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Jayhawks at the Combine

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The 2010 NFL combine kicks of today and three Jayhawks will be among the participants.  Early entrant Dezmon Briscoe, along with Darrell Stuckey and Kerry Meier will all three be participating, auditioning and interviewing with NFL teams across the league at what amounts to a job fair for football players in Indianapolis. While actual workouts don't begin until Saturday, the players begin the process today and all three Jayhawks will be looking to improve their position and value as the draft creeps ever closer.

Today, the goal here at RCT is to give you the breakdown of the schedule, the talk on the Jayhawks and things to watch for over the next 7 or so days as it relates to the combine and Kansas.  It's a pretty remarkable thing to watch the wall to wall coverage on the NFL network, and amazingly there is a lot that can be missed even if you watch it all.  With that in mind our follow up plan to this preview will be updates, thoughts and of course your discussion on the three as they go through their workouts.  Spring football is around the corner, but today we look at Jayhawks trying to make the jump to the next level.

The Players

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Dezmon Briscoe

Look for Briscoe with WO08 in Group #4

NFL.COM Analysis

Briscoe is a talented receiver that has been plagued with inconsistencies. He builds to speed more than being explosive or instant but does show a gear to pull away once he gets even with defenders and can run down some deep balls. He is not as physical or aggressive to the ball when in a crowd as you'd expect for someone with his size. If he can mature both physically as well as emotionally he has a chance to become a quality second receiver.

Strengths:

Briscoe has really nice size. Has been extremely productive in college. Has a nice set of hands and can grab the errant throw, fight for the jump ball and extend and catch away from his body. Is a surprisingly effective player after the catch. Is natural with the ball in his hands, can make defenders miss, and has a natural feel for finding open seams.

Weaknesses:


Briscoe needs to become a more consistent performer. Isn't overly sudden and builds to speed as he goes. Doesn't eat up cushions quickly. Occasionally hears footsteps over the middle and gets alligator arms. Needs to become more reliable catching the ball in traffic.

 

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Kerry Meier

Kerry Meier will be wearing WO25 in Group #5

NFL.COM Analysis

Meier is a converted quarterback that made the move to wide receiver his junior year to get on the field. He is a good route runner that knows how to use his size to shield defenders from the ball and shows good strength to the ball when in a crowd. He is a bit of a strider and can sneak by opponents by varying his speed and lulling them to sleep but lacks the top end speed to just run by people. He is a little stiff and struggles to sink his hips and come out of his breaks with a big burst. He lacks the speed and explosiveness to get a lot of yards after the catch. He has a chance as a possession receiver but is not the type teams are looking for as potential starters.

Strengths:

Meier possesses good height, prototypical bulk and outstanding overall size. High-character prospect. Excels reading coverages and converting routes to find the open spaces. Displays good hands, plucks and quickly tucks away. Uses his frame and wide catch radius to make plays in traffic.

Weaknesses:

Meier lacks the top end speed desired from starting receivers. Will not threaten defenses deep down the field. Doesn't have the explosiveness to eat up cushions. Lacks the burst out of his breaks to separate. Will not gain much after the catch.

 

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Darrell Stuckey

Stuckey will be DB46 during the combine in group #11

NFL.COM Analysis

Stuckey is a short well built player with good athleticism. He was the Jayhawks's most productive defender in 2009 racking up 93 tackles from the safety position. Stuckey has good quickness, agility and balance but does have great pure speed. He is best in combination zone coverage's and leverages the ball well from off the hash. He is quick to fill the alley versus the run. Good instincts but average ball skills with the ball in the air. Stuckey is a good overall football player that is likely to contribute as a backup in the secondary and on special teams.

Strengths:

Stuckey is a good combination of strength and athleticism for the safety position. Displays good range in zone coverage and coming up against the run. Has been productive in his career, especially as a senior. Is an instinctive, tough competitor who isn't afraid to stick his nose in on run support. Was durable during his time in college.

Weaknesses:

Stuckey lacks ideal height for the position. Can struggle defending against taller receivers due to his height and average ball skills. Only possesses average catch up speed and can be beaten deep over the top.

 

The Drills

Each player will participate in both standard "measurable" drills as well specific positional drills used to evaluate potential and gauge the probability of success for a player.  This is all fine and dandy if a team uses this as simply a piece of the puzzle, but look know further than Al Davis and the Raiders to find out what happens when this is the only piece used for evaluation. 

Measurable Drills:

40-yard dash
Pretty standard stuff here, it's all about speed, explosion and watching skilled athletes run. Athletes are timed at 10, 20 and 40-yard intervals. Scouts are looking for explosion from a static rest with this one.

Bench press
Again, no secret this one measures strength, likely a little dated but still the standard -- 225 pounds, as many reps as the athlete can get. Looking for is endurance in the weight room.  Viewed as an indication of how serious a player may have taken his time in the college weight room.

Vertical jump
Lower-body explosion and power. The athlete stands flat-footed and they measure his reach. Then they jump, distance between the reach and the flag touched is your vertical leap.

