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2009 NFL Combine: Friday Notebook

NFL Combine Media Transcripts will be linked HERE

INDIANAPOLIS -- Quarterbacks are always the focal point of any NFL Draft, no matter how strong or weak that year's class might be.

While this year's senior crop is considered extremely weak, underclassmen Matthew Stafford of Georgia and Mark Sanchez of Southern Cal were joking with each other at the combine on Friday despite perhaps battling for a top 10 - or even No. 1 overall - spot in April's draft.

After Sanchez asked Stafford a question while posing as a media member, Stafford was asked by a real media member if the two quarterbacks have a good relationship.

"Yeah, we're great friends. We met, I think, this summer at Elite 11 Camp. We were counselors there. We're good friends. He's a great guy, a great player. He's definitely going to help an organization out wherever he goes. Outstanding football player, outstanding guy."

Sanchez also talked about that camp, which was in the Los Angeles area, and his special role.

He said, "It was my job, I was the hometown kid, and they all came out. It was him and Colt McCoy (Texas), Curtis Painter (Purdue), bunch of guys, Chase Daniel. So I had to take these guys out, around Orange County and L.A., and it was just a blast.

Just talking about the season coming up. We talked throughout the season, as we were going through our tough decisions, as we were playing in our bowl games. It was fun to watch each other on TV and root each other on. And now we're back to competing again and it's all business. It makes things a lot more fun and easy going. Everybody tries to make it so serious -- who's going to be No. 1 -- and it's going to be fun either way.

Meanwhile, Stafford was also asked if he should be selected first overall by the Lions. He said, "You know what? It's not up to me to say. I think I'm doing everything that I can to prove to people that I'm a good football player and worthy of the pick, and if that so happens to be the first pick to the Detroit Lions, I'd be more than happy to be there. I'd come and play and try to turn that thing around.

"It would be a great honor to be picked first. No question. I'd like to have that synonymous with my name for a long time. But it's not a do-or-die, obviously. I'm going to play football in this league someplace, and it's not where you get drafted. It's where you take your career from there."

Wyoming running back Devin Moore wasn't invited to the combine, so he did the next best thing. He invited NFL teams to a private workout, made possible because he is from Indianapolis. NFL.com's Gil Brandt estimated there was personnel from 14 teams at the workout.
Moore's numbers, according to Brandt, were 4.43 and 4.41 seconds in the 40-yard dash, 4.22 and 4.29 in the short shuffle and 7.14 in the three-cone drill, to go with a 10-foot long jump and 35-unch vertical jump.

Louisiana State guard Herman Johnson admits to weighing 411 pounds when he was a freshman. He has worked closely with a nutritionist and has kept his weight around 364 on his 6-foot-7 frame.

He claims to be fine with his present weight, while acknowledging he'd like to get down to between 350 and 355.
"There's a lot of defensive tackles that are like 350, 360," Johnson said. "I know I've got to lose weight, but you just can't go in there and be real light and not have any kind of strength because these guys are a lot quicker and faster and stronger in the NFL. In college, you have some guys with potential but in the NFL it's a whole other story with the size of a defensive tackle and defensive end."

Johnson was at 385 by the end of the season, and while at the Senior Bowl (where he also played tackle) teams said he needed to drop some weight.

That's where the nutritionist came in. "I just didn't have the right information as far as nutrition," he said. "Right now, where I'm training at, Plex in Stafford, Texas, (with trainer Danny Arnold), I sat down with a nutritionist and she said I was eating good food, but I just needed to break it up. They've got me down to six small meals a day. And I drink a gallon of water a day. I spend a little extra time doing cardio. The stuff that they prepare for us is stuff that I can cook."

Johnson said when he talked to a group of teams Wednesday night, "I had a lot of positive remarks from offensive line coaches. A lot of them were saying you're looking good, keep up the good work, keep working hard, and we'd like to have you on our team."

When he was born, Johnson was 15 pounds, 14 ounces, and the doctor that delivered him said immediately he would be an LSU Tiger.
"Oh, yeah, it's true," Johnson said. "He tells me all the time. I talk to him every two or three weeks. He calls me and my mom. He calls me on my birthday and wishes me well. We have a good relationship."

