2015 NFL Combine Notebook – Part I

On any given day at the Scouting Combine, there are a number of different storylines we could write about. That said, the following are some things that jumped out at me yesterday. Todd Gurley opts out of medical exam I know for the fans, the purpose of the Combine is to see how their favorite players workout. Ask the 32 NFL clubs what the main purpose of the Combine is and they will tell you it is the medical exams. That was why the Combine was started back in 1985. The league could bring in 300+ players to one place and have all of those players go through a very thorough medical examination. If a player needed certain tests, MRI's or X-Rays, he would only have to have those things done once instead of multiple times by visiting each team's head quarters. This is the 31st Combine, and I have been involved with 29 of them as a member of a club. Until Thursday, I had never heard of a player opting out of his medical exam. It just doesn't make sense. Georgia running back Todd Gurley became that first player. As you recall, Gurley suffered an ACL injury in November and had surgery shortly thereafter. It'd been roughly three months since that surgery, and I'm sure every teams' medical staff wanted to know the result of the surgery. The reasons are simple. They want to know if it was a good, clean procedure, how the healing process went, and what the prognosis is for the future. By Gurley opting out of the medical exams, the doctors will know nothing about his surgery. The first thought will be "what is he hiding"? I have read statements like "he didn't want all those doctors pulling at his knee just a few months after the surgery". That's nonsense, as a group the NFL team orthopedic surgeons are among the best in the world at what they do. They were not about to "damage" a surgically repaired knee. They wanted to examine it and get an MRI on it. The MRI can tell a lot as to how the knee has healed since surgery. The doctors can also compare that MRI to a follow-up MRI at the medical rechecks in April. This is all very important information a team needs before making a multi-million dollar investment in a player. For Gurley to opt out was just plain stupid! No matter who made the decision, Gurley himself or his agents, it was the wrong decision to make and will just raise a red flag for all teams interested. Ali Marpet has an outstanding workout During Senior Bowl week I wrote how Hobart guard Ali Marpet was very impressive in practice. Coming from a division III school and being able to hold his own against players from the big schools moved him from a late pick or free agent to about a fifth or sixth round pick. After his workout yesterday, he may now be a solid fourth rounder and maybe even a third. Marpet ran his second 40 yard dash in 4.98, the best time of the offensive linemen. He also had 30 reps on the bench, a 30.5" vertical jump, a 7.33 3-cone drill and a 4.47 20-yard shuttle. All those times were among the best at his position. If he has done anything in the last month, it's prove that he can compete with the big boys. Other offensive linemen who had impressive workouts were Jake Fisher of Oregon who ran 5.01, a 32.5" vertical and shuttle times of 4.33 and 7.25. La'el Collins of LSU proved that he was athletic enough to play left tackle. Andrus Peat of Stanford also looked very good as did D.J. Humphries from Florida. Some defensive ends looked really small The Combine has some players who are predominantly pass rushers working with the defensive ends, when in fact they will be 3-4 OLB's once they get to the league. Why? They are just too small to play down and hold up. Missouri's Shane Ray weighed in at 245. Clemson's Vic Beasley was 246, Nebraska's Randy Gregory was only 235 and  Virginia's Eli Harold was 247. These players, as well as others with similar body types, will all do linebacker drills when they finish doing their D-Line drills. The linebacker drills will be very important to them, as that's where they will earn their money. Follow Greg on Twitter @greggabe

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