NFL Combine Day 1 : Who Should Chiefs Fans Watch For?

 

 

The NFL combine kicks off today at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. Here’s a breakdown of when things will happen, and players Chiefs fans should keep an eye on throughout the week. 

 

Chiefs Focus @Chiefs Focus Charles Robinson @CRob5769

It’s been 15 days since the Super Bowl. 15 days of crawling through a desert baren of any hints of football. We’ve seen mirages along the way – the release of Anthony Hitchens, the re-signing of Eric Bienemy and reunion with Matt Nagy – but haven’t really had any real football news or content to sink our teeth into since then. In the football world 15 days can feel like 15 years, especially when you consider how plugged in some folks (myself included) are to “(insert team name here) Twitter” and other media outlets. The NFL has become a media machine, and the absence of substantial news just leaves us to find things to argue about online. Super good for the brain health. 

 

Well wait no more, folks. NFL coaches, front office personnel, and medical teams among others have congregated in Indy and the festivities kicked off today. The 324 players invited will go through rigorous mental and physical assessment from now until Sunday when the Combine wraps up. They will be subjected to interviews from teams that have interest in them and some who may not yet, but will by the time the Combine is over. Some of the questions will without a doubt be off the wall – mostly in part to see how the young players handle the pressure of being put on the spot. Some of the past questions that have been documented during these interviews include : 

 

“Do you like men?” 

 

“Do you find your mother attractive?” 

 

“When did you lose your virginity?” 

 

“Is your mother a prostitute?” 

 

“What kind of fish are you?” 

 

 

“Are you a dog or a cat?” 

 

And 

 

“What is your murder weapon of choice?” 

 

Answer any of those the wrong way and the door to your prospective NFL career could somehow close. Answer them correctly, and you’re the luckiest man in the room at the moment. One has to think that the murder weapon of choice question can only be answered with “my own hands”, correct? I don’t know, that just seems like a football guy answer. Maybe you should say “7 man sled”. All I know is I’m glad I don’t have to answer these questions. I would melt under the pressure these kids are about to go through. Yes, they are kids, and I am officially old as I approach my 34th birthday. 

 

What we are all waiting for, though, is the field workout portion of the NFL Combine. The Underwear Olympics, if you will. Players will be measured on 7 primary drills across all positions over the course of the next 5 days. Those drills include the 40-yard dash, bench press, vertical jump, broad jump, three-cone drill, 20-yard shuttle, and 60-yard shuttle among various other position specific drills. Players will also be subject to a “tale of the tape” at the combine. They will have their height and weight measured, obviously, and as we all know by now the league will measure players hand size, arm length, and wing span as well. 

 

Mentally, they will be subjected to a few measurements as well. The players will be subjected to the NFL’s Player Assessment test, which measures learning styles, motivation, decision making skills, response to pressure and unexpected stimuli, and core intellect. They will have to take the TAP (Troutwine Athletic Profile), developed by sports psychologist and William Jewell College professor Dr. Robert Troutwine, to place them into one of 8 athletic profiles. You can find the definitions of those profiles here, but these guys will either be labeled as Trailblazers, Rockets, Eagles, Engineers, Knights, Musketeers, Ice, or Mavericks. And, of course, they will all have to take the famous Wonderlic Test. 

 

Overall this will be a grueling few days for these guys, who have tirelessly prepared for this moment since wrapping up their final seasons of college football. I’ll leave the schedule for the field portion week at the bottom of the post. But let’s take a look at some guys who Chiefs fans need to keep an eye out for at this year’s Combine first. To make this easy, I’ve chosen 2 of the players from each of our focus positions that we’ve gathered thus far this offseason. There are many, many more to cover but we will get to that as we move through the process and inch closer to the NFL Draft. Profiles are taken from my favorite online resource for player evaluation, thedraftnetwork.com

 

Offensively : 

 

Wide Receiver : 

 

Dontario Drummond – Ole Miss

 

Dontario Drummond is a former 3-star recruit out of Laurel High School. As a three-sport athlete, he played baseball, basketball, and football. Spent two years at East Mississippi Community College before transferring to Ole Miss. He helped win state championships with both football and basketball teams. Drummond will be a 25-year-old rookie next August. This could remove him from draft boards of teams that prioritize youth. He is a big slot receiver that rotates on the perimeter. His game is predicated on yards after the catch. He has the speed to get behind defenders on go and post routes. He faced a ton of off-coverage, leading to unrefined releases and routes. How will he handle physical press coverage at the next level? Can he adapt or will he need the same pre-snap motions and alignments to have success? Time will tell.” 

You can find his full draft profile here 

 

 

George Pickens – Georgia 

 

“He is a matchup problem in slant/fade situations. He can defeat press with foot quickness but will need to add mass, bulk, and upper-body strength to his wiry frame in order to play through physicality in the NFL. Because he is lean and there have been injury concerns in his past, this could affect the projection to the next level. So while the grade is reflective of the talent level, there are other factors that could factor into his projection. Ultimately, he has redeeming value in his athleticism, agility, and catch radius.”

