By Vic Carucci
National Editor, NFL.com


INDIANAPOLIS (Feb. 26, 2005) -- Here are some random thoughts from the National Scouting Combine:

It's astounding that one school, Auburn, could have two highly talented running backs here and that both look like certain first-round draft picks.

Arizona Cardinals head coach Denny Green, for one, is struck by the embarrassment of riches the Tigers enjoyed in their backfield through last season. After Emmitt Smith's retirement, Green is in the market for a running back, and could grab one of the two spectacular former Auburn stars -- Ronnie Brown and Carnell 'Cadillac' Williams.

"I think it's unusual to have two players of that ability play in the same backfield," Green said. "I think they found a way to make it work. We had Karlos Dansby on our squad last year; he was at Auburn the year before, so we were able to see this taking place. And it was impressive. Ronnie Brown can fly."

Brown certainly flew during his 40-yard dash at the combine with a clocking of 4.32 seconds. Williams was due to run his 40 on Feb. 27.


Running back Ronnie Brown is part of the reason why Auburn has been so successful.
"Both of them had great confidence in themselves (in college)," Green said. Both of them love to compete. Both of them probably will be in the top 10 in the draft."

Mike Williams is, perhaps, the most intriguing prospect of the 2005 draft class. Before his attempt to enter last year's draft as a sophomore ultimately failed in the federal court system, the former USC star was projected as a top-three choice. He still looks as if he could be a high-end pick this year, but missing last season because his declaration to enter the 2004 draft made him ineligible to return to the Trojans could work against him. And that was what made his decision to refuse to work out at the combine so odd. If Williams wants to win over any NFL personnel types with lingering doubts, he should put his skills on display. Instead, he has only created more concern about the potential build-up of rust in his game.

On the other hand, Williams does seem to have the sort of attitude that any general manager or coach would like to see in a player.

"I think the biggest thing that I'll bring to any team is a winning attitude," he said. "I play hard. I compete hard. I try to make plays. I try to be a good person in the media, as far as my teammates and things like that. I really just try bring back a little of how the game used to be, like when Barry Sanders played and those guys. They're very humble.

"I kind of put the team first; that's more of the approach that I'll take to it."

You can't help but be impressed with the personality of University of California quarterback Aaron Rodgers. Although he is entering the draft as a junior, he comes across as a mature and self-assured young man who seems to grasp the idea that he is a candidate for the primary leadership role in his sport.

Facing the national NFL media for the first time at the combine can be an unsettling experience, yet Rodgers handled it with ease. Besides showing a great sense of humor, he was equally comfortable with talking about other prospects as he was with talking about himself. I was most impressed with the way he handled this question: "Taking yourself out of the equation, who would you make the top overall pick of the draft?"

"I'd say (Michigan receiver) Braylon Edwards," Rodgers replied. "I threw with him at a competition down in Miami. He's a specimen. He was one-handing my passes and stuff, which I hadn't seen before. He's quite an athlete."

Cedric Benson, the University of Texas running back who figures to pocket a staggering amount of money as a top-three choice, takes the combine award for candor.

Asked what he anticipated his biggest adjustment to the NFL would be, Benson said, "Money management. I don't think things on the field will be too big of an adjustment at all. Actually I think (playing) will be easier because guys won't be able to load up the box on me every game like they did in college. I think just handling things off the field will be the most challenging."

Benson, who has had several off-field problems in college, hit upon the most crucial element in personnel evaluation. Ask any GM or coach about the most difficult part of assessing college prospects, and he will answer with this question: How is the kid going to deal with suddenly having more cash than he could have ever imagined having in his life?



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The Buffalo Bills are resigned to the fact that their new quarterback, '04 first-round draft pick J.P. Losman, is going to rely very heavily on his considerable mobility.

Some of that will be by design; the Bills are anxious to incorporate roll-out plays in their offense that they couldn't use with the immobile Drew Bledsoe. And some of Losman's movement is going to result from the fact he is a very raw first-year starter who is likely to look to run when he gets into trouble ... and that probably will be more often than the Bills would prefer.

"The one thing I've got to teach him is to learn how to slide," Bills coach Mike Mularkey said.



Here Nfl.com is defintely reporting Brown running 4.32 in 40 -there seems to be conflicting reports on times