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NFL Combine: Day 1

Posted by Christopher Smith on February 24, 2011 – 8:48 AM

9:30 a.m. EST – The media room on the east side of Lucas Oil Stadium is packed with laptops, recorders and bodies, many of whom are making the same jokes about the weather (cold) and the time (early, especially for those coming from the West coast). We’re still awaiting the arrival of players, which will begin to trickle toward the three podiums in the next few hours.

Players have yet to arrive at the media room, but they'll start flocking to podiums like this one in the next few hours.

10:42 a.m. EST – Former Chargers defensive coordinator Ron Rivera: The Panthers will consider taking a quarterback with the No. 1 overall pick in the draft, but their pool of potential selections includes “seven to 10″ at this point. He reiterated the importance of finding or developing a franchise quarterback after having Philip Rivers in San Diego.

Former Chargers defensive coordinator Ron Rivera speaks with the media at the Combine.

11:25 a.m. EST — Director of College Scouting John Spanos talks in the hall after morning weigh-ins for arriving players. Spanos says the Chargers value the medical exams and 1-on-1 interviews most in the Combine process.

Oklahoma State K Dan Bailey is the first of dozens of players to enter the Combine media room.

11:42 a.m. EST – Oklahoma State kicker Dan Bailey is the first player to enter the media room. Bailey won the Lou Groza Award as the nation’s top kicker in 2010, making 27-of-31 field goals, but didn’t even have a scholarship until his junior season.

Alabama OT James Carpenter won a national championship his junior season after transferring from Coffeyeville (Kan.) Community College.

Fresno State QB Ryan Colburn speaks at Podium B.

12:39 p.m. EST – Fresno State quarterback Ryan Colburn talked about former teammates and current Chargers Ryan Mathews and Seyi Ajirotutu. “I played a lot of ball with those guys,” he said.

Mathews and Ajirotutu attended Colburn’s wedding five weeks ago.

“I talked to Seyi a few days ago (about the Combine) and he just told me to be myself. I have nothing to hide. Me as a person is my best attribute and I’m here to showcase that.”

1:01 p.m. EST — Conference pride remains a big deal to many of these players. Just ask Georgia OL Clint Boling: “Obviously I’d like to think the SEC is the best conference. We won four national championships (during my career).”

Wisconsin OT Gabe Carimi doesn't lack confidence. "I know I'm the best tackle out there."

1:27 p.m. EST – Houston OL Isaiah Thompson  on the Bod Pod, a clostrophobic egg-shaped structure that measures body fat: “I’m an offensive lineman, so probably all of us failed.”

Said Thompson of the entire medical process, which included urine samples and giving blood: “I was at the hospital so long yesterday I thought they were going to give me a room and a bed.”

1:33 p.m. EST – South Carolina OL Garrett Chisolm lost both of his parents to cancer. He played one season at Pikeville (Ky.) College in 2006 and missed football in ’07 and ’08. Senior day with the Gamecocks was emotional for him; he carried a framed photograph of his parents onto the field.

He also got emotional when he learned of the Combine invite: “I was ecstatic. It was an unreal feeling that I’d actually be at the NFL Combine with some of the best athletes in the world.”

2:21 p.m. EST – Florida OT Marcus Gilbert’s father was a part of President Obama’s Secret Service detail for two years. Gilbert promises Obama hasn’t given him any footwork tips ahead of the Combine.

“I think I can take care of that just fine. What did he roll up, his ankle or something like that?” Gilbert said. “I could probably teach him a couple of things.”

Louisville TE Cameron Graham acknowledged the need to shore up his blocking at the NFL level. "I feel like every tight end (coming out) needs to work on blocking."USC TE Jordan Cameron talks to the media.


2:52 p.m. EST – USC TE Jordan Cameron originally attended BYU for basketball. Unlike Chargers TE Antonio Gates, though, he did play football in college, beginning as a reserve wide receiver.

Cameron does consider himself an athletic receiving tight end but shied away from any comparison to a few NFL players with basketball backgrounds.

“Everybody’s unique. Everybody’s different. I’ll pave my own way,” Cameron said.

3:24 p.m. EST – Villanova OL Ben Ijalana would add to the list of NFL linemen with wrestling backgrounds. Chargrers DT Antonio Garay, likely the most successful of the bunch, was an All-American at Boston College.

“To this day, wrestling is the hardest physical activity I’ve done,” Ijalana said.

Arkansas TE D.J. Williams smiles as he recounts his senior season.

4:08 p.m. EST – D.J. Williams did not want to reveal his goal for the 40-yard dash, so he appeased reporters by saying he’d like to run a 4.1. Chris Johnson’s electronically-timed record is 4.24 seconds.

Williams, who caught 149 passes for more than 1,800 yards, said Bobby Petrino got onto him good after his sophomore year about his lack of blocking, which he made a focus during his final two seasons.

“My background pretty much was like sandpaper. It was really rough. But after that sandpaper wore out, me and my family came out smooth,” Williams said.

Baylor OL Danny Watkins speaks at Podium B late Thursday afternoon.

5:15 p.m. EST – Baylor OL Danny Watkins grew up a hardcore Vancouver Canucks fan that loved hockey and rugby. He became a firefighter at 17 years old in British Columbia, which he remained for four years.

Watkins went to California to advance his firefighting career and was convinced to play football for Butte Community College, where Packers QB Aaron Rodgers played at one time.

Watkins is also 26 years old.

“I don’t have arthritis,” Watkins joked.

5:46 p.m. EST – That’s it for the day in Indianapolis. I’ll be here tomorrow to talk with quarterbacks, running backs and wide receivers.

Stay true and keep pounding,

Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments »

4 Responses to “NFL Combine: Day 1”

  1. By cody on Feb 24, 2011 | Reply

    i think that the chargers should draft casey matthews since sean left and we need one now. i think he would fit the part because he has great since in that position and he could easly be a starter in the nfl.

  2. By Jarred on Feb 24, 2011 | Reply

    When it comes to the draft, the first priority has to be the defense. Either Cameron Jordan, Akeem Ayers, J.J. Watt, or Aldon Smith in the first round would be aces with me. Then in round 2 we pick up a WR like Tandon Doss, or Greg Little and a CB and in round three an OL and maybe a TE.

  3. By Ken on Feb 25, 2011 | Reply

    Chargers shuold not let Vincent Brown from San Diego State get out of town. Great mid round selection!!!!!!

  4. By Christian on Feb 25, 2011 | Reply


    I agree completely, but I’m gonna toss in Adrian Clayborn and Ryan Kerrigan in that list of yours and in that order. I would prefer that the Chargers prioritize getting a 5-technique DE to replace Cesaire. As much as we need another OLB, we just drafted one a couple years ago (despite it not paying off), and it’s a waste of a first rounder imho.

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