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Scouting Combine under way

Discussion in 'Latest Chargers News & Headlines' started by robdog, Feb 24, 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=2556">Chargers.com</a>

    By Casey Pearce

    INDIANAPOLIS -- As the NFL Scouting Combine swung into full gear Thursday, there was a lot of talk in anticipation of a lot more action."  While the on-field portions of the combine don't begin until today, the offensive linemen as well as specialists and the first group of running backs met with the media Thursday and began interviewing with teams.

    "(Former Chargers General Manager) John Butler used to always tell me that, first and foremost, he wanted guys who were tough and smart," said Chargers Director of College Scouting Jimmy Raye."  "If they're tough, they'll show up every day, and if they're smart they'll figure out how to beat you."  Today we got a chance to spend some time with a few of the guys and see what kind of charisma they have."  It's an important part of this process."

    Before meeting with the teams, each player got an opportunity to step up to the microphone and show some of that charisma to the reporters."  Players like Virginia offensive tackle D'Brickashaw Ferguson, Auburn offensive tackle Marcus McNeil and San Diego native and USC running back Reggie Bush delivered witty one-liners and kept things interesting.

    When asked if he preferred blocking for Dolphins running back Ronnie Brown or Buccaneers running back Carnell Williams when he played with the two, McNeil drew laughs by responding, "That's like asking if I'd rather eat a cheeseburger or French fries."

    Ferguson also drew chuckles when he explained that his unusual first name came from a character in "The Thorn Birds," a miniseries that appeared on ABC in 1983.

    "The main character was a priest named Father de Bricassart," explained Ferguson."  "My parents loved the show, so they changed the name a bit and gave it to me."

    While the process can be stressful for some athletes, others embrace the microphone and enjoy the opportunity to show off their personality.

    "I studied communications in school, so I feel like I'm a strong communicator and really feel like I can help myself this week," said Boise State offensive tackle Daryn Colledge."  "This week is an opportunity to separate yourself however you can, so I like the fact that I can use one of my strengths like this."

    Chargers General Manager A.J. Smith is searching for good people with good attitudes, something that always comes out during the interview process.

    "We want guys who are very talented with a work ethic, passion for the game – things that we've talked about before – tough, competitive, physical, committed guys who are team-oriented players," Smith said."  "I think if you get that mix, you're going to be in good shape to continue on."  San Diego Charger-type players is what I'm really saying."

    Earlier this week, Smith said that the team would target linemen in April's draft, particularly tackles."  With names like Ferguson, McNeil, Eric Winston of Miami, Winston Justice of USC and Ryan O'Callaghan from Cal-Berkeley, the offensive tackle position appears to be a deep one.

    "It's a solid class," Raye said."  "There are some good tackles in this group, guys with a lot of upside."  Overall, you may not have a lot of star quality at the top, but there are some really good guys with potential and upside."

    In addition to strong character, the Chargers' personnel staff also has in mind several physical traits that they're looking for.

    "Specifically with tackles, I like a guy that is athletic," Raye said."  "You're asking a guy to block a rare-type athlete like a Michael Strahan or a Jason Taylor or Shawne Merriman - guys that are physical freaks."  I want a guy that is a premier athlete with long arms that can protect the edge."  I want a guy that you can leave alone with the best pass rushers in the game and not worry about them."

    Raye said that many of the tackles at the combine will have the opportunity to excel as interior linemen in the NFL."  Jets center Kevin Mawae and Steelers guard Alan Faneca are among players who have successfully made similar transitions in the past.

    "It's very common for guys to play tackle in college and move inside at the next level," Raye said."  "There are a lot of combination guys here that could do both, which is good for us."  We're in search of some depth along the offensive line, and with restraints that the 53-man roster brings, you always love to have guys that can play more than one spot."  We're excited about the possibilities this class brings."

    <strong>Oh brother!</strong>

    The combine is a good place to be for NFL younger brothers."  Among those related to current NFL players are Miami (Fla.) wide receiver Sinorice Moss, younger brother of Washington Redskins wide receiver Santana Moss; Virginia Tech quarterback Marcus Vick, whose older bro is Michael Vick of the Falcons; San Diego State defensive back Marcus Demps, brother of Ravens safety Will Demps; Wisconsin offensive lineman Donovan Raiola, whose older brother Dominic is a center for the Detroit Lions, and Missouri State kicker Jonathan Scifres, the younger brother of Chargers punter Mike Scifres.

    The younger Scifres is auditioning as both a punter and place kicker this week, although he feels his future is at place kicker."  Like all prospects, Jonathan has no idea of his draft status, but he has a pretty good feeling he won't end up playing with his brother.

    "I'll have to say with a bias that the Chargers have the best punter in the league," Scifres said."  "And with the job Nate Kaeding has done there, it doesn't look like there's much opportunity as a kicker."  I'm just hopeful that I get a chance." "  I'll punt, kickoff, kick field goals or do whatever I need to in order to earn a job."

    <strong>Levy, Smith reunite</strong>

    For 12 seasons, former Buffalo Bills Head Coach Marv Levy produced winner after winner on the field."  He also had the opportunity to mentor several successful football men away from the gridiron, including Smith."  When asked about the current Chargers general manager, Levy lit up.

    "I felt confident that he would do a great job if he were ever given the opportunity to be a general manager," Levy said."  "He's a great guy to work with."  He's smart, level-headed and obviously has an eye for talent."

    In addition to their strong friendship, Levy always admired the way Smith conducted his business.

    "He was always very thorough," Levy said."  "He always had a strong opinion and told you just what he thought."  He had a lot to do with the success that we experienced in Buffalo in the early 1990's."
     

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