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Sunday, February 24, 2013

Running backs, receivers put on show

The running backs and receivers put on a show Sunday at the NFL combine, with some impressive results.

West Virginia wideout Tavon Austin and Texas receiver Marquise Goodwin were the top performers in the 40-yard dash at that position.

Austin and Goodwin were originally hand timed at 4.25 seconds, times that were later adjusted to 4.34 for Austin and 4.27 for Goodwin.

That those two were the top receivers in terms of speed was not surprising. Austin consistently blew away the competition last season, while Goodwin is an Olympic-level track star as well.

The downside for those two? Austin is 5-8, while Goodwin is 5-9.

Austin will still likely wind up as a first-round player - he had a top-flight 4.01 in the 20-cone shuttle, showing his change of direction skills - while Goodwin didn't have the production of Austin and will likely work his way into the third round.

The surprise among the wide receivers was Texas A&M's Ryan Swope. At 6-0, 205 pounds, Swope ran a 4.34 40 and also had 16 reps of 225 pounds. He was a productive player for the Aggies, but many questioned his speed - don't they do that with all white receivers?

Swope was originally viewed as a third-round pick, but after answering the questions about his speed, might slide up to the second round.

One receiver the Steelers did meet with was USC's Robert Woods. At 6-0, 201 pounds, Woods ran a sold 4.51 Sunday. He's a silky smooth receiver who runs solid routes and catches nearly everything.

As for the running backs, they didn't show the overall speed as a group that the wideouts did, but Auburn's Onterrio McCalebb did rip off a 4.34 40.

At 5-10, 168 pounds, however, he's not much more than a change-of-pace back who's a day 3 draft pick despite his great 40 time.

Of the backs who interest the Steelers, Montee Ball ran a 4.66 40. Before you say that's too slow, realize that was .01 faster than Alfred Morris ran last year. Morris, a sixth-round pick, didn't have Ball's pedigree, which is why Ball will likely go in round three, while Morris went in the sixth.

Monday, the defensive linemen and linebackers will work out, while Tuesday, it will be the safeties and corners.


Steve-O said...

I liked what I saw out of Tavon Austin today. I know there's no chance the Steelers take him at 17 but he is going to be something special.

Anonymous said...

I agree. Austin did nothing but boost his draft rating today. He'll never make it past New England, he's exactly what BB looks for in a wideout. Steelers need to trade down in the 1st get Lacy round 2 Woods 3rd Cyprien. Thats only if we keep Harrison and foote

Anonymous said...

Dale, I know a lot of things can happen and a lot of good players can slide on draft day but is there any chance we pass on Woods if hes there with our 2nd pick?

Pistol said...

Well there goes my hope of them taking Swope!

Anonymous said...

Doubt anyone is getting Cyprien in the third.

Anonymous said...

If McCallebb is available day 3, he'd make a nice replacement for Rainey.

Dale Lolley said...

Still a lot to sort out in terms of who is REALLY on the Steelers radar. So it's too early for me to say who they will pass on and who they will take.

Pistol said...


I just feel like they really need an X receiver and i love Swopes toughness and route running but hes more of a z dont you think?? Would have been a great 4th round target.

Dale Lolley said...

No way Swope lasts until the fourth. I don't think that was going to happen before he blew up the combine.

I thought Swope was a second to third-round guy coming in. And at his size, I think he can play anywhere you need him.

Pistol said...

Dale ,

So your saying there's a chance lol??? I just noticed he was in the Z a lot on film. I think he would be a great addition!! I also like Woods a ton too.

WestGaSteel said...

Hey Dale, what do you think about Knile Davis from Arkansas? He was thought to be a big prospect a couple years ago and then broke his ankle I think. Then had a down year last season. He's 6' 227lbs and ran a 4.37. Nice combo of size and speed. I don't too much about him other than what I said.

marc said...

separate issue.

i was reading today about brady signing an extension with the patriots for significantly "under market value" and spreading his cap hit out over the next several years.

two things interested me:
1. are teams allowed to make side deals (3rd party endorsements, etc.) with players that operate outside of the CBA?

2. the article said the salary cap was going to be flat for anotehr two years, yet i thought people kept saying after this year it was supposed to jump up. which is it?

Anonymous said...

Dale, is it out of the question to go RB with our first pick at 17? I know that's not a popular thought around here or in Pittsburgh period but I think that helps keep our defense off the field and also opens up a lot in the passing game. Todd Haley was brought in to help control time of possession and it would make sense for us to get that feature back we lack now to help with that goal. I realize there are good backs to be found in later rounds but I do not think any of them compare to Lacy and Bernard

Eric T said...


1) No, that is not allowed. And Brady got a $30 million signing bonus to sign that extension. Its under valued in report $ amount, but market value in the guaranteed money. It was just a restructure to lower his cap number. He just happens to have a PR guy writing the MMQB article for Sports Illustrated.

2) From everything I have read, the cap will be flat until 2015 season. Though it seems that the owners want the cap figure low, so I am not holding my breath for it to go up.

Henry said...

If Justin Hunter is staring at them at 2.17, they should pull the trigger.

marc said...

Eric T,
Thanks for the info.

Now, let's get this straight. from 2005 to 2009 the NFL salary cap went from $85.5 mil to $123 mil. Then, from 2009 to 2014 the cap goes from $123 mil to $121 mil (proj.).

Yes, there was an uncapped year in there, but otherwise the players are getting no more than they were before (as a whole).

and yet, the players complain about goodell. amazing.

Dale Lolley said...

The only thing I'll say about Davis - since I don't know a ton about him - is that he broke his collar bone and ankle in high school, then had a serious ankle injury in college.

That raises plenty of red flags - since he had just one productive college season.

I don't see a running back at 17 because you can get backs later. I see a receiver or defensive back as being the pick at this point. That could change.

I like Hunter on the field, but the Tennessee guys scare me a bit. I think there was some lack of institutional control there to some degree.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Dale. But do we still go WR at 17 if we sign Breaston?

Dale Lolley said...

Breaston would probably be a one-year fix. That would also allow them to not sign Sanders to a long-term deal if they so chose.