Monday, February 24, 2014

The Combine

It's a bit early to get too excited about what's been happening so far at the NFL Combine. The sort of superficial impressions athletes running around in the "Underwear Olympics" can be misleading.  Too many great athletes are so-so football players.

"Looks like Tarzan, plays like Jane" is an aphorism famously used to describe such players.

Initial impressions:
  • We wonder about the Steelers' process at the Combine. Last year, they did not interview linebacker Jarvis Jones at the Combine. Kevin Colbert said it was because the Steelers thought Jones wouldn't drop to them at No. 17. Wouldn't you want to interview all potential first-rounders? Just in case? Maybe there's not enough time, but then again, we are talking about your first-rounder -- the potential linchpin of your team for years to come, and a multi-million dollar investment.
  • Johnny Manziel looks small, but that was apparent before the Combine. Gut instinct says he will have a tough time staying healthy on a consistent basis. On the other hand, Fran Tarkenton had an extremely lengthy career, albeit in the pre-steroid, pre-HGH era. Still, we're skeptical about Manziel.
  • Jimmy Haslam, owner of the Cleveland Browns, uses a flip phone. A shot of him in the skybox over the weekend clearly showed him flipping open a feature phone and, apparently, either not getting a signal or dismissing a message or call, as he flipped it closed again in what seemed to be annoyance. How did the Rooneys ever allow him to buy into their operation? No wonder they put up no resistance to him buying the Browns. Joey Porter's Pit Bulls almost feel sorry for Cleveland fans, some of whom are good people. Haslam creates the impression of a not-too-bright, fast-talking scammer-buffoon who somehow finagled his way into a possibly bogus fortune. Maybe he's not the best owner in the NFL. It won't be long before he threatens to move the team. London's calling.
  • We won't be surprised if "Johnny Football" Manziel ends up in Cleveland. That would be interesting.
  • By all accounts, Michael Sam got an A-plus for how he conducted himself in the news conference. It's just the first step on a long, tough road ahead for him.
  • Wide receiver Michael Evans caught everything and impressed everybody. He's big and fast. Lots of other impressive wide receivers showed their stuff, too. It's a deep draft for wide receivers.

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