Scouting the Draft: Mychal Kendricks, LB, California

Mychal Kendricks - ILB - California, 5-11, 240 lb

A former running back, and the son of UCLA running back Marvin Kendricks (who led the Bruins in rushing twice in 1970 and 1971), Marvin Mychal Hendricks out of Cal had the best 40 time among linebackers at 4.47 seconds, edging out North Carolina's Zach Brown by .03 seconds. He also lead the LBs in the vertical leap at 39.5 inches, the broad jump at a remarkable 127 inches, and the 20-yard shuttle with a time of 4.19 seconds. As you’d expect after that, he is extremely athletic and he has played both inside and out in the past, so he’s also very scheme flexible. At just over 5’11”, Mychal is shorter than your average linebacker. Of course, Mike Singletary was barely six feet tall, and ten pounds lighter than Kendricks, and they said that about him before he started piling up running backs and Pro Bowls. Height can be useful, but it’s not always the measure of a man - or a football player. Kendricks can play the Mike or Will slots in a 4-3, is experienced in Cal’s 3-4, and could even play Sam for some teams.

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Scouting the Draft: Mike Martin, DT, Michigan

Mike Martin - DT - Michigan, 6-1, 306 lb

Mike Martin might have been one of the most enjoyable players to watch when I was catching the DT drills at Combine. I caught sight of him in some of the hand power drills, and it only took a minute to remember some of his games at Michigan. He also got consistently good reviews during Senior Bowl practices and stood out in both one-on-one drills and during team scrimmages.

He isn’t in the top tier of players, and he probably won’t go all that high. After watching him, I think that could be a bit of a mistake. Martin carries a seriously nasty punch that he fires from an incredible stance - low and powerful, using that naturally short, incredibly strong frame. He had fast, hammering movements and devastating strikes. Said Warren Sapp, ‘I dare you to cut him’. I thought that Warren’s got it right. That punch will leave linemen black and blue right through their pads.

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The Daily Lard 2-29-12

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Opening statements were given yesterday as the Perrish Cox rape trial began; Cox's lawyer, Harvey Steinberg, made it a point to stress that the alleged victim was interested in Demaryius Thomas rather than Cox on the night of the alleged assault. Of course, this wouldn't appear to matter much since a DNA test showed that the victim's subsequent pregnancy was fathered by Cox. But, he's the professional defense attorney, so he must have his reasons.

It is expected that Thomas will end up testifying as a witness for the prosecution, and there's a possibility that Cassius Vaughn and Wesley Woodyard will testify as well. Something tells me we're going to learn a few things about these players that will make us like them at least a little bit less. In the immortal words of Bart Scott, CAN'T WAIT!

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Everybody has his price

When I was a kid, I learned something important from professional wrestling.  I’m sure that sounds funny, since I'm obviously the kind of adult who does not watch RAW, so let me explain.  At some point in the late 80s, there was this wrestler called The Million Dollar Man Ted DiBiase, and he used to wear sparkly suits with dollar signs on them and go around with a black manservant giving people money to humiliate themselves.  Everybody has his price.  That’s what he always said, and that’s what I learned.  I think it’s true to this day, and frankly, if you would stick to any position at all despite an offer of any amount of money, I think that you fundamentally believe that your principles are worth more than they really are.  At some point, the price and the alternative are better than your original position and empty pockets.

There was some discussion in the comments of Monday’s Lard about the Jaguars trading for Tim Tebow, and it made me think about what the price would have to be to do it.  It’s a really interesting thought exercise, because you have to look at it a few different ways to really get to the answer, and in so doing, you can get past the surface level of a few interesting things.  You know, the surface where commenters on this site who don't like Tebow say that he's worth a bag of footballs.

First of all, let me state something that we know to be true, and then we’ll talk about the reasons for it.  Tim Tebow is worth more to the Jacksonville Jaguars than he is to any other team, regardless of how well he plays.  He’s from Jacksonville, and probably 40% of the people in the city are Florida Gators fans.  We’re going to value that connection in terms of dollar value.

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The Daily Lard 2-28-12

Good Morning, Broncos fans! A pair of 40-yard dash runs have made headlines the past couple of days: one for good reason, and the other not so much. Yesterday was all about Memphis DT Dontari Poe, who put up a Combine-leading 44 reps on the bench press and then ran the 40 in an unofficial 4.87 seconds with a 1.70-second 10-yard split. Crazy part? The guy is 6-foot-4 and weighs THREE-HUNDRED FORTY-SIX POUNDS. That's 346 lbs moving 40 yards in under five seconds.

