On the final day of media availability, the NFL allows some members to view the quarterbacks and wide receivers work out on the field at Lucas Oil Stadium for the NFL Combine.
I was fortunate enough to be a part of the group that took a look at the best college football has to offer at those two positions. Here are some things I took away:
Michigan State QB Kirk Cousins really looked technically sound in all his throws. He put the right amount of air under his deep ball and was the most consistent throwing quarterback in Indianapolis this year. I asked ESPN's John Clayton what he thought about the first group of quarterbacks. He responded, "There was Cousins, there was Cousins and then there was Cousins."
Another quarterback that really had a live arm was Southern Mississippi's Austin Davis. The man who broke all of Brett Favre's records at Southern Miss, Davis throws a good clean football and the ball comes off his hand effortlessly. He's a bit undersized and a bit raw at this point, but he certainly improved his stock.
Houston QB Case Keenum struggled all day. His deep ball was off and he just lacks the overall arm strength to make all the throws. Despite his NCAA passing records, he's got some work to do at his pro day to even get drafted at this point.
Boise State QB Kellen Moore was another signal caller that struggled for the most part. While he did excel in underneath routes on his timing and anticipation, throws that require him to drive the football and complete it with accuracy often times ends up in a complete misfire. He'll likely get drafted, but is nothing more than a third string quarterback.
Wisconsin QB Russell Wilson started the day off by connecting on some big time over-the-shoulder throws down the seam to his receivers. He was the best in this area. He proceeded to struggle a little bit as the session wore on, but there are some definite tools to work with.
Georgia Tech WR Stephen Hill stole the show in Indianapolis starting with his 40-yard dash. He's the leader in the clubhouse with an unofficial 4.30 40-yard dash. He said on Friday that he was hoping to run in that range. He certainly delivered on it. In receiving drills, Hill didn't let the momentum go to waste. He was smooth in his cuts and displayed good ball skills to pluck the football out of the air. The only critiques I had were minor, and things he can work through. At 6-foot-4 and 215-pounds, Hill is trending up and will likely land in the first round.
If you watch everything leading up to the catch, NC State WR T.J. Graham has everything you want. Speed, suddenness, the ability to deceive in his cuts. The one thing Graham lacked on Sunday though was the ability to finish off the play. He let too many footballs drop out of his hands. It's not a problem I remembered seeing from him when I watched his games, but certainly something he'll have to answer to with NFL teams. He's a solid slot option that should be drafted in the second or third round.
Notre Dame WR Michael Floyd showed every bit of why he's considered a top prospect in this draft. He ran a sub-4.5 40-yard dash and displayed strong hands all the way through his drills on Sunday. The way he performed, he's gunning to be the first wide receiver taken in 2012.
Which leads me to Oklahoma State WR Justin Blackmon. Now I know, Blackmon is dealing with a hamstring issue... but why even do any drills today then? Blackmon looked stiff and off-balance at times. He fought the ball on a few occasions, too. The latter is something he's been known to do in his time at Oklahoma State. He needs to get healthy for his Pro Day and put today's performance behind him. He opened the door for Floyd today, but still can slam it shut with a good workout in March.
Arkansas WR Greg Childs looks the part, there's no doubt about that. But when you watch him run, cut and attempt to catch the ball... he struggles in all three areas. His stock is way down at this point, and it was never that high to begin with.
I really liked the day Ohio WR LaVon Brazzill had on Sunday. I haven't done much on him just yet, but he looked smooth during the gauntlet drill and has some nice explosion in and out of his cuts. I'm looking forward to watching him more.
Nevada WR Rishard Matthews also makes me really eager to watch him in game action. He made me say 'Who was that?' on more than one occasion. Eventually I learned WO29 was Matthews.
A pair of speedy, slot type receivers really impressed as well. Fresno State WR Devon Wylie, as expected, ran a very fast 40-time and looked effortless in the gauntlet drill. He had a pair of drops but all in all looked exactly as he did in Fresno State footage. Toledo WR Eric Page turned some heads, too. A smaller school type, Page displayed quickness, good route-running and impressive, dependable hands throughout the day.
Bayor WR Kendall Wright looked like the real deal. His explosion is by far his best characteristic, and he can accelerate on command. He doesn't have to wind up like some of these other guys. Great performance by him. He firmed up a spot in the first round.
I was down on Miami (FL) WR Tommy Streeter after watching his footage. Then to start the day, he ran an unofficial 4.32 40-yard dash. I didn't remember seeing that from him so I gave him the benefit of the doubt for receiving drills. Once those started, I recalled why I wasn't a fan. He has straight line speed, but he labors in his route running and breaks. He fights the ball despite having huge hands. He has all the physical tools without the game. I don't think he's anything more than a late round pick.
That's going to wrap it up here from Indianapolis. Thanks to everyone for following along in what was a very fun week. Talk to you next from Buffalo!