On the way to work this morning, I flipped on Sirius NFL Radio and the first word I heard was "lockout". I immediately switched away to some mindless drivel. I choose to read selected people's thoughts and opinions on the labor strife and all the implications of it, but the potential work stoppage is a subject that everyone seems to be a self-proclaimed expert on. When it comes to these people, I choose the ostrich approach. That is to say, anytime someone other than few people I trust to know what is going on starts talks talking about their genius solution to the labor negotiations or their guess on how long it's going to take to get resolved, I stick my head in the sand.
Luckily for me this week, the 2011 Scouting Combine was in full swing this weekend. The offensive linemen did their drills on Saturday, and yesterday was the offensive skill positions. I've always hated that the defensive players do their drills during the week during work hours (linemen and linebackers today, defensive backs tomorrow), but that's because I'm a Houston Texans fan and therefore I'm always focused on defensive players. Still, I enjoy the eight hours a day I get to listen to Mike Mayock talk about nothing other than the draft.
One thing that does annoy me about the Combine is all the people who go on TV and radio, or write articles and Twitter messages, about how worthless the Combine is. It is extreme to say that a Combine performance alone will propel or drop a player radically, but if you're trying to break a tie between two players on your board and only one showed up to the biggest job interview of his life in phenomenal shape, that's not going to sway your opinion? If anything, just enjoy the fact that the Combine is an oasis in the middle of the offseason desert, a desert which is particularly inhospitable this year. For all the comings and goings of the NFL other than the labor strife and how it affects the Texans, follow the jump.
As I stated before, this weekend belonged to the offensive players. For notes on all the individual days, check out Wes Bunting's coverage (Saturday morning, Saturday afternoon, QB group 1, QB group 2). Doug Farrar also has a good wrap up of who helped their stock yesterday, and who hurt it.
There were several skill position players who looked really good yesterday, and one offensive lineman (USC Tyron Smith) who may end up being selected before the Texans pick at 11. Barrett Walton discussed why this improvement of offensive players' stock is good for the Texans.
Texans fans shouldn't turn a blind eye to the offensive players altogether. As Rivers McCown points out, Matt Schaub could use more help on the offensive line. Also, Alan Burge has a good breakdown of mid-round wide receiver prospects, which is definitely a position of need for the Texans.
It's not exactly the mid-rounds, but Diehard Chris weighed in with who he thought would be good options in the second round with the 42nd pick and asks you to do the same.
Rick Smith and Gary Kubiak both spoke to the media on Friday. Rivers has the transcript of most of the interviews of the head coach and general manager. Stephanie Stradley lays out what the two artists formerly known as Smithiak might be looking for at the Combine based on past selections.
As I stated previously, today is the day that defensive players start to peddle their wares. John McClain continues his man crush on Von Miller, who gushed about Gary Kubiak and the Texans. Paul Kuharsky noted that top-rated safety Rahim Moore is charismatic and claimed that he would like to talk to the Texans as well. Nick Scurfield, who's been doing great work from Indianapolis but is now gone, had a breakdown of the plentiful pass rushers in the draft.
I'll have an article up later today about one of my favorite draft prospects for the Texans. It is not Stephen Paea (although I would be thrilled with him), but to get you in the right mindset of watching defensive players, I leave you with the amazing video of the defensive tackle from Tonga by way of Oregon State lifting 225 pounds 49 times in a minute.