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Anthony Castonzo’s combine is working out so far

02.26.11 at 1:34 pm ET
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INDIANAPOLIS — Boston College offensive tackle Anthony Castonzo came to Indianapolis with perhaps a slight edge over the other offensive linemen in this year’s draft class, and after making a positive impression with the media on Thursday, he didn’t disappoint in his workout.

Castonzo did 28 reps of 225 pounds when bench-pressing, and posted an official time of 5.23 in the 40-yard-dash. Linemen will continue to work out throughout the day, so more results are still to come.

Read More: Anthony Castonzo, NFL scouting combine,

Scott Pioli: This is a good draft for defensive ends and outside linebackers

02.26.11 at 1:30 pm ET
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INDIANAPOLIS ‘€” While no members of the Patriots’€™ braintrust are scheduled to address the media this weekend here at the NFL scouting combine, the next best thing for New England reporters who are on the scene in Indianapolis is hearing from Scott Pioli. To that end, the Chiefs GM, who made his bones working for Bill Belichick and the Patriots from 2000 through 2009 , was asked Saturday morning about the crop of defensive end/outside linebackers ‘€” an area the Patriots are expected to target ‘€” that are available in this year’€™s draft.

‘€œI think it’€™s a really good draft [for] some of the guys are defensive ends in a 4-3 or outside linebackers or potentially outside linebackers in the 3-4 defense. This is a strong class. This is a strong group of players,’€ Pioli said. ‘€œRegardless of the defense, there’€™s players who can help every defense in the National Football League at those positions.’€

However, Pioli cautioned that you can’€™t read too much into how they’€™d succeed until you see them work out, both this week at the combine and in individual workouts.

‘€œSome of those guys who are defensive ends who have had their hands in the dirt so to speak, really, you haven’€™t seen them drop [into coverage],’€ Pioli said. ‘€œThis is why it’€™s a critical time to work those players out ‘€” not that you’€™re going to know everything about their ability to drop into coverage, but you have to be able to look at them and see what their physical skills are when you go on campus and work them out or see them work out here. And there’€™s also the other part that you can’€™t really tell until he’€™s on your football team if he has the instincts and the awareness and the spatial awareness as a coverage guy.’€

Read More: Bill Belichick, NFL scouting combine, Scott Pioli,

Cameron Jordan: ‘The Patriots are a phenomenal team. I feel like they’re one of the good teams in the NFL’

02.26.11 at 1:00 pm ET
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INDIANAPOLIS ‘€” If Cal defensive lineman Cameron Jordan has already spoken to the Patriots, he’€™s doing a good job disguising it.

It’€™s believed that the engaging Jordan, who held court with the media here at the NFL scouting combine on Saturday morning for nearly 10 minutes, could provide the New England defense with a jolt if the Patriots decide to take him with one of their first two first-round selections. Jordan’€™s versatility and body type ‘€” the 6-foot-4, 287-pounder was a defensive lineman in college who could make the transition to outside linebacker in New England’€™s 3-4 defensive scheme ‘€” could make him awfully attractive to the Patriots at either No. 17 or No. 28. (Several mock drafts have him going to New England at No. 17.)

But if Jordan has already talked with Bill Belichick and the rest of the New England braintrust, he’€™s not telling.

‘€œI’€™ve talked to a plethora of teams, and it’€™s been pleasing just having the experience of talking to them,’€ Jordan said with a knowing smile when asked about the Patriots. ‘€œThe Patriots are a phenomenal team. I feel like they’€™re one of the good teams in the NFL. I’€™d just like to be part of [any] team.’€

Jordan, who said he’€™s ‘€œalways a happy guy ‘€” I usually wear a smile around, 24/7’€ says that he hits a ‘€œswitch’€ on game days.

‘€œIf you see my film, I’m hitting people. I’€™m laying people out,’€ Jordan said with a chuckle. ‘€œActually, there’s sort of a switch because I still have the smile on my face, but it’s all for a different mode. It’ll put the biggest smile on me to hit a quarterback and hear the wind come out of his chest. That just pleases me the most.’€

Jordan appears to have the physique to be either a defensive end or outside linebacker in a 3-4, but would likely have to either gain or shed weight to make that happen at the NFL level.

‘€œIf I’€™m seen more as a three-technique, I have to add some weight. Depending on whether I’€™m a defensive end or not, I might have to add or gain or lose or stay,’€ Jordan said. ‘€œI’€™ve gained weight. I’€™ve been up around 295 at my heaviest, and then I came into college at 265. I’€™ve played through different weights.’€

The son of former Minnesota Vikings tight end Steve Jordan, a six-time Pro Bowler who played collegiately at Brown, Jordan joked Saturday about wanting to ‘€œadvance’€ the family name. He said he plans on doing that by any means necessary.

