LAST UPDATE: 2:45 p.m. — Welcome to AtlantaFalcons.com's coverage of the NFL Scouting Combine. We're here in Indianapolis at Lucas Oil Stadium as the Combine continues today. Check back here throughout the day for plenty of Combine coverage. Be sure to also check out our Combine main page, that has some preview videos and helpful links that give you a better understanding of what happens here in Indy.
2:45 p.m. — I was waiting for Peterson to come through and it's now about time to head out. This will wrap up AtlantaFalcons.com's coverage of the 2011 NFL Combine. We hope you enjoyed everything as much as we did. I think I can speak for Jay Adams and Matt Moore when I say the work was tiring, but more fun than a lot of other things we could have been doing. I know one thing, I'm ready for Atlanta's sixty degree weather again, but—like I said before—I hope AF.com is back here in January.
2:39 p.m. — At long last Patrick Peterson took the stage and he looks impressive. He looks solid, almost like the prototypical NFL cornerback. He's six foot and weighs 219, a weight he said he's happy with. "I feel swift the way I am. I feel fast and quick. I feel more fluid where I am." The trend continues with corners. Peterson, like many of his counterparts, gave up only one touchdown last season. No, this one wasn't to Michael Floyd (though Peterson said Floyd was one of the most physical receivers playing right now), it was Julio Jones. Peterson said halfway through his junior year is when he realized he had a shot to be a top NFL draft pick.
2:25 p.m. — A few staffers from an AFC franchise are taking a break from updating their .com's to work on their forty times. No, not their running, their timing. It seems there's a technique in running a stopwatch properly. One of the staffers recorded running back Mark Ingram's forty time at 4.8, but the unofficial NFL Network time was 4.58. That's a pretty big difference.
2:19 p.m. — It's kind of quiet around here and all the silence got me thinking about predictions. It seems like every player gets asked what time he's going to run in the forty. Many guys stay away from that question, but others offer up their thoughts. Predictions rarely end up well. On Friday wide receiver Ricardo Lockette said he planned to beat Chris Johnson, whose 4.24 tied the record in 2008. Lockette's official time today was a 4.37, tying him with Edmond Gates for the fastest run. It's fast, but it failed to live up to what he said two days ago. Wide receiver Titus Young said he'd run in the 4.2s as well and his unofficial time is 4.43. It reminds me of something a boss once told me: "Under promise and over deliver."
1:30 p.m. — As Twitter becomes a more and more prevalent part of our culture, it's usage by high profile people becomes more common. Before I came to Indianapolis, I set up a list on Twitter of as many Combine performers with accounts that I could find. If you're interested, you can see the list here. I thought it would be interesting to follow these players through their days here in Indy. Kentucky wide receiver Randall Cobb has had a particularly good day and everything he's done here from the interviews to his forty performance (an unofficial 4.45) has helped his cause significantly. The National Football Post's West Bunting had this to say on Twitter about Cobb's Sunday performance:
"Was really impressed with #Kentucky wide out Randall Cobb...was very good, smooth and explosive out of routes, intriguing slot guy"
" ; ) "
1:10 p.m. — One reason I think players are mentioning less and less what teams they've spoken with or who they have meetings scheduled with is because they often don't know. I was told last season that many interviews, both formal and informal, that are set up for players are done so with just a room number and a time. They never know what team they're walking into. In many ways it works to everyone's advantage. The players aren't given time to study up on a team or coach nor are they able to worry much about a particular meeting with a high-profile team, coach or general manager...like the Atlanta Falcons, Mike Smith or Thomas Dimitroff.
1:03 p.m. — Dominique Franks was just the topic of conversation here in the media room. I asked Oklahoma free safety Quinton Carter what he thought of him as a player and what it was like to play with him.
"Dominique is a terrific ball player. He was all around the field making plays. I wish we could have had him with us this past season but he decided to come out early. He's a great player."
Carter is no slouch himself. He was a First-Team All American this past season and is considered a well-rounded, high-end safety prospect with strong skills in coverage and run support.
12:35 p.m. — Auburn's defensive tackle and potential No. 1 overall pick Nick Fairley was announced just a moment ago and it created quite a stir. Many of these media types aren't used to moving very quick, but they were sprinting to the podium. Much of the questioning revolved around Cam Newton, being the top pick and a perceived lack of production prior to his senior season. He won't be around when the Falcons pick, but I'll say this about him: The dude is BIG.
12:25 p.m. — One of the questions most often heard here at the Combine is "what separates you from the other (insert position group here)?" North Carolina cornerback Kendric Burney just gave an interesting answer. He cited his baseball playing as something that helped him cultivate his skill set. He played the sport as a freshman at UNC and said he felt his experience turning and running and tracking balls as a centerfielder helped him as a corner.
12:05 p.m. — Lunch is served. I assume most of the media are chips and sandwich people because if you're not, you're simply out of luck at events like these. Sandwiches are placed in huge piles for everyone to grab. Occasionally a sandwich will fall free from the tongs of a sandwich-grabber. Inevitably someone will make the football-event joke that isn't as clever as it sounds in their head. "Fumble!" they shout as the sandwich falls apart. I'm going to pause now to eat my fully-intact sandwich that I carried to my table with my sure hands.
