NFL | NCAA Football

NCAA College Football: The Combine and Other Thoughts

The biggest question off this week’s NFL Combine may not be who will be chosen with the first overall pick – whether it is Joey Bosa of Ohio State or Laremy Tunsil of Ole Miss – rather where will Heisman Trophy running back Derrick Henry land. There is plenty of talk about Henry as a potential sleeper in the Draft process, but for now, he is considered anywhere from a 2nd to 4th round selection. Daniel Jeremiah of NFL.com said Henry may be one of the more intriguing players at the Combine and should get plenty of attention from NFL scouts.

“Henry is one of the most polarizing players in the 2016 NFL Draft. However, everyone is in agreement that he will put up some monster numbers at the combine. The reigning Heisman Trophy winner, who rushed for 2,219 yards and 28 touchdowns last fall, is expected to show up around 240 pounds, run in the mid-4.4s and record a vertical jump around 40 inches. As a player, he reminds me of a faster version of Brandon Jacobs (Jacobs ran in the mid-4.5s). I expect Henry to land in the second round in April.”

Right now, Henry is listed on most Draft boards as the second rated running back behind Ohio State’s Ezekiel Elliott. A strong showing, where he runs well and interviews well, could send him into the bottom of the first round, in my opinion.

Officially, Henry measured at 6’2” and 247 pounds in Indianapolis on Wednesday.

SPURRIER TO FLORIDA?

You read the headline correctly, but it isn’t the Steve Spurrier you are thinking about.

Gridironnow.com is reporting that Steve Spurrier Jr., nicknamed “Bubba,” is in the running to be an offensive quality control assistant for the Gators. He has spent the past 11 seasons as an assistant at South Carolina, including a stint as co-offensive coordinator for the Gamecocks under his father.

Spurrier Jr. also has coached at Arizona, Oklahoma and in the NFL with the Washington Redskins; he also worked on the support staff at UF in the mid-1990s.

CHARACTER COUNTS

The one thing NFL teams will be concerned with when it comes to drafting players is character concerns. Scouts and general managers will take a long hard look at players, who despite having all-world talent, have red flags because of off-field incidents.

One of those players who could be hurt the most by his off-field issues is Ole Miss defensive tackle Robert Nkemdiche, who is among the top five talents in Indianapolis. Because of troubles while in college, teams may shy away from the talent because of fear of wasting a draft pick.

Lance Zierlein of NFL.com wrote that “Nkemdiche’s December fall from a hotel window and subsequent charge of marijuana possession led to a suspension from the Sugar Bowl. Nkemdiche apologized after the incident and denied a report that he had used synthetic marijuana. Scouts are very concerned about not only Nkemdiche’s personal character, but also his overall work ethic as well.”

There are other players who are on Zierlein’s list in his article. One of them is Baylor defensive end Shawn Oakman. The huge defender has his own issues teams will need to pay attention to.

“Oakman was dismissed from Penn State by then-head coach Bill O’Brien for a variety of team infractions. O’Brien is now the head coach of the Houston Texans. Oakman, who transferred to Baylor, was also suspended from the Bears’ 2015 season opener for violating team rules. Scouts have confided that Oakman’s interviews were “a mess” last month at the Reese’s Senior Bowl.”

At 6’9” and 280 pounds, Oakman would present matchup issues for offensive linemen. Based on size, he could be a top 10 selection.

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