NFL Combine News and Notes

Vols Running Back Montario Hardesty posted impressive numbers as he continue to vastly improve his draft status at the NFL combine in Indianapolis. DT Dan Williams, DB’s Eric Berry and Dennis Rogan will all compete in the next couple of days still. Chris Scott didn’t post any amazing numbers and is expected to be a late rounder or free agent. Crompton also talks about his time here at UT and we’ll talk about his draft status.

The NFL Combine consists of 6 different tests. Per this is what the 6 drills are they put the players through:

40-yard dash
The 40-yard dash is the marquee event at the combine. It’s kind of like the 100-meters at the Olympics: It’s all about speed, explosion and watching skilled athletes run great times. These athletes are timed at 10, 20 and 40-yard intervals. What the scouts are looking for is an explosion from a static start.

Bench press
The bench press is a test of strength — 225 pounds, as many reps as the athlete can get. What the NFL scouts are also looking for is endurance. Anybody can do a max one time, but what the bench press tells the pro scouts is how often the athlete frequented his college weight room for the last 3-5 years.

Vertical jump
The vertical jump is all about lower-body explosion and power. The athlete stands flat-footed and they measure his reach. It is important to accurately measure the reach, because the differential between the reach and the flag the athlete touches is his vertical jump measurement.

Broad jump
The broad jump is like being in gym class back in junior high school. Basically, it is testing an athlete’s lower-body explosion and lower-body strength. The athlete starts out with a stance balanced and then he explodes out as far as he can. It tests explosion and balance, because he has to land without moving.

3 cone drill
The 3 cone drill tests an athlete’s ability to change directions at a high speed. Three cones in an L-shape. He starts from the starting line, goes 5 yards to the first cone and back. Then, he turns, runs around the second cone, runs a weave around the third cone, which is the high point of the L, changes directions, comes back around that second cone and finishes.

Shuttle run
The short shuttle is the first of the cone drills. It is known as the 5-10-5. What it tests is the athlete’s lateral quickness and explosion in short areas. The athlete starts in the three-point stance, explodse out 5 yards to his right, touches the line, goes back 10 yards to his left, left hand touches the line, pivot, and he turns 5 more yards and finishes.

Montario Hardesty

  • 6th best forty time among the running backs at 4.49
  • 6th best in bench press at 21 reps
  • 1st in Veritcal Jump at 41″
  • Tied for 1st in Broad Jump at 10’4″ with Auburn’s Ben Tate
  • 5th in 3 cone drill with a time of 6.87

Running Backs don’t do Shuttle Run apparently or they all suck at it because no times were posted on the Top Performers for that competition.

“Hardesty wowed scouts with his athleticism and came to the combine at a “solid” 225 pounds. Hardesty looked determined and focused throughout the event and really helped his case as a potential starting running back in the NFL.” – Bleacher Report

These numbers are huge for Hardesty because the biggest questions will be about his durability but the better the numbers the less attention goes to durability. Last season went a long way in Montario’s favor after playing in all 12 games beat up badly and almost setting the record for most yards in a single season. Hardesty could sneak into the 2nd round but 3rd-4th is more likely. If he does go on the first day that would bring the potential for 4 Vols to go on the first day as Dennis Rogan is being told he has 2nd round chances as he is one of the top corners in this draft (not a lot of corners graduating that are super good and not a lot of super good junior corners coming out).

Jonathon Crompton

  • Speaking on his personality and not commenting on the past or publicly analyzing it: “It brings out your true character,” Crompton said. “It taught me a lot about who I am as a person and as a football player, a son, a boyfriend, everything about life.”
  • Speaking about his time here: “I wouldn’t trade (the time at UT) for anything. It’s been a life-changing experience.”
  • Speaking on the Draft: “Wherever I go, I go,” Crompton said. “It’s all in God’s hands, and he knows what he’s doing. I’m out here doing everything I can to prepare myself for wherever I do go. I mean, wherever I go, I’m going to make the best of it and go from there.I think I’ve shown people what I can do the last half of last year. It’s all on the tape, and we can go from there.”
  • Speaking on scouting: “I just want to show that I can throw the ball,” Crompton said. “I’m very confident, I’ve got faith in my ability, I’ve got faith in God and everything I’ve been through that it will pay off in the end.”

