The first day of drills for the 2013 Combine are upon us. While most are not enthralled by the "Big Uglies," the "Tweeners," and the "No So Football" players, this is the start of the true halfway point of the draft process. That said, there are plenty of subtle, but interesting anecdotes and storylines that can change the shape of the draft and give you some serious entertainment during the early part of your Saturday.
Let's take a look at the some of the potential awesomeness for today:
- Yesterday, Geoff Mosher of CSN Philly tweeted something pretty interesting. Chip Kelly is apparently aiming to add oodles of tight ends. That is why it is important to pay attention to that position today. This tight end class is among the best in years and is headlined by Notre Dame's Tyler Eifert, Stanford's Zach Ertz and Cincinnati's Travis Kelce (Jason's little brother). Mosher added that Kelly is looking for speed at the tight end position, so make sure to pay attention to the 3-Cone, Shuttles and "40." For those wondering, Vernon Davis holds the record for the "40" at 4.36 seconds. The guys to watch for speed this year are Arkansas' Chris Gragg and Florida's Jordan Reed (who needs to make up for the pathetic bench press drill he had yesterday).
- Offensive linemen are not the spark plugs most fans tune into to watch (outside of maybe Dan Klausner, Wild_Eagle and myself), but seeing those big fellas run low 40 times and show burst during their shuttles is a sight to be seen. While speed is not the the biggest part of an offensive lineman's game, it does help in the zone blocking scheme that the Eagles are likely to run. The team needs linemen that can get to the second and third level with burst and quickness. Luke Joeckel and Eric Fisher are at the top of the offensive tackle class, but Lane Johnson is expected to blow up the "40." The record for offensive linemen is by Allen Barbre (who oddly enough was signed by the Eagles after this past season, seriously go check) in 2007 (4.84) and there have been accounts of Johnson (former junior college QB and TE) running a 4.67. Interior linemen like UNC's Johnathan Cooper and Alabama's Chance Warmack are also interesting physical specimens as well and while they are not likely to be contested against as the top two guards in the draft, they are still worth paying attention to. By the way, the Eagles own, Jason Kelce, holds the record for offensive linemen in the 20-yard shuttle (4.14).
- Special teams have grown to be a real bummer with the Eagles over the years, that is why it is important to take a look at the punters and returners in this year's class. Fans should obviously be looking for speed by the returners, but keep in mind the importance of the 3-Cone that will show the ability of the player to burst, change directions and control his motion. The owner of the 3-Cone record (6.54) for special teamers is Trindon Holliday who blew up the Combine in 2010, as he also owns the records for 40-yard dash (4.34) and vertical jump (42.0 inches). With punters were are looking for distance and length in the air during their positional drills.
Enjoy your Saturday and enjoy the Combine.
You can follow Mike Kaye and his Combine coverage at @mike_e_kaye and also stay tuned to Bleeding Green Nation for team coverage of the events in Indy.