‘€œMy motto is, ‘€˜Draft me and I’€™ll play anywhere. I don’€™t care where I play. I just want to be on a team. I just want to play football.’€™ That’€™s what I love doing. That’€™s what I hope to continue doing,’€ he said. ‘€œI have shown that I can stand up. I can play the three technique. I can play the five technique. Like I said ‘€” put me anywhere, and I’€™ll play.’€

Read More: Bill Belichick, Cameron Jordan, NFL scouting combine, Steve Jordan

Ryan Kerrigan may be in an odd position for Patriots

02.26.11 at 12:47 pm ET
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INDIANAPOLIS — Every year we talk about what the Patriots want in their next pass-rushing outside linebacker. Think Willie McGinest. Six-foot-5, 270 pounds, and if they’re lucky, maybe some of McGinest’s talent, too.

This year’s draft class has plenty of pass-rushers, and good ones that figure to be available when the Patriots are picking at No. 17, 28, and 33. As far as “motor” guys go, look no further than Purdue’s Ryan Kerrigan: a beast of a 4-3 defensive end in college who plays a relentless style and forces fumbles.

Kerrigan measured in a just a hair under 6-foot-4 (6-foot-3 7/8) and 267 pounds. He’s got the size, and he’s got the attitude.

Yet in standing two feet from the jacked Kerrigan, he just looked like he was built to play defensive end in a 4-3. Despite his willingness to play outside linebacker in a 3-4, it seems the popular notion that he’s better off in a 4-3 might make sense. The popular line of thinking has been that he’d stick with the position that got him to where is now, though he’s willing to make the switch if the opportunity arises.

“It’s been about even,” Kerrigan said of how he’s been viewed by teams with varying defensive schemes. “Both are looking at me, and whatever a team wants me to play, I’ll play that.”

Kerrigan said he will participate in linebacker drills on Monday, something he’s been preparing for after standing up “very minimally” at Purdue.

“In my training for the combine, I’ve been working on a lot of drops from a 3-4 linebacker standpoint,” he said. “I feel like I’ve really made a lot of strides with that.

“When you’re a 4-3 defensive end, you drop back in pass coverage occasionally, but not too often, whereas a 3-4 linebacker, you drop back quite a bit. I think that would be the biggest adjustment.”

Kerrigan had 12.5 sacks and five forced fumbles last season at Purdue.

Read More: 2011 NFL Draft, NFL scouting combine, Ryan Kerrigan,

Cameron Heyward: ‘I want to leave a legacy of my own’

02.26.11 at 12:25 pm ET
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INDIANAPOLIS — Having the NFL in one’s blood never hurts, but for Ohio State defensive lineman Cameron Heyward, it isn’t everything.

Heyward, a potential first round pick whose abilities could project him to play the five-technique for a team like the Patriots, is the son of running back Craig “Ironhead” Heyward, who played for a number of teams over his career in the late ’80s and the ’90s. He appreciates his father’s experience and any advice he’s been given, but the lineman wants to be more than just the son of a professional.

“I want to leave a legacy of my own,” Heyward said. “I don’t want to live in his shadow, but he was a great player. He’s always in my heart, and I appreciate everything he’s done, but I want to do everything on my own.

“I’m not asking anybody to give me a second look or anything just because my dad was Ironhead, but they all know I have a big head like him.”

Heyward knows that despite playing a totally different position, the mere fact that he’s Ironhead’s son will lead to added pressure at the next level. He said Saturday that he “hopes” that’s the case.

“I want to perform well and wouldn’t have it any other way,” he said. “If guys are expecting a lot out of me, so be it, because I’m a guy that’s going to produce and give it all I’ve got.”

Heyward, who just got cleared to begin running last week, said he is disappointed that he is not working out working out in Indianapolis, as he is coming off UCL reconstruction. His Pro Day is on March 30.

“It’s getting better,” he said, adding that he’ll be completely “back in three months.”

Read More: 2011 NFL Draft, Cameron Heyward, NFL scouting combine,

Big things (and players) on tap for Saturday

02.26.11 at 10:17 am ET
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INDIANAPOLIS — Welcome back to Lucas Oil Stadium, where today promises to be full of big names and guys Patriots fans have been wondering about. Defensive lineman and linebackers are on tap for today, and given the Pats‘ need for an improved pass-rush, there’s a good chance that the answer is in the building Saturday.

In addition to guys the Pats may be looking at, we’ll get to talk to the draft’s top two prospects in Da’Quan Bowers and Nick Fairley. Auburn quarterback Cam Newton did not speak on Friday, so he will go Saturday as well.

Read More: 2011 NFL Draft, NFL scouting combine,

Alabama quarterback Greg McElroy: Tom Brady is ‘a hero of mine’

02.25.11 at 11:27 pm ET
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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.

‘€œHe’€™s the most fun guy to watch in the league right now,’€ McElroy said of Brady. ‘€œThere’€™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.

‘€œCoach [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?

‘€œIn a heartbeat, absolutely.’€

Read More: aaron rodgers, Brian Hoyer, Greg McElroy, NFL scouting combine
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