Ah, the Combine is upon us once again. Young Mr. Nagler is packing his bags for Indianapolis and will be giving you his thoughts and insight from there while I, your dutiful NFL analyst and Draft Know-It-All, will be sitting in front of the computer in NYC watching guys run around in shorts.
You can do it too—either by watching NFLN, ESPN or heading to NFL.com and watching online.
It's Draft season, also known as Lying Season. So welcome to my newest column 'Draftwatch' where we will literally watch the Draft. Each week I'll pull together some news, talk about players I am watching and point you towards my work and the work of others that will keep you as informed as your brains can handle.
At the end of this particular column I'll have a list of sites I think you need to keep an eye on so feel free to jump down, bookmark away, and jump back.
So here we go—the 2012 NFL Draft is coming and we kick the process into high gear with another edition of the Underwear Olympics.
It's fashionable to bash the Combine—let's face it, the thing has become really overwrought the more people 'analyze' the Draft. It is important though—Mike Schottey of Bleacher Report has a nice piece about why various drills make a difference—and it shouldn't be casually dismissed.
Most critical for many teams is the interview process. Getting a chance to sit down with prospects, get to know them a little, see what they know about defenses or plays and in some cases find out why they got suspended three times in the last two years.
A player looking to 'Wow' teams can do it on the turf in Indy—they can also do it in a hotel room.
That's why I love Robert Griffin III coming out and talking about how he wants to kill it in the interviews. Aside from the confidence—you want that in a quarterback, right?—the statement tells me he's a top prospect who gets it.
Griffin, as many top quarterback prospects, isn't throwing at the Combine. Neither is Andrew Luck.
Why should they? They're at the top of their game, would be more comfortable throwing on their home field in a month or two at Pro Day and really have nothing to gain by throwing this week.
However, they will show up, run other drills and head into interviews. In the interviews, Luck and Griffin (and every other quarterback prospect) will get tested on dozens of plays from their college career, thrown in front of a wipe board and asked to diagram out plays and generally grilled about everything short of their mother's career (right Jeff Ireland?).
It's where they will set themselves apart, where they can make a lot of money—or lose a lot.
Griffin is focusing on attacking one of the biggest question marks about him—can he read defenses and run a complex offense. His interview won't end that concern entirely but it can certainly go a long way towards quieting the concern at least a little.
The other concern with Griffin, by the way, is his build. If he runs the way he runs without adding mass or weight, he could have a Vick-like run of injuries.
That's a post for another day.
That's going to do it for today's edition of Draftwatch—I may drop in during the Combine with some thoughts on what we see as the event moves forward. I'll also be back in the next few weeks with my video series as well, so keep an eye out for that.
Tomorrow morning I'll have a ranking of the Top 100 prospects invited to the Combine over at Bleacher Report so look for that—I may post a link here as well.
As promised, we end this edition with a list of sites you should be watching for Draft news and analysis. By no means is this everything, but these are the sites I visit most often, most trust and find most interesting.
I assume you got to ESPN and NFL.com so, I won't be adding those here.
Feel free to add your thoughts in the comments.
DraftDaddy.com: A great news aggregator with some solid analysis.
NationalFootballPost.com: One of the best all-around football sites out there, and I'm not saying that because I know Wes Bunting, Matt Bowen and Joe Fortenbaugh. Bunting's Draft stuff is fantastic.
ChrisSteuber.com: if a comic book and the NFL had an illegitimate love child, this would be it. Steuber has done Draft analysis for many places and aside from the unique look of the site, you'll enjoy his insight and knowledge as well.
Draftcountdown.com: Scott Wright and Shane Hallam put together a wealth of info on one of the first—and best—Draft sites out there.
mattwaldmanrsp.com: Matt Waldman, fellow Footballguy and Senior Bowl Attendee, puts out a tremendous publication called "The Rookie Scouting Portfolio' which covers a ridiculous amount of offensive prospects, but the site is a wealth of interviews, breakdowns and some great defensive analysis from fellow Footballguy Jene Bramel.
Draft Winds at the Sun Sentinel: A weekly special edition of David Hyde's regular column at the South Florida Sun Sentinal, this feature is compiled by the guys at UniversalDraft.com, another excellent resource for Draftnicks. Simon Clancy, Chris Kouffman and Richard Lines do excellent work for the column which can be Dolphins-centered but features some incredibly detailed film breakdown and analysis.
Draftheadquarters.com: Shawn Zobel puts together an exhaustive analysis of every single player and then some.
DraftInsider.Net: I disagree with Pauline a bunch on players but his inside Draft info is second to none. Besides, I always feel that it's good to find folks you disagree with so you question you findings and make sure they're solid.
Matt Miller At Bleacher Report: Miller is another guy whom I disagree with on players, but I find his analysis to be solid. Plus he cranks Mock drafts out like nuts, so you get a real sense of who he's moving and why.
Of course, there's ME doing my thing here and on B/R. So keep your eyes peeled for my stuff.
There are a few other guys who are currently independent that I'm sure I'll get to as time goes on—folks like Sigmund Bloom and Cecil Lammey who used to work on Draftguys.com (now defunct). I'll link them in a Twitter based list next week.
Until then, keep an eye on CHTV for more Draft coverage and thanks for reading.