It's once again time for five questions with draftcountdown.com's Scott Wright.
This week, Wright talks about the possibility of the Eagles taking a running back with their first pick and breaks down the NFL scouting combine taking place in Indianapolis.
Q: It has been reported that Texas Tech receiver Michael Crabtree won’t run the 40 at the Combine. How much do you think this will affect his stock?
A: It probably won’t affect his stock much, if at all. Crabtree would have hurt himself a lot more if he ran at the Scouting Combine and put up a bad number. Now he will have a little more time to recover from that ankle injury and prepare before running at his Pro Day workout. Nobody expects Crabtree to run a 4.3 but as long as he can register a 4.5 it will likely secure him a spot in the Top 10 overall and perhaps even the Top 5. For a prospect who has so much riding on that 40 time it was probably a good decision by Crabtree to wait.
Q: Name a couple players who you think will generate some buzz with their workouts at the Combine.
A: Well, a lot depends on who opts to participate because as we all know many of the top guys wait for their Pro Day. I think Florida WR Percy Harvin has a chance to put up this year’s best 40 time if he’s healthy and chooses to participate. Maryland WR Darrius Heyward-Bey needs to have a strong showing to justify his status as a first-round pick. There has been some buzz that Ohio St. RB Chris “Beanie” Wells might run a lot faster than people expect and if he does the Top 5 could be a possibility. Hopefully the three DE / OLB hybrids will all take part so we can start to separate Brian Orakpo of Texas, Everette Brown of Florida St. and Aaron Maybin of Penn St. Maybin in particular is intriguing because word has it he’s added about 20 pounds to his slight frame, and if that’s true we’ll see if he’s been able to maintain the speed and quickness that made him such a great pass rusher for the Nittany Lions. Georgia Tech DE Michael Johnson also has a lot riding on this weekend because everyone expects him to test through the roof. Most saw Johnson as a Top 10 overall pick heading into his senior season but the film from 2008 was not very impressive and he opted to sit out the Senior Bowl, essentially putting all of his eggs in the Combine basket. Another guy to watch out for is San Jose St. DL Jarron Gilbert, whose stock is already soaring. How fast Ohio St. CB Malcolm Jenkins runs will likely determine if he’s a Top 5-10 pick or a Top 10-15 pick. Keep an eye on Utah DB Sean Smith too because if he runs the 4.3 that has been rumored at 6-2 and 210 pounds, he will put himself in the first-round mix. Unfortunately, a bunch of those guys I just mentioned will inevitably decide not to work out this weekend.
Q: What happened to Andre Smith’s stock? I remember during the season he was mentioned as the top overall pick. Now some don’t even have him as the top tackle.
A: I am not sure Smith’s stock has dropped all that much, and there are still some who feel he is a Top 3 pick. However, count me amongst the critics when it comes to Smith. There is no denying that he is an impressive athlete for a man that size, but I have some major concerns. First of all Smith doesn’t have the prototypical height you look for in a left tackle at a shade under 6-4. Secondly, he weighed in at about 330 pounds in 2008 but he battled the bulge early in his career so that is a concern. Smith also has some character concerns, and he basically hung his team out to dry when he was suspended for the Sugar Bowl after reportedly taking gifts from an agent. Finally there are some questions about what position he will play at the next level and while he is capable of holding down the fort at left tackle there are many who feel he is best suited for the right side, or perhaps even guard, and you don’t take those guys in the Top 5 overall. Smith will ultimately be a Top 10 pick but he could slip a little bit on draft day, and personally I have him as my No. 3 rated offensive tackle behind Eugene Monroe of Virginia and Jason Smith of Baylor.
Q: Last week, you talked about the interviews being an important aspect of the Combine. What players do you think will wow teams in the meeting rooms?
A: One guy who needs to excel in the interviews is Southern Cal QB Mark Sanchez. Because he only has one year of college starting experience Sanchez will have to prove to teams he can handle the X’s and O’s. The interviews are especially important for guys with checkered pasts and if a prospect has off-the-field issues or has run into some legal trouble, the coaches and decision-makers will want to hear what happened in the player's own words.
Q: Eagles GM Tom Heckert said last week he wouldn’t rule out taking an RB in the first round despite the team’s draft history. You have the Eagles taking Beanie Wells in your most recent mock. What kind of back is he, and what current NFL players does he compare to?
A: If Beanie Wells did fall into the Eagles' laps, they should be very grateful because he is a legit Top 10 talent in my book. At 6-1 and 237 pounds, Wells has excellent size and is a physical runner, but he has also shown the ability to be a big play threat and his career yards per carry average of 5.8 is awfully impressive. Of the guys currently in the league, Wells probably reminds me of a Larry Johnson or a Steven Jackson. Wells would give Philly a great insurance policy for Brian Westbrook, providing them with a “Thunder & Lightning” attack and also shoring up their issues in short-yardage situations.