You can find his full draft profile here

 

Running Back 

 

Kenneth Walker – Michigan State

 

Walker III projects as an early-down back and high-volume ball-carrier at the NFL level and offers enough dynamic play in lateral situations to be considered someone capable of working off-script and creating for himself when the point of attack fails to create room to work. Walker III’s resume has little question as a ball-carrier but the supplementary areas of his game can still unlock further levels to his skill set and help him become a more complete player at the NFL level.” 

You can find his full draft profile here

 

Jerome Ford – Cincinnati 

 

Ford won’t be confused as an overly elusive or shifty back, but he has plenty of agility to complement his downhill style. When it comes to growth areas, the biggest thing for Ford is proving himself on passing downs. While he’s hauled in almost every target sent his way in college, it was never a priority for him to be featured in the passing game and has run a basic route tree. While he has the makings of an outstanding back in pass protection, he needs to improve his ability to diagnose and respond. Ford has the makings of a top-two option in a running back stable and has starter traits should he prove himself more on passing downs.”

You can find his full draft profile here

 

 

Defense : 

 

DL/Edge : 

 

George Karlaftis – Purdue 

 

“Karlaftis has rushed the passer from both two and three-point stances and gets strong release from his tilted two-point stance when he’s aligned at wider angles. Amid the debate about the value of speed and flexibility versus power on the edge, Karlaftis is going to be a testament to the latter. He wins many reps with his ability to roll blockers back on their heels and reducing the angles that he needs to work with in order to disrupt timing and comfort in the backfield before transitioning to the football. But don’t think he can’t claim outside wins, too. He’s fully capable of dipping the outside track or hitting an inside swim maneuver. He may not have the best pitches in his arsenal as a pass rusher out of this year’s class, but he might have the most.”

You can find his full draft profile here

 

Michael Clemmons – Texas A&M

 

“Michael Clemons is a senior defensive lineman that transferred into the Texas A&M program from Cisco Junior College. Clemons has started for the last two seasons at defensive end. This past season served as Clemons’ most productive season as he was able to accumulate seven sacks with his most productive outing coming in the season finale against LSU (three sacks). Clemons plays as an edge defender playing in both the two-point and three-point stance. From the two-point stance, he is able to burst out of his stance and blow past offensive linemen. He can also use his exceptional length to set the edge against run plays that are directed his way. Clemons is a good athlete that with further development flashed the potential to be a productive edge rusher in the NFL for the foreseeable future.”

You can find his full draft profile here

 

On Clemmons, I have a good friend who is a scout for a NFC West squad. His assessment? 

 

“A true enigma and a freak show…his knuckles scrape the ground…improved this season and he’s got some shit you just can’t coach in terms of the physical traits.” 

 

Chalk Michael Clemons up as my “I hope we get his ass” mid to late round pickup. 

 

 

Linebacker : 

 

Chad Muma – Wyoming

 

“Chad is a linebacker who roams the box for the Cowboys’ defense. He’s a good athlete with regard to agility and lateral mobility. In the run game, he’s excellent due to his outstanding instincts in the box. He is heavy at the point of attack and overall has outstanding tackling efficiency in the open field. He really misses tackles in the box or in space. In the passing game, he is outstanding, giving him true three-down value. He is athletic enough in coverage to cover running backs on routes. He is outstanding at using his spatial awareness and instincts to get in the passing lanes. He has good hands to secure interceptions, as well. He makes all the calls defensively and easily adjusts with motion. In the NFL, he should be a starter in sub-package situations initially, with the opportunity to grow into a starter with pro coaching.”

You can find his full draft profile here

 

 

Muma is Calab’s find, a good one if I do say so myself. Could be an outstanding replacement to Ben Niemann for the coming season. 

 

Secondary (Safety and CB) : 

 

Coby Bryant – Cincinnati – CB

 

 

“Bryant is a competitive cover man with man and zone versatility. He has great ball skills and tracking abilities. He has a quick trigger to sit and break on shorter routes. Bryant is a solid athlete but twitchy receivers can force him to panic early in the stem. Poor tackling form has plagued him. He’d rather dive at the ball-carrier’s feet as an ankle-biter—improvement is needed in this area.”

You can find his full draft profile here

 

Jalen Pitre – Baylor – Safety 

 

“On any given play you can find Pitre playing FS, SS, ILB, or 

 

OLB. His athletic traits allow for defensive coordinators to put him in position to make plays. Pitre is an active sideline-to-sideline player that prides himself on having a physical presence in his tackling. In coverage, Pitre is best when he can play as a middle-of-the-field robber and use his natural instincts to lead him to the ball. In his last two seasons at Baylor, Pitre has seen his high level of play pay off in the form of many awards. In 2020 Pitre was named to the First Team All-Big 12 Team and in 2021 he was named to the AP All-American First Team. Pitre is a versatile defender that has proven that he has a knack for making plays close to the line of scrimmage.”

You can find his full draft profile here

 

 

 

Draft Field Drill Schedule : 

 

Thursday 3.3 – TE, QB, WO

Running starts at 4:00 pm and last player off field around 11:00 pm

 

Friday 3.4 – OL, RB

Running starts at 4:00 pm and last player off field around 11:00 pm

 

Saturday 3.5 – DL, LB

 

Running starts at 4:00 pm and last player off field around 11:00 pm

 

Sunday 3.6 – PK, DB

PK workout 10:30 am – 1:30 pm

DB running starts at 2:00 pm and last player off field around 7:30 pm

 

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