11:50 a.m. — NFL Network's Mike Mayock is the only scheduled speaker today, but it's planned for "after 4:30" which is disappointing because all of AtlantaFalcons.com will be out of town by then. I enjoy Mayock's take on players and I appreciate his presentation style as well. He's one of the guys whose opinion I take very seriously, but he doesn't take himself too seriously. Here's two great comments from Mayock over the last few days to illustrate this (and perhaps further explain why I like defensive end Watt):
"To be a right tackle you have to be more of a thug."
"J.J. Watt is the best five-technique I've ever seen, better than Tyson Jackson who went No. 3 overall."
11:30 a.m. — Who is this Michael Floyd guy? Just kidding...but he's getting a lot of pub today from the defensive backs. Harris mentioned him as the only touchdown he gave up this past season. Utah corner Brandon Burton just shared that Floyd was the only touchdown he gave up as well. He added that the six-foot-three junior from Notre Dame was the best receiver he faced last season. Most believe Floyd will be one of the top wide receivers in next year's draft.
11:17 a.m. — Brandon Harris just took the podium and he's one of the first players to come through today to create a scurry in the room. The Miami cornerback is regarded as one of the better cornerbacks in the draft and at this point is a fringe first-round player. He's a quality kid that is fun to talk to. He just responded to a reporter with "No sir," and manners like that always impress me. He was a three-year starter at Miami, which says something coming from the U. "I'm at the point where my confidence is so high, I believe in myself a ton," he said. Harris said he definitely considers himself a shutdown corner and he reminded everyone that he only gave up one touchdown last year—to Notre Dame's Michael Floyd in the Hyundai Sun Bowl. He shared that Packers corner Charles Woodson is a player he's watched for years and said he believes tackling is just as important as his ability to cover. His personality showed in a big way during his fifteen minutes with the media and the following comment about the feeling that an interception is coming shows it:
"It's like Christmas all over again. ...You've done the work, now make the play."
11:03 a.m. — If there's something really frustrating about the Combine experience from a media perspective it's the electronics involved. At my table alone there are 11 people sitting including myself and the AJC's fabulous D. Orlando Ledbetter (who incidentally is off somewhere—it seems he knows everyone here). Though there are 11 people, there are 13 computers. On my side of the table alone I'm counting 16 phones, recorders and cameras. I'm sure there are more, nevermind the fact that a U.S. Presswire photographer is across from me and he's sporting the largest camera I've ever seen and he surely has more. The cordage is the worst though. There are 12 outlets on the table and I learned from my experience last year that one must bring extra outlets. I did and I'm thankful for that. But still, there must be about two miles of cords on this table alone and when pack up time comes, everyone must stop and help each individual de-tangle.
10:38 a.m. — UGA linebacker Akeem Dent just came through. He measured in at six-foot-one and 242 pounds. He looked thick, which is why the reporters around him were a little shocked when Dent told them he came to Georgia as a 196 pound freshman. He finished school in December with a degree in Housing and made sure to say "after football" when he said what he hopes to do with that degree (real estate by the way). He wouldn't offer up any predictions on his forty time, only saying "I've had some good times" in his preparation for the Combine.
10:17 a.m. — Since I'm at the wheel, I'd like to explain something from yesterday. In Saturday's Live Blog, Jay Adams shared that I liked a defensive end from Wisconsin named J.J. Watt because he used Twitter. That's not the only reason. He was considered a rising prospect heading into the draft and I was interested to see how he spoke on the podium and how he looked. He looked like he was in great shape and his story of switching positions in a transfer from Central Michigan to Wisconsin and walking on to eventually earn a scholarship—to me—says a lot about his work ethic. As far as Twitter goes, he shared that he felt it was a great way to interact with the fans of Wisconsin and those that enjoy his play. He also thought it was a great motivational tool, encouraging others to reach for their goals. "I want to share this with as many people as I can so they can go through this amazing experience with me."
10:06 a.m. — There's a little buzz stirring about the forty times for Alabama wide receiver Julio Jones. Unofficially reports are that he ran a 4.43 forty. One thing to think about when watching these workouts and considering where players will go in the draft. Falcons GM Thomas Dimitroff said on Friday that his approach is a mix of scouting and workout performance. He shared that a player can bring attention to himself by what he does at the Combine, but for Dimitroff that performance still has to compare to the results on the field and the months of scouting work they've put in. It's the "eye in the sky" as Alex Marvez reminded us yesterday.
9:55 a.m. — Good Morning. It's the final media day at the NFL Combine and even though there are less media present it's still expected to be a busy day. I'm Daniel Cox and I'll be running the Live Blog today until I check out of Indianapolis for good (or until I return in January...right???). Defensive backs are expected to come through today, but they're still bringing linebackers through to finish up from yesterday. Michigan State linebacker Greg Jones is currently at the podium. Meanwhile, down on the field, wide receivers, running backs and quarterbacks are working out. That's a group that is going to make some news. Let's have a good time, shall we?