Weekend Roundup: Talking Combine, overtime & more

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This was the first of what should be a couple of very interesting weekends in the NFL. The Scouting Combine in Indianapolis began this weekend and we're less than a week away from the start of free agency in the NFL - kicking of Friday at midnight. Needless to say there's lots to talk about. So let's discuss some.

Quick thoughts on various topics from Combine
There was obviously a lot to talk about from the first two "workout days" of the Scouting Combine. Below are just some of my initial impressions that I wanted to share:

  • Golden Tate and Arrelious Benn might have just moved their draft stock from late first round or early second round to mid to late first round. Tate's 4.42 40 time was faster than many thought he'd run after seeing Tate get caught from behind on a number of occasions last year. Tate also dropped a couple of passes early during his workout but recovered well. He didn't really have drop issues in college so a couple of drops won't hurt him in this process. But the questions about his route running remain. Benn, meanwhile, displayed outstanding hands all workout long and ran faster than many thought he would (mid 4.5s). At 6'1, 220, Benn would be a big target who can also get down the field and who has a 37 inch vertical leap, allowing him to go up and get the football. But both Tate and Benn might have moved themselves too far up, making Miami's chances of landing either of these guys (if they even wanted to) much more difficult.
  • Two receivers who hurt their stock were Mardy Gilyard and Jordan Shipley. Both had question marks about their speed and we saw why on Sunday. Gilyard has the hands to play receiver in the NFL but was unable to run a sub 4.6 40. He does have some quickness, though. But how much will his limited speed hurt him in the draft? Shipley, meanwhile, looked like he lacked both speed and quickness. some people wanted to compare the 5'11 Shipley to a Wes Welker type of receiver. But he, too, ran a disappointing 40 and looked slow in and out of his breaks during his workout on Sunday.
  • Here are two running backs I really like if the Dolphins are shopping for one. One is well-known: Stanford's Toby Gerhart. The 230 pounder ran in the mid 4.5s, posted a 38 inch vertical and worked out well in all the drills. Meanwhile, my favorite mid to late round running back is Buffalo's James Starks, who ran a 4.5 40 at 218 pounds. He had shoulder surgery about six months ago but still took part in all of the workouts and looked mighty fine doing so. He looked quick, agile, and displayed solid hands for a running back. Keep an eye on this kid.
  • Jimmy Graham in round three of four. Who is with me here? The 6'6, 260 pound tight end ran a 4.56 40, posted a 38.5 inch vertical, and then had a solid workout catching the football. He also has the longest arms of any of the tight ends (35 inches). He's raw but has some ridiculous upside.
  • Syracuse receiver Mike Williams might have looked good on the field. But PFT reports he really hurt himself with his interview responses. The guy has unquestionable talent. But is he worth the potential head-ache? Maybe in round five or six, if he's still on the board, he's worth a shot.
  • So who are the Dolphins interested in? God only knows. But we do know that the Dolphins interviewed receiver Golden Tate (via Miami Herald) and running back Dexter McCluster (also via Herald). McCluster, though, disappointed many by running a 4.58 40. But the 172 pound back did put up 20 bench press reps, showing off some strength for a little guy. But that bad time could hurt him. The Dolphins also interviewed Georgia Tech DE/OLB Derrick Morgan (via Sun-Sentinel) and many have Morgan going off the board anywhere from the 6th pick to the 15th pick - right in the area where the Fins pick in round one.
  • NFL strongly considering a change to OT
    I find it it funny that the very topic we debated here a few weeks back is now up for debate within the NFL's competition committee. The NFL is strongly considering making a change to their overtime system - likely just for the postseason (at least right now). While the idea that is expected to be voted on by the committee in the coming weeks isn't one of the ideas I outlined for you, it's an improvement from the current system.

    You'll remember my biggest gripe with the current overtime system is how the team who wins the coin toss could win the football game by playing for a field goal. Well this proposed change would fix that. Per various reports, the idea being tossed around would allow both teams to touch the football in overtime - unless the team that receives OT's opening kick scores a touchdown.

    Here's the proposal. The team that receives would win the game if they score a touchdown. If they settle for a field goal, then the other team would get a chance to either match their field goal OR win by scoring a touchdown. If the game remains tied after each team touches the ball, then it goes back to sudden death with the first team to score winning the game.

    I still stand by my "first to score six points" idea - eliminating either team from winning by kicking only one field goal - but this idea isn't bad. It eliminates the biggest gripe I had with the current system. But why is this change reportedly only for the postseason? Why not make it like this in the regular season as well?

    I just don't get that at all. But at least it's a step in the right direction.

    QUICK HITS
    -Edgar Thompson is reporting that while it's been believed Ronnie Brown would be under contract if 2010 is uncapped, that's not true and that he would actually be a restricted free agent. Somebody brought up to Thompson via his Twitter page that Ronnie himself said if there's no new CBA, an option would kick in to keep him signed through 2010. But Thompson responded simply by saying to "trust" him. So now I don't know what to believe.

    -WQAM has lost the rights to broadcast Dolphin games in 2010. The Dolphins decided not to exercise their option with WQAM, reportedly because Clear Channel lured them away. It's being rumored that the Dolphins will be on both Y-100 FM (providing better sound quality) and one of Clear Channel's AM stations. But who is in the booth is anyone's guess.

    -The NY Daily News' Rick Cimini - one of the best football writers in the country - doesn't think Chad Pennington will be back with the Dolphins. He writes, "Here's what I can tell you: He will not re-sign with the Dolphins. The Dolphins want to go with Tyler Thigpen and Pat White as their backup QBs." Cimini knows his stuff and has very good sources around the entire league. I'll believe him on this one. CP won't be back in Miami.

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