NFL Scouting Combine

Clemson LB Isaiah Simmons Declares For NFL Draft

Clemson linebacker Isaiah Simmons has officially declared for the NFL Draft, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN. While the move will not come as a shock to anyone familiar with this year’s draft class, the news confirms that Simmons will indeed be available to teams in just a few months.

Simmons is considered a consensus top-ten, potentially top-five, prospect in this year’s draft class. An incredible combination of size, strength, athleticism, and football IQ, Simmons has been one of the most lethal switch-army knives in college football over the past three years.

While his size, 6’4”-230lbs, makes him an obvious fit at linebacker, many have opined that he has the speed and coverage abilities of an NFL safety. Earlier this year, a video of Simmons racing Clemson running back Travis Etienne in a 40-yard dash led many to speculate that Simmons should produce times below 4.45 and maybe even 4.4 at the NFL Scouting Combine. Both would rank among the best performances by a linebacker in the events history.

Simmons completes his collegiate career with 238 tackles, 28.5 tackles for loss, 11 sacks, 20 passes defended, 6 forced fumbles, and 4 interceptions. While Clemson was unable to win back-to-back National Titles, Simmons had his most productive season this year, recording 104 tackles, 16.5 for loss, 8 sacks, 8 passes defended, and 3 interceptions.

Draft Rumors: Texans, Pats, Bears

The latest draft rumors from around the NFL:

  • Texas A&M cornerback Brandon Williams worked out privately for Texans coach Bill O’Brien and also visited the Steelers, Patriots, and Bears, Wilson tweets. Williams bench pressed 225 pounds 18 times at the NFL scouting combine and is said to be turning heads with his athleticism. Wilson writes that the A&M product, who had 34 tackles and seven passes defended in 2015, is drawing third/fourth round grades from scouts.
  • Michigan linebacker James Ross is drawing interest from the Colts, Raiders, Ravens, and Lions, Wilson tweets.
  • Temple wide receiver Robby Anderson had visited the Packers, Browns, Bengals, Chiefs, and Raiders, Wilson tweets. Anderson caught a career-high 70 passes for 939 yards on his way to an all-conference selection in 2015. The 6’3″, 190-pound receiver ran a 4.28 second 40-yard-dash at his Pro Day.
  • The Buccaneers and Chargers worked out Iowa State receiver Quenton Bundrage, according to Tony Pauline of DraftInsider.net (on Twitter). Bundrage, who posted a 4.5 second 40-yard-dash time, finished his senior year with 41 receptions, 548 yards, and one touchdown as a senior. He missed the 2014 season with a knee injury.
  • Utah State quarterback Chuckie Keeton is drawing late interest from the Texans, Vikings, and Cardinals, Wilson tweets.

NFL Considering Combine Changes

The NFL Scouting Combine could soon be subject to adjustments geared toward modernizing the workouts and other aspects of the event, Tom Pelissero of USA Today reports.

National Football Scouting Inc., which coordinates the combine, is starting a committee comprised of coaches, league executives, trainers, scouts and other key personnel to review the event, starting with this year’s 35th annual combine.

Pelissero points out the combine’s cornerstone tests could be under siege. The 40-yard dash, bench press, vertical jump, broad jump, three-cone drill and shuttle run represent the universal testing portion of the event, with most of these drills being unchanged for decades. The positional workouts haven’t been altered much in this span as well, Pelissero notes.

One of the potential adjustments National Football Scouting is considering is outfitting prospects with data-recording devices, which many teams now use at their respective facilities. A functional movement screen and the Player Assessment Tool, a psychological study that complements the Wonderlic test, have been added in recent years, and the NFL could be moving toward more scientific measures.

The league will conduct its first football performance and technology symposium Wednesday, with Dr. Marcus Elliott — director of P3, which has used 3D motion analysis to measure prospects at the NBA Combine the past two years — will be one of the speakers. P3’s already collected data on about a fourth of this year’s draft pool, per Pelissero.

Everybody wins when you do these things,” Elliott, also a former physiologist and injury prevention specialist to the Patriots, told Pelissero. “You start choosing players that are slotted more correctly based on their real physical tools, and you also have insight into injuries they’re at risk for, so you can help them prevent those injuries.”

The new committee will also evaluate medical and psychological examinations, according to Elliott. These tests have become invaluable to teams, arguably more so than the on-field work.

This year’s combine runs from Feb. 24-29.