Thursday Combine Report

By Tony Pauline
Special To Jets
February 21st, 2008
Breaking news on Arkansas' Darren McFadden.
Breaking news on Arkansas' Darren McFadden.
Here are tidbits from Tony Pauline’s day at the NFL combine

7:00AM EST

-We were alerted in January during the Senior Bowl that Bowling Green center Kory Lichtensteiger was playing with a torn labrum, and now the scouts and personnel people at the combine have been informed. Lichtensteiger was suffering discomfort in his shoulder during the season and an MRI in January confirmed the torn labrum. He will run and jump at the combine but will not lift. Lichtensteiger is scheduled to undergo surgery on February 28th, a procedure which will be performed by the Atlanta Falcons orthopedist. His rehabilitation will take three months.

- Another player arriving to the combine unable to perform because of injury will be Illinois linebacker J. Leman. The Big Ten's fifth leading tackler (132 total tackles last season) was suffering from ankle pain during the Rose Bowl. An examination later revealed Leman had lesions on his ankle which needed to be surgically removed. He will arrive at the combine with a boot on his injured foot, will undergo weigh-ins, medical tests, interviews and take the Wonderlic, then will have surgery performed on his ankle in two weeks by the Indianapolis Colts orthopedic surgeon. Leman will not be able to run for scouts anytime prior to April's draft.

- A number of teams are already setting up post-combine visits with Tulsa quarterback Paul Smith. The Atlanta Falcons are making preparations to bring Smith in for a personal workout and the Chicago Bears are also attempting to set one up.

Branden Albert/OG/Virginia

- Measured in at 6'5' and a half, 309 pounds.

- Feels his primary position is guard, but is more than comfortable playing tackle. Was a left tackle in high school but D'Brickashaw Ferguson was already in place when he arrived at Virginia. Then placed at left guard and never left.

- It was his brother who pushed him into football. Originally wanted to play basketball.

- States his own strengths are his athleticism, pulling, and playing in space. During this whole process wants to work on his pad level especially on his down blocks and overall inline blocking.

- Interestingly, Albert did not put his name in with the NFL Competition Committee before declaring early for the draft as an underclassman.

Anthony Collins/OT/Kansas

- Measured in at 6'5' and 317 pounds.

- Declared because he believe he "had nothing to prove". Also Coach Mangino pushed him in the direction of the NFL.

- Has experience starting at both right and left tackle.

- Was not highly recruited because he was only 6'3' and 220 pounds in high school, as well as playing only one year of organized football. Also though basketball would be his calling originally.

- Suspended for three plays in his career because he spoke out about conditioning. Later made amends with his head coach.

Robert Felton/OG/Arkansas

- Measured in at 6'3' and a half and 315 pounds.

- Teams interested in his versatility playing guard, tackle, and even a few snaps at center in his career.

- Stated teams did not feel the Hog's offensive scheme was a hindrance. Rather they loved how he and his teammates run blocked. Made them into nasty physical blockers, but his pass protection has been questioned some.

- Described teammate Marcus Harrison, "as a BEAST". Teammates at the Senior Bowl continually asked Felton about Harrison because he was so tough to block.

- Has had no character questions raised yet by any NFL teams in interviews


Had a chance to chat with Buffalo Bills Coach Dick Jauron.

- Felt Marv Levy was a great loss. Just brought a "calming effect" to the entire franchise. Jauron specifically liked the fact Levy had a background in coaching, and it helped their communication greatly.

- "Jason Peters deserves all the credit he gets". Also stated the left tackle is recovering nicely from surgery and is expected to be ready for OTA's.

- Jauron personally did NOT interview or even talk to Trent Edwards before he was drafted last season.

Chat with Kevin Colbert: Director of Player Operations/Pittsburgh Steelers

- Claimed this is the best group of offensive tackles he has seen in 24 years.

- Expounded greatly on the impact of free agency in regards to Alan Faneca and Max Starks. Feels the contract Faneca will demand is "significant money they just can't absorb". Thus when they weighed their options slapping the transition tag on Starks was a better option than potentially franchising Faneca.

- On Willie Parker, "That was just plain luck".

- Quality running back can be found in the first three rounds of the draft.

- "A franchise is only as good as their quarterback."

- Oregon running back, Jonathan Stewart, " more well rounded than Darren McFadden."

- Stated offensive line is the hardest position to acclimate to the NFL because of the unit aspect of play.

John Sullivan/C/Notre Dame

- Measured in at 6'3' and a half, 301 pounds.

- Charlie Weis brought a heavy Pats influence with him, and their way was referenced often in the Irish locker room.

- Has already interviewed with the Rams and Seahawks.

- When Brady Quinn left, many of the quarterbacks former responsibilities were laid at the feet of the center. Felt it made him a better player making almost all the calls on offense.

Jake Long/OT/Michigan

- Wanted to return to Michigan to work specifically on his technique in his pass set.

- Only credited with two sacks the entire year.

- Transition from right tackle to left tackle was very comfortable to him since he is naturally left handed.

Roy Shuening/OG/Oregon St.

- Measured in at 6 foot 3 and a half, 306 pounds.

- Teams he has talked with so far see him as a guard at the next level.

