Back in the ATL – It was fast and furious at the NFL scouting combine over the last five days.
Got back in late last night, but on the plane I came up five things we learned at the NFL scouting combine.
Here they are:
1. FORGET ABOUT PEPPERS: The indicators are pointing toward the Falcons not getting involved in the Julius Peppers derby. The buzz words that keep coming from general manager Thomas Dimitroff are “fiscally responsible” moves. My man Charles Chandler of the Charlotte Observer noted that Peppers turned down a deal that would have paid him between $13 and $14 million last summer. A deal in a higher range doesn’t appear to fit the Falcons definition of “fiscally responsible.”
2. NO DEFENSIVE END IN THE FIRST ROUND: You can rule out a defensive end with the No. 1 pick. The Falcons like their ends and think the pass rush would have been just fine with defensive tackle Peria Jerry in the lineup last season.
“My feeling is this, last year we drafted Peria Jerry in the first round,” Dimitroff said. “Unfortunately for us he was injured. He was really coming along well. He was going to help create some pass rush up the middle. Obviously, he was going to free something up on the outside. We felt John Abraham was going to continue to get up field, as well as Kroy Biermann and some of our other young guys on the outside.”
3. MIDDLE OF LINE: Falcons center Todd McClure, unfortunately, isn’t going to play forever and his backup Brett Romberg is 29 years old. The Falcons are going to draft an interior lineman who can play guard and center at some point in this draft.
4. WIDE RECEIVER HELP: The wide receiver position will get addressed at some point in the draft. Injuries to Harry Douglas and Brian Finneran nearly decimated the depth behind Roddy White last season.
5. BIGGER CBs TO GET ADDED: Bigger cornerbacks are on the way. Just look at the size of the receivers in the NFC South. I wouldn’t be wise to rule out Oklahoma State cornerback Perrish Cox. While he has some off the field he issues, he can play the game. South Florida cornerback Jerome Murphy didn’t impress too many people when he showed up for interviews wearing white gold upper and lower teeth grills.
DILLARD’s 2010 PROMOTION: At the 2008 combine, agent Jason Dillard of Signature Sports Reps in Sacramento, Calif., passed out t-shirts with bios of four clients on the front and back.
He had a milk carton theme because he contended they were “missing” from the combine because they weren’t not invited. One of the “missing players” was Clifton Smith, who went on to make the Tampa Bay roster and was named a Pro Bowl. Another was defensive back Roy Lewis who played one game with Pittsburgh in 2008 and eight with Seattle last season.
This year Dillard was back with another plan to help promote LSU defensive end Rahim Alem and California wide receiver Verran Tucker. He had red and white popcorn bags delivered to the media lounge with a bag of microwave popcorn, candies and a highlight DVD of Alem and Tucker entitled, “201o NFL Combine Movie Night.”
“Basically, teams had specific questions that we hope the DVDs would answer,” Dillard said.
The feedback on the DVDs has been positive.
“I actually sat down with one defensive coordinator last night,” Dillard said. “He appreciated it. Rahim is going to do the linebacker drills today and by the time he runs everybody will be looking forward to meeting him.”