Missouri tight end Chase Coffman remains out due to his recovery from ankle surgery and Pittsburgh running back LeSean McCoy may be unable to work out due to a bout with the flu, but Georgia quarterback Matt Stafford and Texas Tech wide receiver Michael Crabtree have been the only high-profile skill position players to announce so far that they won't work out at the Combine.

Quarterbacks Mark Sanchez (USC), Josh Freeman (Kansas State) and Nate Davis (Ball State) all plan to work out, as do running backs Knowshon Moreno, Chris "Beanie" Wells (Ohio State), Shonn Greene (Iowa) and Donald Brown (Connecticut). A bevy of receivers, including Jeremy Maclin (Missouri), Darrius Heyward-Bey (Maryland), Hakeem Nicks (North Carolina) and Kenny Britt (Rutgers), along with the top tight ends Brandon Pettigrew (Oklahoma State), Jared Cook (South Carolina), James Casey (Rice) and Cornelius Ingram (Florida) all plan to do the full workout.

Quarterbacks, including Stafford this year, have often argued that their lack of timing with unfamiliar receivers is a valid reason for not throwing at the combine.

Said San Francisco general manager, Scot McCloughan, "The accuracy down here is not important to me. It's just seeing [the quarterbacks] move around and seeing how they handle themselves and how the ball comes out, the velocity, the tightness, the spin of the ball. Accuracy is not important out there, because there is no timing. They haven't worked with these guys and they might throw to five different receivers throughout the workout. On the tape it's very important. But down here it's how they carry themselves, how they throw the ball, the physical attributes that they have."

Coffman was affected near the end of the season by a toe injury. Compounding his distress was a broken bone in his left foot suffered in the Alamo Bowl. Coffman is at the combine six weeks after surgery, and hopes to be ready for Missouri's second Pro Day on March 19. "It's tough to sit back and watch," he said. "That's probably one of the most frustrating things you can go through, being injured and having to watch everybody do the workouts you can't do."

--Missouri quarterback Chase Daniel said he measured in at 6-feet even, despite frequent whispers that he wasn't that tall. "Everyone thinks I'm 5-10," he said. "That's the second time I've measured at 6-feet tall, so maybe some people will start believing I'm 6-foot." Daniel said. Playing in a spread offense at Missouri, Daniel has been working in Houston the last six weeks with former NFL offensive coordinator Jerry Rhome on his drops and taking the ball from center.

--Kory Sperry is getting the once over because of a torn ACL suffered in 2007. The Colorado State tight end suffered the injury in the second game of that season. That came one week after a game against Colorado where he scored three touchdowns. Sperry returned for this past season and had 38 receptions and six touchdowns. "I don't think a lot of people expected me to come back the way I did from my ACL, as strong as before," he said. "Because not only do you have to get over it physically, you have to get over it mentally. You get hurt. You're going to worry about it all the time, and if you worry about it all the time, you're going to get hurt again. I think a lot of teams might have been expecting me not to come back as strong as I did before."

--Oklahoma Jon Cooper is back up to 291 pounds after an illness saw his weight slashed to as low as 250 during the season. He was back to 275 at the East-West Shrine Game. Said Cooper, "I got real sick in November, I had strep throat and some sort of stomach parasite, so I played a lot of games at about 250. I've gotten my weight back up now."

--Scouts will be happy with Davis measuring in at 6-1 and 3/4 and 226 pounds, assuring clubs that he has at least adequate size for the transition to the pro game. Davis, who threw with both hands gloved throughout his collegiate career, said he will be ditching the gloves in the NFL. "Actually I will not wear gloves anymore. I have never thrown the NFL ball with gloves on," Davis said. The decision to alter any aspect of his throwing in the biggest audition of his life is a risky one, but one that is certain to generate buzz among scouts. That buzz, if supplemented with a strong workout, could instantly makes Davis one to watch.

NFLDraftScout.com Senior Analyst Rob Rang and Senior Writer Howard Balzer contributed to this report.


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