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Prospects gather in Indianapolis

Discussion in 'Latest Chargers News & Headlines' started by robdog, Feb 23, 2006.

  1. robdog

    robdog Code Monkey Staff Member Administrator

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    Source: <a target="_blank" href="http://www.chargers.com/news/headline_detail.cfm?news_key=2555">Chargers.com</a>

    <img width="270" height="179" alt="RCA Dome NFL Combine" id="image1969" src="http://bolttalk.com/wp-content/uploads/2006/02/300_rcadome2006.jpg" />
    By Casey Pearce

    INDIANAPOLIS -- Two weeks after watching the Pittsburgh Steelers claim Super Bowl XL title at Ford Field in Detroit, the eyes of the NFL have turned to another dome in a snow-capped town.

    Scouts, coaches and NFL executives are gathered in Indianapolis this week to watch 330 draft prospects strut their stuff at the annual scouting combine held at the Indiana Convention Center and RCA Dome.

    "We've been zeroing in on this week for quite some time," Chargers General Manager A.J. Smith said."  "There is a list of guys we think we like, and our time at the combine will allow us to build on those opinions and learn more about the prospects."  It's always an exciting week."

    Player physical examinations begin today and on-field drills begin Friday."  The combine workouts finish on Sunday.

    Physical drills include the 40-yard dash, vertical jump, broad jump, 20-yard shuttle and three-cone drill."  Many positions will also have their raw strength measured by being asked to bench press 225 pounds as many times as possible."  In addition, each position group goes through different sets of drills to display the skills associated with each position such as route running for the receivers and throwing drills for the quarterbacks.

    While the drills are a good measure of a player's athletic ability, Smith said that he usually relies more on game film than workout numbers when evaluating players.

    "My opinions don't change much because of what a guy does in Indy," Smith said."  "I'm not much on the height, speed, cone drill, agility and things like that."  I like those things, but a lot of people get wowed by numbers."  I go back to the tape."  Show me a football player."  How many passes did he catch?"  What did he do?"  How many first downs did he pick up?"  Give me the body of work of someone's career, not the last four games of his senior year."  A lot of people get caught up in that."  There are beautiful looking people, but are they players?"

    On top of the physical displays, teams have the opportunity to learn about the mental makeup of the prospects."  Each team can request to interview up to 60 players."  Topics range from a prospect's personal conduct history to their passion for the game."  Many players are asked to diagram their favorite plays from their college's systems.

    Prospects present in Indy this week range from those that are well known, such as San Diego native Reggie Bush, to players like Abilene Christian's Danieal Manning that are trying to make a name for themselves.

    "Everyone gets their shot," Smith said."  "We're here to learn more about these guys and see what kind of football players they are."  We don't want to leave any stone unturned."

    With 14 players at the combine, USC is the most well-represented school in Indianapolis this week."  Ohio State has 12 prospects at the event while Miami (Fla.) has 11."  San Diego State has three representatives at the combine: safety Marcus Demps, linebacker Freddie Keiaho and wide receiver Jeff Webb.

    For Smith and his staff, the challenge of this week will be to continue to weed through players and find the handful that he deems worthy to become Chargers.

    "We have to work to whittle down and shrink our list," Smith said."  "Who are the nine guys out of all that who you're going after?"  It's pretty amazing when you think about it when somebody's name comes off the board."  We've put a lot of time into making sure it's a good fit for us."  It's special for the guys that are drafted."
     

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