INDIANAPOLIS — A look at some key points to come out of the NFL Combine after day one:
• It came as no surprise to me that Idaho offensive guard Mike Iupati wanted to play defense in college. He said he loves the physicality of taking on the double team and even lined up inside in some goal-line packages at Idaho. There’s no doubt Iupati plays with a mean streak and has the type of demeanor you’d expect from a defensive lineman when watching him finish his blocks in the run game.
• Hillsdale offensive tackle Jared Veldheer was a bit surprised at questions about his relatively short 33-inch arms. “I wish they would measure wingspan,” he said, “because I’m a guy with broad shoulders and have never considered myself short-armed.” He also discussed his workouts with former NFL offensive lineman Brad Hopkins and his recently attained biology degree, just in case football doesn’t work out.
• One prospect who impressed me intellectually was TCU offensive lineman Marshall Newhouse. Newhouse is well-spoken and engaging and said he felt comfortable playing all five positions along the offensive line at the next level. He also confirmed he has met with the Texans and Raiders; both are great fits for him from a scheme standpoint.
• Finally got a chance to talk with Arizona TE Rob Gronkowski, who said his back is 100 percent and he feels as healthy as ever. However, he said he still isn’t quite where he needs to be from a workout standpoint but hopes to run in the 4.6 range when he runs the 40. He’s one guy to keep an eye on, because if the 6-6, 264-pound specimen can run about 4.6, it wouldn’t surprise me to see him be the first tight end taken on draft day.
• Another tight end prospect who stood out was USC’s Anthony McCoy, who said he arrived as a 265-pound wide receiver and thought he could be the next Mike Williams. However, his size and love of contact were the main reasons he ended up moving to tight end. He also said the reason his blocking has improved so much in recent years is because of taking on the likes of teammates Lawrence Jackson, Everson Griffen and Kyle Moore in practice.
• Oklahoma tight end Jermaine Gresham never made it to the media center Thursday because there was apparently a ton of interest surrounding his knee during the medical evaluation, and rightfully so. However, this is a two-edged sword. The good side is that there are still NFL teams interested in Gresham and want to see how his knee is doing. But the potential downside is that if a guy like Gronkowski, who’s coming off back surgery, was able to make it out of the medical evaluations on time, what was everyone was so curious about concerning Gresham?
• Finally, the line of the day had to go to Ohio State kicker Aaron Pettrey, who’s coming off an MCL tear in his right knee that cost him his senior year. When asked how the NFL medical evaluation was, he laughed and said, “Oh, it’s horrible.”
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For a look at what’s at stake for USC’s Taylor Mays at the combine, check out this article from Bleacher Report.