The NFL draft is still more than two months away, but now that the NFL Scouting Combine is over, some opinions have been set in stone.
Perhaps the biggest surprise that came out of Indianapolis this week is that South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney isn’t the consensus “best player in the draft.” I spoke with an NFL team’s scout on the phone after the combine, and he said Auburn offensive tackle Greg Robinson should be the No. 1 overall pick.
“If you’re picking between Clowney and Robinson, you’re taking Robinson,” the scout said. “He’s beyond special.”
Robinson ran the 40-yard dash in 4.92 seconds at 6-foot-5, 332 pounds. The scout cited Robinson’s performance against Missouri, when he dominated projected first-round defensive end Kony Ealy, as proof that the offensive tackle is “the best offensive lineman in the last 20 years.”
Check out some more draft notes from the conversation.
Concerns about Jadeveon Clowney are real.
NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock was dwelling on Clowney’s lack of effort this season on the combine broadcast. Clowney had only three sacks as a junior after piling up 13 in 2012 as a sophomore.
Clowney “doesn’t want to work,” according to the scout. He said the worst thing that can happen is if Clowney is named an All-Pro early in his career. There are concerns that Clowney would then shut down and rest on his laurels.
Teddy Bridgewater’s best trait is his intelligence.
The three top quarterbacks in the draft class — Louisville’s Teddy Bridgewater, Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel and Central Florida’s Blake Bortles — each have one special quality that sets them apart. Any of the three could be the first quarterback selected.
Bridgewater’s special quality is his intelligence, although some wonder if he can hold up to NFL contact, according to the scout. Manziel’s best quality is how he can create plays, although he can’t always read the entire field.
AJ McCarron could be staying south.
Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron had a long meeting with the Atlanta Falcons, according to a league source. The scout compared McCarron to Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan.
McCarron’s a less talented Ryan, however. The scout said McCarron probably isn’t a future starter, but he can manage the game and run the system if the starter goes down.
Marqise Lee received interest from the Patriots.
USC wide receiver Marqise Lee might not still be around at No. 29 overall, but if he is, the Patriots could jump. The Patriots showed a lot of interest in Lee at the combine, according to a league source.
Bradley Roby is being overrated.
Ohio State cornerback Bradley Roby could be overdrafted in May. Roby was destroyed by his best competition in 2013, Wisconsin wide receiver Jared Abbrederis, who caught 10 passes for 207 yards against Roby.
The league took notice of Roby’s down game. He’s currently projected as a fringe first-rounder.
Julian Edelman is a system player.
Patriots wideout Julian Edelman might not be a fit for every team. Edelman can only succeed in certain systems, according to the scout.
The scout put a $6 million-a-year figure on Edelman, though he said he would take Denver Broncos free agent receiver Eric Decker at a higher price tag.
Taylor Lewan could get in trouble in the NFL.
Michigan offensive tackle Taylor Lewan has character red flags, but he should still be picked high in the draft. One concern for Lewan is that he’ll get in trouble in the NFL for his short temper. Lewan was known for his abundance of personal fouls while with the Wolverines.
Lewan’s athleticism is otherworldly, however. He ran a 4.87-second 40-yard dash at 6-foot-7, 309 pounds.
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