Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

21 Feb 2007

Players to Watch at the Combine

My combine preview includes a look at the players with the most to lose, the players with the most to gain, and the little-known players worth keeping an eye on.

Posted by: Michael David Smith on 21 Feb 2007

15 comments, Last at 23 Feb 2007, 7:24pm by mactbone

Comments

1
by John (not verified) :: Wed, 02/21/2007 - 4:42pm

I've always been pretty impressed with Darius Walker. I hope he winds up in GB.

2
by Chris (not verified) :: Wed, 02/21/2007 - 5:31pm

I don't think Walker will be a good pro runningback. MAYBE he will be some teams 3rd down RB, but RBs are a dime a dozen. I agree he has had good preparation in the ND offense, but there are physical beasts out there and he is not one of them.

3
by dryheat (not verified) :: Wed, 02/21/2007 - 5:46pm

Interesting. Tony Pauline has Carriker in the "Most to Gain" list. I guess I can see both viewpoints, although I lean towards the "Gain". Despite his production, I'm not sure Carriker has convinced Scouts yet that he's an elite-level prospect.

4
by Todd S. (not verified) :: Wed, 02/21/2007 - 6:37pm

I like Anthony Spencer's chances in the NFL. I suspect he'll stay at defensive end, but I suppose it depends on the system he gets drafted into.

5
by Tom (not verified) :: Wed, 02/21/2007 - 10:41pm

I really think whoever gets Zanbranski will be getting a steal. And if Troy Smith falls to the late 2nd round (I've even heard 3rd round mentioned) whoever drafts him will get one too.

6
by RecoveringPackerFan (not verified) :: Wed, 02/21/2007 - 11:00pm

1: I have to agree with Chris here. Walker might be ready to contribute early, but he never really looked like a dominant physical specimen at ND.

7
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Wed, 02/21/2007 - 11:11pm

Gary Russell didn't play this past year because of academic foul-ups. He has NFL quality talent and skill, but you have to have doubts whether the guy has the work ethic to succeed in the NFL if he doesn't have the work ethic to keep himself academically eligible. If he had been productive this year, he had a chance to be a first day pick, but he lacked the foresight to see this, thus likely costing himself a substantial sum of money. I'd only put him on my roster as a rookie free agent.

It seems to me that any college qb who is above average in terms of making the required NFL throws, and was productive in college, merits strong consideration. I was surprised at how badly Smith played in the BCS Championship Game, but, to be sure, he didn't get a lot of help fron his offensive line. I don't know where I'd take him now.

8
by John (not verified) :: Thu, 02/22/2007 - 1:10am

Re: 6 I don't think it's particularly likely he'll be a star player, but I always liked him at ND (and I hate ND). When I saw, "I hope he winds up in GB" I mean as a 3rd or 4th rounder. Where is he projected anyways?

9
by Alex (not verified) :: Thu, 02/22/2007 - 1:40am

"I was surprised at how badly Smith played in the BCS Championship Game, but, to be sure, he didn’t get a lot of help fron his offensive line. I don’t know where I’d take him now."

Given that he had lost his #1 receiver to injury, and had at least one, and usually two, DEs in the backfield immediately after the snap, I don't think too much of the blame for this can be put on Smith. By the way, everyone's favorite QB prospect at the beginning of the year, Brady Quinn, had three games like Smith had in the title game: Michigan, USC, and LSU. And yet, everyone still says he's going early in the first round, while some people have Drew Stanton and some guy from Stanford ahead of Smith. Is this not a little bit of an overreaction to one really bad game, especially given his previous record of success? And why is Quinn given a pass for three such games? I hate to think there might be a racial aspect to this, but that might be part of it. Or maybe it's that Quinn played for super genius Weiss. Or maybe I'm just crazy.

10
by Alex (not verified) :: Thu, 02/22/2007 - 1:42am

Re 8: "When I saw, “I hope he winds up in GB� I mean as a 3rd or 4th rounder. Where is he projected anyways?"

3rd or 4th round.

11
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Thu, 02/22/2007 - 2:12am

Oh, I really haven't been sold on Quinn at all. I guess what bothered me most about Smith's play in his last game was that it seemed to me on several occasions he had obvious check-down situations, and the check down guy was open, and Smith took a sack or threw into coverage instead.

12
by mactbone (not verified) :: Thu, 02/22/2007 - 9:57am

Re Walker: I've been confused about his ability. His freshman year he looked like a stud and IIRC took the starting job from Julius Jones. Since then he's been an average running back with exceptional pass catching skills.

13
by David (not verified) :: Thu, 02/22/2007 - 4:06pm

So is Jordan Palmer going to be the next Eli Manning?

14
by MJB (not verified) :: Fri, 02/23/2007 - 1:45pm

RE: #13

IMO it is much more likely that Jordan Palmer will be come the next Tim Hasselbeck.

15
by mactbone (not verified) :: Fri, 02/23/2007 - 7:24pm

Wow, he'll get some nice tail then.