offseason and that “having to make up for lost time” made it easier to focus on work rather than the loss.
- It is “absolutely” Colbert’s intention to get a long-term deal done with LaMarr Woodley. The linebacker has been slapped with the franchise tag.
- Colbert described this year’s class of outside linebackers as “a pretty good group.” There are a few pass-rushers who could be had late in the first round. The Steelers are picking 31st.
- Colbert said that center Maurkice Pouncey, whom the team drafted 19th overall last year “absolutely exceeded” expectations in his rookie year. He noted that it is “very difficult to comprehend” playing center as a rookie. Pouncey started out at guard before moving to center.
|02.24.11 at 11:01 am ET|
INDIANAPOLIS — Dolphins general manager Jeff Ireland took the podium Thursday morning to discuss the state of his team and the coming draft. Though Ireland repeatedly prefaced answers by saying he wouldn’t reveal his strategy, he did have some interesting things to say.
Like the Bills, the Dolphins are a team with a starting quarterback but who might benefit from an upgrade.
“Right now our starter is Chad Henne,” Ireland said, though he noted that the Dolphins “don’t have a lot of depth” at quarterback. The GM deemed quarterback “obviously a position that we’re going to look hard at.”
- Ireland expressed interest in potentially getting a tight end with some speed. He said there have not been talks with Jeremy Shockey, who was recently released by the Saints, but he left the door open.
“I’m a guy that’s going to look at every acorn that falls off a tree,” Ireland said. “[Shockey] is another one, so I’m going to do that.”
- He wouldn’t get into specifics regarding offensive linemen, but said the team “had some issues there this year and certainly have to fine-tune some stuff.”
Miami finished third in the AFC East last season with a 7-9 record.
|02.24.11 at 10:38 am ET|
INDIANAPOLIS — Bills coach Chan Gailey kicked things off here at Lucas Oil Stadium, fielding questions about his team’s quarterback situation, the direction they may go in with the third overall pick, and multiple other subjects.
Quarterback was the most popular topic. Gailey said he regrets not handing Ryan Fitzpatrick the starting job out of camp, and that he has been to the playoffs with less capable quarterbacks. Even so, he the coach is “anxious” to see Auburn quarterback Cam Newton throw. He added that he’d rather have a less experienced QB who knows a pro-style offense than someone who has spent multiple years in a different offense. Check out the video below of Gailey discussing signal-callers.
- Last year’s first round pick, C.J. Spiller, made minimal impact as a rookie. The ninth overall pick rushed for just 283 yards on 74 carries and no rushing touchdowns (he did catch one).
“It didn’t work out like any of us planned,” Gailey said. I still think he’s going to be a very good to great player for the Buffalo Bills. There’s no question in my mind on that.”
- Gailey said the Bills will be going with a “little bit of both” defensively next season, running both the 3-4 and 4-3 schemes going forward.
“Multiple, hybrid,” he said, “whatever term you want to use.”
- When asked to assess his job with the Bills thus far, Gailey responded “four out of 16 is 25? Twenty-five percent.”
“This is a win business,” he added. “That’s the bottom line.”
|02.24.11 at 9:29 am ET|
INDIANAPOLIS — See title.
Today marks the first day of media availability of the annual NFL Scouting combine. Offensive linemen, tight ends and special teamers will talk today, as will coaches (a group that includes Rex Ryan and Chan Gailey), executives and analysts.
We’ll be paying close attention to the linemen, as there are some local guys and players who could be a fit with the Patriots worth keeping an eye on. The fun begins at 10 a.m.
|02.23.11 at 9:21 pm ET|
INDIANAPOLIS ‘ Finally, the combine has arrived. The groups are flying into Indianapolis, and Thursday we’ll get access to the offensive linemen, tight ends, and special teamers. Of course, that’s just part of the process, as all positions will work out and undergo major scrutiny over the weekend and into next week.
Make no mistake: Everybody invited is worth keeping an eye on, and everybody has something to prove. For that reason, it is impossible to really get a sense of who is worth keeping an eye on, and for that reason we’ll be posting content on as many players as possible from Lucas Oil Stadium.
Still, if you’re wondering which guys will be interesting to watch and who might have a little more to gain (or lose), here’s an incomplete list:
The other top cornerbacks: Ras I Dowling, Jimmy Smith, Aaron Williams, Brandon Harris
Quick: Who is the third-best cornerback in this draft? Everybody knows that Patrick Peterson and Prince Amukamara should go in the first 10 or so picks, but there are lots of other teams that may seek a corner in the first round, and the talented bunch that follows Peterson and Amukamara doesn’t have a clear-cut leader at this point. Harris should impress in the 40-yard-dash, but if Smith posts even a modest one, would his size/speed combo make him more draftable? Dowling, who could have potentially been ahead of these guys if his senior season not been derailed by injuries, just needs to prove his health.
Ryan Williams, RB, Virginia Tech
Many draftniks see Williams as the second-best back in this draft and someone capable of going in the first round. What teams might be seeing is somebody who was good as a freshman. What he hasn’t been able to produce on the field he will have to make up for in the 40-yard-dash if he wants to separate himself from the rest of the quarterbacks in the second-to-third round range.
The offensive tackles
There isn’t a consensus top offensive tackle in this draft, and the reigning Outland Trophy winner (Gabe Carimi) could go as late as the late first or early second round. That means lots of guys have the opportunity to stand out. Nate Solder‘s got the size and Tyron Smith has the athleticism. Boston College‘s Anthony Castonzo has the benefit of a long line of Eagle linemen before him that have found success in the NFL. Read the rest of this entry »
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