By Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer
Monday, February 25th, 2008 at 9:37 pm in Oakland Raiders.
Some better-late-than-never wrap-up notes after traveling home from the NFL combine Sunday:
– The prevailing opinion going in was that LSU defensive tackle Glenn Dorsey might be out of reach for the Raiders, while Arkansas running back Darren McFadden would not only be there, but still might not be worth the risk because of “character concerns.”
That was before Dorsey made an extra hospital visit for more investigation on a previous stress fracture and McFadden’s blazing 40-yard dash performance put a smoky haze on his reputation for nightclubbing and paternity suits.
Of course, Dorsey has two months to have his feet thoroughly checked out and McFadden can still get into trouble before April 26.
– Something to remember about 40-yard dash times _ they’re unofficial and change from one timer to the next.
Unbelievably, a league that produces all this money runs their combine 40s without an electronically timed finish. Some teams have their own timers and that is all they use.
Frank Cooney from The Sports Xchange breaks down how the 40 works _ the scouting service which the NFL uses to post times for the media on the NFL web site _ and explained the process in its own Web site:
Those who participate in the 40 actually run twice, and on each run they are timed by two hand-held stopwatches and one electronic timer (that is actually initiated by hand on the player’s first movement).
Combine data put together for NFL teams by National Scouting includes all six of those times for each player, but no single official time.
Team scouts and coaches have various approaches for getting the 40 time they use from those six timings. Some use averages. Some throw out slowest and fastest and then average the rest. Some ignore the whole thing and use a time taken by their own scout.
By one clocking, McFadden ran a 4.27. The NFL, through SportsXchange, had it at 4.33.
According to Sports Xchange, McFadden was beaten by East Carolina’s Chris Johnson, who timed 4.24.
Not that Jackson’s time is a guarantee of success. The 4.24 time tied their fastest recorded mark by someone named Rondel Melendez, a wide receiver from Eastern Kentucky who went 4.24 in 1999 and never made a mark on the NFL.
– Raider corners Fabian Washington and Stanford Routt both went 4.29 according to SportsXchange in 2005, although that may not have been the times the Raiders recorded.
– Ohio State defensive end Vernon Gholston was impressive with 38 bench press reps at 225 pounds, although it’s worth noting another Ohio State defensive end named Mike Kudla had 45 reps in 2006. Ever heard of him? He’s got a “Bench Press Supersite” Web page which advertises a 610-pound bench press as a senior.
It didn’t make him a pass rusher.
– The physical tests lag far behind the medical evaluations and interview opportunities in terms of value. Someone like DeSean Jackson needed only to prove he was fast (he did, with a 4.35 or 4.31, depending on who did the timing), and then the rest of his appearance was being poked, prodded and having his psyche explored in a 15-minute interview.
– Hard to imagine a prospect so far above the rest it would be worth moving up to the top pick. Colts owner Bill Polian seemed relieved to have a team good enough that he doesn’t have to worry about it.
“Now you face the proposition of saying if I’m after the first pick and I have to pay $30 million for it, how much do I want to give up in addition to that?,” Polian said. “And if you fail with that pick, your franchise is saddled with an albatross that
you can’t get rid of for who knows how long. It’s completely changed because ofthe cost of those picks and in my view, that’s wrong. It should change. That’s bad for the game. It isn’t about money, it’s about the integrity of the game on the field.”
The NBA’s system of paying rookies makes far more sense.
If you’re Miami and the best player on the board is Chris Long, how comfortable do you feel dropping $30 million plus in guarantees on a player who was compared to Patrick Kerney, who as a free agent last season signed a contract with $19.5 million in guarantees with Seattle?
Even if the Raiders could have traded out of the No. 1 pick in the draft last season, chances are there weren’t many takers.
– Had a nice chat with Lane Kiffin at the Hyatt Saturday before he decided he wouldn’t speak on the record regarding all things Raider, but apparently was asleep for the real show well after midnight. Sac Bee beat writer Jason Jones spotted Kiffin at a cigar bar called Nicky Blaine’s and nearby nightspot Ike & Jonseys. According to the Atlanta-Journal Constitution blog, Kiffin was even seen “cutting the rug” at the latter establishment.
– With several top quality restaurants and brew pubs within walking distance in downtown Indianapolis, it’s always an amusing sight to see so many head coaches and assistants ducking into the corner “Steak and Shake” for one of those regrettable late-night feasts.