2014 NFL Combine: 10 Takeaways from Sunday

Adam Muema With Johnny Manziel performing, receivers wowing and Jadeveon Clowney interviewing,  you’d think the stars of the draft would steal the headlines in Indianapolis on Day Four.

But it was a failed coach trade and a player claiming God told him to leave the combine that made Sunday in Indianapolis loaded with topics of discussion.

1. Harbaugh “TradeGate” Steals Headlines
Player trades in the NFL are generally pretty rare, as teams are more willing to develop their own draft picks than trade for another teams. It’s even rarer for a team to trade their head coach. But that was the topic of discussion on Day 3 of the Combine, as the reported ongoing feud between Jim Harbaugh and GM Trent Baalke reached its apex this off-season when the Browns nearly traded for him. While the trade now is moot, this storyline won’t fade anytime soon, and could lead to Baalke or Harbaugh leaving the 49ers organization.

2. San Diego State’s Adam Muema Says God Told Him to Leave Combine
Adam Muema opted to leave school early to pursue his dream of the NFL. After injury concerns during his college career, the decision was met with some disappointment but understanding. But, Muema’s decision to leave the combine early because God told him he was going to be a Seattle Seahawks. Faith is fine to have as a professional in any field, but teams will have serious question marks about his mental make-up after comments and a decision like that.

3. Johnny Manziel Puts Up Un-Quarterback-Like Workout Numbers
Johnny Manziel decided against throwing at the combine, but he participated in every other athletic workout, and thoroughly impressed evaluators. With an official 4.68 forty-time, a 31.5” vertical jump, and an elite short-shuttle time of 4.03 (a testament to his quick feet), Manziel did his job in trying to sell teams that his quickness in the pocket can transfer to NFL success.

4. Jadeveon Clowney wants to be a Falcon
Clowney was asked where he wants to go in the draft, and he made the obvious statement that he’d ideally like to go first overall. But outside of that, he made it clear that he wants to be an Atlanta Falcon, if they team is willing to trade up for him. Atlanta is close to where Clowney grew up and the team clearly needs defensive end help. If Clowney doesn’t go first overall, look for Atlanta to move up to #2 overall and give Clowney his wish.

5. Dee Ford Says He’s Better than Clowney
“I’m better. Let’s put it like this. People like to talk about size all the same. Size is pretty much overrated in my eyes…Honestly if you watch the film, he plays like blind dog in a meat market basically.” That’s what Auburn’s Dee Ford had to say about Jadeveon Clowney, making waves during his interview. Trash talking is great only if you can live up to it.

6. Dri Archer Just Misses Chris Johnson’s Combine Record
A successful sprinter before getting to Kent State, Dri Archer entered the combine with the expectation of being the fastest player in attendance. And so far, he’s lived up to that, posting 4.26 forty-time officially. But in the pursuit of ending Chris Johnson’s reign as the combine record holder in the even (he posted a 4.24 forty in 2009), Archer came up just short, and Johnson’s record is expected to stand for another years.

7. Andy Dalton Extension Seems Likely
After a poor performance in his playoff game, Andy Dalton came under fire as the quarterback of the Bengals, and question marks arose about his ability to take Cincinnati to promise land, the Super Bowl. Despite those concerns, however, Marvin Lewis made it clear that the team will begin negotiations soon with Dalton about a contract extension, and it seems clear that the team wants to lock him up for at least the next few years.

8. Jason Garrett to Be More Involved with Defense
Last year, Jerry Jones said Jason Garrett would be more hands-off on offense and let offensive coordinator Bill Callahan take the reins. But that’s how the season ended, with Garrett taking over the offensive play-calling duties, Jerry Jones said in a press conference. Jones also said that Garrett will have more of a say over the defense this year too. As a head coach on the hot seat, Garrett will have his hands full this year in every part of the team.

9. Mike Evans and Kelvin Benjamin Put up Mouth-Watering Numbers for Size
The NFL has always been about size, especially when it comes to first-round draft picks. And after the success of Alshon Jeffery this year, team’s will be searching long and hard for their own physical, ball-grabbing receiver. After Kelvin Benjamin measured in at 6’5, 240 pounds, he ran a 4.53 forty-time, a rare blend of size and speed. And Mike Evans, who measured in at 6’4, 231 pounds, posted 4.47 forty-time and a 37” vertical leap. Both receivers have top-20 aspirations now.

10. Receiver Odell Beckham Jr. Impresses Across Workout
Evans and Benjamin stole the headlines among the receiver workouts, but when you come timed and untimed drills among the position, there wasn’t a better receiver in attendance than Odell Beckham Jr. of LSU. With a 4.43 forty-time, a 38.5” vertical jump, 10’2” broad jump and 3.94 short-shuttle along with dominating the gauntlet drill, Beckham may have solidified his first-round grade, and will be in the mix to be the first receiver taken after Clemson’s Sammy Watkins.

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