- When asked of his strengths, stated he is "tough and hardworking". Grew up on a wheat farm and that is where he learned these traits.

- Coach Mike Riley has helped him in his transition to the NFL specifically what to expect and the business aspect of the game.

Jeremy Zuttah/OT/Rutgers

- Measured in at 6 foot 3 inches and 303 pounds.

- Watches NFL game film extensively.

- Feels his strengths are his athleticism and quickness but has to work on his pad level.

- Already interviewed by the Cleveland Browns and NY Giants.

Oneil Cousins/OT/UTEP

- Measured in at 6 foot 4 inches tall and 308 pounds.

- Very very softspoken. Even in front of a microphone he was almost impossible to hear.

- Credits nimble feet to playing soccer as a child.

- States he has a corner's mentality, "...a short memory."

Chris Williams: OT Vanderbilt

- Measured in at 6 foot 6 inches tall 315 pounds.

- 10 inch hands with a 34 and a quarter reach.

JerMichael Finley/TE/Texas

- Measured in at 6 foot 4 inches tall and 243 pounds.

- NFL Competition Committee had him rated as a low 2nd rounder when he put his name in to declare.

- Has interviews with the Packers, Cardinals, and Dolphins.

Martellus Bennett/TE/Texas A&M

- Measured in at 6 foot 6 inches tall and 259 pounds.

- Previously declaring for the NBA draft coming out of high school, Bennett stated football is his "wife" will basketball is his "mistress".

- In his game blocking is a key and believes he can block any defensive end, but will need work on his route running.

- NFL teams have already questioned him about his maturity.

- Will give a full workout here.

Chilo Rachal/OG/USC

- Declared because his NFL is his "ticket out". Very tough background even having 2 half-brothers killed in his lifetime.

Eric Young/OT/Tennessee

- Measured in at 6 foot 3 inches tall and 310 pounds.

- Quad tear ended his season, but is expected to be back at 100% by his slated personal workout on April 10th.

- All the NFL teams he has talked with believes he will be a guard at the next level.

- Believes playing in SEC has prepared him technically, mentally, and physically for the NFL.

Cody Wallace/C/Texas A&M

- Openly stated his pass protection will need a lot of technique work.

John Greco/OT/Toledo

- Measured in at 6 foot 4 inches tall and 305 pounds

- Feels his strengths are his quickness and smarts for being a multiyear starter

- Has had some trouble adjusting to a three point stance.

- Some teams are looking at guard, while others feel he can be a tackle at the next level. Even working some at center this offseason.

King Dunlap/OT/Auburn

- Measured in at 6 foot 8 inches tall and 310 pounds.

- Stated a lot was learned playing behind current All Pro left tackle Marcus McNeill.

- Auburn offensive disarray was caused a lot by his own injuries. Suffered through a banged up elbow, bruised knee, and high ankle sprain throughout the season.

Kellen Davis/TE/Michigan St.

- Measured in at six foot six inches tall and 262 pounds.

- Part time two way player who stated some scouts believe he can play full time on the defensive side of the ball.

- Has had an interview with the Patriots and Buccaneers

- Does not believe his versatility hurt his development at any one position. Wanted to help out the team any way he could.

Brad Cottam/TE/Tennessee

- Measured in at 6 foot 7 and a half inches tall and 270 pounds.

- Expects a full workout here in Indianapolis

- Despite his injury issues all season, everything checked out during his medical evaluation.

Martin Rucker/TE/Missouri

- Will not work out at the Combine. Waiting until his pro day.

Joe John Finley/TE/Oklahoma

- Measured in at 6 foot 6 inches tall and 254 pounds.

- Will only do a partial workout because still has a sore hamstring

- Expects to run in the 4.6 range at the Oklahoma pro day.

Ryan Clady/OT/Boise St.

- Measured in at 6 foot 6 inches tall and 309 pounds.

- Arm length: 36 inches.

- Declared when he found out he received an early first round grade.

- Compared Boise St.'s blocking schemes to Denver's zone blocking system. Believe he is adept at zone blocking, cut blocks, and positioning.

- This off-season has worked with both Will Shields and Hall of Famer Jackie Slater.

Matt Forte/RB/Tulane

- Scouts have openly questioned his speed, but Forte fully expects to run in the low 4.4 range. Which he supposedly has done in recent workouts.

- Senior Bowl performance gave the running back a big confidence boost.

- Believes he is a versatile runner who can blast it up between the tackles, and still has the speed to hit the edge.

- Mewelde Moore and his style of play was a big influence on Forte especially in the passing game.

- Father played football at Tulane as well.

LATE BREAKING NEWS: Arkansas RB Darren McFadden will make his decision this evening whether or not he will be working out this coming Sunday. The Arkansas back arrived in Indianapolis yesterday (Weds.) and will be interviewing with team's this evening.

Delaware quarterback Joe Flacco has already arrived at the Combine and underwent physical examinations today which included x-rays. He already has interviews set up with the Dallas Cowboys and Washington Redskins. Flacco and his representation have stated the Blue Hen quarterback hopes to run in the 4.7 range during his 40 yard dash attempts.

Be sure to check back often for all the latest NY Jets combine news and rumors!

Tony Pauline is the NFL Draft analyst at His year round work on the NFL draft can be found at

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