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Friday at the Combine: Wading through an even deeper talent pool

Posted Feb 21, 2014

The addition of a record 98 underclassmen has added to the depth of the 2014 NFL Draft Class. How deep is it? Steelers GM Kevin Colbert calls it the deepest he has seen in 30 years.


INDIANAPOLIS – They have come to the Scouting Combine 98 strong, the largest group of underclassmen to ever declare for the NFL Draft.

And their addition to the players that coaches and scouts are here to interview and examine has created what most are calling the deepest draft in years – which is great news for the Seahawks, who hold the last pick in each round of the NFL Draft May 8-10 after winning the Super Bowl.

How deep is deep?

“I’ve been doing this for 30 years and this is the deepest draft that I’ve ever seen,” Pittsburgh Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert said.

And the Underclassman Class of 2014 within the Draft Class of 2014 isn’t just all about the numbers. The group includes Clemson wide receiver Sammy Watkins, USC wide receiver Marqise Lee, Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel, Central Florida quarterback Blake Bortles, Arizona running back Ka’Deem Carey, Alabama cornerback Ha Ha Clinton-Dixon, South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, North Carolina tight end Eric Ebron, Florida State defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan, Notre Dame defensive tackle Louis Nix, Louisville cornerback Calvin Pryor, Auburn tackle Greg Robinson, Ohio State linebacker Ryan Shazier and Notre Dame defensive end Stephon Tuitt. Each is considered not only among the best players available at their positions, but in the entire talent pool.

YOU DON'T SAY

“I play with a lot of heart, I play with a lot of passion, I feel like I play like I'm 10 feet tall. Those measurements to me are just a number.”

Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel after being measured at 5 feet 11¾.

“You can look across the board and I can’t see a position where there isn’t more depth than I’ve ever seen,” Colbert said.

But the inclusion of the underclassmen also meant more leg work for the scouts who work their respective sections of the country. For the Seahawks, that means Jason Barnes (Midwest), Matt Berry (Southwest), Todd Brunner (Northeast), Ed Dodds (South Central), Aaron Hineline (Midlands), Jim Nagy (Southeast), Tyler Ramsey (West Coast), Josh Graff (National Football Scouting) and Kirk Parrish (college scouting coordinator).

“You have to go back and do a lot more work,” Seahawks GM John Schneider said. “I give our scouts a lot of credit, because by the time we hit our meetings in New York (during the Super Bowl week) they were ready to go.

“They had called all their sources on the juniors that were coming out. We’re up to speed, as much as we possibly can be.”

RUSSELL OKUNG'S TOE

STAT DU JOUR: MEASURING UP

Johnny Manziel was listed at 6 feet 1 in college, but the Texas A&M quarterback was measured at 5-11¾ at the combine – compared to 6-3 for Louisville’s Teddy Bridgewater, who is labeled “the most NFL ready” among the QBs in this year’s draft class by NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock. Here’s a comparison of their numbers that are even more important – their passing statistics the past two seasons:

Teddy Bridgewater

Year Att. Comp. Pct. Yards TD Int.
2013 427 303 71.0 3,970 31 4
2012 419 287 68.5 3,718 27 8

Johnny Manziel

Year Att. Comp. Pct. Yards TD Int.
2013 429 300 69.9 4,114 37 13
2012 434 295 68.0 3,706 26 9

The toe that bothered Seahawks left tackle Russell Okung during the season might not need surgery after all, coach Pete Carroll said Friday.

“He’s just got a sore toe still,” Carroll said. “There’s a conversation about doing the right thing. He doesn’t want to get the surgery if he doesn’t have to. None of us want to have to do that. So at this point, we’re going to continue monitoring it and making sure we’re doing the right thing. Right now, he’s looking forward to having a great offseason.”

Asked about any other medical concerns, Carroll said, “We’re OK. We’re thrilled to be going into the offseason as we are.”

THE NOT-SO-YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS

Apparently, Michael Robinson really can do it all. The Seahawks’ veteran fullback has taped a segment on his favorite soap opera – “The Young and The Restless” – that will air March 13.

“It was an amazing experience! I've been a fan for years, and it was great to meet the personalities on the show,” Robinson said in a news release. “I've always thought Y&R was the best show on daytime television because their storylines are always entertaining and intriguing. They welcomed me with open arms, and I felt like a part of the Y&R family.”

Robinson was extended an invitation to make his appearance after admitting during an interview that watching the show was his guilty pleasure.

Game Rewind: Seattle Seahawks