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Combine Day Three: News and Notes

Day Three of the Combine featured field drills, including the 40 yard draft, for offensive lineman and tight ends.  Before the day could even get started, the biggest news was that top OT prospect Andre Smith was nowhere to be found.  This was after he had reported that he would take part in any drills in the Combine.  Later on in the day, Adam Schefter talked to Smith on the phone; Smith claimd that he went to the Combine for the purpose of weighing in and getting checked out medically and since that was done, he left to attend training sessions in Atlanta.  Draft Expert Mike Mayock believes this is a big red flag, but most NFL Network analysts believed that while it might drop his stock slightly, he will still be taken in the top 10.

Michael Crabtree had already announced that he would not be participating in drills with the other WRs on Sunday because of a lingering ankle injury that he suffered in the last game of Texas Tech's season.  During his medical evaluation, however, doctors found a stress fracture in his other foot, which will require a surgical installation of a screw, or he risks the stress fracture becoming worse.  If he elects to undergo surgery, he will be unable to train for 8-10 weeks, which would mean he could not work out for NFL scouts before the draft.  I don't think this will be a big deal because no one expected him to be a burner.  Teams salivate over Crabtree because of his prototypical recieving ability.  On a seperate note, he measured only 6'1 3/8" tall, which was over an inch and a half shorter than what he was supposed to be.

As far as the drills went, the morning started with a bunch of 300 pound men trying to run fast.  After the 40 yard dash, they moved on to more functional drills as they apply to offensive linemen.  The biggest overall winners were probably Jason Smith and Eugene Monroe, who both did what was expected of them but looked great compared to Smith, who was nowhere to be found.  The athlete that shined the most was Lydon Murtha (NEB) who ran the fastest 40 (4.89) and 3 cone drill (7.06), and had the second best result in both the broad jump (9'2") and vertical (35").  Overall, writer Vic Carucci thinks that this crop of OTs is talented but not as good as 2008.

Once the TEs got on the field, things got a little more interesting.  I know the Texans aren't in the market for a TE since we already have a pretty good one, but it is important to us in the sense that some people think top rated TE Brandon Pettigrew (Ok St.) might sneak into the top 14 picks, possibly to Buffalo at 12.  The bad news is that he didn't run great; his 40 times were both in the 4.85 range.  Meanwhile, Shawn Nelson (IU), who is the second rated TE on some drat ,had a good showing which might keep people from reaching for Pettigrew.  Also, Jared Cook (South Carolina) was a beast.  He wasn't as good as Vernon Davis a couple of years ago, but his 4.50 40, 41" vertical and 10'3" broad jump were all bests among TEs.

In news not pertaining to draft prospects, Ravens G.M. Ozzie Newsome announced that they will probably not be re-signing SS Jim Leonhard.  Newsome made it clear that Leonhard probably wanted to go somewhere else because he had the ability to start for any of the other 31 teams, which was a nice way of saying "you're really good, just not good enough for us."  The Jets and Lions are cited as front runners to sign Leonhard.  Also, Lovie Smith made it clear that Kyle Orton was in no danger of losing his starting QB position.  Smith is also the coach who wouldn't give up on Rex Grossman, so if I was Orton, I wouldn't take it as the best compliment.