Obviously, Will Brinson has Poe among his winners from Monday's happenings in Indy, and Bucky Brooks says Poe's performance will vault him into the draft's top twenty. Jeff Legwold says the Broncos were already discussing Poe before yesterday, but he too thinks the mammoth athlete will be gone before Denver's pick at #25.

As for the less impressive 40, that was posted by Mississippi State RB Vick Ballard, who had the misfortune of tripping during his run and plowing into a camera tripod. Okay, maybe plowing is a bit strong, but you get the picture. Unfortunately, Ballard's official time (4.63 seconds) on his next run wasn't much better.

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I could not have been more wrong about Vontaze Burfict

So, you remember a few weeks ago when I wrote that the Broncos should draft Vontaze Burfict?

Forgive me for taking crazy pills; thank the football gods for creating the NFL combine.

Not only should the Broncos not draft this guy, neither should any other team.

He started the week by blaming his coaches at Arizona State for his past troubles. Then he spouted off that he was the best linebacker in the draft. When it came time to show what he could do physically, he was (thus far) the biggest disappointment of the combine.

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Scouting the Combine: Offensive linemen

I had a lot of fun this weekend pulling game tape out of the library, watching Combine film, reading, and writing about the offensive line candidates. Although I’m mentioning Mike Kalil first, the following list isn’t in any particular order. Neither will any of my subsequent prospect columns; some will get attention later for one reason or another.

A couple of general comments to consider: last year’s vertical leap average was 28.5 inches; for interior linemen it was 27.5. The average broad jump last year for OL was 8.5 feet or 102 inches. Last year’s fastest 10-yard split was 1.74 - this year it was in the mid 1.60's. The players continue to get bigger and faster. I offer these marks simply as a sort of loose basis for comparison. That said, let’s move on to some of the OL candidates:

Matt Kalil out of USC was pretty much as expected - fast and smooth on his 4.99-second 40. He came in at NFL weight (6’7”, 306 lb), measured adequately, and he did very well in the tests and drills. In particular you can see his silky smoothness and skill on the kickstep drill. He’s the complete package, and I’ll mention him from time to time in illustrating why certain players are and aren’t as desirable. Kalil pretty much has it all.

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The Daily Lard 2-27-12

Good Morning, Broncos fans! It's hard to tell whether it was fueled by some inside knowledge, or whether he's just pulling a Woody, but Mike Klis wrote yesterday afternoon that Brian Dawkins is "expected to retire". The blog entry even has a headline that proclaims Denver will acquire a hard-hitting safety to replace Dawkins this offseason, and Klis even suggests that former Pats first-rounder Brandon Meriweather is a possible target.

Now, it's certainly not a stretch to presume that Dawk will retire, as that possibility was first floated by the DP a couple months back when he suffered the neck injury which prevented him from playing beyond the Broncos' Week 16 loss at Buffalo. But it was only yesterday we read again that Dawkins is still considering a return to Denver for one more season.

So who exactly who expects Dawkins to retire, and who says the Broncos will undoubtedly acquire a "safety who can thump"? The entire Denver FO? John Elway? Brian Xanders? The cook at Dove Valley? Mike Klis? Because it's not anywhere close to clear from how Klis wrote it, and the insertion of the word likely in the headline and in the stead of expected within the piece would have done wonders. Here we are again, parsing words because someone didn't do their job correctly.

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NFL Combine - Open Thread

Use this thread to discuss large men breaking the speed of sound, lifting heavy weights, and jumping long distances!

The Daily Lard 2-26-12

Good Morning, Broncos fans! The Chiefs are expected to use their franchise tag on WR Dwayne Bowe if they're unable to sign him to a long-term deal. HC Romeo Crennel met with the press yesterday, and he spoke about each of the top QB prospects. But what caught everyone's attention were his comments about Peyton Manning:

I’m not supposed to talk about anyone else’s players. He’s still a player with Indianapolis. But with a talent like that, I would be crazy not to consider it if he were available. I’ll leave it at that.

Judy Battista thinks Crennel's words could land the Chiefs in hot water for tampering, but an NFL spokesperson told Will Brinson it was no biggie; Kevin Acee says Chargers fans shouldn't be scared of a potential Manning/KC marriage due to San Diego's record against Peyton and the Colts, as if that means anything at all (not really).

Colts owner Jim Irsay says he met with Manning recently; ex-Colts center Jeff Saturday talks to Peyton regularly and thinks he'll be playing this season. Mike Silver says Manning could end up in any of Seattle, Washington, Miami, Cleveland, KC, Arizona, or even with the Niners or Jets. Plus, he adds that Irsay is clearly in control of his franchise and was wise to dump GM Bill Polian along with his outsized ego, and he thinks Irsay would be well served to publicly acknowledge the team is moving on without Manning.

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