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NFL scouting combine

He shows ability to separate

February 25, 2007|Sam Farmer | Times Staff Writer

INDIANAPOLIS — He wants to justify his decision to leave USC early. He wants to be a top-10 pick. He wants to make a splash as an NFL rookie.

What Dwayne Jarrett doesn't want is to be like Mike.

Still, the first questions Jarrett faced from the media Saturday concerned how he compares with former Trojans receiver Mike Williams, who was selected 10th by Detroit in 2005 but so far has been a bust.

"The only thing we have in common is we went to the same school," Jarrett said. "Mike, he did great while he was at USC. But I think we're two opposite players, totally different personalities."

Asked to expand on that, Jarrett said: "I'm just more a humble guy and Mike is just kind of different. We have different personalities. His game is different than mine. He's bigger. I'm smaller than he is a little bit. Just overall, our personality is just different."

They're not entirely different, however, in that both decided not to work out at the combine. Jarrett will run, jump and lift at his March 28 pro day at USC.

"I've done my physical, all the tests we've been doing mentally," said Jarrett, who is among the draft's top receivers and is likely to be selected in the top half of the first round. "I definitely try to do well on everything I'm doing here besides working out."

On your mark, get set ...

There's a lot of buzz surrounding Wisconsin tackle Joe Thomas, and it would be a surprise now if he slipped any lower than the second or third pick. He ran a 4.92-second 40 on Saturday, which was third best among the offensive linemen. A blink slower than him was USC center Ryan Kalil at 4.96, even more impressive because he's a little heavier than he was with the Trojans. The fastest lineman was Missouri Southern's Allen Barbre, who ran a 4.84.

The fastest tight end was Miami's Greg Olsen at 4.51, followed by Whitworth's Michael Allan and Missouri Western State's Gijon Robinson, both of whom ran 4.71. Allan is the only combine invitee from a Division III school.

Need a spot?

The bench-press beasts Saturday were, not surprisingly, offensive linemen. Guards Justin Blalock of Texas and Manuel Ramirez of Texas Tech each tore off 40 repetitions of 225 pounds.

On the low end, Nevada tight end Anthony Pudewell mustered 15 reps.

Riddle me this

One of the smaller-school players at the combine is New Hampshire receiver David Ball, whose 58 touchdown receptions broke Jerry Rice's Division I-AA career record. When Ball met Rice, the NFL legend asked the first question, one that Ball just couldn't answer: "Why did you break my record?"

Exactly how do you respond to that?

Would a simple sorry suffice?

Iron man

Ohio State's Troy Smith, the Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback, isn't running until his pro day because he's packed on 15 extra pounds since the end of the season.

Well, at least he scores points for his honesty.

"I just got off the banquet trail," said Smith, who tips the scales at 225. Asked if he'd rather go in the first round or get picked by his hometown Cleveland Browns, he introduced a third option.

"If I could control anything," he said, "I probably would play golf."

What's in a name?

The NFL player after whom USC receiver Steve Smith models his game?

Carolina's Steve Smith, of course.

"I think he's maybe the most explosive receiver in the game," said the Trojans wideout, who has never met the Panthers star. "Man, he's just a great competitor, seems like he always wants the ball. Me being the second -- I'm a Jr. -- so I'd love to go and play there and be the second option for them."

Steve Smith to the right of the quarterback and Steve Smith to the left?

Now that's a Cover 2 offense.

Don't even go there

Cam Cameron, former San Diego offensive coordinator and new coach of the Miami Dolphins, showed impressive sidestep ability when asked to compare coaching All-Pro Chargers Antonio Gates and LaDainian Tomlinson with Dolphins standouts Randy McMichael and Ronnie Brown.

"I've really gotten out of the comparison business," Cameron said. "But I don't know how you compare anyone to Antonio Gates or LaDainian Tomlinson.... I've been around Antonio for four years and LaDainian for five and they've never been late for one meeting. Not even close. They never even thought of being late for a meeting. Detailed note-taking. Picking up blitzes in games that we never even covered in the game plan but because they're so bright and so systematic in their thought process....

"For me to even make that kind of comparison to guys I've never seen ... wouldn't be fair."


The most misguided query of the day Saturday came from a reporter who asked Georgia Tech receiver Calvin Johnson if he'd have problems playing in a cold-weather city -- Minneapolis, to be specific. Might be an issue -- except the Vikings play in a dome.

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