Crompton was not invited to the NFL and combine and amazingly enough this was seen as a shocker to a lot media types. “I personally believe that he was the biggest Combine snub this year,” senior analyst Rob Rang said. “I would have said that he might have been the worst starting quarterback in all of college football, certainly in the SEC, prior to this season. That being said, whatever flipped the switch for him halfway though the year, he was spectacular. When you consider his size, his mobility, that arm he has, I absolutely feel he’s a draftable commodity, and considering the lack of elite quarterback talent in this draft, considering all the quarterbacks that are not going to throw during the Combine, I think it’s a shame that he wasn’t invited.”

The fact that Vol fans sit here and can talk about Jonathon Crompton being drafted is very surprising indeed. He was one of the most hated players ever and that all changed with a key senior year where he became one of the most liked Vols on last years team. Surprisingly enough he came with in two passes of setting the record at UT for most passes without an interception.

Eric Berry

Eric Berry has been training for tomorrow in Miami, FL. He knows he is good. He wants to be number one and his goal is to get there. “I really just want to come here and leave no doubt,” Berry said. “That is pretty much my whole goal, for anybody who has that little percentage in their mind that I am not good enough to be No. 1 or be up there with the other guys, I am trying to clear that up right now. … I feel like I am the best player in the draft.”

His resume is impressive as he won the Jim Thorpe Award as the nation’s best defensive back and was an All-America selection for the second consecutive year. In three seasons at UT he recorded 14 interceptions. He’s been compared to All-Pro safeties Ed Reed and Troy Polamalu. Not only that but he was only 7 yds shy of setting the record for most interception yards ever in a college career.

When interviewed earlier this week on the News Sentinel Sports Page Berry did not want to get into his personal goals for the drills tomorrow but he did say he wanted to run a sub 4.3 forty. This would be amazing for him. His interviews with his teams and scouts watching him work out have had basically nothing bad to say. Even though its hard to do as a top 3 pick his stock seems to be improving but it will be hard to beat DT’s Suh and McCoy.

Quotes about Berry

“He impacts the game,” Rams General Manager Billy Devaney said of Berry. “As a rule, safeties aren’t talked about going that high. But this guy I think in everybody’s mind impacts the game. You try to get impact players, and Berry’s certainly one.”

“I am not sure what the weaknesses are there,” Scouts Inc. draft analyst Matt Williamson said. “I think he can do it all. … He figures to be a can’t-miss guy as much as anyone.”

“That guy, his work ethic, the way he approaches the game … you can tell it is not rehearsed, it is just him,” former Tennessee defensive tackle Dan Williams said. “Eric is serious about everything, from buying a meal at Wendy’s to working out. He is always serious. He is a football player.”

But not everyone is positive:

“I personally think he is going to struggle at safety in the NFL,” said former Browns scout Russ Lande, an analyst for The Sporting News. “He is much better suited to play cornerback. I think he is a bad tackler. I think he is very inconsistent coming up in run support. Physically it is all there. He has great hips, he has great speed and can cover anybody. He can do all you want. I just don’t think he is consistent enough.”

Berry has all the negative stuff written about him taped to his bathroom wall. He reads it as he brushes his teeth, reminding him he has work to do, to not be satisfied.

Other Combine News

Look for Williams to go today, and Berry and Rogan tomorrow.

Tebow had a huge day and greatly improved his stock with his drills. If his new throwing motion comes of strong at Florida’s Pro Timing Day then look for him to go no later than the 3nd round, with 2nd more likely, as amazing as that sounds. Tebow posted a 4.72 in the forty, a record tying 38.5″ in vertical jump for QB’s, 9’7″ in broad jump, and 6.66 time in 3 cone drill.

Tennessee’s Pro Timing day will be March 17th.


About Steven Harris

Steven Harris is a fifth year senior at the University of Tennessee. Majoring in sports journalism, this blog provides an outlet for Harris to share his thoughts on the state of the University of Tennessee's athletic department''s Volunteer teams. View all posts by Steven Harris

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