The NFL Combine is officially underway, with the first group of players arriving in Indianapolis. Wednesday saw the arrival of offensive linemen, tight ends and various special teamers. The special teamers are primarily kickers and punters, but they also include Hawaii long snapper Luke Ingram. I don't expect the 49ers to add a long snapper anytime soon, but he's out there.
The first day of the Combine for each position group is all about administrative matters. I've broken down the schedule for these first groups at the bottom. In the meantime, Nick and Trevor put together a quick look at a couple players from each position group worth watching as the group progresses into workouts and drills. Earlier today, we broke down some of the drills.
Dustin Hopkins, Florida State: considered best available kicker in the draft. Powerful leg with accuracy.
Caleb Sturgis, Florida: might be second best kicker in draft. Consistent and accurate.
Lane Johnson, Oklahoma: Won't be an option for the 49ers but might test better overall than any OL in history of combine in terms of pure athletic ability.
Menelik Watson, Florida State: Scouts love the athleticism for a 330lb tackle. Mike Mayock recently suggested he could sneak into first round. Very impressive for a guy who's only played 3 years of football.
TJ Johnson, South Carolina: The center performed well at the Senior Bowl and impressed scouts during interior rush drills. Could be late round option at center.
Vance McDonald, Rice: WR trapped in a TE body. Considered to be one of the best vertical options in the tight end group. Could find himself taken as high as round two with a good showing at the Combine.
Joseph Furia, UCLA: Was injured during East-West Shrine game and missed on an opportunity to improve his draft stock. Great size at 6-7 and needs to prove he's fast and quick enough to play at the next level.
Quinn Sharp, Oklahama State: Not at good as the other kickers at the combine, but went 8-12 on field goes of 40+ yards.
C Barrett Jones - Alabama: Something that is being lost in the shuffle of this offseason is Jonathan Goodwin could be a cap casualty. If that is the case the 49ers could be looking for a Center. Jones is physical and played on arguably the best offensive line in the country. He knows what it feels like to win championships too.
C Khaled Holmes, USC: Holmes is projecting as a 3rd or 4th round selection. Holmes missed some games this season, and when he wasn't on the field the Trojan offensive line wasn't the same. A solid player who was a leader in the locker room, Holmes will have to show he's consistently good at the combine. Holmes muffed a snap this season and had some penalties that cost his team.
Levine Toilolo, Stanford: Right now Toilolo is projected as a late round pick. A good combine from him would do wonders for his stock. At 6'8, he's an intriguing option if the 49ers don't have a tight end drafted when he's still on the board. The knock on Toilolo has been his blocking ability, but someone his size should be able to grow into an adequate blocker.
Chris Gragg, Arkansas: This is the guy I'm going to continue to lobby for if Delanie isn't a 49er after the dust of free agency settles. Gragg is very similar to Delanie in size and skill. He can be had at the end of round three or somewhere in round for, if his stock doesn't rise too high. Good route runner, good blocker, there's a lot to like out of Gragg.
Tyler Eifert, Notre Dame: I have Eifert selected by the Texans in our first mock draft, but he deserves a mention nonetheless. Eifert possesses great hands and can get open a lot. He is versatile and can line up out wide, in the slot, and at tight end. He's used to being motioned around in tricky formations at Notre Dame too. Almost everything he does screams he's going to be a good NFL player. The biggest con on him is he needs to keep running his routes at times instead of stopping to jump and catch. That shows he has more work to do tracking where the ball is going (kind of like a baseball player running through the ball and catching it instead of making a diving play).
Here is a rundown of the four-day schedule for this group:
DAY 1 ARRIVALS*: Group 1 (PK, ST, OL), Group 2 (OL), Group 3 (TE)
February 20, 2013
|Travel to Indianapolis* ~ Registration ~ Hospital Pre-Exam & X-rays ~ Orientation ~ Interviews|
February 21, 2013
|Measurements ~ Medical Examinations ~ Media ~ Interviews|
February 22, 2013
|NFLPA Meeting ~ Psychological Testing ~ PK/ST Workout ~ Bench Press ~ Interviews|
February 23, 2012
|On-Field Workout (timing, stations, skill drills) ~ Departure from Indianapolis|