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2009 NFL Combine: Saturday Notebook

NFL Combine Media Transcripts will be linked HERE

INDIANAPOLIS -- With the first on-field workouts getting underway at the Scouting Combine on Saturday, Texas Tech wide receiver Michael Crabtree stole the show with news of what he won't be able to do for the next 2 months.

Ranked as the No. 1 overall prospect by NFLDraftScout.com for much of the past year, Crabtree's stock could take a hit after a bone scan performed during his medical check Friday revealed a stress fracture in his foot.

Crabtree will undergo surgery that will require a screw to be inserted, and he'll be kept out of on-field work for 10 weeks. That includes the Combine, Texas Tech's Pro Day and his scheduled individual workout on March 26. Bottom line, he won't be able to run in front of scouts before the NFL Draft on April 25.

It throws a wrench into the top 10 of the draft because Crabtree had been a surefire top-five selection. That's no lock, especially considering speed was the main question scouts had regarding Crabtree. He measured it a bit smaller than expected at 6-feet-1 3/8, and now will not have an opportunity to prove his speed in the 40-yard dash.

To his benefit, Crabtree did measure in with 34-inch arms and 10-inch hands, according to Seahawks coach Jim Mora. Those are both excellent numbers for a wide receiver, and as Mora pointed out, help negate any concerns about his perceived lack of prototype height.

It's unlikely that Crabtree will fall behind Missouri's Jeremy Maclin, the second-ranked receiver in the draft, but Crabtree could slip several spots and benefit some of the highly ranked offensive tackle and defensive end/linebacker prospects.

Speaking of the front-seven defenders, Texas' Brian Orakpo and Penn State's Aaron Maybin are the two of the most hotly debated prospects in the draft. Both are being looked at closely by teams running 3-4 schemes as potential outside linebackers.

Orakpo, a defensive end for the Longhorns, lacks great burst off the line. He said he has been asked by NFL teams this week about playing end and outside pass-rush linebacker. He said the Washington Redskins even mentioned playing on the strong side on early downs and as a pass rusher on third down.

Maybin, who is projected as a top-five pick by some expects and a fringe top-20 selection by others, said he has put on 20 pounds during training since the end of the season and that he's now around 250.

"I just want to rush the passer, first through fourth down if it was a perfect world," Orakpo said. "Any position where I can be effective doing what I naturally do best and that's getting after the passer and affecting him. It's not all about the sacks, it's all about pressure."

NFL teams wanted to see him add bulk and explosion. Teams with 4-3 defensive schemes are concerned he doesn't have the strength to hold up at end, while 3-4 teams don't have much film to go on to determine whether he's a great fit as an outside linebacker.

"I'm at about 250 and I feel really comfortable at this weight, and I feel as though I can either go up or I can go down," Maybin said. "So I feel this weight is a functional weight for me. All of the scouts and GMs out here can basically see how I move, they can see what my athletic abilities are. I'll pretty much stay at this weight until the draft. Based on the system I'm in I can move up or down based on what it is that they want."

Worth noting
San Jose State defensive lineman Jarron Gilbert was given one of the main podiums at the combine Friday typically reserved for the elite prospects. Then again, most elite prospects aren't YouTube sensations by the time they get to the combine.

Gilbert gained notoriety with the YouTube clip of him literally jumping out of a pool from a standing position and landing on his feet. He said the idea came to him and his teammates when a strength and conditioning coach said former NFL safety Adam Archuleta could jump out of a pool, so they tried it at a teammate's apartment complex.

Mora was asked about the proliferation of spread offenses in the collegiate game and whether it makes it more difficult to evaluate specific players.

"I think offensive line and quarterbacks specifically and maybe wide receivers, maybe the tight end position as well," Mora said. "You don't get to see many of these quarterbacks take snaps from under center. You don't see the traditional run-blocking schemes out of your offensive linemen and you certainly don't see as many tight ends in a three-point stance, blocking down on big defensive ends.

"Some of these young men have said we'll get you practice film, tight ends specifically. We can get you practice film of us doing one-on-one blocking to show you that we can do it, but it does make it tough."

Workout watch
Tight ends and linemen were the first to run the 40-yard dash this week. The most interesting notes from Saturday's session:

Alabama left tackle Andre' Smith is in danger of creating his own freefall down draft boards. Not only did he decline to run Saturday, he then couldn't be located by staff members of National Scouting, which runs the combine. Combined with his suspension from the Sugar Bowl for improper contact with an agent and the fact there are three other potential top-10 prospects among the tackle class, Smith could plummet on draft day.

North Carolina wide receiver Brooks Foster's bench press performance is a new modern day (2000-2009) NFL Combine record for wide receivers. Foster's 27 reps of 225 pounds passed Virginia Tech's Eddie Royal (weighing 20 pounds less than Foster), who had 24 reps last year. Rutgers WR Kenny Britt tied Hawaii's Chad Owens (2005 Combine) with 23 reps, ranking Britt tied for third overall modern day.

Florida wide receiver Percy Harvin said he will run the 40-yard dash at the combine, but will wait until Florida's Pro Day on March 18 to do positional drills. He also surprised by saying he measured in at 5-11 3/4 and 184 pounds. He entered the combine listed as 5-11, 195, but scouts expected him to officially be closer to 5-10.

Oklahoma State tight end Brandon Pettigrew is the consensus top tight end in this class, but he didn't do anything to vault higher in the first round with a pedestrian time of 4.87 seconds in the 40.

USC linebacker Rey Maualuga will work out this week because, "It's a one-time chance to show all 32 teams what you've got."

Wake Forest OLB Aaron Curry weighed in at 6-2 and 254 pounds. Given a third-round grade by the NFL Advisory Committee last year, Curry is now considered to be in the running for the No. 1 overall pick. He also said he's well-versed in the assignments for all three linebacker positions, even though he has very limited playing experience in the middle. Curry said the weak-side spot might be the most fun, although the majority of his time at Wake Forest came while playing over the tight end in the nine-technique.

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


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