Broad jump
Like the vertical jump this tests an athlete's lower-body explosion and strength. Starting out with a stance balanced and then exploding out as far as he can this tests explosion and balance, because he has to land without moving.

3 cone drill
The 3 cone drill tests ability to change directions at a high speed. Three cones in an L-shape. He starts from the starting line, goes 5 yards to the first cone and back. Then, he turns, runs around the second cone, runs a weave around the third cone, which is the high point of the L, changes directions, comes back around that second cone and finishes. 

Shuttle run
The short shuttle is the first of the cone drills. It is known as the 5-10-5. Test the lateral quickness and explosion in short areas. The athlete starts in the three-point stance, explodes out 5 yards to his right, touches the line, goes back 10 yards to his left, left hand touches the line, pivot, and he turns 5 more yards and finishes.

For the Jayhawks each could help their stock with a solid performance in a number of these areas.  For Briscoe it's not a big secret that he likely helps himself the most by coming out of testing with a solid 40 time.  I'd also look for Briscoe to have a lot riding on the interview portion as his maturity has come in to question on multiple occasions while at Kansas.

With Meier the 40 time is important as well, but both cone drills could improve his stock more since he's viewed more as an underneath target than any sort of a deep threat.  If he can prove he has the ability to be quicker out of a break he might be seen as a more valuable prospect.

For Stuckey strength isn't a concern, but some still doubt his speed despite looking extremely fast at moments with Kansas.  A strong 40 time as well as a good performance in the lower body explosion testing could provide a little more assurance for NFL scouts that he can defend and compete with the larger NFL receivers.

Benchmarking data for the measurable tests by taking the average of the top 100 prospects at each position over the past nine drafts.  Data comes to us courtesy Mile High Report(Denver Broncos SB Nation Site)

 

Drill WR DB
40 yd dash 4.55 4.6
10yd split-40 1.7 1.65
20 yd split-40 2.7 2.7
225lb bench press - 17
Vertical Jump 36 36
Broad Jump 10' 10'
20yd shuttle 4.2 4.15
60yd shuttle 11.5 11.4
3-cone drill 7.1 7.1

 

As you can see both positions represented by Jayhawk players will have very similar targets in the measurable tests to put themselves in the upper level of prospects.

Positional Drills:

WR's - The Gauntlet

Catch 2 balls then turn and run down a yard marker from one side of the field to another.  Receive and tuck away 5 balls from 5 different quarterbacks on alternating sides of the yard marker, think zig zagging positions alternating over an axis.  Catch the ball, control it, get rid of it and run in a straight line across the width of the field.  Measures hand eye coordination, concentration and the ability to catch the ball with multiple things going on at once.  Fun drill to watch.

DB's - Speed Turn

DB starts in a back pedal, and on the direction of the coach is brought back toward the quarterback then once again change the direction either right or left for a speed turn.  DB has to pivot, change direction and run like they are in a man to man coverage scenario on a double move.  DB is expected to locate the ball and make a play on it.  Coaches are looking at the back pedal, change of direction, locating the ball and ball skills.  For a game scenario example think defending a stop and go route and making the catch.  Aqib Talib was nails at this drill two years ago.


The Schedule

24th-27th Day 1 Arrivals*: Grp 1(PK, ST, OL), Grp 2(OL), Grp 3(TE)
Wednesday Travel, Registration, Pre-exam & X-ray, Orientation, Interviews
Thursday Measurements, Exams, Media, Psych Tests, Interviews
Friday NFLPA Meeting, Psych Tests, *PK/ST Workout*, Interviews
Saturday Workout (timing, stations, skill drills), Departure
25th-28th Day 2 Arrivals*: Grp 4(QB, WO), Grp 5(QB, WO), Grp 6(RB)
Thursday Travel, Registration, Pre-exam & X-ray, Orientation, Interviews
Friday Measurements, Exams, Media, Psych Tests, Interviews
Saturday NFLPA Meeting, Psych Tests, Interviews
Sunday Workout (timing, stations, skill drills), Departure
26th-1st Day 3 Arrivals: Grp 7(DL), Grp 8(DL), Grp 9(LB)
Friday Travel, Registration, Pre-exam & X-ray, Orientation, Interviews
Saturday Measurements, Exams, Media, Psych Tests, Interviews
Sunday NFLPA Meeting, Psych Tests, Interviews
Monday Workout (timing, stations, skill drills), Departure
27th-2nd Day 4 Arrivals: Grp 10(DB), Grp 11(DB)
Saturday Travel, Registration, Pre-exam & X-ray, Orientation, Interviews
Sunday Measurements, Exams, Media, Psych Tests, Interviews
Monday NFLPA Meeting, Psych Tests, Interviews
Tuesday Workout (timing, stations, skill drills), Departure

 

Again, Dezmon Briscoe is part of GROUP #4, Meier GROUP #5 and Darrell Stuckey GROUP #11

NFL Network Coverage(All times eastern)

Wide receivers: Sunday February 28th, 10am - 4pm

Defensive Backs: Tuesday March 2nd, 11am-2pm and again at 4pm-7pm

Kansas Pro Day: March 10th